Monday, June 30, 2008

Another verdict by a literary critic in the newspaper of Prince Khalid Bin Sultan: Saudi ambassador in Lebanon is the best poet since Shakespeare and Mutanabbi.
"In fact, the status of religious freedom in Iraq is in some ways worse today than it was under Saddam Hussein, according to independent analyses of the State Department's religious freedom reports."
"Palestinians who approach Gaza fence will be shot, says IDF"
"Barack Obama is a "100 percent supporter of Israel," and if elected, he will bring new spirit to peacemaking efforts, US Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts said Monday." (thanks Electronic Ali)
This is hilarious. The director of Al-Arabiya TV (owned by King Fahd's son-in-law), writing in Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat (owned by King Fahd's brother) calls Mugabe "a dictator." Certainly, there is more religious and political oppression in Saudi Arabia than in Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwe there are irregularities in elections; in Saudi Arabia THERE ARE NO ELECTIONS.
"Behind the glittering exterior of high-rise buildings, flashy malls, opulent hotels and real estate is the story of wage exploitation by greedy employers, indebtedness to corrupt middlemen, hazardous working conditions and inhuman living conditions termed 'labour camps'. Although all these countries have strict labour laws, most remain un-enforced. While Bangladeshi politicians and policy makers pat their own backs every year on the increase in remittance flow, little is done in terms of regulation of this sector...While the latest incidents show a trend of criminalising of Bangladeshi migrant workers, it comes after years of abuse endured by them, with little or no attention from the authorities. In 2002, Amnesty International heavily objected to the decision by the UAE government to the execution of three Bangladeshi nationals, which failed to meet international standards of fairness. Mohammad Zahar Abdul Sattar, Anwar al-Zamaan and Anwar Khan Mohammad were convicted of rape and murder of a Sri Lankan national. Yet their lawyers stated that while in detention all three men were repeatedly beaten, their legs were bound and the soles of their feet beaten bloody with batons. The lawyer also said that the accused did not understand the court proceedings because it was in Arabic." (thanks Robin)
Another armed robbery of a Syrian in Lebanon.
"Will you be boycotting Zimbabwean goods?" No, but I am considering a boycott of British goods.
"Iraqi government officials on Sunday criticized the American military for two recent attacks in which soldiers killed people who the government said were civilians."
It is funny when Saudi media think that they can just replicate the cliches of Western media. Saudi media have been complaining about the "unfair" elections in Zimbabwe. I am waiting for the oxygen masks to come down any minute now.
"A group of American advisers led by a small State Department team played an integral part in drawing up contracts between the Iraqi government and five major Western oil companies to develop some of the largest fields in Iraq, American officials say. The disclosure, coming on the eve of the contracts’ announcement, is the first confirmation of direct involvement by the Bush administration in deals to open Iraq’s oil to commercial development and is likely to stoke criticism. In their role as advisers to the Iraqi Oil Ministry, American government lawyers and private-sector consultants provided template contracts and detailed suggestions on drafting the contracts, advisers and a senior State Department official said.""
"The last few years, we’ve spent July Fourth at the house of friends who have had the assembled company read the entire declaration." How fascinating? How interesting and entertaining? How can I get myself invited to this lovely crowd who reads aloud the American Declaration of Independence? What a party? I mean, last year I attended a party in which guests had to read the phone book. Don't get me wrong. It was great fun and I would do it again in a heartbeat, but this really is the most fun that I have ever heard. (By the way, this same William Kristol was a professor of political science at University of Pennsylvania when Hanna Batatu applied for a position there after leaving Lebanon in the early 1980s. Kristol mobilized the Zionist crowd there against Batatu's appointment.)
"Egyptian police shot and killed two African migrants, including a seven-year-old Sudanese girl, as they tried to cross the border into Israel on Saturday, security and hospital sources said." (thanks Sellam)
2 million Egyptians live in cemeteries. (thanks Hicham)
Syrians, riding a bus with a Syrian license plate, were robbed at gun point in Lebanon.
When Zionism runs out of immigrants. (thanks Electronic Ali)
So I am hearing that the Syrian Ba`th party is going to unite with the Saddam Ba`th party of Iraq. Oh, yeah. This is as exciting as when the Saudi dynasty made up with the Qatari dynasty.
Since the inception of Zionism, there has been a very annoying trend: when Zionist media try to tell us what the Palestinians are thinking. Usually, the Palestinians are thinking the opposite of what the Zionist media attribute to them.
As`ad--not me--took this picture at the Gay Pride Parade in Toronto. He wrote me this: "see the photo of this Saudi dude with the poster, he was among Ryerson Students group, the poster was talking about Saudi repression of Gays, I was running around last minute with my phone to get a better picture but I couldn't, it was too busy."
"Bernstein made an extremely odd comparison between American high school basketball players and Palestinian suicide bombers." And then some outfit called National Arab American Journalist Association came to her rescue by saying: "ESPN and Dr. Bonnie Bernstein issued a genuine apology" when no real apology was offered. (thanks Aliyar).

Sunday, June 29, 2008

On the front page of Hariri rag, Al-Mustaqbal, there is this headline: "White Hands Especially toward Lebanon and Palestine: Three years of accomplishments [for] the Servitor of the Two Holy Sites".
There is an on-going bid. The Lebanese Internal Security Forces are looking for...musical instruments. Please help. Given the security situation in Lebanon, drums and triangles could really reduce the tensions.
"The number of civilians killed in fighting between insurgents and security forces in Afghanistan has soared by two-thirds in the first half of this year, to almost 700 people, a senior U.N. official said Sunday." Now "security forces in Afghanistan can't possibly be referring to U.S. occupation troops, can it?
LBC-TV had a show on U.S. policies in the Middle East. Shadha `Amr invited an Arabic speaking diplomat from the State Department to meet with a group of Arab students. The host wanted so bad that students would praise the U.S., but to no avail. She asked an Iraqi and a Kuwaiti in the audience, hoping that they would praise Bush. When they clearly did not, and criticized Bush's wars and policies, she kept going around until she found a Lebanese dude who came to the rescue and urged the Iraqis to give Bush's war a chance. And when a young student went on to rail against U.S. wars and occupation and U.S. support for Arab dictatorships, the host was visibly displeased with her. She interrupted her to ask: What about Iran? And then the host turned to a guest from Egypt, hoping that she would get a different message. She prefaced her question by saying that "Egypt had signed a peace treaty with Israel"...and the student interrupted her by saying: "unfortunately." The host clearly displeased asked: why unfortunately? The student went on the criticize U.S. and Israel and the tyranny of Mubarak regime. The host, again, turned to another Egyptian student asking: do you agree with the other Egyptian student? The student agreed. Next time LBC-TV should invite MEMRI guests. I am sure they would not disappoint LBC-TV or U.S. administration. But the Lebanese student, Carol Kirbaj, was the star of the program. She provided the most devastating critique of U.S. economic and political programs in the region. She gave a political economy critique and then said that his U.S. discourse on democracy "provokes" her. She even slipped a critique of Saudi Arabia. If somebody in Lebanon knows Carol Kirbaj, please send her my regards.
PS This show was quite interesting. And although the students were clearly screened, and they were very well-behaved and polite, but LBC-TV could not produce the agreeable Arabs that they wanted, with the exception of that Lebanese student (probably Lebanese Forces supporter). Even the Saudi and Kuwait students disappointed the host and her American guest.
New TV aired a revealing report on the Hariri support for Salafis in Tripoli.
"Do you consider yourself enlightened? Someone who goes around saying, “I’m enlightened,” is almost categorically not."
