Tuesday, February 28, 2006
"A potential Off Broadway production of "My Name Is Rachel Corrie," an acclaimed solo show about an American demonstrator killed by an Israeli bulldozer while trying to stop the destruction of a Palestinian home, has been postponed because of concerns about the show's political content." The producer concludes the article with these fitting words: "We would be taking a stand we don't want to take."
Here's some other "surprising" findings:
"Nearly nine of every 10 - 85% - said the U.S. mission is "to retaliate for Saddam's role in the 9-11 attacks," while 77% said they believe the main or a major reason for the war was "to stop Saddam from protecting al Qaeda in Iraq."
"Just 24% said that "establishing a democracy that can be a model for the Arab World" was the main or a major reason for the war. Only small percentages see the mission there as securing oil supplies (11%) or to provide long-term bases for US troops in the region (6%)."
"Placing this resident, who is caught in the middle of a battlefield, before a choice - whether or not to acquiesce to the army's request to pass a warning to a wanted gunman - is placing him before an impossible choice. The choice itself is immoral and harms the dignity of man."
I agree. I would add that it harms more than his dignity. It can actually kill him.
The neighbor in the apratment across the hall from mine in El Bireh was used as a "human shield" when the soldiers raided the building. He suffered a heart attack there and then at the age of 42. He survived. The building didn't. I was out of the country then but I was told that a tank was placed in front of it and it was shelled for hours. The owner of the building also had a heart attack when he heard the news. Now the building stands with gaping halls in it. It's were my son took his first baby steps.
As to the Israeli court, now it just needs to rule against the illegal apartheid wall, the illegal settlement, the illegal water and land grabs, the illegal roads for settlers/colonists, the illegal home demolitions, the illegal killings...
How about a ruling againt the illegal occupation. It will save time, life, and dignity.
This is reported by Al Quds Al Arabi. I couldn't find the statement in the Palestinian local papers, where it was supposedly published.
Monday, February 27, 2006
"In reality, the problems of the Middle East have little to do with a clash of civilizations and a lot to do with the Arab world's "civilization of clashes" — the propensity of its political culture to resolve disputes by violence rather than negotiation. The same applies a fortiori to sub-Saharan Africa," according to this op-ed piece in the LA Times.
It's really their political culture of violence that is the source of all this mess (as opposed to 'our' culture of peace?) It doesn't even have anything to do with us, not even remotely.
So why don't we just leave the Arabs alone and they can just self-destruct. It will definitely be cheaper for the American tax payer.
"The high-waisted, flowing gowns that dominate the runways this spring go back another hundred years or so to the Empire dresses of the Napoleonic era," tells us Elizabeth Khuri in review of Spring fashions.
Well, the age of empire is back, so it's only fitting to have a dress to go with it. But what about the shoes?
Sunday, February 26, 2006
They are really refusing to get offended. Nice people. I mean with all they do to prove their loyalty (cheap oil, military basis etc), they still have Hilary Clinton and co. trip over themselves to insult the contaminated "Ay-rabs."
I think about these good Arabs and their hard-to-please American friends when I listen to this, which is Nadine Labaki's Lebanese version of Fellini's film "La Strada," probably one of the saddest films ever made.
"Most of these artists are tagged Islamic because of their backgrounds. Yet much of their work is far less about Islam itself, as a religion or culture, than about their relationship to Islam — in some cases it is close and positive; in other cases, distant and critical. But in most instances, it is ambivalent — the opposite of how Islam is treated these days in the larger world."
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Friday, February 24, 2006
In covering the story, Al Arabeya.net has been focusing on the woman. For their main story on her death, this is the headline they chose: "Atwar Bahjat: "a bride" wedded to the grave instead of to her groom." Is this the best they could come up with? They are reporting on the death of a professional woman, who was murdered while doing her dangerous work, and this is their opening paragraph: "Terrorism's hands have aborted the hopes of the martyr and colleague Atwar Bahjat to complete her arrangements for her wedding, which was expected. The youthful "bride" can no longer walk between lines of girls holding the hand of her groom towards the wedding hall? and will no longer be able to cry for happiness..."
أجهضت أصابع الإرهاب، آمال الشهيدة الزميلة أطوار بهجت في أن تستكمل تحضيراتها لزفافها الذي كان مرتقبا. ولم يعد بوسع "العروس" الشابة، أن تمشي بين صفوف الفتيات وأصابعها مشبوكة في أصابع عريسها، باتجاه سرادق العرس. ولم يعد بإمكانها أن تبكي من الفرح، حين تزغرد أمها في حضرة ليلة العمر.
