Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Rima Maktabi

This daughter of a Phalanges leader who died in the war has been hired by CNN. This means that with the decline of viewers of CNN, she will have less viewers than if she was on radio.

tribute to Zayid

L'Orient-Le Jour defends Karakalla's lousy tribute to Shaykh Zayid: ""Zayed, lui, ne s'est pas seulement contenté de rêver. Zayed a agi. Son « dream » ne s'est pas évanoui et comme le « dream » qu'a fait jadis Martin Luther King, il s'est effectivement réalisé, car issu d'une gloire enracinée qui n'a de cesse de ranimer ceux qui lui sont fidèles. Zayed ne rêve pas de liberté, déjà acquise, puisque l'esclavage est de toujours rejeter dans sa doctrine ; c'est une union éternelle entre les frères de la même nation et une prospérité que son rêve vise. Et cela s'est fait ; et voilà que toutes les nations qu'accueillit sa métropole viennent le vénérer. "" (thanks "Ibn Rushd")

The adventures and tall tales of Iyad `Allawi

Now I am sick and tired of the tall tales that Iyad `Allawi (the former puppet prime minister/car bomber/Saddam henchman/embezzler-in-Yemen/ally of Shi`ite sectarian forces in Lebanon/candidate of Syria/Saudi Arabia/Turkey in the last puppet election) tells regarding an alleged assassination attempt on him in London. He seems to be the only witness to the story, and the story gets bigger with very recounting. And notice that `Allawi gives different dates to his break with Saddam: he somestimes dares to give the date as 1970, when people who know tell me that he was a chief henchman in Europe on behalf of Saddam's intelligence service into the mid-1970s AT LEAST. Look at him here: "Mr. Allawi said he kicked out at the man there just as he swung an ax, nearly severing Mr. Allawi’s leg. A bloody struggle ensued, his wife jumping on one of the men’s backs, Mr. Allawi wresting one of the axes away and attacking back, until the second attacker chopped at his head". I pick up the story here: and then the lion jumped through the window, and Allawi killed the lion with his stapler. And then two missiles hit `Allawi in the leg, and he pulled them out promptly before they exploded. And then, a snake was thrown at him and he managed to kill it under his feet.

It is for you, Jamal Mubarak

"Egyptian security sources said officers took control of 10 smuggling tunnels and two suspected weapons traders on Wednesday, with the help of 12 children detained the day before." So a few thousands tunnels left only?

Nice occupiers

"Soldiers were drilled to present a kinder face to the Iraqi public—the old lady on her way to buy food, the taxi driver with a bad attitude, the disgruntled patriarch, the people who may have been hiding insurgents, even those who had been insurgents themselves. The Iraqi people were the prize." (thanks Tarek)

A Congressperson in Gaza

"Why Gaza? In an interview, Baird recalled a speech some years ago by Israel's current premier, Benjamin Netanyahu, at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). To Baird, the speech was "thinly disguised racism" — and he recoiled from it. When the crowd applauded, he and his wife walked out.Then there was Rachel Corrie, who in 2003 was killed in Gaza while trying to block an Israeli bulldozer from wrecking a Gazan house. The Corrie family lives in Baird's district." (thanks Olivia)

No pranks, please

Some youths in Lebanon are contemplating smudging Patriarch Sfayr's face and head with Labni. That would be quite rude and very unacceptable at many levels. And the Lebanese law is very strict against insulting or offending "senior" religious figures. So please, behave.


A colleague in Jordan sent me this (she does not want to be identified): "did you know that it is illegal for iraqis to donate blood in jordan? one of my students today told me that she wanted to/tried to give blood and was told that it is forbidden. is there something i don't know about? is iraqi blood different than jordanian blood?"

Walid Jumblat and Hillary

Walid Jumblat sent a "telegram" (as if they still send telegrams in the world that we live in) to congratulate her on her speech at AIPAC. He thinks that the US Secretary of State is presented by her staff with a letter from 80 % of 6% of the Lebanese population?

Zionist thuggery

"Some 60 right-wing activists from the "Youth for the Land of Israel" movement arrived early Wednesday at deserted buildings near the West Bank town of Birzeit in the Ramallah area.The teens announced their intention to establish a Jewish community named "Beer Zayit" in the area in response to a Palestinian plan to build a new city called Rawabi, which the settlers said would weaken the Jewish holding in the Binyamin region." (thanks Sarah)

Walid Jumblat and Bashshar Al-Asad

Did you see the picture of Walid Jumblat sitting with Bashshar Al-Asad? He looked as comfortable and as pleasured as when I sat for my wisdom teeth extraction.

Zionism is racism, always

"Over half of the Jewish population in Israel believes the marriage of a Jewish woman to an Arab man is equal to national treason, according to a recent survey by the Geocartography Institute.The survey, which was conducted for the Center Against Racism, also found that over 75 percent of participants did not approve of apartment buildings being shared between Arabs and Jews. Sixty percent of participants said they would not allow an Arab to visit their home." (thanks Dina)

Iraqi elections and the Israel factor

So I have been checking on some names and how they fared in the recent Iraqi puppet elections. (No election should be held under occupation). Several striking things. America's favorite man in Iraq, by far, Muwaffaq Rubay`i, did not win one a seat. Not one seat. And the one Iraqi who calls for peace between Iraq and Israel (and who survives assassination attempts at the rate of twice a day), Mithal Allusi, did not win one seat. Not one seat. And Saudi Arabia's favorite Shi`ite clerics, and he is a favorite Shi`ite for Al-Arabiyya TV (the station of King Fahd's brother-in-law), Iyad Jamal Ad-Din who bragged on his site of the amount of money he spent on the election, did not win one seat. Not one seat.

Popular and News-Driven Arab Blogs and Aggregators

"The Angry Arab. This blog by Prof. Ass’ad Abu Khalil is edgy and though it is California based it is also popular in the Arab World, especially in Lebanon. In English"

Attacks on Syrian workers in Lebanon in South Lebanon

Attacks on Syrian workers in Khiyam. (thanks Moustafa)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Angry Arab on Iran developments: the Revolution Ages

Saja kindly translated an article I had written on Iran for Al-Akhbar.

"The Revolution is Aging: Iran Faces Itself
As’ad Abu Khalil
It has been amusing to follow events in Iran, both on Arab and western media outlets. Saudi media has been fit for listing under comedy classification: you see the anchor (who is usually Lebanese – what’s the story behind Lebanese loyalty to the House of Saud’s oil? Is it a matter of principle or is it the one-day Arabhood that Antioch’s patriarch described?) screaming in face of the Iranian guest or his delegate: and why doesn’t Iran repeat the elections under free and fair regulations? The House of Saud insists on free and fair elections, but only in Iran.

The program “(Some) People’s Talk” hosted Ghassan Salamah (who considered Netanyahu’s speech “a step forward”) to discuss Iran (and other various topics including advice to Sa’d al-Din Al-Hanif Al-Hariri in Monte Carlo). Salamah is informed about Iranian affairs but he misquoted a statement by Muhammad Al-Baradi’e. Al-Baradi’e said in English that he had a “hunch” that Iran was seeking to obtain nuclear weapons but Salamah made mistranslated the English word Al-Baradi’e used as “deep conviction.” In any case, it was an innocent mistranslation. Salamah (who had contributed to the bestowment of international legitimacy to the American occupation of Iraq) undermined American intervention in Iran’s affairs by saying that everyone intervened in everyone else’s business: meaning that the equation of intervention negates anti-intervention. Accordingly, the volume of Iraqi intervention in American affairs parallels that of American intervention in Iraqi affairs. The House of Saud’s media treats ongoing events on the assumption that the Iranian people will not find peace until Prince Nayif casts his shadow on Iran.

