Thursday, June 29, 2006
For several days, I will be at the mercy of CNN for news. The prospect is terrifying.
I find it instructive that they waited till Hamas signed the national unity document which calls for a Palestinian state in the land occupied in 1967 (West Bank and Gaza). A unified Palestinian front is the real threat to Israel; everything else is pretense.
My question is to the Israeli people:
Do you feel safer now?
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
I watched al Jazeera TV for 3 hours last night. Bad idea. There was a parade of spokesmen, some for the Israeli army and the rest for the various Palestinian militias. I don't know who the latter group is addressing, the Israeli army or their own poeple. They suffer from a major case of hyperbolic rhetoric, which, unfortunately, leads them to list in detail the kinds of arms they have in their possession and what they are going to be doing to counter the Israeli attack. I mean all the Israeli army needs to do is watch Al Jazeera and it will get some pretty good intelligence. As to the Arab street, after hearing Abu Kusay and Abu 3uday's rhetorical flourishes they will feel that the Palestinians are so superior militarily that they need not lose any sleep over their fate, and they proceed to have a good night's sleep.
There were no interviews with ordinary Palestinians.
Here is how some Gazans under attack feel.
This is according to Haaretz, which could be lying. But I don't think so. This is not the first time that a Hamas official says something to the Israeli newspaper that he won't say to Palestinian papers. The motivation is self-preservation.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
PLO is the sole representative of the Palestinians
Call for establishing a Palestinian state on all the lands occupied in 1967, with Jerusalem as capital
Right of return for the refugees in accordance with international law
Focus resistance in areas occupied in 1967
I hope this agreement is not too late.
update: Hamas is already playing verbal acrobatics
Monday, June 26, 2006
The article focuses mostly on gay men and does not say much about lesbians, though it is implying in a"vice versa" slight of phrase that lesbians too are seeking gay men for similar marriages of convenience.
On a related issue, I wonder if non-virgins, who are not lesbians, may be interested in marriages of conveniences with gay Muslim men. This might be a viable option for the poor ones who can't afford the hymen reconstruction surgery. (thanks wyt rabbit)
Let's remember that the virginity fetish is not restricted to Muslim men. In Islam, both men and women are expected to be chaste. But in a patriarchal culture men tend to get away with things, and Muslim men are no different. Muslim feminists point out that many of Mohammad's wives were none virgins. On the other hand, there are plenty of American men who are so fixated on getting a virgin that they are eager participants in Asia's thriving sexual tourism. American women are having "vaginal jobs" in LA to retore their hymens in order to please their men. They are not Muslims.
These two articles, the second one in particular, are examples of how "Muslim sexuality" is usually framed in western discourse, a framing that underscores difference and backwardness.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
My earlier post mentioned Wafaa Sultan, the anti-Muslim crusader made famous by MEMRI's translation of her Al Jazeera interview. Just in case you think I'm hard on her, here's what a Rabbi thinks of her, after listening to her poisonous and idiotic pronouncement at a fundraiser for an organization that seeks to coutner anti-Israel views. She was the guest speaker. While I don't endorse all his statements, I think he's right on target dismissing Sultan as "Islam's Ann Coulter."
I could have told them that!
I watch al Jazeera news, mostly when there is something going on in Palestine. They have reporters who are based there, in Ramallah and Gaza, instead of in West Jerusalem. As a result, their reporters are quickly on the scene, unlike American correspondents who use the place as scenic background long after whatever they are reporting on happened. Al Jazeera reporters know the language and are not afraid to talk to the "natives", while the others rely too much on Israeli spokespeople for information and tips. I can't say that I like some of the reporters' rhetorical flourishes, but they've been getting better.
Their instant translator, the guy who does the voice over when they are interviewing non-Arabic speaking people is an unmitigated disater. He sounds so disgusted.