This is persecution that you favor: "Around midnight of 13 May 2000, the PUK police attached the residential of Karim Ahmed (70 years at the time). He was taken away, according to Hawlati, with his two sons, Aso and Mwan to an unknown place. Later the family realised that their third son, the eldest, Arsalan had been taken two days before them. He was accused of associating with Destgay Parastin, the KDP’s intelligence services, headed by Masrur Barzani, the son of Massuad Barzani, the President of Kurdistan. They have been detained incommunicado without giving any news of their whereabouts. Their siblings reported to Hawlati, stating that they still have no awareness of their whereabouts. Ahmed’s wife wishes to know whether she is a widow or not. She is not sure. he PUK is led by Jalal Talabani, the current president of Iraq." (thanks Amer)
"The new estimates also suggest that nationals are just over 50% of the population. Bahrain's 90,000 Bangladeshi residents tend to be among the lowest-paid foreign workers and often live in very poor conditions. After the killing, the press was full of reports stereotyping Bangladeshis as more violent and unhygienic than other nationals. Foreign workers are often scapegoated for unemployment among Bahraini citizens and there have been several attacks on low-paid immigrants in recent months. Furthermore, the government has announced that it will designate special zones for foreign labourers to live in as part of a long-term "masterplan" for Bahrain through to 2020." (thanks Parsa)
"It has become increasingly hard for opposition leaders to campaign normally." Oh, yeah? Unlike how it is in Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, and Iraq. How awful.
"Mohammed Omer, 23, said that after he passed on Thursday night Al-Karama crossing (Allinbi Bridge), at the Palestinian borderline with Jordan, Israeli security men humiliated him and forced him to be completely naked. Omer told RNA that an Israeli officer asked him "are you the guy of the prize?" and whe he said "yes" the Israeli security man ordered him to wait at a special room. "They forced me to be completely naked under the gun point, one of them trampled over my neck," Omer added."" (thanks Karin)
"In the Middle East, however, the extent of the abuses uncovered at Abu Ghraib was not out of the ordinary." Oh, no they were. (thanks Ananda)
This is Zionism: "On Saturday afternoon, Israeli military forces attacked the funeral of 17-year-old Muhammad Anwar 'Alami, who was shot and killed by Israeli forces on Friday night. Several of the mourners were injured."
"Despite legal and religious restrictions against abortion in much of the Arab world, changing social values and economic realities as well as demographic shifts have contributed to an apparent increase in the number of the procedures in the Middle East." (thanks Olivia)
"Consumer spending in the second-largest Arab economy jumped 17.7 percent to 319.87 billion dirhams ($87.1 billion) in 2007, more than double its level five years earlier, the Abu Dhabi Department of Planning and Economy said in a report. Per-capita spending in the country of 4.1 million people is about $27 a day, some eight times higher than average daily spending in the rest of the Arab world, the department said, adding that the UAE imported about 85 percent of consumer goods." (thanks Talal)
Lebanonese should be proud: Lebanonesia is ranked number 18. (thanks L.)
A tribute to murdering Israeli collaborators: "In rocket-battered Sderot, dozens of Palestinians - former collaborators and informers from the Gaza Strip - live in silence and isolation, hidden from the public eye. Unable to return to Gaza, they fear the Kassam rocket attacks from their Palestinian brothers and worry about the families they left behind. Most of all they fear the revenge of Hamas. They can be eliminated any time. There is no escape." (thanks Asa)
I swear: I was reading the issues of An-Nahar from 1947 (to see the coverage of the Palestinian question), and I ran across an official statement by the Lebanese Ministry of Health in which it said that the Lebanese government has large quantities of a cure for cancer (called ACF) and that they are available for the people of Lebanon.
This is what one reads in the New York Times: "So you can imagine my delight when I found myself rolling around on a ratty mattress in a sandy Bedouin tent in the middle of the Negev desert with a fantastically handsome 6-foot-2, 21-year-old Israeli army commander." (thanks anonymous)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I found on January 7th, 1967 issue of An-Nahar that the Phalanges Party submitted a petition to the Lebanese government questioning the benefits of Arab boycott of Israel.
Among his hobbies are: "Environmental concern" and "hunting."
Cutting edge journalism in the newspaper of Hassan Fattah--on behalf of UAE's ruling dynasties. Here is a front page headline: "UAE is secure and stable, says Sheikh Khalifa." Where are the journalism awards to be sent to Fattah NOW?
Egypt liberal thinker, Jamal Al-Banna wrote a courageous book on women in Islam. The book burning fanatics of Al-Azhar raised a hue and cry and got the Mubarak tyranny to ban the book. Not a single word about this in the Arabic press, or even in the Western press. The Cairo correspondent of New TV aired a great report on the case. But the reason why Western media are not championing Al-Banna is because he--unlike other Arab liberals--is anti-Israel and critical of U.S. policies and wars in the Middle East.
"From the standpoint of Jerusalem's non-Haredi residents, the business of the ski caps and cloaks - girls forced to cover up before dancing at the ceremony Wednesday to innaugurate the Chords Bridge - is yet another stage in the city's ongoing fall into the hands of ultra-Orthodox extremists. But as far as the Haredim are concerned, this affair was merely the opening salvo in the mayoral campaign." (thanks Sellam)
This is Zionism: "The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B’Tselem) issued a report stating that an Israeli soldier assaulted one of its coordinators while filming Israeli settlers abusing Palestinian shepherds in the southern West Bank city of Hebron."
"The secret collaboration of the French with the Jewish Agency grew stronger in the U.S. as well, particularly in Zionist-Maronite campaigns to secure Lebanon as an independent Christian state. In 1946-1948 France strengthened its ties with the Zionist movement in America and Israel and provided the Jewish Agency with intelligence on British and Arab designs, thus making a vital contribution to the process that led to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948." (thanks Khaled)
"Outraged Iraqi officials demanded an investigation into an early morning U.S. military raid Friday near the birthplace of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, saying the operation violated the terms of the handover of Karbala province to Iraqi security forces." Let me save you time and effort. U.S. military investigation will reveal that U.S. forces were within their right. Goodnight.
Bodyguards of the Iraqi puppet Minister of Education shoot at students at the College of Education east of Baghdad. (thanks Sinan)
Guess who has just joined the Axis of Bush?
Not in Saudi Arabia: "The targets of their ire were the women, and some men, who have dared to speak up against the club’s policy of forbidding women in the men’s grill room, a center of power dining in Phoenix." (thanks Olivia)
Prince Salman of Riyadh said that the kingdom will continue to serve as "a constant course of moderation." To illustrate his point, he ordered 4 extra beheadings in downtown Riyadh.
"The aid package for Israel constitutes the largest of its kind ever given to the State by the US, and also that of the longest commitment." (thanks Maryam)
""If you ask 70% of the Lebanese population, they would tell you that Iran is more of an enemy than Israel." Of course, this is not true. Public opinion surveys regularly and consistently--and across sects--indicate that Israel is seen as the biggest threat (along with the U.S.). This is also true in Sunni Muslim Arab countries. But don't you like it when Israeli newspapers make generalizations about Arabs and Muslims and then attribute them to "Sami" who lives in Beirut, or "Batata" who lives and eats in Baghdad, or "Abu Shoes" who lives in downtown Damascus. This is like Bernard Lewis in his book on the Middle East and the West (it used to be titled "Islam and the West" in previous editions) makes generalizations about the Arabs and then attribute them to a letter to the editor in a newspaper, and another to a Kuwaiti that he encountered while shopping--I kid you not. (thanks Electronic Ali)
"But Negra said the coverage of women is more judgmental, casting wayward female celebrities as "cautionary tales." She said coverage of female celebs is less likely to celebrate a troubled star's triumphant comeback, the way Downey has been lauded for "Iron Man" or Owen Wilson has been shown returning to work after a reported suicide attempt. "We seem to have a lot more fixed ideas about what women's lives should be like than we do of men," she said."" (thanks Seham)
"The United States is becoming even more unequal as income becomes more concentrated among the most affluent Americans. Income inequality has been rising since the late 1970s, and now rests at a level not seen since the Gilded Age—roughly 1870 to 1900, a period in U.S. history defined by the contrast between the excesses of the super-rich and the squalor of the poor. Early in the twentieth century, the share of total national income drawn by the top 1 percent of U.S. earners hovered around 18 percent. That share hit an all-time high in 1928—when top earners took home 21.1 percent of all income, including capital gains—then dropped steadily through the next three decades. Amid the post-World War II boom in higher education, and overall economic growth, the American middle class swelled and prospered, and the top 1 percent of earners took home less than 10 percent of all income through the 1960s and 1970s. Since then, the topmost 1 percent have seen their share rise again: it shot past 15 percent in 1996 and crested at 20.3 percent in 2006, the most recent year for which numbers are available." (thanks Michele)
Samir `Atallah (the one who writes daily tributes to Arab oil princes, shaykhs, and sultans), interviews Shaykh Khalifah bin Zayid of UAE. Shaykh bin Zayid describes Lebanon as a "civilizational lighthouse, and a warm lap" for Arabs.