Robert Fisk has moved to Iran. We do not know why some in the Arab world continue to rely on Fisk’s reports: since the assassination of Hariri, the man has transformed into a propaganda machine for the Hariri family and Junblat no different than the Quraytem broadcast. He’d spent years in the Middle East without learning its languages or interacting with anyone aside the elite: he seeks the help of interpreters, assistants and his driver “Abd” in Lebanon. Fisk applauds revolutions even if they’re unworthy of being called a “revolution”. Unlike The Economist’s Rusana Marasli for example, he relies on rumors and news tidbits that coincide with his taste. But Fisk has decided that Rafiq Al-Hariri, who had offered to transport Fisk in his private jet after he was assaulted in Pakistan a few years ago, deserves loyalty.

An analysis of the heated situation in Iran requires insight into the revolution’s theories: how do revolutions occur and why, and when does a revolution lose its goals? When do people discover the falsity of a revolution’s slogans and when do intellectuals abandon the revolution (the Chinese Revolution preempted that through the “Cultural Revolution”)? The Iranian Revolution was one of few revolutions in the developing world (Cuba, Mexico, China and Nicaragua), especially in the Arab world (its “wind” gushed over many Arab intellectuals). One can discuss revolutions that resist colonialism or failed revolutions or counter revolutions, but in the Arab world the ease of verbally enunciating the word revolution (which is love, as Michel Aflaq told us in his only publication, although a citizen would be hard pressed to find love in the Ba’thist regimes that the “professor” espoused) has replaced true revolution, probably to protect the regimes. What does revolution mean in the Arab world when sectarian brouhaha in Lebanon is called the “Cedar Revolution”? In his book Theorizing Revolutions, which has not yet been translated to Arabic, John Foran attempts to classify revolutions around the world and reaches the inevitable conclusion that revolutions are difficult in the developing world due to various factors including economic dependence, foreign intervention and disunity of the opposition. Revolutions define a new era, or a strict divorce from the obsolete regime, as Crain Brinton explained in hi s essential book The Anatomy of Revolution, though he focuses only on four revolutions: the American, British, French and Russian. French intellectual Alexis de Tocqueville does not adopt the demarcation theory: he saw in the French Revolution continuation of the royal tradition of a centralized state. However, the Iranian revolution has been the center of much attention not only because of its massive impact on international politics, but also due to the rarity of “Islamic” revolution, which explains the excess of the revolution’s intellectual-religious analysis at the expense of political, economic and social factors. The Iranian Revolution shares some features with other revolutions and is unique in some other aspects. Perhaps its unique features are what led to its crisis.

The Iranian Revolution promised separation from a past from which it didn’t completely depart. Perhaps the deep crisis which the Iranian regime suffers today stems from the scenes of quelling peaceful protests: they remind us of the protests against the Shah, which accumulated to the point of rendering him helpless before the growing popular movement. The dilemma facing the regime lies in its need to defend its survival: every time it resorts to power to defend itself, it weakens its revolutionary legitimacy and its historic ability to continue in power. Of course, the regime can impose itself by excessive force and increasing bloodshed, but it can count on no other method of survival: it loses true authority whenever it relies on violence, as Hannah Arendt has theorized. Therefore, the regime is confused. It is not used to a popular protest of this size. Accusing the West of interference – and the West does interfere in all the Third World’s affairs, even in alliance formation – is not satisfactory. The regime cannot hide the opposition’s true nature and the contradiction with revolutionary legitimacy, for the revolution has entered a limp, calcified phase, which stems from the Revolution’s own slogans.

First, the Revolution’s slogans with regard to foreign policy have not given the citizen hope or a reason to support it in recent years. Those who believe the regime’s claims about the depth of Islamic revolution in Iran are as naïve (or stupid) as those who believe Communist regimes’ claims about the depth of internationalist solidarity in Eastern European countries. Those ideas disappeared as soon as the regimes fell, and the Russian people today for the most part have no connection whatsoever to the struggle of Third World peoples. It is incorrect to claim that the rise of the Islamic Republic has eliminated Iranian nationalism: historian Richard Cottam has studied Iranian history from the historical perspective of Iranian nationalism like those who study Soviet Union history from the perspective of Russian (not communist) history. Iranian nationalism has partnered with the Revolution’s Islamic identity, but the isolation that Iran has suffered in addition to increasing sanctions (which have influenced the Iranian pistachio king’s sales, Hashimi Rafsanjani, the symbol of the Revolution’s corruption, who is the richest Iranian as well as the hero of the Iran-Contra scandal which witnessed Israeli-Iranian flirtation) which coincided with a sharp decline in oil prices. One cannot rely on theories that popularize the Iranian role in supporting resistance movements (or supporting of Islamic resistance movements only, as Iran has never supported leftist resistance movements for example). The Iranian nuclear project (as is the case in India and Pakistan) may trump ideological struggles because it is a hallmark of Iranian national pride although it protects the current regime, but its political and economic price has exceeded the expectations of the regime and its supporters.

Second, one could indulge in details of the election process and analyze the voting patterns in various areas, though the regime has admitted a number of millions of excessive votes based on an examination of only 10% of votes, but there must be a division not only among the public but also within the ruling elite’s circles. Presidential elections in Iran express disagreements regarding the regime’s economic and political stances, not its legitimacy. Mir Hussein Mousavi has represented a more socialist economic model since the eighties, while Ahmedinajad has represented a conservative or right-leaning model (he has boasted about privatization during the electoral debates). Local elections in 2007 revealed popular resentment towards the Iranian president’s policies. But on the other hand, the claim that fraud took place in all areas still requires proof. The claim that Ahmedinajad could not have won in Azeri areas because Mousavi is of Azeri origin requires additional evidence because Ahmedinajad’s popularity increased among Azeris via educational programs that granted them additional rights. The claim that there is a class or regional distinction also requires proof, although Iranian expert Hamid Dabashi negates this point altogether. Voting in Tehran was close to less than five percent of the votes, which meant there were regional or semi-class features in voting.

Third, the Iranian Revolution is undergoing a test of legitimacy, and it is not certain to pass. The vilayat al-faqih (jurist state) was never held in consensus among Shii jurists, which compelled Khomeini to place some of the higher ranking ayatollahs under house arrest. The jurist state theory is ambiguous on several fronts, especially since it assumes a connection to the imam … who is hidden. As for Hasan Nasrallah’s claim that the jurist state is part of religious creed; this is true only insofar as Hezbollah is concerned, not Shiism generally, which means it is part of the Party’s ideology, to which it is entitled. The theory is paradoxical in its acceptance of the jurist (Khomeini appointing himself and Khamenaei by Khomeini) within Shii heritage in the jurist’s rise spontaneously and democratically among the public without appointment or influence from the state or religious institutions. Saddam and the American occupation tried to impact the rise of the jurist but the public’s sentiments withstood it. Khamenaei’s rise to the position of supreme leader did not align with the popular, spontaneous choice. There was a long debate about this in the eighteenth century in Iran between the Usuli [Majority Twelver] school and the Akhbari [consensus], which led to the Usuli victory (the word differs from the common use as term that was coined in the early twentieth century to refer to a Protestant American group) and led to a variety in Shii reasoning.

Fourth, the struggle between the two conflicting factions in Iran will not involve issues that concern us Arabs, but solely Iranian issues. Analytical reduction of the influence of Iranian nationalism ignores a long history in that country. Ahmedinajad’s position will weaken and may lead to an Islamic spin on a Stalinist mantra on “socialism in one country”. This isolation will increase if oil prices decline again. The Iranian people - just like the non-great Lebanese people in the recent elections – are swayed by outside threats, reprimands and sanctions, especially since the west treats elections in developing countries as an opportunity for influence.

Fifth, the Iranian regime has fallen in the same dilemma in which the Soviet Communist regime found itself in Gorbachov’s era. The Iranian regime is not democratic but it is not closed to the same extent as authoritarian Arab regimes, which allow no serious choice of leadership. The Iranian regime is religious and authoritarian but it does allow for some limited choice for some positions including presidency. However, the contradiction lies between limited choice and people’s drive for more freedom of choice. Meaning that the regime, any regime, can gain electoral legitimacy that decreases with the increase of the popular expectation for greater electoral freedoms. The regime cannot enjoy legitimacy, while limited, stemming from the electoral process, as this regime has not developed popular freedom of expression and freedom of choice, especially since oil revenues have not allowed economic legitimacy or utilitarian gain as is the case with the Gulf regimes.