As to Al Jazeera's other programming: I stopped watching "The Opposite Direction" because it literally gives me a headache; their choice of opposing views is usually so ridiculous as to exclude any real dialogue. It's the mud wrestling of political talk shows. But we are so deprived of debate in Arab media that Al Jazeera seems revolutionary in comparison (but it isn't).
Funny how to market Al Jazeera to Americans, the writer of the article is mentioning the Wafa Sultan interview on "The Opposite Direction." Here's someone who trashed Islam and Muslims and as a result became an international sensation and even got death threats (the ultimate boost of anti-Muslim credentials). Well, she became an international sensation and not an Arab sensation. I don't think her interview in Arabic had any effect. It was only after it was translated into English by MEMRI and was gotten hold of by Islamophobic sites and news media that she took off. You can read what I think of Wafa Sultan here.
The bottom line is that Americans should not fear Al Jazeera. It's bark is worse than its bite.
Saturday, June 24, 2006
The Yemeni President has decided to run for yet another term, although few days ago he assured the masses he wasn't. He said he was bowing to "popular pressure."
Wait, I heard that before. But where? where? where?
When something is too good to be true, it is. When would I ever get over my Charlie Brown syndrom?
Isn't Bethlehem were Jesus was born? Who do you think he will side with: the soldiers or the dancing kids?
It's a problem for women in cities like New York, Egypt, and Mexico. Men take advantage of the anonymity of crowds and proximity of women's bodies to violate them. In some places, like Egypt and Mexico, they are instituting separate cars for women and men. In New York, they are trying to arrest the men. I like that!
I don't believe segregating women or veiling them is the solution. These ways avoid dealing with the aggressors and focus only on the victims. Unless the underlying assumption is that men are sexual predators by nature and there's nothing we can do about it. If I were a man, I'd be really offended by this logic.
In my experience, on several occasions riding in public shared taxis between Ramallah and Nablus I had to ask some man sitting next to me to "give me my space" because he was pressing too close. A couple of times, I had to raise my voice and say that I payed as much as he did and maybe he can put his legs closer together so other people can sit. The back seat of 7- passenger cars was the place to avoid because some men seemed to think that they got you cornered there.
As unpleasant it was to deal with these incidents, I have learned that not saying anything leaves me feeling worse.
"who is authorized to approve diplomatic agreements - the Palestinian National Council, Khaled Meshal, or the parliament."
Anything wrong with this picture?
Friday, June 23, 2006
"In the Gaza town of Khan Yunis, doctors at Nasser Hospital performed a Caesarean section on Shaima Ahmed, 25, after detecting signs of fetal distress after she was wounded by shrapnel in Wednesday's air strike, medics said.
The fetus, due to have been born in the coming days, was found dead, they said. The mother remains in intensive care along with two other children, relatives of the family, who were injured in the attack.
Under Muslim tradition, the dead baby was named before she was buried after dark on Friday.
Soufian Ahmed, the father, said he had named her Majazara, using the Arabic word for "massacre." He told Reuters he had done so "to tell the world once again about the massacres Israel has committed against innocent Palestinians".
I never had a student who wore a niqab in any of my classes, either in Palestine or the States so I can't say anything about the effect of a niqabi on my teaching (or the effect of my teaching on a niqabi). I do know that I like seeing my students' faces (except when they're falling asleep : ). I also like hearing their voices. I hope that we dont' start hearing that a woman's voice is a "3awra" (forbidden) and should be hidden. If we accept the niqab as a religious practice that should be respected, why would we not accept the silence of a woman in the classroom on the same basis? Why stop there: what if a student will say that certain topics I'm discussing in my classes are against her religion? Where do we draw the line?
On a lighter note, once I was proctoring an exam at An Najah Univesity in Nabuls. It was a big hall, with a large number of students. Students were supposed to show their university ID card before they can be allowed to start the exam to make sure that they are the ones sitting for the test and not their buddy with the better Enlgish. One of the students wore a niqab. Since she wasn't my student and I didn't know what she looked like, her ID picture meant nothing. When I told her that, she laughed and said "look into my eyes." Well, that didn't help much. The chair of the department suggested that I take her to a room and ask her to remove her face veil to check (he couldn't do it). I refused. The last thing anybody there needed is more body searches!! I asked the other students if they would vouch for her. They did and the issue was settled.
