Wednesday, June 30, 2004

I cannot believe how displeased some of you were regarding my comment about conspiracy theories. I was just talking about that to an audience in the Shi`ite southern suburbs of Beirut last night. There are conspiracies in the world, we just have to be careful to not peddle a conspiracy unless it is substantiated and can stand to the scrutiny of logic, facts, and reason. That is all. Have not seen Moore's movie yet, and will see upon return. Piracy can let me see it here, but would rather see it in a big airconditioned theatre in US. I was referring to his last book, and his references to Bush-Bin Laden connection. That was all. I read the text of the last speech of Iraqi puppet Prime Minister/Car Bomber Iyad Allawi. His speeches really sounds like Ba`thist speeches from the 1970s. Now if the US insisted that car bombing be a requirement and part of the job description for the puppet prime minister of Iraq, could US not find another "qualified" car bomber besides former Saddam's henchman Allawi? He was comparing his enemies to the enemies of Muhammad in early Islam, and this demagogue could ot resist but call the Wahhabi terrorists "zanadiqah," which is a word used in classical Islamic period to refer to free thinkers and atheists? Why that terminology, and who writes his speeches? I have discerned this: when you talk about Iraq, you hear (in general and I am gernalizing) different perceptions among Sunni and Shi`ite Arabs. Sunni Arabs (Arab nationalists in particular) tend to be enthusiastic about "resistance" in Iraq no matter what, and no matter who is using whatever methods. Among Shi`ites: there is more caution, and more fear for the future of Iraq, and for the impact of Wahhabi fanatical terrorists. Certainly there is no love for US occupation, but there is no love for Ba`thists or Wahhabis either. When in Beirut, you run into dissidents from different Arab countries. Just this morning, I ran into two major courageous dissidents from Jordan and Bahrain. I will not name them for fear for their safety, but salute them both. If I were to rank sexist cities around the world, I may select Beirut as the most sexist city worldwide. Best tiramissu in Lebanon is at the El Mondo restaurent at the Pheonicia Hotel. Best hummus is at AlBakawat restaurent, and best food in general is at AlAjami restaurent. AnNahar newspaper had two articles about a new kooky Bin Ladenite group called Jund Ash-Sham (Soldiers of Syria). Apparently they admire Bin Laden and consider all Shi`ites to be infidels. AnNahar sensationalized the article about the group. But I asked people who should know and was told that they number in the tens, no more. There are kooks everywhere, except in Micrnesia, for some reason. Swam at the Reviera beach and the water was filthy and stinky, but enjoyed the experience nevertheless. Best beaches in Lebanon are in Tyre, and I am not saying that because I hail from that city. The clerical book burners of Al-Izhar Islamic University are at it again, and again, and again: now they are launching a campaign to ban a book that merely called for the reform of the Arabic language; it is titled: Long Live Arabic Language, and Down with Sibawayh (a major Arabic Linguist from the classical period).

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Most Arabic newspapers I saw today mocked the "transfer of authority." Only the pro-Saudi/pro-US newspaper AlHayat had the headline "Iraq turn over the page of occupation." The New TV evening newscast yesterday led with "Bremer fled Iraq." Cartoonists are having a field day with the "transfer of authority." The cab driver who dropped me off here subjected me to his theories of world affairs. He believes that the prime minister of Lebanon is an active member of a masonic conspiracy. ANNahar newspaper reported that Chalabi has relocated to Kurdistan, fearing for his life, although he was in Baghdad yesterday (does anybody have the picture of carbomber Allawi embracing international embezzler Chalabi?) Thanks for those who forwarded to me Nayif's interview with Le Figaro and Wolfowitz statement. I shall post when I have time. Will be giving my last talk here in Tyre on Thursday. Was asked to write a review of Moore's film upon return. Leftist media have two major flaws: 1) humorlosness; 2) inclinations toward conspiracy theories. Moore is guilty only of 2.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Affecting Iraqi Shi`ite attitudes to occupation, or to how to deal with and oppose occupation, are two major factors: 1) real fear of Saddam's return as long as he is alive (this explains Shi'ite insistence on an immediate trial, and presumably execution of Saddam); 2) real fear of the havoc and agenda of Wahhabi fanatics who were brought into Iraq by "Bush."
I have much to say but little time. Can somebody find me the link for Wolfowitz's talk before congress from last week? and Prince Nayif's interview with Le Figaro? What a mess and a sad joke in Iraq. Even the "transfer" of authority was out of control of US. US feared an explosion of explosions in Iraq on that day, a "carnival of blood" as Lebanese editor Talal Salman wrote today (and he is opposed to Wahhabi terrorism and to US occupation). Are we supposed to celebrate that a car bomber and former Saddam's assassin is appointed as puppet prime minister? Aside from car bombers, who will greet such bloody appointment? An Iraqi university professor (who is about to establish a political party there) recognized me yesterday in the hotel lobby, and said nice things about my utterances on Iraq. We agreed on meeting this week before my departure to London on Sunday. Will report to you my findings.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

U.N. Investigators Appeal to U.S.: Human Rights Workers Seeking Access to Detention Centers (a.k.a. Houses of Freedom)
The Best Goebbels of All?
U.S. Edicts Curb Power Of Iraq's Puppet Leadership
Iraqi puppet Prime Minister/Car Bomber offers amnesty for insurgents and car bombers (like himself). He, in fact, promises to treat car bombers as a respected group, very much like a religious or ethnic group within Iraq. Allawi offers special seats in puppet cabinets and puppet parliaments for car bombers. Car bombers will also receive salaries from the state. He will transform his puppet political grouping into a carbombers' political party to be named Iraqi Car-Bombers Political Party. And you still doubt that Bush liberated Iraq?
Right Man's Burden

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Finally, this is the final cover and, yet again, the final title and subtitle of my Saudi Arabia book. It will be out in a matter of...days now.
Palestine does not have crude oil; but it has olive oil. (thanks Nadya)
Hidden costs of pipeline meant to safeguard West's oil supply

Friday, June 25, 2004

Cultural sensitivity: US Army Told Not to Use Israeli Bullets in Iraq
Aid workers accuse the Khartoum government of blocking food supplies to complete a campaign of ethnic cleansing
Costs of "Liberation": In a Chaotic New Iraq, A Young Widow Turns to Prostitution (thanks Maryam)