Sixth, there is no doubt a personal factor in the dispute between Ahmedinajad and Mousavi, and between the latter and the Supreme Leader. Mousavi and Khamenaei conflicted during Khomeini’s era in the eighties, who usually supported Mousavi. Therefore, liberal western media’s attempt to depict Mousavi as a democratic activist (or depiction of corruption symbol, Rafsanjani, as a reformer) ignores the man’s past and present. His electoral slogans underscored the importance of returning to Khomeini’s teachings. He also chose “Allah akbar” as a protest slogan and promised that his opposition movement aims to elevate Islam globally. Mousavi’s history does not foretell democracy or liberalism whatsoever, as his era witnessed a horrific witch hunt at universities on religious and political grounds (to which Iranian Foucaultian thinker Abdulkarim Sourosh contributed recently). Of course, relative openness in Iran now is not indebted to Mousavi or Ahmadinajad, but to the Iranian people, who have given neighboring peoples lessons in courage, dynamism and political momentum. The current crisis may be the result of the Supreme Leader’s settling scores towards Mousavi due to what happened between them two decades ago. One cannot stress the element of class struggle (by claiming that the poor’s interests are represented by Ahmadinajad) as the latter is the hero of economic privatization while Mousavi’s economic policies are less capitalistic.

Seventh, free electoral debates played an important role in defining Iranian political discourse. The scene could not be displayed on Arabic states’ screens due to dual censorship: by the government and by Arabsat and Nilesat, so as to not threaten Israel’s interests. Ahmadinajad carried himself lightly and with excessive confidence towards his adversaries during the electoral campaign: he allowed for a number of debates that allowed his arch enemy to criticize not only his economic policies but also his credibility. Mir Hussein Mousavi accused him of lying without using the word. Ahmadinajad appeared bedazzled by his adversary’s audacity and effectiveness. Self-confidence might have led the regime to cook up the election’s results and announce them before counting was complete.

Eighth, the regime cannot easily impute Iran’s events to an outside conspiracy. Of course, the Iranian people, which have suffered intricate outside conspiracies throughout their history, are entitled to be on the alert for outside conspiracies. No doubt, Israel and its Arab and western aides have worked to cause trouble in Iran for years. All the Shah’s Men, which relies on documents published in American government archives, describes in detail how American intelligence planned a coup against Mosadeq and how it organized protests, wreaked havoc and made it look spontaneous. A writer on Al-Manar’s website may see a malicious conspiracy in Iran’s events, and the Supreme Leader may express outrage towards Britain (which deserves denunciation due to its colonial past and present, which hasn’t ceased even though both the sun and moon have set on it), but in reality the reasons behind Iran’s events are primarily internal while facing outside exploitation by governments, media outlets and the United Nations (the latter has been a tool in the United States’ hand since the end of the Cold War, especially during the current secretary’s leadership, who has about the same as Najib Miqati’s charisma). Treating these events as if they were the product of outside intermeddling will only expedite the Revolution’s aging process, because revolution dies when it loses vision and mimics the obsolete regime (the Shah saw in what happened to him the ultimate conspiracy although his oppressive regime enjoyed peerless western, Israeli and Gulf support). To say there was no external conspiracy against the Iranian regime is as ignorant as saying there were no internal reasons for the Iranian crisis.

Ninth, we cannot generalize about the popular movement in Iran: it ranges from those who want a return to the “purity” of the Revolution, those who want to connect Iran to the west , leftist groups, liberals, fundamentalist, opportunist etc. There are those who hide behind slogans for malicious purposes or noble purposes or vague purposes.

The Revolution is aging and withering and risks falling. It’s a matter of time. Revolutions face counter revolutions. The revolutionary tradition may either lead towards revolutionary glimmer in subsequent regimes as happened in France, or to constitutional stagnancy as happened in America, or to a divorce with the revolution as has happened in Russia. The Chinese Revolution has not yet decided: it divorces the past in one step and preserves it in the next, though its path appears similar to that of the Russian revolution while maintaining the Party’s control (as opposed to the control of monetary monopolies aligned with Putin in Russia). There are clear aging features in the Iranian revolution: the discord, to avoid claiming complete conflict, within the ranks of the mullahs is clear. Not one of the nineteen grand ayatollahs stepped forward to instantly and publicly support the disputed elections.

However, Arab regimes rotate between public jubilation and internal worry. The House of Saud’s media (especially King Fahd’s brother in law’s “Al-Arabiyya” and Prince Salman’s newspaper “Al-Sharq Al-Awsat”) celebrates like a bride’s mother. The media of the state, which does not allow for even hollow elections on paper as in Egypt, Jordan and Syria, demands free and impartial elections in Iran. The House of Saud has no sense of irony. Arabic regimes can only sense internal worry and panic towards the Iranian elections. They fear the spread of street dynamics to their capitals, which suffer more repression and injustice than the Iranians experience. Popular protest fever may catch the entire region’s peoples: this scares the regimes more than swine flu. Our leaders prefer to contract swine flu a thousand times rather than their people catching revolutionary fever once."

The Syrian-Saudi-Turkish plot in Iraq

The return of Allawi is the product of an evil plot (not that Nuri Al-Maliki is less evil). (thanks Hassan)

Between Egypt and Israel

"Israel has an increasing problem with foreigners. Many enter legally but outstay their permits and settle there. But also growing in numbers are asylum seekers from Africa, mostly refugees from Sudan and Eritrea. And nearly all come in through Sinai. Israel doesn't want them. It's planning a fence between Israel and Egypt, but hasn't gotten it together with a clear policy on this. Egypt has -- and it's often a lethal one. Human rights organizations say Egyptian border guards have killed at least 17 migrants in recent months. Feldman intended to shed light on a dark corner of life. Accompanying desperate people making heroic efforts against the odds to live a decent life and documenting what happens at the Egyptian border "right under our eyes" is a journalist's mission, he said. His photographs were gone, confiscated in Egypt. He became part of the story -- which could have ended very differently -- and this is how he told it. That of the others remains half-told." (thanks Dina)

This is why you should throw all those rankings out of the window

I mean, who come up with those rankings? "Jordan ranked first and Saudi Arabia last in a new report card on the state of democratic reforms in the Arab world. The Arab Democracy Index was released Monday in Paris." (thanks Abbas)

Just look at this Israeli headline

"Israel allows clothes, shoes into blockaded Gaza for first time"

The Lebanese budget

The Lebanese state paid for the visit of the wealthiest man in the world, Carlos Slim. Why not? Lebanon's public debt is only $55 billion. (thanks Nada)

I Call On You

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”

Land day

"A Palestinian teenager was killed and 12 people were wounded, including children, as Israeli troops opened fire at "Land Day" demonstrators near the Gaza border on Tuesday, Palestinian medics said." (thanks Sarah)

Good news at last. Good news at last. Best news from Lebanon.

The cedars of Lebanon are in danger. The cedars of Lebanon are in danger. This is the best news I have delivered in ages. If it is in my powers, I would uproot all the cedars of Lebanon and replace them with potato trees. (thanks Hussein)

Shame on the BBC

Look how this news item is phrased in such a way as to make the shooting of the teenager a mystery: "A Palestinian teenager has died in a clash near Gaza's southern border, according to medical sources. Muhammad al-Faramawi, 15, was killed at a protest rally near the border town of Rafah, Gaza's director of emergency services said."

Is there a police force anywhere around the world that does not beat the Mossad?

"Algerian authorities have arrested an Israeli Mossad agent carrying a fake Spanish passport in the city of Hassi Messaoud near an Egyptian office providing service for oil companies, Algerian Ennahar El Djadid newspaper reported on Tuesday." Hell. The Modesto police department can beat the Mossad.

law and order (another name for collaboration)

"Palestinian journalists in Bethlehem will strike Tuesday, in response to Palestinian Authority security forces' decision to prevent press from covering protests in the city a day earlier."