I may be getting kranky, but I think the above is really bad writing on so many levels. Please transfer this guy to the society pages and write a decent eulogy of your colleague.
%10.5 of women have experienced sexual assault
% 32.3 of women have experienced physical violence at least once
% 61.7 of women have experienced psychological violence at least once
The percentage of women who experienced physical violence is higher among those with more educated than among those with less or no education. (maybe the ones with more education are more likely to answer honestly?)
As to children age 5-17, %51.4 have experienced physical violence, mostly at home, the street, and school (from teachers).
That ordeal, however, is nothing compared to this nightmare.
Back to Al Deghaidi. Wether her representation of same-sex relations is good or bad will depend on what she has to say and how she says it. The mere representation of homosexuality in film or literature does not necessarily lead to better understanding. Take 'Ala' al Aswani's novel 3emaret Yacoubian translated into English as The Yacobian Building, a best-seller in the Arab world. The film based on it has been Egypt's entry in the Berlin film festival--the first in 27 years (starring Nour el Shereef and Adel Imam). One of the characters in the book is a homosexual journalist who has a relationship with another man. The novel includes "intimate" scenes between the men. However, the discourse the novel peddles about homosexuality, and about sexulity in general, is conservative if not reactionary. Homosexuality is a "western disease" that is infecting our society and causing it to be infertile. The only fulfilling sex scene in the novel occurs in an Islamic military training camp between a couple whose marriaged has been arranged by the leader of the camp (this wife is the only 'feminist' in the book; all the other women are just bodies bought and sold on the meat market). In short, when it comes to sexuality, both hetro and homo, this book is retareded and retarding.
So here it is; I'm going to say it. It's not easy. But I'm saying it.
(and with Brooks and Rice...oh god. will somebody stop me, please???)
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Then the first gulf war happened.
After that I couldn't bear to watch any competitve team sport. I was cured.
Speaking of sports, my niece is the goali of the Palestinan Women National Soccer Team (yes, there's such a thing). She's 14. I hear she's good and I think it's super cool. Go Muna. And no I'm not being inconsistent.
The average Palestinian before Oslo had an annual income of about 3 times more than he has now (he gave numbers but I don't remember the exact figures). Then he said that "under the Israeli occupation" Palestinians fared better than with all the aid money they've been getting. His conclusion: Palestinians have been doing worse economically in correllation to how much they've been compromising on their national rights. The more they compromise, the less well they do.
This is problematic. Here's why:
1) He's blaming all Palestinan ills on "corruption"--the magic word that got Hamas elected (the equivalent of Bush using "terrorism" to win elections and maintain popularity). Yes, there is corruption. But the reason for Palestinans' impoversihment is not the PA corruption. No, sir. It's the Israeli policy of closures, which is the number one reason behind the sky-rocketing rates of unemployment in the occupied territories. And while the policies of the occupation should be the first to blame, Hamas should also take some responsibility: many of the closures were intensified and prolonged during the second Intifada after the suicide bombing attacks inside Israel, many of which were carried out by Hamas. At least they can acknoweldge that economic loss was one of the sacrifices the Palestinians needed to make, but to pretend that their own policies had nothing to do with consequencies and blame all on the corruption of the PA is dishonest.
2) Palestinans are still under Israeli occupation. The PA is under Israeli occupation. So his "before" and "after" is false to begin with.
3) The Israelis would love to use this argument, which he (unintentionally but stupidly) is making for them: Palestinians faired better under "occupation" than under their own "government."
4) Throughout the interview, he referred to Abu Mazen, without irony, as the "head of state". He talked about Hamas forming the "next government". He said "our state" this and "our state" that. Hummm!! Since when? Yesterday, the PA was a collaborating regime, the Palestinian state a joke, the legislative council Oslo puppets but today we have a state, and a government, and a president, and a parliament? As we say in Arabic: "Subhan mughayyer al Ahwal, men halen ela hal."
In related news: the PFLP seems open to joining a Hamas government. Although I'm not surprised, I still can't help wonder how could it be that the PFLP could not enter the elections on a unified list with other secular groups, I mean they couldn't find any points of agreement with any other leftists or secularists, but has no problem entering a Hamas government? Something is not right (or left ?) here.