Thursday, June 24, 2004

As I have often stated: Bin Laden has no fans in those lands. Saudi Arabia and its youth maybe the only exception from what I hear. Once again, I looked carefully into the graffiti on the walls (where my past contributions from my high-school days can still be discerned in some neighborhoods) and found only one reference to Bin Laden. It simply says: "Bin Laden," in the Zqaq Al-Bilat neighborhood. I spoke to a formal group of Palestinian intellectuals on Tuesday. I was introduced by Anis Sayigh. He is the founder of the Palestinian Research Center in the early 1970s. You know what I Israel did in response to his founding of the Center? They mailed him a letter bomb in the 1970s that blew up in his face. He can barely see now. He was the first Arab intellectual to start a center for the scientific and methodical study of Israel and Zionism. After the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, Israeli troops stole the entire contents of the center and copied them. Another person in the audience whom I admire a great deal is Shafiq Al-Hut. A former member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and a former head of the PLO office in Lebanon. He also had a long journalist career. Al-Hut also survived Israeli assassination attempts on his life although he never was a fighter or a military man. He never even joined a Palestinian organization to maintain his independence. The person who moderated the Q & A session was another great human being. Very few of your would know who he is. Abu Maher Al-Yamani is a former labor leader in Haifa before the State of Israel was established over Palestine, and he hater became a leader and founder of both the Movement of Arab Nationalists and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. He has been known for his honesty, integrity, modesty, and revolutionary purity. He has retired from politics and is now in his late 70s. He told me that he finished his memoirs in 7 volumes, but has requested that vols 5 and 6 not be published until after his death. Next week I shall speak at Tyre, which many people agree has the best beach in Lebanon. It was in Tyre where I learned how to swim as a child. I watched today part of the event honoring Shaykh Muhammad Bin Rashid (the heir of the ruler of UAE) and the Ruler of Dubai. The speeches in his honor left me experiencing both nothingness and nausea, to borrow the titles of two books by Sartre. In Lebanon, they (not all of course) act both subservient towards rich Gulf Arabs, and yet harbor racist attitudes toward all Gulf Arabs, not to mention racism toward poor Syrian workers in Lebanon. And why should poor Syrian workers in Lebanon be blamed for what people do not like about the Syrian government? I wish I can speak more about the status of maids in Lebanon, and their exploitation. I met a few Americans doing research in Lebanon, and all have reported the people are friendly toward them. Although one American colleague reported to me that people were hostile to her last time she visited Jordan. The tape that was aired yesterday by the new "Tawhid" group in Iraq and that was attributed to Zarqawi struck me as not sounding like the previous Zarqawi voice that we had heard in previous tapes. The tawhid name by the way is very common among Wahhabi groups. I can report utter revulsion here by people toward the gruesome beheading and butchering by the Wahhabi kooks, and utter opposition to US occupation as well. There is a sign just across my hotel calling for the boycott of US products in Lebanon. The leader of the effort is an American living in Lebanon who is finishing her dissertation in Anthropology at Princeton (hi Kirsten). A woman called during a break in my TV interview yesterday on LBC. She said that she urgently needs to talk to me, and wanted my phone number. I obviously refused to give her my phone number, and asked that she leaves hers. I called her back to find out that she wanted advise about career choices for her son. There is a Saudi man whom I met here at one cafe when he introduced himself to me, and who showered me with praise and said that he would always praise me even if that would get him in trouble with his government. The problem is that I now always run into him--every single day, and he is always very very very very drunk, and insists on inviting me to the Saudi traditional meal of Kabsah. I have to reiterate that I do not eat meat. My mother had bet me that I would find better tiramisu in Lebanon than in the US. Of course, I have not. Tiramissu of mono prix is not bad however. Tobacco and shishah smoke is all around you in Beirut, and my hair seems to absorb the entire smoke pollution of Beirut. Do you know that Lebanon (add this to Lebanon's claims to fake fame) has the highest consumption of Cuban cigars in the world? Oh, and upper class Lebanese men and women talk on the cellphone for the entire duration of their workout, I found out. It helps that they leisurely and very slowly walk on the treadmill. The best quality mangos are from the Ivory Coast. Sudanese mangos are second.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Mind matters (thanks Brenda)
THIS IS ZIONISM: Poll: 64% of Israeli Jews support encouraging Arabs to leave (thanks Zeina)
Israeli Soldiers Steal the Flowers of Nablus for Prison (thanks Zeina)
Saddam's laws will be enforced by US troops: "Wolfowitz said it is possible that U.S. troops could be used to enforce Iraqi martial law after the partial transfer of power a week from now."
Full text. Bush Administration Documents on
"New figures released yesterday by the Bush administration show dramatically higher terrorism casualties last year than the State Department documented in an April report that U.S. officials heralded as evidence of great progress in the battle against terrorism."
Forgotten Victims: Gypsies win right to sue IBM over role in Holocaust
Inside America's secret Afghan gulag
ABC of "liberation": Afghan detainees routinely tortured and humiliated by US troops
This is from a message from my friend Tara: "...She had just received an e-mail from her sister living in Jerusalem. Land is being confiscated from her sister to build the Wall. The confiscation will take the entirety of her sister?s backyard. In addition, land is being confiscated from her father?s property, land that her brother is now inhabiting in the hopes of being able to keep it, from the Wall. Her father died several years ago. For the family, however, this confiscation is like a loosing him all over again. In spite of owning her own home, N's sister recently rented a house in Jerusalem across the street from her mother so that the Wall would not separate the family. It has now been announced that the Wall will run down the middle of the street, once again separating mother and daughter. In her e-mail, she insists that N, as an American citizen, can appeal to the US government to make the Israel stop. If only her sister understood the reality here."
Whither India?

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Many people here have asked me for my opinion of Lyndon LaRouche. Apparently, it is not known here that he is a kook. By mentioning that he is a "former Democratic candidate for president of the US" people and governments in the Middle East take him seriously. He was even invited by the UAE government (which had invited white supremacist David Duke before) for series of "lectures." I know that he had (allegedly) connections with the Iraqi government of Saddam in the past and his publication (I think that it is called Executive Intelligence) is widely read in government and media circles.
Asian Maids Often Find Abuse, Not Riches, Abroad
Theft by Empire: UN slams US over spending Iraq funds
Rumsfeld's Power Grab
Toiling in India's ship graveyard for £1 a day
Full text. Oxfam Report: Arms exporters 'ignoring promises about poverty'
This dude is a champion of American hegemony

Monday, June 21, 2004

UK Ministry of Defence accused of 'buying silence of families' over civilian deaths
Some 9/11 Commission Staffers 'Flat Out Didn't Believe' Cheney Called Bush to Get His Sign Off On Shoot-Down Order of U.S. Airliners (Do you believe it?)
Israelis 'using Kurds to build power base'
Mossad in Kurdistan. Also in this article information on Iraqi puppet prime minister Iyad Allawi: "Early this year, one of Allawi’s former medical-school classmates, Dr. Haifa al-Azawi, published an essay in an Arabic newspaper in London raising questions about his character and his medical bona fides. She depicted Allawi as a “big husky man . . . who carried a gun on his belt and frequently brandished it, terrorizing the medical students.” Allawi’s medical degree, she wrote, “was conferred upon him by the Baath party.” Allawi moved to London in 1971, ostensibly to continue his medical education; there he was in charge of the European operations of the Baath Party organization and the local activities of the Mukhabarat, its intelligence agency, until 1975. “If you’re asking me if Allawi has blood on his hands from his days in London, the answer is yes, he does,” Vincent Cannistraro, the former C.I.A. officer, said. “He was a paid Mukhabarat agent for the Iraqis, and he was involved in dirty stuff.” A cabinet-level Middle East diplomat, who was rankled by the U.S. indifference to Allawi’s personal history, told me early this month that Allawi was involved with a Mukhabarat “hit team” that sought out and killed Baath Party dissenters throughout Europe. (Allawi’s office did not respond to a request for comment.)"
They are mad that UK does not have an empire anymore: UK troops accused of mutilating Iraqi bodies
Details of "Liberation": "One plaintiff, identified only as Neisef, claims that after he was taken from his home on the outskirts of Baghdad last November and sent to Abu Ghraib, Americans made him disrobe and attached electrical wires to his genitals. He claims he was shocked three times. Although a vein in his penis ruptured and he had blood in his urine, he says, he was refused medical attention. In another session, Neisef claims, he was held down by two men while a uniformed woman forced him to have sex with her. "I was crying," said Neisef, 28. "I felt like my whole manhood was gone." The class action also claims that detainees were raped in prison."