Nazi fans in Beirut. Karim sent me this from Lebanon--I use with this permission: "sorry the picture isn't better. after the Semifinal Germany vs Turkey on Sassine in Ashrafieh. After asking him what he really was hoping to say with this the drivers final answer was: "I love Hitler", his girlfriend was visble emberassed :). A week earlier we were watching the quarterfinals Germany vs Portugal, when durign the opening ceremony they played the German athem a bunch of guys stood up right hand raised Nuremberg 1934 style. Most people here don't seem to care too much. even though quite sad, i thought you could find this amusing."
Sami Amin Gemayyel. This is highly comedic. The repetition of the fascist experience of Bashir Gemayyel has been a farce thus far. This is Amin Gemayyel's son, Sami. He is warning those who are "messing" with the Phalanges. He said that those who are messing with the Phalanges don't know who they are messing with. Oh, yeah. He ads that "they" have been "resisting" for 1500 years in defense of "liberty, faith, civilization, and doctrine." After he finished his fiery speech, his father Amin asked him to brush his teeth and go to bed.
I don't like flags and I don't like nationalisms, but...for Palestine and the Palestinians, anything and everything.

Friday, June 27, 2008

When you read Ajami, you feel that you are reading European travel books in the holy land from the 18th century. "The Shiites are known for a cardinal doctrine of their practice taqiyya (dissimulation)". Like the U.S. administration does not practice dissimulation?
My article in Al-Akhbar: "Between Haykal and his critics".
The New York Times: "when television cameras captured a startling image of Mr. Mugabe holding hands with the smiling South African president, Thabo Mbeki, a professed champion of African democracy." Angry Arab Times: when television cameras captured a startling image of King `Abdullah holding hands with the smiling American president, George W. Bush, a professed champion of global democracy.
I am not making this up. Raghidah Dirgham criticizes oppression of women in Iran; but she wrote this in the newspaper of Prince Khalid Bin Sultan.
"A millionaire who inflicted years of abuse on two Indonesian housekeepers held as virtual slaves in her Long Island mansion was sentenced Thursday to 11 years in prison."
A Lebanese leftist critique of Hasan Nasrallah.
"A Palestinian survey shows that more than half of the families in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are living in poverty. The survey was conducted by the Palestinian bureau of statistics. It says 80% of the families in the Gaza Strip and 478% of families in the West Bank are living under the poverty line. That line is defined as a monthly income of $712 for a family of six."
"Weisbrot: If you go there you would see very quickly that Venezuela is a very open, democratic society, either compared to its own past or compared to other countries of its income level. I think those are the only relevant comparisons. It isn’t Sweden, but neither is any other country in South America. There is freedom of speech and assembly and the press. It has one of the most, if not the most, oppositional media in the hemisphere. It has much more oppositional media than we have in the United States. It is hard to find people [in Venezuela] who are afraid to criticize the government. I think that’s easier to find here in the United States."" (thanks Dale)
I received this message: "Hey angryarab! We announce another short film from Nahr al-Bared Refugee Camp in North Lebanon. The first few hundred Palestinian families were allowed to return to their destroyed or damaged homes at the outskirts of Nahr al-Bared Camp in winter 2007/08. They faced a very difficult situation. Many of them lost their homes and most of their property was either destroyed or stolen. This short video documents the refugee's experiences once they returned to their camp and their efforts to deal with their new reality. For security reasons, only an anonymized version of the film is published. It can be downloaded/watched at"
"Not only did he decide to hire 500 local workers to build a jaw-droppingly ostentatious home on the edge of his beloved Nablus to return to after decades as a much-travelled top international businessman; he made the domed mansion a floor higher than the Palladian original in Vicenza "because I have a large family"." (thanks W.)
By the playbook of `Arafat. Hamas threatens to punish violators of its "calming down" with the Israeli occupation.
A Syrian was robbed and beaten in Lebanon.
There are moments when the White Man is sensitive. (thanks Olivia)
"Now with this past week’s publication of a series on the Kafka-esque detention of thousands of foreign nationals following 9/11, the hybrid McClatchy–Knight Ridder DC operation is enjoying its biggest achievement to date. The subject matter of “Guantánamo: Beyond the Law” wasn’t new, exactly — the abuse of prisoners, the questionable criteria used to put them behind bars, and the dubious legal framework crafted to justify their ongoing legal limbo have all been covered elsewhere. But the depth of McClatchy’s treatment was unprecedented, and its conclusions were startling. For one thing, most prisoners at Guantánamo had “no intelligence value in the war on terror.” For another, by radicalizing formerly apolitical detainees, Guantánamo may actually have made Americans less safe, not more." (thanks Maryam)
"Since it went into effect last week, at least eight violations of the new ceasefire agreement with Hamas and the Palestinian factions have been recorded, a UN source told Ynet on Thursday. According to the source, seven violations were committed by the IDF, while the Palestinians are responsible for just one." (thanks Sellam)
"Currently, Van Agt is writing a book about the Israeli-Arab conflict. In December he launched an info-site ( about the subject, in which he accuses Israel of brutal treatment of the Palestinians, violating international law and implementing racist policies." (thanks R.)
""Say No More," a pulsating trance music track by up-and-coming Israeli female singer Aderet and DJ Dvir Halevi, has been at the top of the playlist this month on the "Beirut Nights" Internet radio station devoted to dance music (" (thanks Laleh)
The new president of Lebanon meets with neo-con fanatic, Walid Ma`louf. (thanks F.)

How would you like to study while being "liberated" at the same time? (Reuters)
Comrade Joseph reviews Salata Baladi: "While Zionism's atrocities against the Palestinian people have not stopped for the last century, Israel's atrocities against other Arabs in the last sixty years have remained consistent, albeit intermittent. This not only includes Israel's bombings and killings of Lebanese, Syrians, Jordanians, Tunisians, Egyptians, and Libyans, but also its terrorism against Arab Jews, specifically Iraqi Jews whose exodus to Israel it brought about in the early 1950s after a series of bombings in Baghdad, and the tragedy it caused to Egyptian Jews, to say nothing of Yemeni and Moroccan Jews whose lives Zionism successfully interrupted and transformed. While Zionism's activities in Egypt among Egyptian Jews bore little fruit before or after World War II, Zionism's insistence that it speaks and acts in the name of all Jews have put Jewish communities inside and outside Palestine in a precarious position....Only the diversity of the non-Muslim and the foreign communities, including Greeks, Italians, Syrian Arab Christians, European Jews, and Arab Jews is missed by the contemporary cosmopolitans who live in Cairo and Alexandria. One wonders if the European funders of the film would have been interested in a film of nostalgia for Arab or Egyptian communism, of which both of Nadia's parents were part. But then the Ford Foundation, which contributed funds to the New York based ArteEast film festival (organized by Israeli scholar Livia Alexander) that screened Salata Baladi in New York might not have funded it either. When I saw the film in the middle of last November at Columbia University, where I teach, Nadia Kamel introduced it. She stood there and declared to her American audience (which included many Americans of Egyptian Jewish background and a number of officers from the Ford Foundation): "I come from a country full of taboos."" (thanks Mel)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

"President Bush, left, with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, right, during an arrival at Camp David, Thursday, June 26, 2008."