"Freedom of expression" is a non-existing commodity in most of the Arab world; endangered spiecies have a better chance of survival than journalists who try to exercise it. So when crowds, leaders, and political groups attack Danish "freedom of expression" they are really squelching freedom of expression in their own countries. Again, the people who will pay the heaviest price are not the Danes, the French, or the British. They are people like these journalists, whom many people would like to see hanged for their transgressions.
So those who argued that this wasn't a "freedom of expression" issue, what do you say now to these journalists? And please hurry up; some may not live long enough to hear it.
Two related asides:
This morning on Al Jazeera TV, a Shi'at leader speaking in Lebanon said that the blowing up of the dome of one of the holiest sights for Shi'at is a continuation of the attacks on Islam which we have been witnessing lately as in the cartoon insults to the prophet. (shall we blame this on the Danes too?)
He doesn't believe that, of course. But why would he say it? Perhaps in the hope of moblizing the same crowds that protested the cartoons so they would protest this criminal attack? Good luck. To mobilize Al Jazeera since it's been a cheerleader for that crisis? Fat chance. He knows that some of the people behind the cartoon protests will not shed a tear for the destruction of Shi'at holy places. In fact, they may even cheer.
The New York Times article about the blowing up of the Samerra' Shi'at site does not miss the occasion to remind us who is a good and who is a bad Shi'at; I bolded the clues just in case:
"militiamen loyal to radical cleric Moktada al-Sadr, who is a fervent believer in the prophecy of the Imam Mahdi," versus "Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most revered Shiite cleric in Iraq, called for a period of mourning..."
For Moktada al Sadr to be singled out as "fervent believer" is silly. Is Sistani less of a "fervent believer" in the prophecy? Not as far as I know. But, hey, I'm not the New York Times.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
According to one of Al Arabeya readers in the comments section: "after seeing the ads for the fair, I decided not to visit it. What's the point? Half the books are banned and the other half is cook books." Some cook books can be subversive, so maybe they need to screen those as well.
The Palestinian people will pay the price of Hamas's costly alliance with Iran. They do not need international isolation.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
I haven't read Ankori's book, so I can't judge it. But what is obvious in this case is that a Palestinian art historian is feeling his territory invaded and his work appropriated by an Israeli. My guess is that Ankori quotes him and may not be technically plagiarizing him, but she is appropriating his work and getting moral and academic credit for doing so. She's an Israeli at Harvard; he's a Palestinan not at Harvard. It's all about power.
" Muslims and Arabs have done pitifully little to help improve the capacity of the Palestinian people to be good neighbors to their Israeli brethren. Take the money spent by any Middle Eastern royal family at a London hotel or Geneva resort during one month and you could build enough schools and medical clinics to take care of 1,000 Palestinian children for a year. Yet rather than educate and feed Palestinian and Muslim children so they may learn to settle differences through dialogue and debate, instead of by throwing rocks and wearing bombs, the Muslim "haves" put on a few telethons to raise paltry sums for the "have nots" to alleviate the guilt over their palatial gilded cages."
So the problem is that the Palestinian children just haven't learned dialogue and good neigborly relations with their innocent and hospitable Israeli neighbors? And all they need is more charities to tame and civilize them? More debate clubs in school? Less sugar in their food so they become less hyper and stop playing with these damn stones and play with legos instead?
How about a country? How about freedom? How about justice? Or are these luxuries for Palestinian kids, both Muslim and Christian?
Now, this is no regular Muslim American. Oh, did I mention that he's Fox news "terrorism expert"?
I find it interesting (isn't this word useful) that as fabulously rich the man was, he still needed a "khatba" (this is the Arabic world; don't know the Indian) to help him find a match.
Now, I'm worried Mira Nair is going to make a movie about this.
I love watching Tony Blair lie. He looks...how should I put it, so sincere. I'm serious. I know all politicians lie, but he really is good at it. Watch him.
This is not charity, welfare, aid, or Hamas money. It's Palestinian money.
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Let us also remember that this same argument can be used (is used) to dismiss good "traditions" which are deemed un-Islamic. The traditional Palestinian wedding, the traditional Palestinian dress, the traditional Palestinian Dabkah and many other cultural practices have been under attack as "bed'as" and alien to Islam. Thus, the argument goes, we need to purify our society from these "alien" practices. An example: while some Palestinians are making music to survive, Islamists in Palestine are against music (drums maybe allowed but not instrumentals). When I was teaching at An Najah University, my students came to blows because for the English department's graduation party, the Islamist students were against playing any kind of background music, while the other students wanted some Oud or something to accompany them when they walk up to the stage to get their degree.