Sunday, June 20, 2004

I was having dinner at 10:00PM last Friday night. This little boy came around the tables at the restaurant in downtown Beirut selling perfume. I asked him about his age. Eight-years old, he said. My friend and I asked him if he goes to school. He said that he does, while working at night. I was quite distressed. Child labor is a big problem here, and you run into beggars who are 6 or 7 years old. You see, the billionaire Prime Minister of Lebanon, Rafiq Hariri (a tool of the House of Saud) has "reconstructed" Lebanon as a place where rich Arabs from Gulf countries can come and "have fun." The entire economy is based on that. He also lowered taxes on the rich and on tariffs, to open Lebanese markets for US and western products. The local industry is hampered, while his rich merchant friends made millions. He has an agenda that is fundamentally hostile to poor people. He needs to leave his many palaces and visit poor neighborhoods, in the southern suburbs, Akkar, and South Lebanon. He has no clue, and he buys people, especially during election times. In the last municipal election in Sidon, he chartered jets to bring workers from his companies in Saudi Arabia and Qatar to vote for his candidates. I heard this from relatives of people who came in Sidon. The people of Sidon (his birthplace) rejected him, and the opposition list won handedly. I was quite happy, and saluted the people of Sidon for their courage when I spoke there. Lebanon is abuzz with the rumors that King Fahd of Saudi Arabia may be spending the summer in Lebanon (in Brummana to be exact). A businessman here told me that the entire business sector is eager and hopeful. Do you know how much Fahd and his entourage spend in one day when they go to his palace in Spain for example? Do you know how many planes they charter? An entire complex (the Mu`awwad complex is booked, just in case, as are many hotels and furnished apartments). I doubt that he will come to Lebanon. His brothers may worry about his safety or about the political ramifications. Hariri also has been callous in disregarding the humanitaran situation of the Palestinian population in Lebanon. The people in Burj Al-Barajnah camp showed me the edge of the camp: you know how you can identify it? By the Asphalt that begins just outside the boundaries of the camp. The misery of the Palestinian population in Lebanon is something that is not talked about, and Arafat (who may be busy sending his millions to Suha Arafat) is totally oblivious. A Palestinian in Lebanon who owns property (unlike people of other nationalities) can NOT even pass on that property to her/his children. They are LEGALLY excluded from the laws pertaining to ownership of land in Lebanon. A Canadian citizen who may have Israeli citizenship may own property in Lebanon, but NOT a Palestinian who has lived here since 1948. They are LEGALLY excluded from a whole category of jobs (some 70 odd jobs) by the Ministry of Labor. I have brought up the issue here with offcials, only to be told that nothing can be done about it. I know Palestinians here who suppress their accents for fear of discrimination. This is the double tragedy of Palestinians. You should read Fawaz Turki's old book The Disinherited. It tells a story of a Palestinian refugee. But of this I am certain: Palestinians will NOT rest until they recover their homeland.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

For those who care, I shall appear live from Adma (Lebanon) on LBC-TV's Naharkum Sa`id program next Wednesday.
For those who care: I have just taped a one-hour interview with Al-`Alam TV. It will air next Wednesday.
Yesterday, I was at the Burj Al-Barajnah Refugee Camp. It is now important for me to speak at one refugee camp during every visit to Lebanon. It is a world away from the ostentation and flashiness of downtown Beirut. The setup (my sister's idea) was original: it was in a small street (a little alley really) inside the camp. The audience ranged in age from youngsters to people in their 80s. It always makes me sad to meet old Palestinians because I know that they know that they may never see their homeland again. One old man came to me and said that he worked on the estate of my uncle (after whom I was named) in Tyre. He said that I was nothing like him, which he meant as a compliment. (My uncle died from alcohol abuse). I spoke on the US strategic stance in the Middle East. The people in the audience (and in the camp) belonged to many Palestinian factions: PFLP, DFLP, Fath, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, etc.). I was not happy that the seated audience was entirely male, although there were females listening and watching from..balconies of their apartments. I saw two pictures of Saddam on the wall next to me. That did not please me, and I made sure to go on about what I think about Saddam and his horrific record, and his exploitation of the Palestinian problem for his own ends. Interestingly, there was a nice Lebanese student from S.F. who videotaped the whole thing. After my talk, a person in the audience protested that I made fun of the Taliban. He said that the Taliban were "an exemplary Islamic model" for Muslims. He was the first Taliban fan I ever met. I replied to that, of course, and said that I do not meet admirers of the Taliban, and listed their records of abuse and oppression. The audience, typical of Palestinian of all ages, were very interested in world affair and political analysis. Kids were running around while I was talking. That was funny. It was hot too. Now I read some of the comments in reaction to my criticisms of Tariq Ali. I stand by my criticisms of him. He does not know what he is talking about when he speaks about Iraq. I also did not know that there are fans of car bombs among visitors to this site. Attacks on civilians can NOT, and should NOT, be supported in my dictionary. And I did not learn about the Wahhabi fanatics from Newsweek magazine. I learned about that here in Lebanon from people who should know, including from Hasan Nasrallah. I do not understand why one cannot support the right of people to oppose and fight occupation, without having to support the kooks of Wahhabi groups who specialize in attacks on civilians and in horrific beheading. That is not my idea of "resistance," nor was it the idea of Che or Jiab or George Habash (the real one, not the one using his name here). The Wahhabi fanatics have an agenda that does not overlap with mine, and should not overlap with anybody's who cares about justice and liberty. This should not affect one's firm rejection of US occupation of Iraq, of course.
Full Report: Ending Secret Detentions
U.S. has secret jails, report says: Abuse of terror suspects called `inevitable'
82 Million in U.S. Lacked Health Insurance -Study
The Logic of Torture (thanks Ben)
Weapons that can incapacitate crowds of people by sweeping a lightning-like beam of electricity across them are being readied for sale to military and police forces in the US and Europe.
Saudi women call for rights during 3-day forum
An Army intelligence officer claims the abuses at Abu Ghraib took place after interrogators came under pressure from Bush administration officials.
How courageous? Annan does not believe that the US should be allowed to engage in war crimes.
Bush told he is playing into Bin Laden's hands. "Who is Bin Laden?," he asks.