Prince Salman bin `Abdul-`Aziz is visiting Sweden. Saudi media are insisting that the visit aims at strengthening relations between the two countries. I am sure. He visited the Nobel museum and said that Arab contributions should not be ignored by the Nobel committee. He also asked whether there is a special Nobel prize for beheadings: he argued that his family deserves it.
"Nine Iraqi civilians were killed Wednesday in two armed clashes involving U.S. soldiers, local authorities reported. The military said U.S. soldiers were fired upon first in both incidents."
"On the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, DCI/PS releases further evidence that Israeli military forces in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) continue to abuse, threaten and torture Palestinian children." (thanks Olivia)
"Israel's Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) group accused Israeli doctors on Thursday of ignoring what it described as the torture of Palestinian detainees during interrogations." (thanks Seham)
Israeli occupation forces routinely destroy Palestinian homes and shoot at their civilians. Yesterday, the New York Times carried a medium-sized picture of a broken window of an Israeli house in Sderot (from a rocket that fell.)
On the first day of the war in 1967, the Saudi government announced that Prince `Abdullah, in his capacity as commander of the National Guard, has placed them on high alert and told them to be ready to join the battle "at any point." I saw that in an issue of An-Nahar.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Saudi Arabia, hoping to impress the U.S., is highlighting the news of the recent "uncovering" of Al-Qa`idah cells in the kingdom of oppression. The mouthpiece of Prince Salman (Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat) published this picture on its front page (on the internet version) and said that the books were confiscated in the recent raid on apartments. Look at the tiles of those "dangerous" books. One reads "international encyclopedia." Another one seems to be a volume of the classic dictionary Lisan Al-`Arab.
1967. I have been reading An-Nahar's issues from 1967. It is so sad and frustrating. You read that King Husayn donated 12 suitcases of his "personal clothes" to the Palestinian refugees. You read that the refugees suffered from swollen feet from long walks. You read that Ghassan Tuwayni was chosen by the Lebanese government to represent Lebanon at the United Nations--why not Antoine Lahd, I wondered. You read statements by the foreign Minister of Iraq at the time: none other than Adnan Pachachi. He observed that political action without force are futile. It was the Pachachi government that orchestrated the largest arrest of Iraqi Jews (larger than the one by the Ba`th in 1968 by the way) but it was forgotten because he now serves as a puppet. You read that King Husayn said that Saudi forces were dispatched to help Arab armies but that they arrived late to the front. You read the lies of the Syrian, Egyptian, and Jordanian media (it is stunning how candid Stalin was in comparison: when he told the Soviet of people of the extent of Soviet losses in WWII). You read Ghassan Tuwayni days after the defeat writing on the front page of An-Nahar, and in the wake of the revelation of the extent of U.S. embrace of Israeli aggression, that what the Arabs need more than anything is...dialogue with the West. You read a press conference by King Husayn: he was asked why he was one Arab government that refused to sever diplomatic ties with U.S. and other Western governments that supported Israel. He answered: "I can't reveal all the facets of the issue and its developments." He also spoke about the heroism of his soldiers to save a Jordanian tank that carried his name. I would not name a tank after Husayn. Maybe I would name a....
So Saudi Arabia receives criticisms in U.S. congress and media over oil prices, and Saudi Arabia immediately and conveniently responds by announcing the arrests of hundreds of Al-Qa`idah members in Saudi Arabia. One of them was found in the private quarters of the king.
"Twenty-one percent of self-identified atheists said they believed in God. Ten percent believe in hell."
"But Mugabe may not be Africa's worst. That prize arguably goes to Teodoro Obiang, the ruler of Equatorial Guinea whose life seems a parody of the dictator genre." (thanks Ziad)
"...and humiliation, I believe, is the single-most underestimated force in international relations, especially in the Middle East." OK, while you are at it, tell me. How was that pie in your face? I would rather hear about that than about your silly and vapid "theories" about world affairs.
"A new poll of citizens’ attitudes about torture in 19 nations finds Americans among the most accepting of the practice. Although a slight majority say torture should be universally prohibited, 44 percent think torture of terrorist suspects should be allowed, and more than one in 10 think torture should generally be allowed."
"A doctor named John Drew Laurusonis and two of his assistants in Georgia have been accused of locking a woman in an examination room "when concerns arose about her ability to pay the bill." The three were indicted last week on charges of false imprisonment for the October 4th, 2007 incident."
Bush: "And I reminded the President that I am reminded of the great talent of the -- of our Philippine-Americans when I eat dinner at the White House. (Laughter.)" (thanks Electronic Ali)
"In fact, 90 percent of the Palestinian territory Israel claimed to have annexed to Jerusalem after 1967 is today off-limits to Palestinian development because the land is either already built on by exclusively Jewish settlements or being reserved for their future expansion. Denied permits, many Palestinians in Jerusalem build without them, but at considerable risk: Israel routinely demolishes Palestinian homes built without a permit. This includes over 300 homes in East Jerusalem demolished between 2004 and 2007 and 18,000 Palestinian homes in the occupied territories demolished since 1967."" (thanks Maryam)
Today, I heard the words of Iraqi puppet president, Jalal Talabani, in the Oval Office. He hailed Bush as "the liberator of Iraq" and as a "friend" of the Iraqi people. Lest you get excited, remember that this man showered similar words of praise on Soviet leaders and even on Saddam Husayn.
"Cuba's Roman Catholic Church on Tuesday protested the communist government's growing support of gay rights, including a daylong event raising awareness against homophobia and a law allowing sex-change operations." (thanks Olivia)
PS And the item goes on to say: "
Prejudice against homosexuals remains deeply rooted in Cuban society, as in much of Latin America.." Oh, yeah: unlike the U.S.
"Over 40 Asian workers including a number of Indians, who claimed they were not paid wages for seven months, remain stranded in Saudi Arabia even as authorities asked local police in Riyadh to expedite their cases. The hospital workers are demanding that they be paid their dues and provided plane tickets to go back home in accordance with the law."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The lies of Prince Turki Al-Faysal. So this Prince was on Al-Arabiya TV (the mouthpiece of King Fahd's brother-in-law) talking about his father. He talked about the (silly and incomplete) oil embargo of 1973. He said that his father would only take decisions after careful study. He said that his father refused to implement an oil embargo in 1967 although his own oil minister agreed in an Arab meeting in Baghdad at the time to enact an embargo. But the lies of Turki (the former close friend and patron of Bin Laden) were all too clear to miss. The (false) announcement of a Saudi oil embargo took place much earlier than that meeting in Baghdad. An-Nahar's issue of June 8, 1967 reported that Riyadh Radio reported that the Saudi council of minister met and agreed to end "immediately" all oil sales to countries "that help Israel." That was a lie of course.
This is Zionism (because the ideology was premised on the disregard for international law and morality): "Israel is one of the world's largest consumers of Methyl Bromide – one of the chemicals proven to be most harmful to the ozone layer, a report by the Knesset's Internal Affairs and Environment Committee revealed recently." (thanks R.)
"Three years after a former general was almost arrested in England for alleged war crimes, the IDF has returned to sending senior officers to England for military studies, The Jerusalem Post has learned."
No, but I support military intervention in UK.
"Over all, the report says, the American plan for a stable Iraq lacks a strategic framework that meshes with the administration’s goals, is falling out of touch with the realities on the ground and contains serious flaws in its operational guidelines."
Yesterday, Al-Arabiya TV (the mouthpiece of King Fahd's brother-in-law) kept repeating that "coalition forces" in Afghanistan have killed 55 Taliban fighters. I am sure that Al-Arabiyya examined every dead body and verified that they were Taliban fighters before they aired the report.