In fact, when I talk about the social and cultural Islamist agenda for Palestine, I mean their agenda to "invent" a new tradition that replaces not only "bad" traditions like honor killing, but any practices that are deemed un-Islamic including traditions and what they consider western importations.
I wounder how much Jamilah al Shanti, the new Hamas MP quoted in this article, know about the group she's representing. In an earlier article I posted, she showed that she has never read the Hamas charter.
Friday, February 17, 2006
Well done Arabs and Muslims. Not only we could never maintain a boycott of Israel, we managed to subotage Norway's attempt to start such a boycott.
But why does sister Phyllis pronunce feminism dead, you ask?
Well, apparently because western feminists are too pro Palestinian. They are so pro Palestinian and pro Arab that they just don't see the oppression under which Muslim, Arab, and Palestinian women live. Western academic feminists are too anti Jewish. She, on the other hand, is the true feminist. She is also a rabid Zionist and is proud of it. She also has an insider view of real Islam because she once lived in Afghanistan as a young bride. So she's seen it all; she'll be another humanitarian lifting the veil off Islam and Arab and Muslim women.
I was intrigued by the chapter entitled "The One-Sided Feminist Academy" so I skimmed it to see who are the academics she's denouncing and why. Well, Spivak is one. Chesler whines about how difficult she is and how hard to understand. Ok, granted. Then denounces her for criticizing white western feminists for their sometimes imperial discourse about third world women. There is no argument here or engagement with Spivak. It is enough that Chesler says that something is bad for it to be bad (bad Sivak, bad Spivak).. How about constructing an argument against Spivak? How about reading some of her work rather than just quoting from interviews with her. But Chesler is in the business of "tarnish and run."
Then after Spivak she sinks her teeth in the "Palestinian American academic" Suha Sabbagh. She is offended by a book Sabbagh edited called Arab Women: Between Defiance and Restraint because it is "Palestinianized", i.e, it dares to mention Palestine "a country that did not exist at the time of publication in 1996" (110). Horror of all horrors.
For the record, I reviewed Sabbagh's book when it first came out for The Women's Review of Books. Although I'm Palestinian, a feminist, an academic (mini academic at the time since I was in grad school when I wrote that review), and although I liked Spivak and all the gang of postcolonial feminists who wanted to talk about race and imperialism along with gender and sexuality , I was critical of Sabbgh's introduction, which I thought was the worst part of the book. For while some of the essays were strong, and others were less so, Sabbagh's introduction was carelss and actually irritated me. I criticized her for her "defensiveness" about Arab women that came close to apologia.I said that she used "neutral -sounding functional explanation to exonerate inequality." I pointed out how in places "the mantle of sociological objectivity excuses uncritical relativism." I concluded that while Sabbagh's suspect statements "tell us little about Arab women in general, they do remind us of the uncomfortable places from which many of us speak." I bring up this old review to show that Chesler's claims that Palestinian feminists have a national political agenda that blinds us to reality is false. We don't need her to tell us what is good scholarship on Arab women and what is bad. If there are apologists among some Arab feminists, it's mostly because of people like Chesler who have a Zionist agenda that uses women's issues to paint Arabs and Muslims as monsters and brutes.
Another feminist Chesler doesn't like is Robin Morgan, who dared visit Palestinain refugee camps. Her visit, you see, was facilitated by that radical Palestinian organization called... UNRWA (as opposed to the Israeli occupying army?) and because she calls the camps "camps" instead of "refugee neighborhoods" or "Palestinian-enforced ghettos" (116). Why stop there? Why not call them "outdoor luxury accommodations" or "nature resorts" ? (for the record again, I have recently criticized some of Morgan's representation of Palestinian women but not for Chesler's reasons.Maybe I should have left her alone since she's getting enough grief from the zionists. Oh, well).