Friday, June 18, 2004

US gets close to Taliban point point man.
Free Iraq: Martial law threatened for Iraq
Poll Shows Iraqis Would Feel Safer Without Occupiers
'A second Chechnya'
I am really mad at Tariq Ali. His romanticization of and praise for the "Iraqi resistance" bothers me. We leftists should be the first to oppose the Wahhabi fanatics who ARE VERY ACTIVE in Iraq, I now know for sure. This is not to dismiss all Iraqi groups opposed to the occupation of course, or to diminish one's opposition to US occupation. But the likes of Tariq Ali, and some Arab nationalists here, are making a huge mistake by the blanket adoption of the Iraqi "resistance" and its tactics. People who send car bombs (whether they are Wahhabi fanatics or puppet prime minister Allawi) should be condemned without reservation. A Lebanese Shi`ite was beheaded in Iraq last week, and I am told that this was in response to Hizbullah's statement against the gruesome beheading of the American citizen in Iraq last month. In other news, Saddam's rhetoric is back, it seems. The new Iraqi puppet defense minister issued a statement yesterday in which he threatened to "cut off their hands, and their heads." Is this the new Iraq promised by Bush? In the West, we often reduce politics in the Middle East to fundamentalism. Not true. Next week, I am speaking to a group of Marxist Arab revolutionaries in the southern suburbs of Beirut, which is a stronghold of Hizbullah. The left is not dead in the Middle East, although many in the left need to be retired NOW.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

New bill would allow Pentagon to gather intelligence on US residents without their knowledge.
Under capitalist globalization, there is commercialization and sexual objectification of women worldwide. But no city "excels" in that more than Beirut. Horrible.
I have so much to say. I have opinions, whines, reflections, and declarations to make. But am too busy here: my schedule in Lebanon is too hectic to allow me time for reflections, or for commentaries. Will do that in due time, either from here or from London, or from US upon return. I met Sayyid Hasan Nasrallah (leader of Hizbullah, Party of God) yesterday: and listened to his analysis of the Iraq situation. I also met yesterday a man who spent 14 years in Israeli jails. Will report more later.
Homeless shelters in NYC will be made "less inviting."
All in the name of "liberty". Rumsfeld ordered prisoner held off the books: Iraqi terror suspect hidden from international Red Cross
THIS IS ZIONISM: "The accounts of physical abuse of Iraqis by American guards at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad sounded achingly familiar to Anan Labadeh. The casual beatings, the humiliations, the trophy photos taken by both male and female guards were experiences he said he underwent as a Palestinian security detainee at an Israeli military camp in March of last year."
Detainee Reportedly Was Lost in System: CIA Criticized for Hiding Some Prisoners
My friend's Bassam article: Reform in Syria: Waiting for the Wrong Time
Bush is winning hearts and minds of Iraqis after all: A new US-commissioned poll reveals that: only 2 per cent of Iraqis regard the occupying forces as liberators and 67 per cent of Iraqis say they support or strongly support Muqtada As-Sadr, making him the most popular man in the country after the Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani.
Lesbian love affair outrages India's Hindu hardliners
Lebanese Male belly dancer shimmies his way into people’s hearts (thanks Marianne)

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

I used to think that Good Morning America is silly, until I saw Good Morning, Oh Lebanon on state-run Lebanese TV.
Vietnam's war against Agent Orange (thanks Marina)
Needs of "liberation": U.S. says it will continue to hold thousands of Iraqi prisoners after June 30
"Israeli veterans show occupation's ugly side" (there is no non-ugly
side I tell the Chicago Tribune)
The Clerical Book Burners of AlAzhar are at it again.
No Big Deal: Halliburton 'mismanaged $8bn in Iraq'
An account of my lecture in Sidon from last Saturday. The account of my talk is not very accurate.
For those who care, I will appear on Al-Manar TV's Bayna Qawsayn this Sunday at 9:30 PM (Beirut Time). The topic is European Parliamentary Election.
Have you noticed this: Leftwingers (like Angry Arab) think that Bin Laden is a fanatical kook; and rightwingers (like Victor David Hansen) think that he is "sane."
"What is troubling in a lot of ways, more than anything else, is that the Straussians have begun to dominate the terms of public discourse."

Monday, June 14, 2004

Scenes of "Liberation": The American military launched some 50 air strikes designed to kill specific targets during the Iraq war, it emerged yesterday, but none of them found its mark. Instead the air strikes had a high civilian toll, according to military officials serving at the time. Until now only a few of the air strikes, such as the use of four 2,000lb "bunker-buster" bombs in an attempt to kill Saddam Hussein at a farm in Masur on March 19, had been made public.
Defense bill to top $1 trillion: Congress backs budget heavy on future weapons
American Taliban: U.S. drags feet on ratifying UN treaty on women's rights
For "Freedom" to prevail in Iraq, U.S. Slaughter Fills Iraqi Cemeteries
ALL IN THE SERVICE OF "FREEDOM": Interrogation abuses were 'approved at highest levels'
ALL IN THE NAME OF "FREEDOM": Terror inquiry snares art exhibit: FBI seizes material intended for Mass MoCA display on genetically modified food; four artists subpoenaed
From a poem by Iraqi poet Badr Shakir As-Sayyab (my translation):
I learned: how
the tyrants have changed their skins
in the age of defeat
and they put on new masks
and chanted the old song.
I saw, my beloved, all
the tyrants of the old world
how they sleep and eat
how they love and laugh
how they die and be finished
but I now disover
the tyrants of the new world
in the age of the floods
and the revolution of humans
For the sake of patriotism: The Pentagon—Spying in America?
Egyptian government empowers its official clerical Book Burners: all books that promote feminism, enlightenment, progressiveness, and secularism will be banned.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Secret world of US jails: Houses of Freedom.
"defeating the forces of evil", by Paul Wolfowitz
Reagan and Bin Laden.
Use of Dogs to Scare Prisoners Was Authorized: Military Intelligence Personnel Were Involved
Pictures of "liberation." Take pride America.
General torture
This is your beacon of freedom, America: In Guantanamo, detainee fears recordedl; new concerns revealed over prisoner treatment
These are your "liberation" wars America: The United States launched many more failed airstrikes on a far broader array of senior Iraqi leaders during the early days of the war last year than has previously been acknowledged, and some caused significant civilian casualties

Saturday, June 12, 2004

The rise of mourning in America (provided the dead are rich and white and male, or a blonde princess)
Baghdad fumes as the Americans seek safety in 'tombstone' forts
Secret documents show that US interrogators are above the law
You may destroy the country and its people: but dont destroy the ancient city of Babylon. Western archaeologists would get upset.
News from "liberated" Afghanistan: Afghan elections to be delayed for the 23446th time.
US State Dept Report on gains against terrorism was erroneous
There are patriotic people, and patriotic dogs: Use of Dogs to Scare Prisoners Was Authorized
Cheers for Wars: Congress Backs Pentagon Budget Heavy on Future Weapons;
Buildup Pricier Than That in '80s
Document warns Guantanamo employees not to talk

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Remembering the Dead: Reagan Foreign Policy From the Target End
Maverick colonel blames US army's 'sycophantic' culture and heavy-handedness for failures in Iraq
State Department distorts the figures on terrorism for political considerations.
Bush the scientist: The White House bends science to its will
Poll of Saudis shows wide support for bin Laden's views
Al-Sadr gains political ground among Iraqis
From the poem A SAD STATE OF FREEDOM by Turkish poet Nizam Hikmet (translated by Taner Baybars):
"You waste the attention of your eyes,
the glittering labour of your hands,
and knead the dough enough for dozens of loaves
of which you'll taste not a morsel;
you are free to slave for others-
you are free to make the rich richer.
The moment you're born
they plant around you
mills that grind lies
lies to last you a lifetime.
You keep thinking in your great freedom
a finger on your temple
free to have a free conscience.
Your head bent as if half-cut from the nape,
your arms long, hanging,
you saunter about in your great freedom:
you're free with the freedom of being unemployed.
You love your country
as the nearest, most precious thing to you.
But one day, for example,
they may endorse it over to America,
and you, too, with your great freedom-
you have the freedom to become an air-base."
(thanks Keval)
You cannot be a fierce champion of Palestinian rights--as I am, and will always be--without being disgusted by the Lebanese (state and society) mistreatment of the Palestinians in Lebanon, who are denied jobs from some 72 or so category by the Lebanese Ministry of Labor. I have brought up the issue with former Prime Minister Salim Huss and Hasan Nasrallah in the past, only to be told that it would be difficult if not impossible to make a change in that regard. But for the Palestinian problem and its birth, one should squarely blame Zionism and Israel.
The more I am recognized by people in the Arab world, and the more I receive compliments about writings or media appearances, the more I realize this: an intellectual--if this is what I am--can be coopted by governments, and can be also coopted by the masses. I worry less for myself about the first kind of cooptation. It is crucial that one does not flatter the masses, or cater to the masses.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