Christians with weapons

This is an American formula. Christian with weapons=militia. Muslim with weapons=terrorism. (thanks Phil)

The Lebanese Forces in Denmark

The Lebanese Forces are bragging about their ties to a right-wing party in Denmark. (thanks Imane)

Arab summitry

My article on Arab summits, in Spanish. (thanks Olivia)

Why I hate Lebanon: let me count the ways

I of course detest the very idea of Lebanon and I have always been of the opinion that the entity should be dissolved in a larger one. Think about it: if there is a decent Syrian regime (once this regime is overthrown), there can be a nice larger entity there, and Lebanon will cease being the twin-sister of Zionism in the Arab East. But what bothers me about the Lebanese national idea is this obsession with pleasing and appeasing the White Man, and the need to prove one's credential as a "misplaced European in the dessert." So the New York Times magazine carried a paid advertisement from Lebanese banks, and what was the title of the supplement? "Lebanon: leading with sophistication." It should have been: Lebanon: leading nowhere, and misleading everywhere. Or Lebanon: leading with nothing. Absolutely nothing, unless you count the skills of savagery in the Lebanese civil war.

Mara Karlin preaches to the Lebanese about their military

"From the start, the United States strived to build Lebanon’s armed forces in a prudent and appropriate manner by providing it with the capabilities it required. When the program first began, a thorough assessment of the army’s needs demonstrated that the two most important priorities were mobility and ammunition. A military unable to maneuver throughout its territory and equipped with three-five bullets per soldier (each year) can play, at best, a negligible national role. In sending Lebanon hundreds of vehicles, spare parts, and millions of rounds of ammunition – followed later on by more sophisticated equipment – Washington gave Lebanon what its military required...Lebanon has benefitted significantly from these programs, which have enabled hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to reach Lebanon since 2006. It is important to add that at a critical moment such as when the Lebanese Army battled Fatah al-Islam in Nahr al-Bared in 2007, the US surged its assistance to the armed forces, racing more than 40 airplanes full of equipment to Beirut." So basically she explains: Lebanon should remain defenseless and helpless against Israeli attacks, but that it can count on the US when it kills Palestinians. OK. I get it. (thanks Mick)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Support for Al-Adab

The campaign for the support of the Al-Adab Magazine against the Iraqi intellectuals of occupation.

The new South Africa

"Thousands of homeless people are being forced off the streets of South Africa to hide the scale of poverty there from World Cup fans."

Chief PA collaborator

"Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Monday Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urged Israel to topple Hamas in the Gaza war last year, then turned around and blamed Israel for war crimes."

5-year-old child

"Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported that a 5-year-old child died on Saturday at a local hospital due to the ongoing illegal Israeli siege on the coastal region."

This is Zionism

"According to the report, Abir was killed by a rubber-coated bullet which hit her head. However, the police denied this, and said the post mortem clearly showed that the girl had not died as a result of the shooting." (thanks Sarah)


"In a statement dated March 23, UNICEF president, Caryl M. Stern, denounced the “incorrect use of the UNICEF logo” and stated that “UNICEF was not consulted by PYALARA about the use of its logo in a poster announcing a youth broadcast and it condemns the use of its logo to imply endorsement of political opinions. Neither the poster nor the television program it advertises reflect UNICEF’s policies or its views.” Ms. Stern added that “UNICEF’s partnership agreement with PYALARA ended in January 2010” and that “UNICEF will be carefully reviewing any proposed future partnerships with PYALARA.”" (thanks Narrima)

slap in the face

""Israel is the Zionist enemy, and I gave this enemy a strong slap in the face," said Doctor Zahi Hawass."

Banana cream pies

"Number 3 immediately caught my eye of course; the Angry Arab News Service is a blog written by As’ad Abukhalil, a Lebanese-American professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus and visiting professor at UC, Berkeley, who on Facebook currently describes his own religion as “Banana Cream Pies” (note to those who don’t follow the Angry Arab: a) you should and b) a quick read will show you that he’s an atheist secularist with a wicked sense of humor.)"

Best (collaborators) in history

"Obama administration officials say they believe that the Palestinian leadership is the best in history, focused on nonviolence, institution building and prosperity."

Disgrace unto the nations

"The British secret intelligence service (MI6) suspects that airline staff working for the Israeli secret service Mossad may have copied thousands of British passports, some of which were used in the assassination of senior Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, the News of the World tabloid reported Sunday. According to the report, British authorities are also concerned about security searches carried out on British officials attending a terrorism conference in Israel last September." (thanks Olivia)

Racism of Nuri Al-Malik

The puppet prime minister of Iraq, Nuri Al-Maliki said that Iraq is not "one the banana and jungle countries of Africa..." (thanks Hassan)

Amin Malouf

What people don't know about Amin Malouf is that 1) he was a far left activist in college at the St. Joseph University in Beirut in late 1960s; 2) that he has excellent command of Arabic and started his career in Arabic journalism with the lousy An-Nahar (but it was not as bad and sinister and sectarian and right-wing as it is now); 3) his father was a well-known writer of Arabic.

Bashshar Al-Asad

My mother was observing to me that Bashshar Al-Asad is by far the most intelligent Arab leader but that he has zero charisma and zero sense of humor. Personally, I think that the president of the Comoros Islands is also very smart and he has the best command of Arabic of any Arab leader. But if you want to pick the most illiterate Arab leader, and the most fumbling one, the Saudi king wins hands down.

It is Prince Nayif's Son

The Saudi Prince who was found with drugs on him at Beirut International Airport is allegedly none other than Prince Nayif's son (or one of them).

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Nancy As-Sab`

Nancy As-Sab` (the reporter for New TV) is an excellent interrogator.

Iceland's feminism

"Iceland just passed a law banning all strip clubs, making it the first country to ban stripping for feminist rather than religious reasons. The tiny country has a strong women's movement and the world's first openly gay head of state, and almost half its politicians are women."

Praised for repression

"By most accounts, the recently reformed Palestinian security forces are more professional and disciplined than ever. Troops have won praise for restoring law and order to several West Bank cities, including Nablus and Hebron."

Politics as opium of the people

Comrade `Azmi Bisharah on the production of news in the Arab world. (thanks Hussein)

Tampon-makers can't mention the V-word. Period.

"So what happens when a US tampon-maker drops the coy messaging and goes straight for the jugular (so to speak)? Its ad gets banned by the major US television networks for mentioning the word vagina." (thanks Ema)


"Ignorance, however, goes both ways. Arabs sometimes have exaggerated visions of America as the land of opportunity, where money comes easily, and jobs are always fulfilling." (thanks Molly)

Make no mistakes about it: Obama expanded Bush's wars, and added new ones

"The Ugandan military spokesman in Kampala, Lieutenant-Colonel Felix Kulayigye, denied that any significant attack had occurred at Makombo. He said that Operation Lightning Thunder – a US-backed Ugandan mission to destroy LRA bases in a Congolese national park in December 2008 – and follow-up operations had left the rebels with fewer than 200 fighters. "We do not believe that the LRA has the numbers or the time to kill 300 people in Congo.""

Disgrace unto the nations

""Sooner or later we will liquidate the military regime of the pro-Iranian Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip," Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, from the governing rightwing Likud party, told public radio."

There is an Arab in my store: please send help NOW

"Internet cafe users in the British capital may want to watch what they download. Scotland Yard is advising administrators of public Web spaces to periodically poke through their customers' files and keep an eye out for suspicious activity." (thanks Olivia)

Martin Indyk commanding troops

"For the sake of verisimilitude, former top American policymakers and intelligence officials — some well known — were added to the mix. They played the president and his top advisers; the Israeli prime minister and cabinet; and Iranian leaders. They were granted anonymity to be able to play their roles freely, without fear of blowback. (This reporter was invited as an observer.)" I wonder if the Saban Center would host a simulation of the liberation of Palestine and the end of Zionism in the holy land. I would proudly preside. (thanks Abbas)

This is the real Israel

"Israel will close off the West Bank from Midnight Sunday until midnight, April 6, for the duration of Passover holiday, the Israeli military spokesman announced Sunday morning." (thanks Sarah)

Mira Awad celebrates Israel

Mira Awad celebrates Israel's "birthday." But who cares? Mira Awad's talents are equal to my the talents of Bono in playing musical instruments. (thanks Sousan)

Al-Qa`idah plots in the Arab world

Since Sep. 11, Arab governments have thwarted no less than 12,000,0032 Al-Qa`idah plots in their countries. If that is not anti-terrorist vigilance, I don't know what is.