Jan Goodwin, who is a journalist, "adventurer" (what the hell does this mean?) and not an academic (so why is she here?), is blasted (despite her valuable contributions to the demonizing of Arab culture in the name of feminism) for being an "anti-zionist ideologue". Guess why? Because she dared say that women's suffering in the West Bank and Gaza has something to do with the Israeli occupation and because she titled her chapter on Palestine: "Israeli Occupied Territories: Next Year in Jerusalme." Chesler is incredulous: "Is she suggesting that the PLO take over Jerusalem?" (118).
Leila Abu Lughod is criticized, as far as I can tell, for writing complex ethnographies that don't just trash Arab culture.
Who is Chesler's favorite writer?
Carmen Bin Laden.
Let me conclude with this priceless quote from the book, that pretty much sums up why she wants feminism dead:
"For the last five years, many feminist and lesbian-feminist demonstrators (in anti-globalization and anti-war marches) have waved the Palestinian flag [must really kill you to see it] and worn Arab headdress [so sexy!]. In the Arab world, they would not have that right, because they are wearing Arab male kaffiyehs [now I'm laughing out loud and my 6 year-old wants to know why]. Were they marching anywhere in the Islamic world, they'd be wearing chadaris, burqas, head scarves, and veils [idiot!]. And if they weren't, they would be beaten, jailed, raped, possibly flogged, perhaps even stoned to death [she forgot they will be cut up into small square and triangle pieces then fed to the male camels in their daddies garage]. A willful blindness to the reality of the Islamic world seems to go hand-in-hand with support for Palestine" (105). Aha!! This is what this is all about. Support for Palestine.
According to Chesler's morally skewed view of the world, for a feminist to prove she's alive and not dead, she must embrace zionism. Because, to her, not to be zionist, is to be pro Palestinian.
Chesler is a product of zionist think tanks, who produce "feminists" (a dime a dozen these days) that pretend to care about Arab and Muslim women. Some of them speak in their names, such as the so called Nonie Darwish (not her real name of course) and Suad (not her real name of course) whom Chesler celebrates and quotes as the true voices of Arab and Muslim women. These are manufactured women, with manufactured identities.
Now, I have to go return it to Borders and get my money back--money I will use to buy a new "Arab male headdress" called Kufeyyeh. Black and white.The one I have is getting a bit frayed at the edges. Salam.
On a different muscial note: my house in Ramallah, the one I lived in before I came to the US, has been used since my mother's death to house this German-Palestinian project that seeks to give kids from refugee camps an early musical education. I'm told that it has a sign in front now that says: "The Edward Said Musical Kindergarten." I think that's cool.
Interesting that he concludes his remarks by saying that Hamas now represents the Palestinian people (Palestinain people being voters in West Bank and Gaza). Beginning to sound like the Palestinian Authority to me.
فشدد على ان المقاومة التي «تستند الى حق سماوي وارضي لا تحتاج الى اذونات في انطلاقتها ولا الى اجماع وطني. عندما نتحدث عن مقا
ومة هذا هدفها وهذه استراتيجيتها من الطبيعي ان نتحدث عن مقدس».
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Mujahed may have been mentally disabled. But he had enough wisdom to know that the presence of the Israeli soldiers was wrong and to yell at them to leave his village. He paid for his wisdom with his life. He also lived up to his name, which means "fighter for justice" (my translation).
More good news: there is what The New York Times very long article calls "a turning point in fashion ... [for] many designers are finally equating femininity with strength and assurance...[in one collection] models wore the sleeves of their shirtdresses rolled up."
In other words, the "dare to be a slut" look for the working woman is out of favor. At least for now. Maybe I'll go shopping today. Before they change their mind.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
I don't know Nayfeh Abu Musa'ed. I will probably never know more about her (Did she have kids? Was she out for a walk or coming back from work? Didn't she know that borders kill? What color eyes did she have? Did she love the sea?)
The Palestinian media is lousy when it comes to personalizing the dead and injured. They become numbers. The excuse is that there are two many. Can't keep up. All I know is that it is not right. Even in this report, her story is buried in another story: of a more militaristic confrontation between Palestinian groups and Israeli soldiers. She wasn't involved in that. At least give her her own news story. She's news enough for me.
Monday, February 13, 2006
The question is: would Fateh cooperate with these plans? Rumors are that they will not participate in a Hamas government, which might indicate that they indeed are collaborating. But so far it's just a rumor.
Qaradawi refused to sign. Amr Khalid did and is apparently using his website to mobilize Muslims (he has a huge fan base) to write polite letters about prophet Mohammad which he then is going to deliver (personally?) to Danish homes. This man is so slick (and sleezy).But if the choice is between him and Qaradawi, I'll choose....