When in Rome: subvert the Romans, oppose the Romans, and go against the Romans, always.
There is so much racism in Lebanon. At nice restaurants, they now have a woman who sit outside the restrooms to clean them regularly. She is ALWAYS either Sri Lankan or African. I wrote once a piece on Sri Lankan maids in Lebanon; it will be coming out in a book on Women and Human Rights. Just heard this guy at the Internet cafe where I am say this: "I have nothing against Gay people; I am just disgusted by them, that is all." There is so much income inequality in Lebanon largely due to the programs of the disgusting Prime Minister billionaire Rafic Hariri--this is funny, as I just realized that I am looking at his massive palace through the glass window. More on that dude later. ME and US are the areas with the most income inequality worldwide; China is catching up soon due to capitalist "reforms." There is also so much racism in Lebanon against the poor and impoverished Syrian workers. When I criticize the Lebanese, by the way, I am referring to Upper Class Lebanese who--like in every society--are responsible for the dissemination of values, mores, and ideas in the larger society. Anti-Americanism in the Middle East is a complicated issue. You do not really encounter racist blanket hatred of all Americans here, much to the dismay of Bin Laden kooks. Last night, I saw in the downtown area of Beirut where it is very crowded around mid-night, a Lebanese man walking with an American flag shirt. Nobody even noticed. Another guy had a T-Shirt which had "CIA" on the back. Kid you not. Nobody noticed. There is however widespread detestation of Bush and for American wars around the world. I asked my 13-year old nephew about the political views of his classmates, and he said: "Of course, everybody is opposed to the US." They distinguish here between their fierce opposition to US government and wars, and between the American people, culture, etc.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

What a difference a year makes. I watched Ahmad Chalabi being interviewed on AlArabiyyah and was astonished to how far he has traveled. This person, whose popularity is lower than Saddam in Iraq (according to public opinion surveys) is trying so hard to position himself in the post-US era. Al-Hayat newspaper is reporting today that several members of the former governing council are leaving Iraq, running for their lives. Chalabi's last gamble is the Shi`ite sectarian card. He sounded like Muqtada As-Sadr today trying to engage in one-upmanship with other Shi`ite leaders, berating the Americans for their violent campaigns in the holy cities, and recounting how he wanted to stay in Najaf to suffer the plight of his Shi`ite brothers. The profile of Chalabi in New Yorker reminded of the first time I heard of his name. Judith Kipper of the Council on Foreign Relations was quoted about him in that article. I knew her when I was a graduate student in the late 1980s and once before leaving to Lebanon she urged me to call and meet this "amazing" Ahmad Chalabi, who was close to the Amal militia in Lebanon at the time, having fled with his millions from Jordan. I wrote his phone number down (I still have it on one old address book) but never called him. The Daily Telegraph on Sunday reported on Saddam's spoiled (all the tyrant's kids are spoiled) daughter Raghd. Apparently, her lifestyle has not changed much since her father's capture. She seems to be enjoying the spoils of her father's plunder of Iraq's wealth.
For those who care: I shall be interviewed on AlMalaf program on NBN TV on Thursday night at 8:30PM (Beirut Time).
A MERE 107 BAD APPLES SO FAR: Criminal probes of U.S. troops in war zones grow: Cases total 107 in Iraq, Afghanistan
According to CBS News: "Team Bush Is On A Crusade"
The rich have been warned to leave Baghdad. But for the poor, there is no escape from crime.
I honestly will not be surprised if Bin Laden and his kooks are mourning Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter (yes, that self-described human rights presidnet--my potato) are both, along with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, responsble for the dramatic rise of the Bin Laden movement with their generous support (militarily and economically) for the most fanatical of the fanatics. Remember that, as you pay your tributes to Ronald Reagan..without me.
The Sudanese government is responsible, and the Secretary-general of the Arab League should resign over this, and over some 345 other issues: 'They came at dawn and killed the men'
This is what I have to endure when I read. I am being told that perhaps Bernard Lewis "loves it [the Arab World] too much."
This is the Sudanese government and its murderous Arab militia: (from the May 13th Economist):..."The janjaweed [the Arab militia of the government] have clattered into village after African village, torching the straw roofs of conical huts, killing young men who might join the rebels, raping women who might feed them, and stealing everything they can carry off. Sometimes they brand the hands of women they rape, to make the stigma permanent. They have also torched dozens of mosques and torn up and defecated on copies of the Koran. Whatever inspires them, it is not Islam..."

From Beirut: Somebody has to provide the link for the latest article in the New Yorker by Jane Meyer on Ahmad Crook Chalabi. It is probably the most definitve article on the topic yet. What is of original significance, is the new information on NYTimes' Patrick Tyler hiring of Chalabi's neice WHILE she was working for Chalabi. On the day of my arrival to Lebanon, Israel bombed an area south of Beirut. I grew up, since I can remember, with Israel bombing Lebanon. If I carry a camera with me, I would--I should--post pictures of my grandfather's house in Tyre (one of the most ancient historic houses, in one of the most beautiful spots in the city, at the spot where Alexander the Great ostensibly tried to penetrate Tyre) which was destroyed by Israeli bombings in 1982. It stands as a reminder of what Zionism has meant for not only Palestinians, but for other Arabs too, like myself. There is also an old article from a January New Yorker I read about White House manipulation of the press corps.