Oh, the excitement of proctoring English exams!
The reporter declares, without blushing (a useful skill for some journalists), that "The tactics and technology of the conflict on both sides" have been getting more advanced!!!! How is that for balance?
To back up her statement she gives the floor to an Israeli army professional liar (often a soft-spoken pretty woman with nice highlights and a charming smile) to peddle some more lies about how it is not the army's fault really but the fault of those dumb Palestinian kids who always get in front of smart Israeli missiles.
As to technology, we hear about the range of the Palestinian rockets and their make but nothing about the Israeli rockets and shells. She does mention that the army has recently placed a "military balloon" over Gaza to take pictures. I wonder what color?
The reporter chips in: Since the army withdrew, they come close to the border. Since the rockets reach farther they've been firing from the middle of civilian areas (come on: settle on a lie: borders or civilian areas? can't have both). It's not clear where she got this information: Is she just repeating the words of the Israeli army apologist? (which I believe she is), is she quoting (then she needs quotation marks), or is she reporting the results of her own "investigation" (then where is her evidence?)
Taking the readers for idiots, Prusher does not bother to explain how the supposedly new advanced technology the Palestinians are using has continued to be "not terribly accurate." She mentions that 15 Israelis have been killed by Qassams, which, according to every other source I checked, is wrong. According to Wikipedia, eight were killed (two of them are Arab shephards. Do they count?)
For effect, the reporter throws in the word "Hizballah." Spooky!!
Prusher never mentions the number of Palestinians killed in Israeli attacks (37 including 7 children in the last 2 weeks only). She never mentions the number of shells and rockets fired at Gaza (7599 in last 3 months). This is in an article that is supposedly about the investigation of why so many Palestinians are being killed.
To be fair, she quotes Palestinian officials who condmen with canned phrases that you either skip or twirl your thumps while reading. But that's not her fault.
And then the cherry on the cake: the Gaza beach killings: this is how she concludes her article:
"Israeli shelling initially was believed to have caused the deaths. But Israeli officials and newspaper reports have suggested that there was either a bomb on the beach, planted by militants to prevent an Israeli invasion by sea and accidentally triggered by the family, or the family happened open old, unexploded ammunition."
That's all she wrote!!
Nothing about counter reports. Human Rights Watch. Israeli Channell 10 report. Palestinian witnesses and sources.
How is that for balance?
Then adding insult to balance, she or her editor chooses a picture that will stir in the reader the least sympathy for the Palestinians: a long shot of an angry crowd, no faces, no wounds: the only injuries are to a car: how much sympathy are we going to have with a wrecked car? Not much. And to make sure that the idiot reader does not miss the point, here's the caption:
"Palestinians chanted anti-Israeli slogans near a damaged car after an Israeli airstrike Tuesday in Gaza killed three children."
Angry crowds.Threatening. Chanting anti-Israel slogans. A damaged car. By the time you reach the "killed three children," you are convinced the Palestinians did it.
Oh, well! One more morning down the drains!
Personally, I would fight against my kid leaving school early for any reason. Everything else can wait. Especially prayer.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
There is consolation in the fact that Sharif's story does, indeed, show Saadat as "exacteely" an idiot.
What's upsetting about this is that Elie Wiesel, a man who never ever criticizes Israeli killings of Palestinians (or of anybody else for that matter) is having the high moral ground. People have been challenging him for years to speak for all victims, but he refuses. I don't care how many Nobel Peace Prizes he received, he was and remains a hypocrite. And I'm being really polite here.
As to Abbas's explanations. Abbas knows, and at some point he has articulated (word used loosely here), better arguments against suicide bombings. But an immoral"challenge" desreves a lame response.
"Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh insisted he will not run for presidency in September's election, despite being nominated Wednesday as candidate by the country's ruling party."
If he really means this, I'm stunned. An Arab leader is relinguishing power willingly??? How can this be?? Could it be he wants to spend more time with his family?
Whatever you think, please don't wake me up!
On another note, can anyone tell me what is the connection between the story and the above picture The Daily Star chose to go with it? I'm stumped!
"But what is driving the Qassam attacks on Israel? For 17 months, since it declared a cease fire, Hamas has not been involved in firing Qassams. The other organizations have generally succeeded in launching only a few isolated Qassams. How did this evolve into an attack of something like 70 Qassams in three days? The Israeli army has a long tradition of “inviting” salvoes of Qassams," writes Israeli professor Tanya Reinhart in this really interesting article.
Benjamin Netanyahu to the 35th Zionist Congress in Jerusalem, June 22, 2006
"Instead, we are doing it surgically, wiping out one family at a time," he should have added.
This article obsessively uses the word "superstition" in Africa to frame the problem. This cultural framing is not helpful. My immediate reaction is to talk about the 67% of Americans who believe in the devil. Not to forget those poor Salem witches that were barbecued in the New World.
A more helpful frame for understanding such an unjust practice is a feminist one, with the focus being patriarchy and violence against women.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
You know the rest. You can finish the sentence. Fill in the blanks. The operative word is "killed." For variety, you may substitute "assassinated," "blown to pieces," "murdered," and "slaughtered."
Yes, the baby died too. And so did her brother, who was visiting her from Saudi Arabia. It's the summer, you know. Relatives come to visit from abroad. Just in time to die.
13 members of the family were injured. 5 of them small children.
And this time the Palestinians didn't do it to themselves.
"The missile simply missed."
The @#$%&* missile simply missed. Simply. They don't even have time between missiles to make up stories anymore. Too busy being simply the most moral army in the world.
"simply" tonight is the most obscene word in the English language. I hear it and I want to throw up.
"As young Muslims in Britain (and across the West) try to maneuver between the various, and often conflicting, aspects of their identity, three clear tendencies have emerged. First, a secular and pragmatic response, which makes Islam a private matter. Second, a conservative stance that reconciles cultural, religious and familial ties with "Britishness." And third, a radical response to the perceived collision between the foreign policies of their new homelands and the welfare of the Islamic world," writes Saudi author Mai Yamani.
Coca Cola steals Indian water and Israel steals Palestinian water.
But before you pass judgement, you should know that the Israeli state conducted a thorough scientific investigation and concluded that a Palestinian is a special organism that does not in fact need as much water as an Israeli of equal age and size.
It could be the desert thing.
However, scientists are "unable to reconcile" these findings with another scientific observation, also tested, that Palestinian blood is not blood, but water.
But they are working on it.
"The Plachimada fight has become a rousing symbol of resistance across India to Coca Cola, a company welcomed in by India’s neoliberals, who see “modernity” and “progress” in the sordid business of privatizing a publicly owned asset (water), adding syrup to it and then selling it back to original users of the water at an extortionate price. Coca-Cola had been confident that its clout would soon bring the Plachimada protesters to heel, but resistance has been spirited and determined, in a decade when public consciousness of a world water crisis has been growing swiftly."
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
(Correction: Palestinian dailies report the dead girl as Samia al Shareef. She's not Mohammad's sister).
Ha'aretz reports that "Palestinian eye-witnesses said the strike came at an hour when the streets were busy and many children were playing in the area."
But the Israeli newspaper gives the last word to a professional senior liar:
"However, a senior IAF officer said the strike took place "in an area where traffic was very thin, and that the civilians that were injured were not seen by military cameras before the hit. The officer said the two missiles fired hit the vehicle directly. He was unable to explain how the two targets escaped with light injuries while nearby civilians were killed."