Ariel Sharon with the worst Lebanese, ever

This is from a book titled "Sharon an intimate portrait". This book was available, from this website. Shortly after this picture was taken, Gemayyel was assassinated. How funny is that? I mean, how funny is that? No, one more time. How funny is that? (thanks Hisham)

67% of female respondents

"A survey in 2009 of 15,000 Egyptian youths, for instance, found that 67% of female respondents believe that a husband is justified in beating his wife if she speaks to another man."

How to reinforce strategic ties

In the paper edition of the New York Times: they had this title: "U.S. and Pakistan Agree to Reinforce Strategic Ties". And the subtitle was: "weapons deliveries expedited", or words to that effect. I thought it was hilarious. Are you laughing with me? Are you, damn it? You better.

“We have shot an amazing number of people"

"American and NATO troops firing from passing convoys and military checkpoints have killed 30 Afghans and wounded 80 others since last summer, but in no instance did the victims prove to be a danger to troops, according to military officials in Kabul. “We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat,” said Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who became the senior American and NATO commander in Afghanistan last year. His comments came during a recent videoconference to answer questions from troops in the field about civilian casualties."

Ugly Lebanon: the largest contingent of visitors to Saudi Janadiriyyah conference came from Lebanon

"من كل اصقاع الارض حضر مشاركون مدعوون محاضرون ومستمعون حتى بلغ عددهم نحو 450 مدعواً، وكان العدد الاكبر بعد الحضور السعودي هو للبنان حيث بلغ عدد مدعويه 33 ابرزهم الوزيران طارق متري وغازي العريضي ((متري لم يحضر بسبب اقفال المطار نتيجة العاصفة الرملية التي لفت المملكة يوم القاء محاضرته)) والوزير السابق غسان سلامة ورجال الدين الكبار الشيخ محمد علي الجوزو والسيد محمد حسن الامين والسيد علي الامين والسيد هاني فحص، الشيخ خلدون عريمط، الشيخ مظهر الحموي، ومن السياسيين توفيق سلطان، ومن المفكرين منح الصلح، ومن الاعلاميين جورج قرداحي، فؤاد مطر، عرفان نظام الدين، رفيق خوري، فيصل سلمان، عوني الكعكي، بسام عفيفي، سعيد غريب، وسام سعادة، منير الحافي ومازن السماك ومن الشعراء شوقي بزيع.
اما على المستوى العربي فأبرز الحضور من مصر د. حسن حنفي وأحمد عمر هاشم، ومن سوريا د. عبداللطيف ارناؤوط ومن العراق حسن العلوي ود. عبدالحسين شعبان، الشاعر يحيى السماوي ومن ليـبيا الشاعر احمد ابراهيم الفقيه ومن المغرب محمد بن عيسى ومن الكويت د. عبدالله الشايجي ومن اليمن د. احمد الاصبحي."

Saturday, March 27, 2010

US votes

"The UN Human Rights Council urged Tel Aviv on Wednesday to pay reparations to the Palestinian people for the loss and damage it inflicted on them during last year's bloody invasion of the Gaza Strip. Pakistan tabled the motion, which also suggested that the Red Cross should investigate Israel's use of incendiary white phosphorus weapons during Operation Cast Lead. It passed by a majority of 29 to five at the UNHRC heaquarters in Geneva, with 11 abstentions. The resolution was opposed by the US, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands and Slovakia." (thanks Nir)

Arabs and census

"The Census Bureau says it doesn’t matter if Arab Americans write their race in on their Census questionnaire. Even if they check the “other” box and write in “Arab,” as many community groups advocate, the Census will still count them as racially white. “Anyone from Europe, North Africa or the Middle East [will be classified] as white,” said Roberto Ramirez, chief of the ethnicity and ancestry branch at the Census Bureau." (thanks Safia)

Iraqi puppet election

""I sometimes think this election is really between the Ealing Gang and the Wimbledon Gang," he said."

An Israeli Mossad man hearts Hamas

"Hamas has demonstrated a will and a capacity to think and act pragmatically when it believes it useful or necessary. There’s no better example of this than its governance of Gaza. Yes, it continues to play the role of peace-process spoiler when that role suits its interests. But Hamas has also demonstrated a serious capacity to exercise responsibility and restraint when that role suits its purposes. It has demonstrated its ability to control Gaza effectively, to both enforce a long-term cessation of hostilities and to withstand the combined efforts of the United States, Israel, and Egypt to bring it to its knees." (thanks Olivia)

women for the mission

"A CIA expert has called for recruiting Afghan women in a public relations bid to persuade skeptical Europeans to support the NATO-led war effort, according to a document leaked Friday. "Afghan women could serve as ideal messengers in humanizing" the mission for European audiences, particularly in France, according to the CIA analysis, posted on WikiLeaks, a whistleblower website." (thanks Mouin)

Britain and Muslim Brotherhood

""British funding of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt began in the 1940s; the following decade Britain was conniving with the organization to kill Nasser (and also to overthrow nationalist governments in Syria). The reason for supporting Islamist organizations in the early postwar period was to counter popular nationalism, and Whitehall regularly sided with the Muslim Brotherhood throughout the Middle East..."" (thanks Nu`man)

explosive implants

"Radical Islamist plastic surgeons could be carrying out the implant operations in lawless areas of Pakistan, security sources are said to warned. Explosives experts have reportedly said just five ounces of Pentaerythritol Tetrabitrate packed into a breast implant would be enough to blow a “considerable” hole in the side of a jumbo jet." (thanks Marcy)

Arab summitry

My article on the Arab summit in French. (thanks Nadine)

Puppets of the US clash

"The United Arab Emirates navy is thought to have opened fire on a small patrol vessel from Saudi Arabia after a dispute over water boundaries." (thanks Yazan)

Lebanese Army Intelligence: is chasing bloggers

The Lebanese Army (just like Lebanon) has been since its inception a joke. An Army that only showed its heroism against the Palestinian civilians through the ages. A Lebanese blogger, Khodor Salamah, was recently summoned by Lebanese Army intelligence and warned against mocking the Lebanese President or the Lebanese Army. I could not believe that this took place, and I had to check with people and with the blogger himself to confirm it. I now can confirm that indeed the Lebanese Army Intelligence threatened ("legal action"?) against the blogger in question. I have been quite unhappy of the Lebanese press disregard for the significance of the story. They think that they can pick on a lone blogger who is not protected by a syndicate or association. Lebanon is being penetrated and violated by Israeli terrorist networks and the Lebanese Army Intelligence is busy with the task of violating the rights of a blogger. That tells you something about the Lebanese Army. I will say a few words in Arabic here:
آن الأوان كي يتضامن ويتكافل المدونون والمدونات العرب مع المدون خضر سلامة الذي تعرّض للإساءة والمضايقة من قبل مخابرات الجيش اللبناني. إن هذه القضية مهمة لأنها تشكل سابقة. اكشتفنا ان مخابرات الجيش التي يجب ان تكون منكبة على إكتشاف شبكات تجسس العدو, لديها متسع من الوقت لتعقب ورصد المدونات للتأكد من خلوها من نقد رئيس الجمهورية والجيش اللبناني. ومن المؤسف ان الصحافة اللبنانية, كلها من دون استثناء, تعاملت مع الموضوع إما بخفة أو بتجاهل تام. إن نقابتي الصحافة والمحررين ديناصورات لا تحمي الحرية. فلنعمل من أجل إنشاء تجمع أو نقابة للمدونين والمدونات كي يكون التضامن والتكافل أفعل.
PS The courageous blogger, Khodor, responds to Lebanese Army's intimidation.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Carlos Slim

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "Carlos Slim: The Reality (or Illusion) of the Lebanese Dream"

Obama is not that angry after all

"As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Washington this week absorbing the full wrath of the Obama administration, the Pentagon and Israel's defense establishment were in the process of sealing a large arms deal. According to the deal, Israel will purchase three new Hercules C-130J airplanes. The deal for the three aircrafts, designed by Lockheed Martin, is worth roughly a quarter billion dollars. Each aircraft costs $70 million."
"A Palestinian who was imprisoned for a week says members of the Border Police beat and abused him for hours, then accused him of attacking one of them."