Monday, June 07, 2004

...and for businsses in UK: I have an announcement. Dont be alarmed, but there are people in the world who dont eat meat, and they are called vegetarians. And there are those who do not eat meat or dairy products, and they are called vegans. And some (like Dick Gregory) are fruitarians. Please have something for them. In fairness, some UK restaurents offer a vegetarian sandwich: uniformally it is french bread, with tomato and slices of cheese, and thin slices of my old shoes.
.and there are more places to pray than to sit at Heathrow airport. And there are more of us who want to sit than those who want to pray at airports. And it is more classist than US airports: if you have a 1st or business class ticket, you go through a special Fast Track to go through security on the way to the gates. Arabs of course have a special Official Tediously Slow Track for Muslims/Arab Travelers.
posting this frm London airport:
I know why the British Empire collapsed. They could not build an airport worthy of an Empire. This is one of the lousiest, filthiest, most uncomfortable, technologically backward, unmodernized, and most unventilated airports there are. I pass through it some 5 or 6 times a year and I hate it. The smallest airport in the smallest town in US is better than this one. Before I departed to airport, I ran into a propaganda buss operated by leftist MP George Golloway. He was campaigning on Edgeware rd (an Arab/Muslim area) for the EU parliamentary election. I cannot stand this demagogue. Now I do not know whether he was paid by Saddam or not, but he has never met any Arab dictator (including Saddam) that he did not like or champion. The notion that Arabs should support him because he is married to a Palestinian is like saying that one should support George W. because he likes cheeseburgers.
from London:
I came across two interesting items. Kuwaiti police found a truck of smuggled whiskey. The truck came from...Saudi Arabia. And sources in the Danish Defense Ministry admitted that Danish troops serving in Iraq have been kicking Iraqi women. It was explained that an advisor on Iraqi tribal affairs had told Danish military officials that Iraqi men would object if foreign troops touched Iraqi women, but that it would be fine to kick them and push them with feet. And the concierge of my hotel in London wanted to convince me that Lebanese are not Arabs, but..Pheonicians. Do you know how much that silly and kooky argument upset me? It really stems from racism by some Lebanese who have contempt for other Arabs. The man (from my homecity of Tyre, Lebanon no less) was so taken aback by my strong response that he resorted to that common intellectually cowardly method in debates: to claim that he was merely kidding with me. I just realized this: I am sounding grumpy in my postings since I left the US. But no worry: I can simply rename the site Grumpy Arab News Service (NEAL! NEAL!)
From London:
Looking at Arabic newspapers published in UK and ME, and watching AlArabiyyah TV station, one is struck by the extent to which the tyrannical House of Saud controls much of Arab media. You see why they hate AlJazeera so much? Here is a very popular media outlet that is not under the control of the House of Saud and that drives the Saudi government crazy. Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat daily had a full report on the Islamic Republic of Fallujah: fanatical groups there have taken over the city, and imposed a fanatical rule with whipping and lashing and killing as punishments. Those who drink alcohol are also punished in a country known for great poets who were inspired by the bottle. Great Iraqi poet Mudhaffar An-Nawwab is sometimes unintelligible on his recorded poetry concerts because he is so drunk. AlArabiyya TV had a half hour report on the Sunni triangle: things are pretty bad and lost, as far as the US desire to colonize the country. Residents trace the beginning of conflict to the time when US soldiers killed scores of Iraqi civilians who were demonstrating peacefully early during the occupation. When I watch the ascendancy of the traditional tribal and religious power in Iraq I get doubly mad at US war and occupation. My next update will be from Beirut. I watched interviews with the appointed Iraqi prime minister and Iraqi president. Allawi referred to Muqtada As-Sadr as "brother Muqtada As-Sadr." Was he not wanted dead or alive a few weeks ago? You want to know whether Iraq has sovereignty or not? Ask the new oil minister about oil prices? He said that Iraq wants them lower. Imagine the US saying that we would like the price of our exports to go down, because it is good for Chinese economy. I looked at French and UK newspapers: they are commemorating D-Day, but not in the same obnoxious, war- and military-worshipping, and jingoistic fashion of US newspapers.
Kissinger Accused of Blocking Scholar
Pentagon accused of ignoring CIA evidence of Chalabi's link to Iran
America's celebration of past wars, does not stop it from continuing current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Who rules the Islamic Republic of Fallujah?
News from "liberated" Afghanistan: Afghan children fall prey to killers who trade human organs
Iranian judges have detained and tortured writers, student leaders and political activists in secret prisons and muzzled reform-minded newspapers to "shut down" dissent.
This is an insane debate by America's thinkers: To worry or not to worry about Mexican immigrants?

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Angry Arab Angrier: Branded with an SSSS (S for Salsa not Security, of course) Stamp.
From London: I have never been subjected to more scrutiny and searches since the late 1980s when I had a mustache, which seemed to alarm US security officers. Once (in the late 1980s) I was asked by ABC News to depart to Lebanon at the spur of the moment after a reporter-friend of Peter Jennings (Charles Glass) was kidnapped in Lebanon. Jennings was very concerned about his friend, and he also offered the then graduate student $10,000.00 for the week trip, plus first class travel and accommodation. I was supposed to be met at London airport by an ABC staffer who had a visa for me. Pan Am would not let me board the plane that day. I showed them my fully paid 1st class ticket, and they claimed that UK authorities would worry that I would not have enough money for myself, and that I may become a burden on the UK social services' system. I them showed them a cash advance of some $10,000.00 which made matters worse. Only when Jennings and the vice-president of ABC News at the time talked to them I was allowed to board the plane. Today, I was met with this person at the entrance to the gate who upon looking at my US passport greeted me with two Arabic words. When I asked him if he knew Arabic, he said no, that he only knew a few words. It was obvious that he was trained in recognizing Arabic names. I was then escorted to a new section, where you stand like an idiot surrounded by tape. It was designated the Official Angry Arabs Waiting Area. I got really upset. You say but you once saw some old white American male searched. Yes, that is random. When it happens to us it is not random. It is a pattern. Randomness clashes with patterns. I was so thoroughly searched upside down (and my Archos gadget which I had featured here before seems to have required a special meeting of the National Security Council), back and forth. And in those situations, I get very snippy and snappy, which often makes matters worse. (Once, in New York, I was snippy with one officer, and he said: I will make things worse for you; I bet you are one of those radical professors that I read about. I lied to him. I said: No, I own a falafil stand in Washington, DC.) They stamped an SSSS sign (and circled it) on my boarding pass, which only meant a repeat of the special treatment before boarding the plane. The Syrian woman who happened to sit next to me on the plane (was it random that they placed her next to another Arab?) also had an SSSS stamp on her boarding pass, and she also told m about the special treatment to which she was subjected. We asked the white guy sitting next to us for his boarding pass, and it did not have that SSSS stamp. It almost had Have a Nice Day Dude, sign instead. I asked the officers today: On what basis am I being selected? Is it may hair? My Arabic sounding name? My place of Birth? My ethnicity? or what? One said: It is all by computer. I said: but the computer is NOT a human being, although some computers are known to enjoy a beverage of lemonade once in a while. What do you program your computers to look for, I asked. Having received no answers, I left angrier than ever. When my checked-luggage came, it was so messed up that the brand new bag was destroyed...And how was your day? And you still wonder why Angry Arab is Angry?
Taliban told US it would give up Bin Laden. But desire for revenge prevailed.
Land where women are killers' prey
Bin Laden kooks: they kill, they sleep, and they pray
"...the low-income world (roughly, those who live and die on less than $2 per day) constitutes 40 percent of humanity - and most of the places where American troops have fought and died in recent decades....The United States will spend about $450 billion this year on the military but only $15 billion on official evelopment assistance. The 30-to-1 ratio is mirrored by a similar imbalance in our thinking."