"The sense of drift is the subject of almost every columnist in the English-language press in Pakistan..." But Carlotta: can you please tell us what the non-English language press is saying in Pakistan? Thanks.
"“There is this excitement that if he can win, they can win, too.”" Oh, no, James Zogby. The only thing that excites you is the UAE's ruling dynasties.
He is for human rights--in some places only. "FOUR months ago the architect Daniel Libeskind declared publicly that architects should think long and hard before working in China, adding, “I won’t work for totalitarian regimes.” His remarks raised hackles in his profession, with some architects accusing him of hypocrisy because his own firm had recently broken ground on a project in Hong Kong." But the conscientious dude has no problem working in Israel. (thanks Mas'ood)
"Welcome to "Taliban Towers" at Guantanamo Bay, the most ghoulishly distasteful tourist destination on the planet. As these astonishing mementoes show, the US authorities are promoting the world's most notorious prison camp as a cheap hideaway for American sunseekers ? a revelation that has drawn international anger and condemnation. Just yards from the shelves of specially branded mugs and cuddly toys, nearly 300 "enemy combatants" lie sweltering in a waking nightmare."" (thanks Mal)
Saudi media now contains praise of Qatar. Only a few months ago, the same columnists who are now writing praise were attacking Qatar for everything under the skies.
Salim Al-Huss (former prime minister) blasts all sides in Lebanon (government and opposition) for their sectarianism. He rightly does not spare any of them.
"Under the title of "military exports and aid" the ministry allows former Mossad Shabak, Israel Defense Forces and Israel Police officers to sell their security expertise. This knowledge is often translated into weapons sales, training for VIP bodyguards, establishment of security services and sales of intelligence-gathering equipment to ruthless and corrupt dictators in Angola, the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other African nations."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Guess who speaks for the Arab masses now? John Bolton: "The Arab world would be "pleased" by Israeli strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities."
Lebanese playwright (and An-Nahar columnist who said during the destruction of the Nahr Al-Barid refugee camp that there are no Palestinian civilians), Raymond Jbarah, responds to my criticisms of him. He calls me a barking dog that needs to be tied. This is the level of discourse in An-Nahar.
Somebody needs to explain this to me: why is this getting all this (deserved) attention, when Husni Mubarak did the same to his opponent, Anwar Nur, who remains in jail for daring to run against Mubarak in the last election?
Dahlan, o Dahlan: and the conspiracy. Have you noticed the unending media promotion of Marwan Muasher and his lousy book about The Arab Dahlan Center? It is non-stop and extends to national and local media. Here, Muasher brags that intervened in the formulation of the Arab (Thomas Friedman) Saudi "peace" initiative to protect Israeli interests: "Israel objected to provisions on full withdrawal and on ending the Palestinian refugee problem. Muasher says he got the term "agreed" inserted into the refugee proviso, which meant no final formula could be worked out without Israeli approval. But the Arab offer, which remains alive, was ignored by the White House and Israel." (Back in 1993, a mutual friend suggested that I meet Muasher, when he was running the Jordan Information Center in Washington, DC. She took us to a coffee shop at a Washington, DC Hotel. It was clear after 2 minutes, that I hated him as much as he hated me. I had to flee after a few minutes.)
Ziad sent me this: "There are two factual errors in your comments about the lebanese priest. First he was beatified not canonized. Canonization is the next step (the Vatican eagerly awaits your testimony of how he cured your potato which had suffered severe cuts and 2nd degree burns after being sliced and dropped in a deep fryer :-) and secondly his name is Haddad not Kabbushi. He was a Cappuchin priest hence Al-Kabbushi. See link below."
"Iran banned a daily newspaper for publishing articles critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's economic policies, Iran's English-language Press TV reported on Sunday."
"Two years later, Harb was named the first news director for the Alhurra television network. He rented the abandoned studios of a former local television station in Virginia and spruced up the sets. He then filled the newsroom largely with inexperienced Christian Lebanese reporters hired in his native Beirut and signed lucrative sole-source contracts with friends who ran advertising agencies, production companies and warehouses across the Middle East. Some low-level staff members were highly paid, including a hairdresser from Lebanon who coiffed the anchors for $100,000 a year. New hires were promised an American Green Card if they lasted two years with the network. Harb did not respond to e-mail requests for comment. Harb told Congress the network had achieved soaring viewership and popularity in the Middle East. He dismissed polls that showed Alhurra with no more than 2 percent of the Middle East audience share and blamed complaints about the content on his initial budget, which he believed was too small to allow Alhurra to compete with media giants such as Al Jazeera."
"According to data compiled by Andrew Tyndall, a television consultant who monitors the three network evening newscasts, coverage of Iraq has been “massively scaled back this year.” Almost halfway into 2008, the three newscasts have shown 181 weekday minutes of Iraq coverage, compared with 1,157 minutes for all of 2007. The “CBS Evening News” has devoted the fewest minutes to Iraq, 51, versus 55 minutes on ABC’s “World News” and 74 minutes on “NBC Nightly News.” (The average evening newscast is 22 minutes long.)"
"Estimated at some 200,000 people - about five percent of Lebanon’s population - rights groups warn that migrant domestic workers, most of them women from the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Ethiopia, remain unprotected by labour laws and subject to a range of abuses by their employers. “Domestic workers represent a large segment of labourers who are not being recognised as such. Over a third of the domestic worker population is denied time off,” said Nadim Houry, Beirut researcher for Human Rights Watch (HRW), which this month re-launched “Put yourself in her shoes” - a campaign to highlight abuses against domestic workers." (thanks Molly)
"Buns and Guns is made out to look like a military post and diners eat to the sound of gunfire instead of muzak. Owner Yousef Ibrahim presents rebranded Lebanese favourites like the "rocket-propelled grenade" (chicken on a skewer) and "terrorist bread". "They accuse us of terrorism, so let's serve terrorist bread, why not?" Mr Ibrahim told Hezbollah's al-Manar TV. Other dishes include the Kalashnikov, Dragunov, Viper, B52, while realistic-looking weapons and ammunition decorate the counters, and camouflage netting hangs from the ceiling." (thanks Kevin)
It is a Bush Doctrine indeed: ""We chose 35 companies of international standard, according to their finances, environment and experience, and we granted them permission to extract oil," oil ministry spokesman Asim Jihad told AFP."raq will award contracts to 41 foreign oil firms in a bid to boost production that could give multinationals a potentially lucrative foothold in huge but underdeveloped oil fields, an official said on Sunday."
I was sad to learn that George Carlin has died. He was a very talented and thoughtful comedian. I saw him twice in concert. He had a routine in which he would say: Why are Palestinian commandos called terrorists, and Israeli terrorists called commandos? And I remember that the audience would look confused when he would say that. (thanks Julie)
"Two IDF soldiers from the Kfir Brigade were arrested last week following suspicions they had accepted bribes from Palestinians seeking to pass through West Bank roadblocks, Ynet has learned." (thanks Sellam)
Another Syrian worker dead in Lebanon. A cover up seems to have ensued. (thanks Ziad)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

One of the things that I really like about the American people is that they really are philanthropic: "Americans donated $306 billion to charities in 2007, as U.S. philanthropic giving rose to a record level despite a downturn in the national economy, a survey being released today has found." (And most charitable are the middle--not upper--classes).
Some Saudi dissidents who are opposed to the House of Saud and their rule ask me to refrain from referring to Saudi Arabia by its name. They suggest that I use Arabia instead. Not a bad idea.