Finkelstein on Israeli propaganda

Norman Finkelstein sent me this (I cite with his permission): "I was rereading the Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center's 350-page response to Goldstone: Hamas and the Terrorist Threat from the Gaza Strip: The main findings of the Goldstone Report versus the factual findings. It is such an embarrassment that you almost -- I said almost -- begin to feel sorry for the authors. Because you have read the Goldstone report I thought you would particularly appreciate this. You will recall the harrowing passages in the Goldstone report of Palestinians forced to kneel blindfolded and handcuffed in sandpits surrounding Israeli tanks that are firing away or moving back and forth. So, listen to what this Israeli report conjures up: "Hamas operatives would position innocent civilians near IDF tanks to prevent IDF soldiers from shooting at them" (p. 196). You get it: a "Hamas operative" drags a Palestinian civilian in front of an Israeli tank and then says: "You stand right here to make sure the Israeli tank squad doesn't fire at us." (No doubt the tank squad obliged and stood idly by.)"

Lebanon to appoint Saudi prince as its drug czar

"Lebanese security forces have arrested a Saudi prince at the Rafiq Hariri International Airport in Beirut after they discovered cocaine in his possession during a routine inspection of passengers." (thanks Olivia)

Translation of my article on Amos Oz

Marwan kindly and promptly translated my Al-Akhbar article on Amos Oz from last week:

""Amos Oz: Arab Liberal Love for Israel."
They want to make of Amos Oz a friend of the Arabs, by force. They want to crown him a king of peace. Those who included a secret clause about normalization with Israel in the Thomas Friedman-Abdullah initiative, they rush to try and vainly influence the political culture of the Arab world. Al-Saud liberal princes enthusiastically promote Amos Oz and his counterparts. They believe him to be a symbol of the “Israeli peace” camp. They try to convince the Arab people of the rightness of Zionism in their midst. That is their desire.

Amos Oz is a lie. And this lie is a part of a bigger lie about the “Israeli peace camp”. The lie was invented by Arafat's team (led by Mahmoud Abbas at the time) in the seventies to justify the scrambling behind the freak of a Palestinian mini-nation, surrender to the enemy and to toss the arms very far away. Israeli commentator Gideon Levy exposed them recently in “Haaretz” when he said: “The Israeli peace camp didn't die. It was never born in the first place”. There is no Israeli peace camp. All of this was a fabricated propaganda by normalization Arabs to convince the Arab people that they need to stop the resistance. And Amos Oz is dear to the heart of Western liberals. They honour him sometimes too much for his own liking. He roams and moans in front of an audience that observes the movement of his eyelids. He mentions the Holocaust in a sentence and the Palestinian “terrorism” in the next one.

I saw Amos Oz in 1992 in America. I was at the beginning of my teaching career at “Colorado College”. Oz was invited to deliver a public lecture. They came from all over the state to see him. Liberals flocked in the hundreds. I sat in an unobtrusive back seat and I could hear their moaning, and I felt the pain: I could almost hear the audience reach their climax. How grave my exile felt on that long day. I remember that only one British student understood my suffering. She sat next to me and said sympathetically even before Oz started talking: “What’s wrong? I read the expressions of your face”. I said: “If Mahmoud Darwish came to this university, none of these people would show up”. She said: “Don’t be unfair to me”. I was unfair to that student. Then Oz proceeded with a speech that he never tires of repeating in his articles and lectures. I grew more annoyed. I felt suffocated. I remember I kept reciting to myself what poems I memorized about Palestine: even that annoying poem of “Al-Akhtal As-Sagheer” (“The desert came alive complaining its nakedness, then we engulfed it with roar and smoke”, while the Arab armies were reluctant to fight, or were shooting at each other). Amos Oz captured the neediness of the audience. I almost burst. He bragged that he was never non-violent, and that he was proud of his fighting in the army of the enemy in the different wars. And then he invoked the Holocaust (as the Zionists always do and as does Ahmadinejad) in his speech, and he spoke of the signs of the collapse of the Nazi society, and how it started with the abuse of the language. They applauded him long in a standing ovation.

Then came my turn, or rather, I stole a turn. I stood up and faced the audience, not him (in my unequivocal commitment to boycotting the enemy), without an invitation from anyone, except from Iyad Noureddine Al-Moudawwar, my martyr and my comrade. I said: he talked to you about the abuse of language but he did not know that I was counting the times where he attached the word Palestinian with the word terrorist in the sequence of his phrases: more than 27 times in full. And isn’t that of the indicators to the collapse of Israeli society and its aggressive intentions? And I asked them about terrorism: I told them about Israeli terrorism in 1982 and my eyewitness accounts of it, and how the enemy's army killed more children than any organization which is classified by U.S. as “terrorist”, and then I concluded by mocking the honouring of his ilk in America. Oz came to me and tried to shake my hand – this is one of their games trying to appear as pacifist in front of the Western public - I got up from my chair and left the room. (Does my stance embarrass Arab liberals and defy the orders of the son of Sultan and the son of Salman?) My students told me later that they’d never seen me this way before. I told them: Have you ever seen the fragments of Ghassan Kanafani' [s body] and Lamees?

Since the nineties, the Al-Saud media have been adopting the logic of surrender to Israel through the exaggeration of the size (although I do not acknowledge its existence) of the so-called peace camp. “Al-Hayat” newspaper and others published praises for Shimon Peres, and the victory of the Labor in the elections became a realization of the promise and an achievement of victory. Ibrahim Al-Arees (who a year ago considered that the “Initiative” between King Abdullah for interfaith dialogue and between Shimon Peres is the greatest initiative in the history of mankind) called on “Al-Jazeera” and Arab media in general to host Amos Oz, because of his positive positions (in his opinion). The release of the book ”A Tale of Love and Darkness” was an opportunity to unleash a Saudi media campaign to urge Arabs to fall in deep love and affection with Amos Oz and other Zionists (Saudi and Hariri media started talking about pressure on Netanyahu from the “right” in his government, and that the Likud has become a middle or left in the Arab media criteria, which deals with «Kadima» as if it belongs to the far left). “The New York Times” published a long article on the Arabic version of the book, and included quotes of Abdo Wazen and bleak comments from Oz, in which he called the Arabs to accept Israel as a “refugee camp”, just like the Palestinian camps. This idiotic analogy wants us to believe that a state which has received more than one hundred billion dollars in American aid since the sixties only, which has a huge arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, which bombed during its history Tunisia, Sudan, Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Iraq, which invaded the Arab countries surrounding Palestine, is comparable to the camp of Sabra and Shatila. Amos Oz preached to the Arabs, and they listened diligently.