Friday, June 04, 2004

….off to Lebanon. I will be there until early July. Whenever I go to Lebanon I tell my mother to not allow any cleric in the vicinity of my dead body, if I die or get killed. The Lebanese state does not recognize you as a citizen if you are an atheist. (For friends and media: my Hotel (for those who know me, it is the same Hotel) number in Beirut is left on the answering machine of my home in California). Yes, we have email in the Middle East. I cannot believe that you would even ask. The internet connection in Damascus was slow, but reliable last year. They have T-1 lines in Beirut. Last year, when I went to the traditional Suq Al-Hamidiyyah in downtown Damascus, this boy approached me and said in Damascene English: “Welcome to Suq Al-Hamidiyyah.” I was upset. “What? You think I am some tourist” I said in Arabic. I did not want to be seen as a tourist. It is my hair, I thought. It is my hair, I hoped. It is weird: I do not mind being a tourist in Athens, but not in Damascus or Beirut. Am I a tourist when I derive a particular and extreme pleasure from swimming in the Mediterranean waters now, although I grew up around that sea? My trip to Lebanon feels deficient if I do not swim in that sea? At least I never carry cameras, and do not take pictures, and certainly do not romanticize that obnoxious country (in terms of culture, government, identity, and pretensions) Lebanon the way Lebanese ultra-Nationalists do. I get offended when cabdrivers in Beirut tell me that “you must be living abroad.” This while I make an effort to never ever slip a foreign word in conversations, and I speak on TV and in lectures in classical Arabic to not appear as an outsider. But I am. Only two weeks ago some American man in Modesto yelled at me, after a silly argument over traffic,: “Get out of MY country.” You do not want to feel that you are an outsider in more than one place. What if you are an outsider in everyplace. That was Edward Said’s idea in the title of his memoirs (Out of Place). But in a way you are; I know I am. I used to feel guilty for fitting in here better than in other places; now I do not. A friend of mine who has known me for years told me recently: “You have to accept it As`ad. You have become Americanized.” I agreed with her. Of course, I do not believe in borders or nationalities or passports, ideally. But borders are reinforced, fortified, and enlarged by prejudices, security fears—real and imagined, patriotism and patriots, flags, national anthems, national dishes, presidential campaigns, potatoes, balloons, hatred, and by “Bin Laden” and “Bush.” I will update the site from London, Beirut, and Damascus. There are people I want to meet to try to understand the situation in Iraq, namely Anis Naqqash, Hasan Nasrallah, and Ayatollah Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah. The last two studied in Iraq, and Fadlallah was born in Najaf. (Meeting religious leaders reminds me of this: In the late 1980s, when Husayn Musawi (then leader of Islamic Amal and now Executive Assistant to the Secretary-general of the Party of God (Hizbullah) was a “big name” in Western media, linked by US to series of bombings, hijackings, and kidnappings, I went as a graduate student to interview him in Ba`albak in the Biqa` valley. During the interview, he asked me if I had eaten. I said: No. He asked his son Hisham to bring me some food. There came Hisham with a delicious tray of Arabic breakfast food that I love. I immediately began to eat. Musawi looked at me fiercely and intensely, and asked: “Have you not forgotten something?” I said: “What?” He said: “Don’t you know that food is more delicious when you precede it by saying In the Name of God, the merciful, the compassionate?” I paused but then continued to eat.) I would have met George Habash, but he is in Jordan, and I do not trust my person to the rule of King `Abdullah, whose intelligence hooligans burnt my picture in public in Amman at a silly demonstration they organized after one AlJazeera appearance by me in which I ridiculed the silly king. The billionaire Prime Minister of Lebanon, whom I despise, could not stand me. I went to interview him for an article, and he was so visibly offended that I showed up—the way I always show up—in jeans, Polo shirt, and New Balance running shoes . I felt he wanted to throw me out of the window. His media advisor is a friend of mine, and he looked at her angrily—“How could you bring in this jerk? ” I felt he was telling her. I would not go to Iraq; I never visited Iraq under Saddam, and I would not go now, despite the liberation by “Bush.” Even “Bush” would not visit his “liberated” Iraq for more than a few snuck hours. It will not be practical for me to offer poetry from there as I do not have access to my personal library. Have you read Benjamin’s essay on book collection? You should. The transfer in Iraq will occur when I am there. I will tell you if anybody notices. And please, as you remember D-Day’s anniversary, feel free to celebrate the WWII war, remember fondly the Vietnam War, and cheer the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but…without me.
From the poem I Call On You by Palestinian poet Tawfiq Zayyad (my translation):
“I call on you
I press your hands
I kiss the ground under your feet
and I say: I sacrifice myself for you
I give you as a gift
the light of my eyes
and the warmth of heart, I give you
My tragedy that I live
Is my share of your tragedies
I call on you
I press your hands
I kiss the ground under your feet
and I say: I sacrifice myself for you
I did not humiliate myself in my homeland
and I did not lower my shoulders
I stood facing my oppressors
orphaned, naked, and bare foot
I call on you
I press your hands
I kiss the ground under your feet
and I say: I sacrifice myself for you
I carried my blood on my palm
I never lowered my flags
and I cared for the green grass
over the graves of my ancestors”.
This may be too touching for you: Kerry Presents Himself as a Patriot With a Different View
I am not making this up. The Iraqi foreign minister told the Security Council that the resolution it is now considering must give Iraq full sovereignty, but he combined the appeal with a plea for the continued presence of foreign forces. Is this what they call cognitive dissonance?

Thursday, June 03, 2004

From the poem Awaiting the Bird of Thunder by Palestinian poet Samih Al-Qasim (my translation):
"And it happens that he comes
he comes with the sun
a face distorted in the dust
of school curricula
and it happens that he comes
after the suicide of
drought in my voice
something...its splendor
is limitless
something called in songs:
the bird of thunder!
He must come
we have reached it,
we have reached
the summit of death!!"
George’s Kids
Think Again: Human Rights (By Richard Falk) (thanks R.S.)
The findings and a Red Cross report show US Army learned of problems months before inquiry.
UN troops kill people too: They kill two in Congo riots
America's Iraqi puppets fight it out: Candidate who pulled out blames Chalabi plot
This is a WMD search that will produce results: IAEA to press for inspections of Israel's nuclear facility

The reality of foreign aid. Who gives what, and WHY?
 Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

[To the memory of Iyad, my friend, who was shot on his land by foreign troops. He did not believe that revolutionaries should wear cologne, for some reason. It so bothered him that I always wore cologne. During his funeral, an idiot cleric (invited by his family) started railing against communists and atheists (Iyad was a Marxist atheist) so we his friends threw the cleric out. I was in highschool. As`ad]
From the poem He Returned in a coffin by Palestinian poet Mahmud Darwish (my translation):
"They talk in my country
they talk melancholically
about my friend
who left and returned
in a coffin
His name was..
don't mention his name!
Keep it in our hearts..
Don't let the word
get lost in the air,
like ashes..
Let it like a fresh wound..
Without bandages ever...
I fear my dear..
I fear, oh orphans..
I fear that we forget him
amid the crowd of names
I fear that he dissolves
in the tornados of winter!
I fear that our wounds
go to sleep in our hearts..
I fear that they sleep!!
...Don't ask when he will return
Don't ask a lot
But ask: When will
the men wake up!"