Maybe the kids were not seen because they were too small? too thin? too fragile to be picked by the high-tech cameras?
As to the "thin traffic" let's remember that Gaza is one of the most crowded places on the face of this planet.
Then there is the I'm "unable to explain." Could it be that the Palestinians staged this massacre the way they staged the beach massacre and the kids were actually blasted by Palestinian fire then brought, stealthily, to the scene to blame the Israelis? And the blood you see on them is not really blood; it's tomato juice. Look closely at the picture: the girl looks hurt but she really isn't. Palestinians don't hurt.
Then he goes on to justify hitting civilians by referring to the launching of the Qassams as "ticking bombs." Really? Shimon Peres just yesterday dismissed them as "Qassams shmassams." And Olmert just said that there is no immediate solution to the Qassam problem. I don't doubt that the fear the Qassams generate in the people at the receiving end is real. But for the most part they fall in empty areas. The only urgency is political: politicians are making the decisions to appease their constituencies and score against their opponents. The more Palestinian blood they spell, the more serious they seem. It's an image thing.
Can the Israelis for once imagine being at the receiving end of their own high tech guided missiles? Just once! Maybe then there will be peace and no more kids will die. Because kids are not meant to die. No, not kids.
But in Gaza, they do. Everyday.
"All of Gaza" is 360 square Kelometers. (230 square miles)
Yeah. Unlike all other human beings on the face of this planet, the Palestinians love to see shrapnel in their kids' skulls.
Unfortuantely, there isn't much you can say to people who dehumanize Palestinians in this way. Their disease is incurable.
Back to Gaza.
Gaza is still under siege. Israel controls Gaza's airspace and coastal line. It completely controls the two borders it has with the Strip and therefore has tight economic control. Israel can enter Gaza any time it wants and demolish the whole place on people's heads. Palestinians are still dying in Gaza every day. As I'm writing this, a 5 year-old- Palestinian child was killed and 13 others, mostly children, were injured when Israel fired a missile on a car in a narrow, crowded street.
(update: another 6-year-old girl died in the strike).
A state means sovereignty and economic viablility. Gaza has neither.
(update 2: another child died in the strike)
And if you don't believe me, why don't you ask Gazans if they are occupied or not. They ought to know.
Israel never wanted Gaza and was always thinking of a way to unload it. For one thing, there are way too many Palestinians living there. For another, Gaza doesn't have the Biblical mythical aura the West Bank has. One Israeli writer recently put it, pulling out of Gaza, saved the settlement movement in the West Bank, the place Israel really covets. The major victory Israel scored by withdrawing from Gaza is a new US position that no longer treats the settlements in the West Bank as illegal, but rather as "facts on the grounds."
But according to international law (if anyone still gives a damn), these settlements are illegal and an occupying power cannot create "facts on the grounds" in the territories it's occupying.
Predictably, the skirmishes between conservatives and liberals in Saudi Arabia are spreading to the blogosphere. Saudi women bloggers are right in the middle of the censors' "block and spin" techniques.
God forbid that anything be written about Arab women without the "veil" somewhere in the title. Here it's "Saudi women unveil opinion on line." How original!!
I should say that the above picture is NOT of a Saudi woman.
Monday, June 19, 2006
The Percentage of poor households headed by Palestinian refugees is 47.8 % of all poor households.
47.3 % are under 15 years old.
The Lebanese singer Julia Butrus has a new album out. My favorite song, "Men7ebbak eh,"combines love and politics, sort of. It also has a happy ending--depending on your point of view. She may have had a certain president in mind, but feel free to dedicate it to your ruler of choice; it really fits so many. Here's my English translation of the lyrics.
"We Love You, We Really Do"
We love you, we really do,
The world is busy with your love
Darling, what a kind heart you have,
and we love you so!
Darling, what a kind heart you have,
What more do you want?
You despot, who is to stop you,
we sure love you.
You are dragging the world, to the end of the world
How could we not love you,
we really do.