The Jordanian government and Al-Arabiya are warning against the "dangers" of gays in Jordan (and they call them "sexual deviants".) (thanks Wassim)
"The Egyptian bureau of al-Hurra, an Arabic-language television network financed by the U.S. government, boasts a spectacular view of the Nile River and the capital's bustling streets. But inside, all is quiet. The bureau's satellite link was unplugged with little explanation a few weeks ago by a local company, making it impossible to broadcast live. Since then, staffers have had to use a studio controlled by the Egyptian secret police, who have warned guests not to say anything controversial on the air. Al-Hurra -- "the Free One" in Arabic -- is the centerpiece of a U.S. government campaign to spread democracy in the Middle East. Taxpayers have spent $350 million on the project. But more than four years after it began broadcasting, the station is widely regarded as a flop in the Arab world, where it has struggled to attract viewers and overcome skepticism about its mission."" But I like it when Bush supporters clash: ""He hired his friends -- this was the problem -- and they didn't have any experience," said Magdi Khalil, a former producer who clashed with Harb. "I told him, 'We need to improve the quality.' He said, 'No, no -- we need to fill the air.' He had no idea what being a news station means."" (thanks W.)
A good summary of the acute sectarian discourse of Sunni, Shi`ite, and Christian clerics in Lebanonesia.
The newly canonized Lebanese saint, Father Ya`qub Al-Kabbushi, was credited with the "miracle" of curing a woman from cancer--and notice here this Lebanese propensity to either "discover" cures for cancer or to fend off cancer through religious miracles/quackery. But if he was able to cure diseases, why is he also credited for founding a hospital? Why not cure them all with one stroke. Inquiring minds want to know. I want to know, damn it.
"In search of Red Rosa" by comrade Khalid.
For the second time in a week, Nicholas Kristof yells: Dahlan, O Dahlan. "the barriers and checkpoints have undermined Palestinian moderates." And on the Israeli occupation, Kristof said: "Yet it is also here that you see the very best side of Israel." Imagine if somebody writes about the French occupation of Algeria, or about the Apartheid system: that here, you see the best side of France or the best side of the White Minority Government. (And for readers outside of the U.S.: Kristof is considered very liberal by U.S. standards). (thanks Linda)
"Commentator Amir Rappaport, writing in Israel's Maariv daily, said it was likely the Pentagon leak was an attempt "to deter Iran and increase pressure on it to cooperate" with international nuclear watchdogs." Wow. Look at this. Now I know why U.S. media like to quote Israeli experts. I mean, are you aware how much brain power is required to come up with such brilliant insight? Who could arrive at such conclusion on his/her own? And do you notice that you can read lengthy articles in U.S. media about the prospects of Iranian nuclear capabilities without ONE WORD about the current Israeli nuclear arsenal?
I just heard a guest (a certain Yusri Husayn) on Al-Arabiya TV refer to "the democratically-elected [Hamid] Karzai government."
The British diplomat is there to "save" you. (thanks Ken)
"Over time, this means Americans are ever less exposed to contrary views. In a book called “Hearing the Other Side”, Diana Mutz of the University of Pennsylvania crunched survey data from 12 countries and found that Americans were the least likely of all to talk about politics with those who disagreed with them. Intriguingly, the more educated Americans become, the more insular they are."" (thanks Ali)
Yesterday, out of the blue I received a phone call from Lebanese actor, Ahmad Az-Zayn. Ahmad Az-Zayn did comedic roles with Shushu, and later had many TV and movie roles. I liked him most in the TV serials As-Sanawat Ad-Da'i`ah, which was brilliantly directed by Samir Nasri (the later movie critic for An-Nahar). He said some nice things to me about my articles in Al-Akhbar and asked me to watch his new series on NBN-TV. I did watch two episodes of the series: they are politically strong: about the neglect of the poor, and about the way Hariri family corrupted Lebanon and its press. But I feel that the series need more dramatic developments otherwise it would be too preachy.
Iyad `Allawi (former Iraqi puppet prime minister/car bomber/embezzler-in-Yemen/Saddam's henchman) spends his time between London and Beirut. Al-Afkar magazine is reporting that he is opposed to the U.S. security for occupation agreement. But `Allawi always sounds like an anti-American Ba`thist when he travels in the Middle East, until he is ordered by the Americans to go to Iraq to stand for puppet election.
U.S. occupation forces are holding 21,400 Iraqi prisoners in Baghdad and Basrah. But all prisoners are grateful that the U.S. "liberated" Iraq. Of course. (Notice that this Saudi mouthpiece of Prince Salman provides the sectarian breakdown of the prisoners (80% Sunnis).
"Eight Marines were charged in the case, but in the intervening years, criminal charges have been dismissed against six. A seventh Marine was acquitted. The residents of Haditha, after being told they could depend on U.S. justice, feel betrayed. "We put our hopes in the law and in the courts and one after another they are found innocent," said Yousef Aid Ahmed, the lone surviving brother in the family. "This is an organized crime."" (thanks May)
"IDF soldiers continue to abuse Palestinian detainees who have been handcuffed and pose no threat, from the time of their arrest until they are delivered to the interrogation facility." (thanks Laleh)
This is Zionism: ""The idea that Islam can be reformed is a fallacy," he scoffs. "It's like saying we can reform Nazism and it will be a wonderful party."?" Can you imagine the (justified) uproar if an Arabic newspaper printed something similar to this article on Judaism?
Lebanon is celebrating the canonization of a saint today. The dude lived in the 20th century and, yes, performed tons of miracles. This official poster on the occasion sums it all: it is kitsch, vulgar, ugly, tacky, sexist (look at the only woman in the picture: she is fetching a glass of water to Father Ya`qub and kneeling before him) and unimaginative. Pretty much what Lebanonese culture is all about.
Dahlan, o Dahlan: "The Palestinian Preventive Security forces are launching a campaign in the West Bank city of Bethlehem to crack down on unlicensed and sometimes bothersome street vendors."
"The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) released its semi-annual report Sunday, detailing evidence of abuse inflicted on Palestinian detainees while being taken into custody by Israeli soldiers. The report, dubbed "Unlawful in reality – soldiers' abuse of Palestinian detainees," unveils a series of cases in which Palestinians who were arrested and handcuffed were abused by IDF soldiers while being detained or transported to a holding facility, to the extent that some of them needed medical attention.""
"Israel's tiny community of Messianic Jews, a mixed group of 10,000 people who include the California-based Jews for Jesus, complains of threats, harassment and police indifference." (thanks Olivia)
This is quite hilarious. A CBS 60 Minutes "investigation" concludes that the lousy American propaganda channel, Al-Hurra, is "anti-Israel." But I really like that. Make sure that you change it in a more pro-Israeli direction and that will guarantee that its viewers will go from 6 people to 2. (thanks Ashraf)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

When Ethan Bronner discusses Arabic words in the New York Times: "Many use the Arabic word “tahadiya,”. The reason why Arabic gets so corrupted in U.S. newspapers is that the reporters, who almost to a person, don't know Arabic rely on Israeli Orientalists/officials, whose knowledge of Arabic is poor--at best. Take this word now: "tahadiya". Of course, it does not read or write Arabic, and it is close to a word "tahadiyyat" which means challenges. Bronner had in mind what he was told: but the word he wanted is "tahdi'ah", which means calming down. That of course reminds you of that African village whose residents took up obscene names to refer to themselves only to fool that visiting American anthropologist who did not know their language. (thanks Mick)
"The 2007 poll highlighted the extent to which Sunni Muslims in Lebanon have positive opinions of the United States (52% favorable, 47% unfavorable), although Lebanese Shia hold distinctly negative views (7% favorable, 92% unfavorable)." Yes, but this is deceptive in itself because Lebanese Sunnis largely sympathize with U.S. policies in Lebanon (which support the largest Sunni political forces, Hariri Inc), but they would express unfavorable views if the question made a distinction between U.S. policies in Lebanon versus U.S. policies in Palestine, for example.
"An Iraq war hero dramatically tried to flee court after he was convicted of the "savage, merciless, and pointless" murder of a Bangladeshi waiter 14 years ago." (thanks Badis)
Lebanon is now popping out saints at the rate of one a month. Would you not want to join the Vatican (scientific, I am sure) committee that investigates the miracles?