But Abdo Wazen asked the Arabs, from a well-informed point of view (always), to read Oz and asserted that the man is a leftist. (And Wazen errs and tumbles when he talks about non-Arabic literature, as we recall that he had invited the Arabs to read the “intellectual” writings of Solzhenitsyn (the man has no intellectual writings), he also called on them to read his memoirs (he never wrote any memoirs, except for one article about his life). Wazen, who does not understand any Hebrew, talked about the contributions of Oz in the “revival” of Hebrew. If Wazen was really concerned about the revival of the Hebrew language, he would’ve read the writings of the true reviver the Hebrew language, I mean the founder of the so-called “cultural Zionism”, “Ahad Ha'am” who wrote critically of the practices of Zionism in 1891 and said that the Palestinian people never left any land unplanted, unlike the Zionist propaganda about “flowering of the desert”. He also published an article on the belief of Jewish immigrants in Palestine that the Arabs are “like donkeys”, and he described how the Jewish immigrants hit the Palestinians strike for the silliest reasons. (See his political writings in the book “Wrestling with Zion”). Amos Oz did not come close in his criticism to that of “Ha’am”. Wazen says that Oz is “known for his permanent condemnation of the Israeli military actions (word for word from Wazen’s text) against the Palestinians and Lebanese”. (“Al-Hayat”, March 1, 2010). This is not Amos Oz, and Wazen did not read what Oz wrote over the years. Somebody who read Amos Oz cannot issue a verdict like the one Wazen expressed about him. Unless Wazen read unpublished manuscripts for the man, but judgment is drawn from what was published.

No, Amos Oz did not condemn Israeli war crimes against Palestinian and Lebanese peoples, unless Wazen got confused and thought that Amos Oz was the nom de guerre of Abu Maher Al-Yamani (with great apologies to the beloved comrade Abu Maher). Oz, as Norman Finkelstein wrote to me in a letter on the subject of Oz, “waited until the last two days preceding the end of the war, before he, Grossman and Yehoshua took the initiative to call for a press conference, stressing that the war is certainly righteous and it was time for a cease-fire”. But Oz did not condemn the war. He only disputes the number of children who should be killed in the war crimes of Israel. He also condemned Hezbollah and gave it the responsibility of the Israeli aggression on Lebanon (note that the horns of the Israeli lobby in the Saudi and Hariri media speak today about “Israel's war against Hezbollah”, as if the usurping entity spares civilian lives). Where did Wazen acquire his information from? Does Khalid bin Sultan Library contain unpublished references about Oz? One does not need talismans, or potions from “Amana Care”. Let us return to the texts of the occupying man (every Israeli is definitely and occupier, even children and women, without justifying the killing of civilians, of course).

Let’s go back to his most important book “My Michael”. The Arab in the story appears through the twins, Khalil and Aziz. And their depiction includes racial profiling at its worst. They are silent (“they do not like words” (p. 28 of the English version)) and filthy. Even Aziz’s eye white was “dirty” (p. 47). In a scene that summarizes the Zionist view of the Arabs, one of them walks on four like an animal, and he and his brother rape the Jewish victim who screams. (P. 47). Of course, in addition to rape, the twin brothers play with grenades (p. 105). Also, murder and rape are equal in the depiction of the Arab. Even the children ask about the accidental killing of Arabs in the book. This is Amos Oz. In his book, recently translated into Arabic, (” A Tale of Love and Darkness”), the name of the “mean Arabs” is coupled with “wild animals” (p. 10 of the English version). And Arabs, for him, like the Nazis, are about to commit the “pogrom” (p. 11), even though the word is Russian and it was formulated to portray the actions of non-Arabs against Jews in nineteenth century Russia. And Oz finds it so easy to lie when he indicates that the world supported the Arabs in their wars against Israel (p. 23), while giving up on Israel. He wants to elicit your tears. As if the nuclear bombs and the modern Zionist army are gifts from heaven. Abdo Wazen and other promoters of Oz in the Saudi media will not notice that the latter spoke of “all kinds of Asian insects, and disgusting winged reptiles that came directly from Africa or the Arab villages». (P.78). But why be surprised that Arab writers cover up for Zionist racism, while they adopted covering up the oppression of women and everybody who is “other” in the Kingdom of Wahhabi oppression? These liberals are not uttering a word while a Lebanese man in Saudi Arabia (convicted of “quackery”) waits to be beheaded in a public square. Abdo Wazen did not mention the bigotry of the recently translated book, as he invites us to savour reading Oz in Arabic.

And Oz's relationship with the left is like Nassir Al-As’ad’s relationship with the left. Oz embraced this concealed European racism against Oriental Jews, and held, without hesitation, their migration responsible for the rise of the right in Israel (see his article in “The New York Times”, July 11, 1982). Left for this man is the Zionism of Ben-Gurion; who promoted Zionism as leftist in his relation with the socialist camp and promoted it as Western and “free” in “Biltmore conference” in 1942 in New York to win the support of Roosevelt. Oz also accepts the Jewish gangs’ crimes in Palestine, because they were protecting the occupying migrants from “Arab attacks”. And he does not refrain from distorting history, especially when writing for a Western audience. He says that the 1967 war in which he proudly fought was a “justified battle for the self-protection of Israel” (see p. 2 of the book “Israel, Palestine and Peace”). He fabricates the conditions of war and he fabricates the horrific truth of the State of Israel and he attributes it to the “Arab brutal attempt to destroy Israel” (magazine article mentioned above). Who among the historians can agree with Oz in his propaganda when he speaks of “the human spirit and love of peace”, which sponsored the creation of Israel? Ask the victims of Deir Yassin about that spirit, they will speak at length.

This man, whom Abdo Wazen praises, considers in all his writings that the Zionist movement is a “national liberation movement” (see his article in the magazine “Encounter” in 1982). Oz does not refrain from insulting the entire Palestinian people because they did not “appear sympathetic to the suffering of the Jews”. Of course, it is good for people to show sympathy for one another, but when did sympathy become a condition for liberation? Black people of South Africa were not asked to “understand” the suffering of white racists as a condition for liberation, for the good understanding and human sensitivity in principle. Then, there are afflicted victims who do not show sensitivity towards others, and this applies to some Holocaust victims, such as Elie Wiesel, who was one of the first to equalize the Palestinian national movement with “Nazism”. Oz always tends in his analysis to portray a typical offensive against all the Arabs, calling them names and associating them with quandaries of the type of “destructive dilemma of Saladin”. If an Arab depicted Jews in such a way, Al-Saud liberals would revolt (those are the same people who did not intervene to defend Comrade Samah Idriss, just because he is not of their breed), and demand for his beheading. Oz beautifies the occupation and calls it “military administration” and lauds the “depth” of democracy in Israel (see his article in the « Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung », May 3, 1990). And Oz plays down the occupation (of course, such people and their peers in the Arab media do not consider the Zionist occupation of the territory of the 1948 an occupation), and he blames the whole Arab-Israeli “conflict” on the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza (“The Guardian” December 23 and 24, 1989).

Abdo Wazen never read this man (and this better than the assumption that he did read him but did not notice his veiled racism), and it seems that he read what was written about Oz in the Western Zionist media. Amos Oz sympathized with Palestine and Lebanon? Where, when and how? This guy, who said that the PLO “continues the brutal and abhorrent tradition which was started by the fanatic Palestinian leadership that afflicted its people with a scourge after another”. (“The slopes of Lebanon», p. 28). Is this any different from Netanyahu’s rhetoric? And he is clear when he advises his “peace supporters” in the occupation army to follow the orders to invade Beirut, even if “to cut electric power to Beirut”. (P. 38). What kind of human “connection” do they expect with this man? This supporter of all Israel wars dares to accuse of the Palestinian resistance movement of “genocide”! (P. 86). They want the Arab people to translate and read (and fund) racist speech against the Arab people. This peace-lover, who elicits humanitarian oohs and aahs from the Arab liberals, says that the main responsibility (of the conflict) is to be borne by the Palestinian national movement and its supporters in the Arab States and the rest of the world. “The Palestinian national movement is, I believe, one of the most fanatical, evil and dumb movements” (P. 236. From the book “The Slopes of Lebanon”).