THIS IS ZIONISM: A Palestinian boy used by Israeli Army as human shield (thanks Rabi`)
 Posted by Hello
US frantic to soften harsh language in UN rights report on Iraq
In Sadr City
As you glorify your wars, read this: Sexual Assaults In US Army On Rise
THIS IS ZIONISM: Turkish PM: Israel committing 'state terrorism'
Up to half of all women in Turkey are subjected to "scandalous" levels of violence, mostly from their own families
Louis Vuitton's links with Vichy regime exposed
THIS IS ZIONISM: The Israeli soldiers speak with embarrassment about throwing stun grenades at Palestinian children for fun, harassing a bride and groom, and standing by as Jewish settlers vandalize Palestinians' property.
Horrific: DARFUR DESTROYED: Ethnic Cleansing by Sudanese Government and Arab Militia Forces in Western Sudan
For those who care, I will comment on Bush's recent speech on Al-Manar TV at 1:30PM (Pacific Time).
For those who care, I can be heard on KPFA's Flashpoint later today (at 5:00PM Pacific Time). I have just taped it. You may listen live through webcast. (thanks Nora of Flashpoint)
An interview with a former member of the Iraqi puppet council in Le Monde. He says this about Paul Bremer: "Il se conduit comme Saddam Hussein."
Mikha’il Nu`aymah is one of the best writers in Arabic in the 20th century. He influenced me a lot during my childhood. I wrote him a fan letter and managed to meet him when I was 11. His memoirs (Sab`un—or Seventy) is one of the best works of literature in modern Arabic in my opinion. (I never cried more in my childhood than the night I came home (Angry Arab Jr.) after meeting him. I had a full film of pictures with him. My father got mad at me over something, so he destroyed the film. I remember crying for the whole night. My father did feel guilty and sent a professional photographer with me the following week. I get angry thinking about the incident.) He wrote this poem (Who Are you? What Are You?) in 1922 commenting on Western arrogance after WWI (my translation):
“Who are you? What are you to rule over people?
As if the sun and the moon are in your fists?
Are you the light of the sky? Or its creator?
Running the galaxy and destiny?
Or has your god met his master in you
So he abandoned his power and killed himself?
So you went around exploiting people
With sword, and money if the sword got broken
Dividing the earth into square meters
With what it contains inside
You rob some people of their wealth
Giving it to others,
And those who complain are fed loam
You cut down the plants in orchards,
To burn wood, or collect fruits
And dividing people into herds
Slaughtering whomever you pick,
And keeping others
As if people are machines you operate
Or as if the fountain of existence came out of your palm
Who are you, what are you, oh, son of the West
Who orders me around?
And I am not allowed to turn you down?
Did God create you from his breath,
And me from stone?
So leave the mission of
Civilizing me and elevating me,
To whoever sees what you do not see
Who are you what are you to rule over people?
"How can you accept people who came with the occupiers? The people who were tortured and suffered inside Iraq deserve these positions."
Prisoner abuse was more widespread, and some insiders believe that much remains hidden
Is There a Difference Between Terrorists and Wedding Guests?
Iraqis win showdown over new President, but Baghdad is rocked by explosions
Army Saw Prison Violations in Fall
US is number one (and proudly Lebanon is one of the top countries in mental illness among developing countries--Lebanon also has one of the highest rates of consumption of antidepressants): U.S. Tops In Mental Illness Rates, Study Finds

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

So I watched some CNN at the GYM. Unbelievable. At least Larry King was not on. I have noticed this: the "man-on-the-street" interviews in Iraq aired on US TV "news" (notice that they rarely--unlike Arabic TV channels--interview Iraqi women, maybe they do not know that Arab women can think and talk too) produce different if not divergent opinions and results from the person-on-the-street interviews on Arab TV channels. This is why: US journalists are now confined to a very small area within the "security zone" and can only move a block or two, escorted by a bevy of security guards, translators, cooks, potato slicers, physical trainers, and US troops. Now could that in any way influence the opinion of those scared Iraqis who often have to say how hopeful and wonderful they feel, something that is not matched by the public opinion surveys conducted in Iraq by Iraqi center, Gallup, or Oxford group. And then I heard "Bush" and Condy--I am not close to her but cannot spell her name--Rice asserting that the selection of the new puppet officials was an Iraqi process and that it was not influenced by the US. Now wait. All the members selected today were serving in the now defunct Iraqi puppet governing council, which the US had admitted to have formed back when it was inaugurated. Just be clever when you lie, please. And then I saw an interview with the Iraqi ambassador to the US, Rend Rahim (my former friend at whose house I once had a delicious meal, I must confess). She was talking about the representativeness of the new group of appointed officials. If the slogan of the American revolutionaries was "No Taxation without Representation" my slogan for Iraq should be: "No Representation without ELECTIONS". Elections, did you get that? I can easiy designate members of an American cabinet who would be more diverse and representative than the current one, but it would not be seen as legitimate or credible. And then I had to see John Kerry (still possessing that powerful charisma that only rotten tomatoes could possess), talking about national security, yet again. As far as Kerry is concerned, the poor, the uninsured, the oppressed, the elderly, they all do not exist. He is busy bradishing his credentials as a tough white male who hunts and who loves to act serious about national security in an attempt to appeal to the white conservative patriots who have been leaving the Democratic Party in droves (and a smaller number of patriotic females too). He now gives 57758 speeches on national security a day, and has announced that he will appoint a special coordinator for nuclear weapons, and a special coordinator for potato affairs. Right on John Kerry (on the latter idea, not the former).
For those who care, a recording of my interview this morning.
You read it here first: US TROOPS HAVE LEFT IRAQ
I watched the Iraqi puppet proceedings this morning. AlJazeera's Arabic website (but not the TV) is implying that the deliberate news leaks about the search for the puppet president were motivated by the need to lend legitimacy to the new choice, and to portray him as an Iraqi (not American) choice. The selection of Iyad `Allawi (as puppet prime minister) and Ghazi Al-Yawir (as puppet president) represents a victory for US AND Saudi foreign intelligence. `Allawi's ties to the US are known; less known are his ties to Saudi and Jordanian intelligence. `Allawi, it has to be remembered, cut his teeth while working for Saddam's brutal intelligence service. Would you not want to know what kind of work he had done for Saddam? And what kind of work does one do for Saddam's intelligence service except torture, surveillance, brutality, and oppression? Are these the qualifications needed for the leader of the "new" Iraq? And the selection of Ghazi Al-Yawir as puppet president is a victory also for Saudi Arabia and for traditional tribal values. He hails from the powerful Shummar tribe which has extensions in Saudi Arabia, and he has studied in Saudi Arabia and lived there for years, where he became very close to the royal family. So will the House of Saud, as the experts in democracy and "freedom" that Bush keeps invoking, supervise the construction of the "new" Iraqi democracy? I watched `Allawi read his speech: he really could not pronounce the names of most people of his large cabinet, and many were not even present for the august ceremony. At one point he read the name of a male minister as a female, not knowing him. He then broke into English to thank the US for its role, and seemed to be reading a line that was given to him. And the new line, I noticed, is that Iraq "will be needing" the assistance of foreign forces, and that Iraq "will be needing" security agreements and arrangements. And `Allawi referred to a "multinational" force in Iraq. So US forces will hitherto be referred to as a "multinational force." This of course will please the Angry Arab as it will pay tribute to the gallant Micronesian soldier and to the 38 soldiers from Macedonia serving bravely in Iraq heat. It was amazing how much the new "leaders" of Iraq have internalized the mentality and discourse of colonial powers. They kept referring to the "new" "civilized" Iraq. This will of course rationalize the need for the preservation of the "multinational forces" who will help "civilize" Iraq. The mission civilizatrice is back; please cheer for the new "multinational" force in Iraq. US troops are now withdrawn.