Loyalty to cash payments: "Selon la radio, M. Chirac aurait décider de boycotter les cérémonies en raison de la présence éventuelle du président syrien Bachar al-Assad, invité par le président Nicolas Sarkozy." I really believe that Chirac was motivated to make up with the Bush administration after the invasion of Iraq partly out of fear of damaging revelations regarding his corrupt relations with Saddam Husayn. Saddam's chief of protocols wrote in his memoirs that Chirac's wife would get overwhelmed when a plane load of gifts would arrive to Paris, courtesy of Saddam. (thanks Laurie)
For hard hitting journalism, I turn to Hassan Fattah's newspaper (on behalf of Dubai's ruling dynasty): "UAE education well placed to develop knowledge economy."
"The Dubai Police yesterday said its personnel have arrested several men and women for cross-gender dressing and harassment. Those arrested have been referred to the Dubai Public Prosecution, said Major-General Khamis Mattar Al Mazina, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police. Addressing a Press conference to announce a one-week public awareness campaign called ‘Preserve our social values’ being held in collaboration with the Juvenile Association, Al Mazina said the campaign was to preserve social values, specifically to combat the growing phenomenon of cross-gender dressing by both men and women."" (thanks Samer)
So according to a new public opinion survey in Lebanon, the number one Lebanese leader (ranked by respondents) is...NOBODY (27.1 %), followed by Hasan Nasrallah (12%), then Michel `Awn (11.3%), then Sa`d Hariri (9.7%), then Nabih Birri (10.2 %), then Michel Sulayman (9.4%). Samir Ja`ja` (Ga`ga` in Egyptian accent) received 3.2% while Walid Jumblat received 2.9%.
"A student from the Od Yosef Hai Yeshiva built a crude rocket and fired it from a nearby hill at a Palestinian village in the West Bank, security officials said Friday. No one was wounded." I would not be surprised if the student is offered a chair in Middle East studies at a U.S. university very soon.
Nicholas Kristof comes out with this theory: that Muhammad Dahlan and his gang are "are the best hope of both Israel and the Arab world."
"The number of girls born and surviving in India has hit an all time low compared to boys, ActionAid says." (thanks Yogita)
"Hundreds of Jerusalem Christians are losing residency rights in their city due to the policies of the Israeli Ministry of Interior. The policy that aims to reduce the number of non-Jews in the city takes its toll on families and individuals who hold residency permits in foreign countries. No matter how long they travel abroad, no matter if they were born in Jerusalem before or after Israel occupied East Jerusalem, they are considered visitors in their own city." (thanks Olivia)
"The UN children's fund UNICEF has severed ties with an Israeli billionaire and financial backer due to his suspected involvement in building settlements in the West Bank, UNICEF said on Friday."
Did you see the last episode of Gizelle Khuri's Bil `Arabi on Al-Arabiya TV? Did you see how she kept pressing her guests about the plight of Israeli occupation soldier, Shalit? Conspiracy? What conspiracy?
On state oppression in Morocco: kidnappings, beatings and...silence in the Western media. (thanks Istifan)
When Kanan Makiy tries to sound deep: "A book’s beauty comes from personal opinion." Let me add this to his aphorisms: A potato's beauty comes from hurricanes.

Friday, June 20, 2008

My article in Al-Akhbar: "Zionist Phoenicianism: Honoring Bishop Ignatius Mubarak."
I will never again say that people of the Middle East have no confidence in Bush. Look NOW.
From the U.S. Archives: "Arabic anti-Communist Pamphlet Program". (Note the help of "prominent" religious leaders).
Al-Arabiya TV and even Al-Jazeera folks have become so chummy (this is the second time I use the word chummy in a month--and I never used it before, so please take note) with Israeli guests that I expect Al-Arabiya anchorpersons to start asking their Israeli guests to sit on their laps.
Did you see that? The Arab American anti-Discrimination (but only against Arab royal families) Committee, known as ADC, saluted Obama for removing scarved Muslim women from his background. They urged him to further humiliate Muslims and Arabs but to show utmost respect for for Arab ruling dynasties.
"Israeli soldiers and settlers have killed dozens of Palestinians all over the West Bank and injured hundreds of others, including many civilians in their homes, or taking part in peaceful demonstrations against the ongoing destruction and seizure of their land. According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, up to mid-June, Israeli occupation forces had carried out over 827 military incursions into West Bank communities (an average of five per day) and had kidnapped or arrested 1,334 civilians since the start of the year. In addition to land confiscation and settlement construction, the Israeli army ransacked, destroyed or closed dozens of non-governmental organizations, radio stations, bakeries and other civic institutions and demolished many homes in the West Bank." (thanks Electronic Ali)
"The American delegate who is a senior advisor for Rice started the session with a long demo of how good the US is to women all over the world, conspicuously ignoring the middle East and North Africa region (MENA) which was the main focus of the meeting. Once she finished, most Arab delegates spoke (there were about 12 of us ) and we all pointed out that foreign occupation is the most critical problem that breeds poverty, humiliation and disease for women, and that putting an end to foreign occupation is the most valuable assistance that we can give to women all over the world." Yes, but please give me a break, Ms. Sha`ban. Saudi women suffer a lot and it is not from foreign occupation.
Al-Arabiyya has been promoting the organization Jund Al-Lah and its claims of responsibility for attacks against the Iranian regime in Balushistan; it must be Saudi-financed. And its spokesperson, `Abd-ur-Ra'uf, spoke to the station "exclusively". He spoke in language reminiscent of Zarqawi language. Conspiracy? What conspiracy? (Having said that: Iranian regime oppression of minorities and dissidents is very real, of course. A recent traveler to Iran from U.S. was astonished to find so many websites (political and others) banned by the clerical regime.)
I thought you needed three miracles? If that is the case, I am a candidate: I have two miracles under my belt already. "The next step, beatification, requires evidence of one miracle (except in the case of martyrs)."
"A Republican congressman is pressing the State Department to screen three Palestinian Arab recipients of Fulbright grants to determine their links to terrorism after learning of their affiliation with a Hamas-sponsored university." (thanks Amer)
I should have a regular item titled "Poor Israel." This is the first in a series: ""They have been conducting some large scale exercises — they live in a tough neighborhood," one U.S. official said." As if the neighborhood has any resident more thuggish and violent than Israel itself.
"koffee-yehs" (thanks Amel)
Flash. EU threatens Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, UAE, Bahrain, and Tunisia with sanctions for their oppression.
" Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Thursday said the U.S. government played no role in securing the deals. She called the impending contracts a sign that security gains are attracting foreign investment in Iraq."
"Israel is reportedly attempting to block a $400 million arms deal between the United States and Lebanon that would reportedly include hundreds of anti-tank missiles."
This is Zionism: "Jerusalem officials to High Court: Gay parade desecrates holy city." But my favorite is this: "In a joint letter to the High Court, Mayor Uri Lupolianski and city manager Yair Ma'ayan wrote: "Past experience shows that the parade greatly offends, deliberately and unnecessarily, the feelings of Jews, Muslims and Christians, who view its sheer existence, and the blatant manner in which it takes place, as a desecration of the holy city and of the values with which they were raised."" Oh, yeah: the Israeli state has a long record of sensitivity to Muslims and Christians. Oh, yeah.
"The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) puts the number of Iraqi refugees in Lebanon at 50,000 people, of whom only 8,476 are registered. Another 500 are being held in prison, it says, merely for violating immigration rules. " (thanks Olivia)
Dahlan, o Dahlan: "In its own interests, Israel should lift the siege of Gaza." He basically is saying: To hell with the Palestinians. But it is nice to know that the Washington Times is hospitable to Dahlanists.