People saw you and lost their minds
your charm is all they can talk about
for your eyes they're all singing,
and we do love you.
You are devoted to the cause,
you champion freedom
your eyes never sleep at night
and we sure love you.
You are all kindness
and very popular too
you are the essence of humanity
and we love you so
The fairy is sure coming,
at the end of the story
and she will eat the hero of the novel
And we sure love you.
These pictures are not a prank by your average 10 year old. They are the pictures "Al Arabiya.net" chose to accompany their story that the water shortage in Kuwait has become an election issue. (in Arabic)
There is nothing in the article about women, or women candidates, or defacing the faces of women candidates!! (if this is what we have here)
Maybe the water shortage is preventing the country from clearing the graffiti defacing women's faces?
Maybe the ten-year-old son of the editor is working there as a summer intern?
Or maybe someone at "Al Arabiya. net" doesn't think much of Kuwaiti women and couldn't let this opportunity to make fun of them pass.
You know what, I'm thinking less and less of Al Arabiya.net every day. Keep up the lousy work guys.
Saturday, June 17, 2006
Friday, June 16, 2006
I have even a better suggestion for the chief of staff: go to the Shifa hospital in Gaza and admire your handiwork.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Massad's criticism of Oslo is valid. But he neglects to mention that Hamas came to power through an election sanctioned by the Oslo process. The "democracy" he's celebrating goes hand in hand with the PA he's rejecting. The Oslo classes he's talking about permeate Palestinian society in the West Bank and Gaza and has recently included Hamas itself. In a sense that was Oslo's real danger: it involved everybody. What bothers me is that Massad equates those who gained power and wealth through Oslo (Dahlan and co.) with the policeman , PA employee, or man renting his house to an NGO. The economic crisis felt by the latter groups is real (even if Fateh is using it to pressure Hamas).
There is no point in hoping the Palestinians return to a pre-Oslo situation. Oslo happened. It's a disaster. Where do we go from here? This is the hard question.
Kuwaiti women are voting for the the first time in their history. Five women are running for the Parliament. But clearly that newly acquired rights bother some benighted minds.
The good news, however, is that he was overruled by higher religious authorities.
I really feel for his students. A mind like his belongs in a museum, not a university.
I leave it to you to figure out whose who.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
American everning news yesterday only mentioned the Israeli account. ABC evening news didn't even mention the 11 killed yesterday.
This is what Human Rights Watch think of investigations conducted by the Israeli army:
"internal investigations by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have generally fallen short of international standards for thorough and impartial investigations and have rarely uncovered the truth or held to account the perpetrators of violations, as documented in a 2005 Human Rights Watch report, Promoting Impunity: The Israeli Military’s Failure to Investigate Wrongdoing. "
"He was asleep and tried to wake him up but he never woke. His body was covered with sand and blood. I brought a bottle of water and cleaned his body. Then I moved him to clean blanket and stayed by him."
The film is based on the novel of the same title by Ala' al Aswani. As I said earlier about the novel, although it does criticized the government, it does not criticize the Islamists and it is homophobic. I haven't seen the film, but the fact that it did not disturb the censor, is a disturbing sign.
On a related note, Egypt decided to ban The Da Vinci Code film and book for fear it may offend and anger Egyptian Christians.
Those who survive die soon after for they are known to engage in risky behaviour such as going for family picnics on the beach or staying home to play.
This kind of statement will never be made to the Palestinian press, of course.
In an interview published in Al-Hayat, Annan regarded the IDF's version of the events as 'strange.'"
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
"A report by US-based group Human Rights Watch says the deaths [on Gaza beach] were likely to have been caused by Israeli shelling.
An expert working for the group said the Palestinians' injuries were not consistent with an explosion taking place beneath them.
"All of the evidence is pointing to a 155mm shell as having killed and injured the Palestinians here on the beach," Mark Garlasco said.