These Arab liberals (the code name for the horns of Al-Saud, Al Al-Hariri and Al-Nahyan), what do they want? Their shamelessness has no limits. They want the Palestinian people to deduct about 78% of the precious land of Palestine for the Zionist movement, and then demand that people bow to the boots of the occupation army. And then they ask them to read the writings of the Zionists of the usurping entity. Ah, how the words of the “wooden language” sound like music to my ears, and how ecstatic they make me feel! Then, we ask Abdo Wazen and others, why do they stress the need of the Palestinian people to read Israeli writings? Why not ask Arabs to read African or Latin literature, for example? Political objective is obvious from their words that are drowned in the ink of normalization of the initiative of King Abdullah to bow to Israel. Elias Khoury believes that translating Hebrew literature into Arabic is a “necessity” and that “in order to connect at a deep human level”! An urgent need? Why? A necessity that’s more urgent that the need for military resistance to the occupation? The Palestinian people have to be killed by the Israeli (and by Amos Oz and others who served in the army of the enemy who killed and injured our brothers and sisters), and in return the Palestinian individual has to read their literature? And why would the translation of Hebrew literature be more urgent than the translation of Spanish literature, for example? Make us understand, please. Then, what is this “deep human level” that Khoury is talking about? I found myself as I re-read the writings of Oz to write this article, I felt outrage and anger against Oz and his ilk of “peace” writers in Israel (i.e. the war writers at the end of the day) and not “deep human connection”. I might lack the liberal taste that allows them, not me, to connect at the deep human level.

Reading, any reading, is of course useful, in any language and of anyone. And brilliance (in music, art or philosophy) might come from political enemies (Wagner, Bob Dylan, Hannah Arendt, Martin Buber, Frank Sinatra). And the feat writer Albert Camus who cannot be ignored, was sympathetic to the French occupation of Algeria (David Carroll's new book, “Albert Camus The Algerian” published by Columbia University, will not save the reputation of the man). But there is the principle of absolute boycott. The translation of Oz’s works in “Dar Al Jamal” or the publication of a book of Abba Eban in Dar-es-Saqi mean a financial contribution in support of the soldiers and institutions of the usurping entity. These get a commission on their books. I saw, for example, the film «Waltz with Bashir», but I was keen to acquire a pirated copy (Seek the movie even if from China), so as not to support the Zionist entity (even though my taxes here in America go, to my pain, to support the entity). The Piracy and online publishing of the mentioned books is possible if you’re keen to read Oz. I will own copies of Hebrew literature, and I will read them on the balcony of a house in the village of Galilee on a red and green bed, but after the liberation of all Palestine, and not before. Then, I will ask the Jewish population in the State of Palestine to read, if they want, the literature of the majority of the population. I will not impose it and I will not make it a measure of humanity."

Zionist laws

"Filed in the Jerusalem Administrative Court on behalf of a woman identified only as Miss Jackson, an Israeli-born former member of the Black Hebrews community in Dimona, and her partner, Michael Johnson, a Nigerian Christian, the petition identifies a gap in the law where the two cannot be married due to their differing religious identities and cannot live together in a recognized common law marriage because she is a permanent resident and not a citizen. Johnson, who arrived here in 2007 after meeting Jackson in Ghana the same year, has no official recognized status in Israel. “There is a gap in the marriage law in Israel because there is no recognition of civil marriages,” said attorney Michael Decker, representing the Jerusalem Institute of Justice. “People here cannot get married to someone of a different religion, and yet someone who is a permanent resident has no option to live in a common law marriage." (thanks Sarah)

Arab summits

My article for Aljazeera net: The Theater of Arab Summits.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Gizelle Khuri

My readers know that no TV personality bothers me more than Lebanese right-wing presenter, Gizelle Khuri. But she bothers me most when she laughs. I mentioned this before and it is true: fro more than 4 years, I have not been able to watch her without yelling out Arabic obscenities (but non-sexistly). In my republic, Gizelle Khuri would be prohibited from smiling or laughing, but she can talk in the wilderness where no one can hear her except Ja`ja` (Ga`ga` in Egyptian accent) (who would be hanging from a tree).

To Lawyers among my readers

I have received emails from legal minds among my readers. I am told that I have grounds to sue the UK's Home Office for libel and defamation especially that I have received hate mails since the release of the report. If any one would like to take the case, or knows some one who would, please email me to my school email below (down to the left, I think).

Her poetry is not good by the way, from a literary point of view

""I have seen evil in the eyes of fatwas, at a time when the permitted is being twisted into the forbidden," she said, with only her microphone and her eyes visible against the uniform black of her burqa. The clerics, she went on – and, by extension, suicide bombers who wrap explosives around their waists – "are vicious in voice, barbaric, angry and blind, wearing death as a robe cinched with a belt". It was a bold message indeed, and in Saudi Arabia, where unmarried men and women are entirely segregated, a highly controversial one. But when she finished, the ranks of men listening erupted into cheers, and the judges sent her into today's final with compliments ringing in her ears." (thanks Ryan)

gathering wood

"On the morning of 10 February, Muhammad Subuh, 17, Saleh Abu Leylah, 16, and Maher Ghanem, 21, were in the area of the Israeli settlements that had been evacuated in the northern Gaza Strip, near the border with Israel. They were gathering wood, which they needed for cooking. Gas for cooking is lacking in the area due to the reduction in importation of cooking gas as part of the siege on the Strip." (thanks Farah)

the image of its relationship

"The U.S.'s obsession with the image of its relationship rather than the security of its national interests is better suited for a marital dispute rather than the relationship of the world's super power with its burdensome ally in the Middle East. So for the sake of this scenario, let us treat this like a marriage and imagine that the couple is seeking therapy to discuss their irreconcilable differences." (thanks Bassam)

Zionism is racism

"Teachers at a large Holon high school said yesterday they were appalled by what they described as the racist insinuations of a video clip they received by e-mail from the school principal that showed an Arab toddler being thrown into a swimming pool and nearly drowning." (thanks Sarah)

Turkey and Israel

"Turkey has taken delivery of six Heron drone aircraft from Israel and expects the remaining four to arrive by the end of April, Defence Minister Vecdi Gonul said on Thursday. Turkey and Israel signed an agreement in 2005 for the procurement of 10 of the unmanned aircraft, used primarily for surveillance."

Tunisian repression

"She was supposed to be holding a press conference in Tunis on the repression of political prisoners in Tunisia, but instead she found herself facing the same political tactics and harassment she and her team had so scrupulously documented." (thanks Nader)

Repression you find moderate

"The Jordanian State Security Court should reconsider its decision last week to ban news media from covering corruption allegations involving the Jordan Petroleum Refinery Company and several leading national figures, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today."

Even lovers don't use this language

"More than 250 members of Congress have signed on to a declaration reaffirming their commitment to "the unbreakable bond that exists between [U.S.] and the State of Israel", in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton." (thanks Olivia)

Now it is an extremist site, according to the Times of India

"The top five extremist sites are said to be: Ali Eteraz, Islam in Europe, Angry Arab News Service, Indigo Jo Blogs/Blogistan and Daily Terror."

Atheist based in the US

"But look more closely and you'll find that the man identified in the reportas Britain's third most influential "pro-Islamic" blogger is actually an atheist based in the United States. As'ad AbuKhalil, a Lebanese-American professor of political science at California State University who blogs as The Angry Arab is furious about it. "How ignorant are the researchers of the Home Office?" he writes. "How many times does one have to espouse atheist, anarchist, and secular principles before they realise that their categorisation is screwed up?" He suspects that his blog was included because of its name. He rarely talks about religion on his blog, except when mocking the fatwas issued by reactionary clerics."

Marcel Khalifah gives a gift to Mini-Hariri

Marcel Khalifah visits mini-Hariri and gives him a gift.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Israeli Chutzpah

"Other officials suggested, however, that Britain should have let the issue of the forged passports die quietly, out of friendship and the shared goal of fighting radical Islamists. The fact that it chose to pursue the case and to take the very public step of expelling a member of the Israeli diplomatic mission in London showed ill will, they said."

Not one members of US Congress would dare say that

"In Britain on Tuesday, a host of lawmakers used harsh language to excoriate Israel on the floor of Parliament, calling for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador, urging criminal prosecution of those involved in the Dubai operation and going so far as to say that Israel was becoming a “rogue state.”"