"Bob Baer, who claimed he met with Hizbullah leaders in Beirut last month, was quoted by ABC as saying. "They cannot have an operation fail and I don't think they will. They're the A-team of terrorism."" Is Baer plagiarizing from Richard Armitage? (thanks Asa)
I am not making this up. Another Lebanese "discovers" a cure for cancer. (For those who are new to this site, please note that Lebanese "discover" cures for cancer at a weekly rate). (thanks Ziyad)
"My husband likes to play PlaySation III all the time, but for Israel and the Israelis, he would do anything and everything."
Conspiracy? What conspiracy? "A group of Orthodox high school graduates from the Diaspora grappled with these thorny questions and a myriad of others during a four-day seminar this week in Jerusalem." Don't you like how propaganda training sessions are called "seminars"? (thanks May)
"An African man was shot dead by Egyptian police while attempting to cross across the border into Israel, security sources said on Thursday." (thanks Laleh)
Michael Slackman of the New York Times overdoes it here: way overdoes it. I mean he admits toward the end that: " That Mr. Issa is a Christian is evidence that the use of inshallah is not just a phenomenon of Egypt’s Muslims." And of all the stories in Egypt (strikes, hunger, oppression, religious fanaticism and book burning at Al-Azhar), he could not find a more worthy story? I mean, I don't like religious lingo, and it irritates me how many times people here say "Bless you" for every damn sneeze. Would the New York Times devote a whole article to that? Also, there are new words that have made themselves into colloquial Egyptian that are not religious: like ladhiz (comparable to "cool" in English) but do they warrant an article? Also, why do Western reporters love to talk to Ali (not Aly) Salim? I mean, for his literary contributions? The man is known for writing a script for a silly and stupid play in the 1970s that can compare to the Police Academy movies in the 1980s. Certainly, it is not his literary contributions but his support (in English only, in Arabic he still says anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic things) for normalization with Israel when he speaks at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy). Also, there are Muslims who say "Insha'allah" when drinking or gambling: so the word pretty much lost its religious connotation. Did you just sneeze, Mr. Slackman? Because of you have, I have a bevy of Americans who want to tell you: BLESS YOU.
Israeli propagandists can leak anything to the New York Times and they will guarantee to put it on the front page. It must be nice.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Lessons on Lebanese history by comrade Rami.
"Mahfouz wrote in a classical Arabic, which is comparable to Shakespearean English and doesn’t lend itself easily to translation..." What do I do with those in the West who write about Arab culture and language and who don't know what they are talking about? In fact, Mahfouz wrote in a language close to newspapers' Arabic.
A call for the Arab religious establishments to end their burning of books and censoring of thought.
"A police official said the department received "a flood of calls reporting a suspicious object. Army units sealed off the area as a sapper opened the bag and found feminine underwear."" (thanks Sophie)
"Egyptian sources said they had recently received tunnel-detection devices from the US that would help them battle the smuggling, and that Egyptian personnel were receiving military instruction in California to help them to battle the smugglers. Israel continues to reject Cairo's request to be allowed to exceed limits set in the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty and raise the number of its troops along the Philadelphi Corridor from 750 to 3,000. While the Egyptians say they need more men to do a better job stopping the smuggling, Israel says Cairo is not using the manpower at its disposal effectively." (thanks Electronic Ali)
An-Nahar salutes the "courage" of Jeffrey Feltman. (thanks Haytham)
"When he speaks publicly, Lt. Cmdr. William C. Kuebler, a military lawyer for a Guantánamo detainee, is careful to say his remarks do not reflect the views of the Pentagon. As if anybody would make that mistake. In his Navy blues, the youthful commander could pass for an eager cadet. But give him a minute on the subject of his client, a terrorism suspect named Omar Khadr, and he sounds like some 1960s radical lawyer, an apple-cheeked William Kunstler in uniform. The Bush administration’s war crimes system “is designed to get criminal convictions” with “no real evidence,” Commander Kuebler says. Or he lets fly that military prosecutors “launder evidence derived from torture.”""
Al-Arabiya TV started the newscast today by reporting on the "horror" and "terror" that residents of Israeli towns suffered from Hamas bombing. It almost added that constant Israeli bombings of Gaza was intended as a joke.
"Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq, 36 years after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power. Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company — along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq’s Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq’s largest fields, according to ministry officials, oil company officials and an American diplomat. The deals, expected to be announced on June 30, will lay the foundation for the first commercial work for the major companies in Iraq since the American invasion, and open a new and potentially lucrative country for their operations. The no-bid contracts are unusual for the industry, and the offers prevailed over others by more than 40 companies, including companies in Russia, China and India. The contracts, which would run for one to two years and are relatively small by industry standards, would nonetheless give the companies an advantage in bidding on future contracts in a country that many experts consider to be the best hope for a large-scale increase in oil production. There was suspicion among many in the Arab world and among parts of the American public that the United States had gone to war in Iraq precisely to secure the oil wealth these contracts seek to extract. The Bush administration has said that the war was necessary to combat terrorism. It is not clear what role the United States played in awarding the contracts; there are still American advisers to Iraq’s Oil Ministry."" (thanks Ali)
MSNBC kept repeating yesterday that a rainbow appeared mysteriously (and miraculously) over Washington, DC just after the service for Tim Russert. They implied that their God was involved somehow. I am sure that their God, taking time from his busy schedule of judging peoples and casting them to his Rotisserie-of-humans hell, watches American cable news all the time.
"The Army general who led the investigation into prisoner abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison accused the Bush administration Wednesday of committing "war crimes" and called for those responsible to be held to account." (thanks Olivia)
Zarqawi's successor in sectarian agitation is ally of the U.S. in Lebanon: Shaykh Muhammad `Ali Al-Juzu Unplugged. (thanks Kifah)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"Satloff is welcome to disagree with the analysis, but manufacturing a quote to make one's point has no place in a reasoned and scholarly discussion."
To Arab and Muslim supporters of Obama: he does not want your support. He has made that clear. Please leave him alone.
U.S. and Shi`ite Politics in Lebanon. So you all must have heard about this incident with the U.S. embassy delegation in South Lebanon. Several remarks: notice that all Western news accounts referred to the protesters as "Hizbullah supporters". How did they know that? Did they interview them one-by-one? I saw the footage on Lebanese media and none referred to them as "Hizbullah supporters". The purpose behind the identification of the crowd as "Hizbullah supporters" is: 1) to delegitimize the protesters in Western eyes; 2) to pretend that protest against U.S. policies is confined to Hamas and Hizbullah in the Middle East region; 3) and to promote a distinction between the people of South Lebanon and Hizbullah when public opinion surveys and elections indicate that Amal-Hizbullah (and Amal is the very junior partner here) command the support of at least 95% of Shi`ites in Lebanon--whether you like it or not. The other thing that got my attention was this: U.S. efforts at promoting and cultivating Shi`ites alternatives to Hizbullah are rather comical. This is like the hosting of Ahmad Al-As`ad (representative of what remained of Al-As`ad feudal family, and who 25 years ago complained to me that his father (former speaker, Kamil Al-As`ad) spoiled his education because he never would make up his mind whether his son would become a "za`im" or not--the father and son are now on non-speaking terms) by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (which holds views to the right of Meir Kahane). But what was amusing is that Ms. Sison was visiting this `Abdullah Bitar (who belongs to Ahmad Al-As`ad's group which has a support among Shi`ites equals to much less than the margin of error of every poll on the subject), who after the flight of the delegation from his house earlier today made a statement to the LBC-TV. He said that he only meets with the Americans to pressure them to pressure "the Israeli enemy." It was not reported whether he chanted to the crowd that song by Sha`ban `Abdur-Rahim titled "I hate Israel." You read this story and learn of the brilliance of U.S. Middle East policy what you knew not before.
"For the most extensive medical study of former US detainees published so far, Physicians for Human Rights had doctors and mental health professionals examine 11 former prisoners. The group alleges finding evidence of US torture and war crimes and accuses US military health professionals of allowing the abuse of detainees, denying them medical care and providing confidential medical information to interrogators that they then exploited."