"My assessment [is] that it's likely that this was incoming artillery fire that landed on the beach and was fired by the Israelis from the north of Gaza."
From the Guardian:
"...a former Pentagon offical sent by the New York-based Human Rights Watch to investigate the death of the family has concluded that there is little doubt they were killed by an Israeli shell. "All the evidence points to the fact that it couldn't have been a mine," said Marc Garlasco, a former Pentagon expert on battlefields who led the US military's battle damage assessment team in Kosovo and worked for its intelligence wing, the Defense Intelligence Agency.
"You have the crater size, the shrapnel, the types of injuries, their location on the bodies. That all points to a shell dropping from the sky not explosives under the sand."
"The 155mm shell is what Israel uses in the howitzers that regularly shell northern Gaza," he said.
"The Israelis have been postulating that it's a land mine. I've been to hospital and seen the injuries. The doctors say they are primarily to the head and torso. That is consistent with a shell exploding above the ground not a mine under it." Palestinian doctors agreed.
Mr Garlasco said the crater where the family was killed closely resembles others scattered the length of the beach caused by Israeli shells. Each is lined with a white power left by the explosion, including the one where the family died.
A crucial weakness in the army's version is its inability to account for the sixth shell in the barrage that hit the beach. The Palestinians and Mr Garlasco say it would be a remarkable coincidence for the army to drop five shells in the area and within minutes for a Hamas land mine to have exploded just 120 metres away.
"To say you have five or six rounds in an area and coincidentally there's a land mine next to it and it goes off at the same time is asking a lot," he said."
They deny responsibility.
They strike again.
9 Palestinian civilians murdered today in Gaza, including two school children.
And the spin doctors start working right away. Here's one:
Ibrahim Barzak of the Associated Press writes, "If the van was carrying Katyusha rockets as Israel said, that could explain why the army was so determined to stop it."
It explains nothing, you moron. Israel had killed civilians in airstrikes many many times before. So the Katyusha bit, along with them getting the rockets' "top launcher," is a shameless way to justify what it's been doing for years now.
But they really shouldn't bother inflating the Palestinians this way to justify murdering them. They can just slaughter them, the way they do, because they can and the world lets them.
Monday, June 12, 2006
"It is often assumed that modern feminism has no place, and thus can make little headway, in societies undergoing a religious revival, particularly in the Islamic world. But the real progress made in recent years on women's rights in Morocco suggests otherwise: a unique combination of activism by secular and religious women, the calculations of political parties, and the significant role of King Mohammed VI has led to real progress," writes Moroccan feminist Fatima Sadiqi.
It seems that the feminist Islamist strategy of reinterpreting the Islamic texts from a feminist point of view has a better chance of working if the King/patriarch was on your side.
But what to do when he isn't?
She offers several statements by Hamas leaders that support a two-state solution.
She acknowledges that there are other statements by Hamas that do not accept the two-state solution. But she doesn't dwell on those.
She also mentions that "politically" hamas accepts the two-state solution but "organizationally" the group is not there yet. What does that mean exactly? The leaders accept but haven't broken the news to the rank and file?
Yet, she doesn't explain why Hamas is against the prisoners' agreement which asks for a two state solution? If they accept that, which according to her does not contradict their program, there will be no need for a referendum.
After reading her article, I'm left with the impression that Hamas is doing what it's doing only to spite Fateh.
Could that be it?
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Think of Others
While making breakfast, think of others
[don't forget the pigeons' feed]
While fighting your wars, think of others
[don't forget those who want peace]
While paying your water bill, think of others
[those who are drinking the clouds]
While walking home, think of others
[don't forget the people of the tents]
While sleeping and counting planets, think of others
[there are those who don't have a place to sleep]
While liberating yourself with metaphors, think of others
[those who lost the right to speak]
While thinking of the distant others, think of yourself
[say: I wish I were a candle in the dark]
Oh, and the Iranian president. I don't want to forget him.