I'm not saying.
If you are wondering why I'm critical of these "sisters" although I'm critical of Saudi society, I ask you to imagine the reverse: what if the wife of King Abdullah or his sister travels to the US or England, where American and British women are brought in front of her so she can tell them she really feels for them regarding the sexism of their society but advises them to be patient because one day they will arrive.
You don't like this?
Neither do I. I rest my case.
Oh, and it turns out that there is nothing in Saudi law that prevents women from getting a driving licence. The law is against the "driving" part. Thank you for the clarification, Mr. Minister of Information. It makes a huge difference. It means that Saudi women can drive any where they want in the world, but not in their own country. Humm. Makes sense.
So let it be clear that any one who tries to yank the questioning of the Holocaust and the Palestinian cause is an enemy of the Palestinians.
In the Palestinian village 'Azzoun, settlers wrote statements insulting prophet Muhammad on the walls of the local mosque. When the people of the village demonstrated against the transgression, Israeli occupation soldiers shot them and injured several. (in Arabic)
Sunday, February 12, 2006
I had no idea that nose, boob, and lip jobs have been adopted now as an index of development. Can someone inform the UNDP, please?
I don't know what they mean by caught "red handed". None of the men were engaged in sex when arrested. Some, however, were dressed up as women. Will they now start arresting women dressed up as men?
But then what is so revealing about his statement anyway? That mothers and fathers are better at raising their kids than nurseries? Isn't that obvious? Is there a mother in the world who says I'm going to leave my 6 month old baby at the nursery becasue that's better for him? They do it becaue they have to. And of course not all parents are better for their kids. I know plenty of mothers who were stay home moms but were so depressed, bored, and isolated that I suspect that their kids would have been happier in nursery school (I also know plenty of wonderful ones).
As a working mother, I found that one of the biggest divides seperating women in this country is the one between working and stay home moms. I belong to the first category and I must say that I was often made to feel defensive that I'm working and having my kid go to pre-school. I resented that air of condescention and pity.
This said, I'm so happy my son now is old enough to go to school. I was lucky to stay with him till he was 2 1/2 years old. My experience with daycare was mixed. See, my son has a resistance to the institutional nap. I once suggested to the new director of his daycare (who identifies herself on the institution's website as a "military wife") some ways to help him get through that period of the day (by taking him to another room or allowing him a book to read quietly). Her answer was to pull up an official form from her file cabinet to show me that the State of Virginia requires kids to nap for two hours every day. At that point, I requested a copy of the form to show to my 3 year old.
Well, he wasn't impressed and I moved him to another daycare. The wonderful director of that daycare (Sonia) had no such forms. She just had lots of love and the brilliant idea of putting the non-nappers in a separate room. He, I, and she were very happy.
So stop the scare stories and give women and their families good options.
Anyway, why is it that tabloids are coming up with these videos? Isn't it the job of serious investigative reporters to bring us these stories. I guess they are busy being "inbedded" with the army.
The timing stinks, though. The Muslim world is busy getting outraged at other important things that a beating like this would be a distraction from more important matters.
So what? 17 innocent people still lost their lives for no fault except that they were born into this rotten world. Can he explain that one?
Saturday, February 11, 2006
"So when did it all begin?
When I was born again, thanks to an ass.
During the fighting in 1948 they waylaid us and opened fire, shooting my father, may he rest in peace. I escaped because a stray donkey came into the line of fire and they shot it, so it died in place of me. My subsequent life in Israel, then, was really a gift from that unfortunate beast. What value then, honored sir, should we assign to this life of mine?
I consider myself quite remarkable. You've no doubt read of dogs lapping up poisoned water and dying to warn their masters and save their lives. And of horses, too, racing the wind bearing their wounded riders to safety, only to die of exhaustion themselves. But I'm the first man, to my knowledge, to be saved by a mulish donkey, an animal unable either to race the wind or to bark. I turly am remarkable. That must be why the men from outer space chose me" (p. 6).
I challenge that British donkey crusader to point to any national literature where the donkey is given a more prominent and foundational place than in Palestine?
By the way, it is the Imam of Denmark who is now defending his queen and making the clarification. Much better. (in Arabic)
I met Ramadan when he spoke on my campus; he is very charismatic. He was denied re-entry into the US and his visa was revoked (he was offered a teaching post at an American university) because he was deemed a threat. If he is a threat, who isn't?
I love animals. When I moved back to Ramallah I took my two cats with me (and brought them back). But I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry at this donkey crusader. So I will just go to bed.
Friday, February 10, 2006
I love these lines from her poem about the 9/11 attacks "First Writing Since":
i do not know how bad a life has to break in order to kill.
i have never been so hungry that i willed hunger
i have never been so angry as to want to control a gun over a pen.
even as a woman, as a palestinian, as a broken human being.
never this broken.
For another 1950s revolutionary feminist text (mascarading as a romance) with a withering critique of suburban heterosexual wifedom, I recommend Particia Highsmith's The Price of Salt. While Friedan wants to reform heterosexuality, Highsmith challenges it head on.
There are too lessons here:
One, free speech is good for those who are opposed to injustice. It is a right. Muslims benefit from it as well as everyone else. So while protesting racism, they should also embrace and die for free speech.
Two, I should remember not to blog using my office computer.
But leftists generally get weak in the knees the moment they see crowds. Does not matter what the crowds are saying or who is moblizing them. Hey, crowds means "the people," the "masses." So let us cheer. This applies to both Western leftists and to Arab leftists (all three of them).
I've been saying it all along: while the feelings of offense the Muslims have about the cartoons are genuine, the massive mobilization is another thing. The "uncontrolled" Muslim rage and the flying off the handle Muslim masses that we've been hearing about, especially in the Western press, are, it turns out, quite "controlled."
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Somali Dutch Muslim woman MP) is for the cartoons and oblivious to racism (who elected her?). Other Danish Muslims are divided.
Arab leaders and figures (can't find it in me to call them "intellectuals") are calling for calm. The one exception: Hasan Nasrallah, the Hizballah leader. He called on Muslims to keep demonstrating till there is an apology. He said "we are a Muslim nation". Who is this nation exactly? Lebanon? The Muslim Ummah? Iran? I'm puzzled.
It was mentioned on "Democracy Now" this morning that the editor of the Danish newspaper that published the cartoons offered his services to the Iranian newspaper running a contest for Holocaust cartoons. This is not a joke. I mean really not a joke.
An aside (doesn't everything else besides these cartoons feel like an aside these days): one of the articles quotes a Danish political commentator and spin doctor saying: "The prospects of further escalation, of terrorist attack against Danish property and beheadings of Danes on al-Jazeera would make the current situation look like a picnic."
As far as I know, Al Jazeera never showed any beheadings on screen. Am I wrong? (I'm not really whispering but can't get rid of this small font)
If you don't believe in fairy tales, then read this epic.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Nice job. Bravo. Idiot!
So he prints the cartoons (on a color printer nonetheless) and make them into neat pamphlets, includes extra cartoons that were never published but were sent as "hate mail" and flies to the Middle East with a bag full of tricks to distribute to Imams and Mullahs.
Then he's surprised at the reaction.
Can you believe this guy?
It's shalwar kameez (trousers and tunic). According to her, it's worn by "non-believers" and is not modest enough.
This reminds me of how the traditional Palestinian dress, the one colorfully embroidered by hand and which covers women's whole bodies and is usually accompanied with a head cover, came under attack by Islamists in the West Bank in the 80s because it was not Islamic enough. I guess it was too pretty for them. And sure enough, it's now replaced by the dark, boring uniform that is adopted for "modesty." The Afghani look is in; the Palestinian look is out.
My mother lived and died wearing that beautiful Palestinain dress that she lovingly embroidered with her very own hands till her eyes failed her and she could do it no longer.
She never liked that other uniform.
Update 1: The woman won the case against the school.
Update 2: in response to an inquiry of one reader, here are some pictures:
Salwar (sharwal) Kameez
Traditional Palestinian dress
"40 per cent of the respondents to the survey reported that they had been the victim of physical or verbal abuse. Of those incidents, about 60 per cent had happened on the street - some very violent. One respondent told how he was gang-raped in a public toilet "by some straight guys". Another said: "I was stabbed in the stomach with a knife and kicked in the face." Yet another reported how a big piece of wood had been hurled through his bedroom window while he slept.The survey found that men were more likely to be physically attacked than women; lesbians were more likely to be verbally abused," according to a survey of gays in Britian.
According to the survey, Angelina Joli is the one person most gay women would like an affair with.