As if the Palestinians don't have one disaster after another raining on their heads ...
But the one who bugs me most is the "intellectual" Abdel Bary 'Atwan. His eulogy of Abu Mus'ab al Zarqawi in Al Quds Al Arabi a couple of days ago should send him (that is 'Atwan) to the dust bin of history.
'Atwan does not hide his admiration and support for Al Qa'eda. He calls Ben Laden "Al Sheikh" الشيخ اسامة بن لادن and al Thawahiri "Dr." الدكتور الظواهري. Several times. I personally have never seen that in the Arab press.
He can hardly contain his admiration for al Zarqawi, whose fault was to be, in 'Atwan's words, a bit excitable and impulsive!!!!!! (I'd like to put as many exclamation points as the number of al Zarqawi's innocent victims, but...)
Here's some of the gems 'Atwan says about Al Zaraqawi:
"Abu Mus'ab al Zarqawi, whether one agreed with him or disagreed, represented a unique phenomenon in the extremist Islamic Jihad. For he emerged from the suffering and poverty in the city of Al Zaraqa in Jordan, to become a symbol for courage and heroism in the minds of many of his countrymen. Except for the hotel bombings in Amman, which killed scores of the innocent civilians, and the exploitation of these bombings by the Jordanian government to launch a media campaing against him and the Al Qa'eda, Al Zarqawi would have become a hero in the eyes of thousands, if not millions..."
ابو مصعب الزرقاوي اتفق معه البعض او اختلف، شكل ظاهرة فريدة في العمل الجهادي الاسلامي المتطرف، فقد خرج من قلب احياء المعاناة والقهر في مدينة الزرقاء في الاردن، ليتحول الي رمز للشجاعة والبطولة في اذهان الكثير من ابناء جلدته، ولولا تفجيرات الفنادق في عمان التي اودت بحياة العشرات من المدنيين الابرياء واستغلال الحكومة الاردنية
المكثف لها للتحريض ضده وضد تنظيم القاعدة، لأصبح بطلا في اعين الآلاف وربما الملايين
I mean think about it: Except for killing scores of innocent civilians (but come on 'Atwan: how innocent could they have been if they were having a wedding in a fancy hotel with men and women mixing?) and having his reputation been tarnished by the Jordanian government (his steller reputation that according to 'Atwan's own article included bombing Shi'ats and beheading innocent hostages), he would have been a hero.
Darn it! He was so close. One almost feels like blaming those innocent civilians for standing between Al Zarqawi and heroic glory. How dare they?
I don't like that the writer of the article says that Said had a "cultish following." I don't remember having to do a special dance or drink blood before reading Orientalism or after. Why not just say that the book was influential?
Saturday, June 10, 2006
think this Dutch Imam should get in touch with the Danish Imam who started the cartoons fiasco and see what new public image disaster they can come up with for European Muslims.
And speaking of the Danish cartoons, two Jordanian journalists were recently sentenced to two months in prison for publishing the cartoons. I guess this is much better than executing them, which was what some people were calling for in the frenzy of that heated moment.
"In the Jabalya refugee camp, five Palestinians were injured on Saturday when a Qassam meant for Israel landed in the camp instead."
Since the Qassam rocket attacks on Israel started, 6 Israelis were killed. This information is readily available on the net. You also get the names of the victims, their ages, their cities, and pictures of some of them.
Yesterday, seven members of the same Palestinian family were killed, including Haitham Ghalia, the family's one-year-old baby and another 6 month-old-baby. Two weeks earlier, a man lost all of his family in another attack. The week before that another family was annihilated. In 2005, the same Ghalia family that was hit yesterday lost four members when an Israeli shell landed on their farm.
I guess these are your odds if you live in Gaza.
I don't know how many Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli response to Qassam firings alone. And I don't have names, ages or pictures of the victims. I do know that the kids of the Ghalia family loved corn-on-the cub. I suspect that the parents, now dead, must have loved the letter "H": the kids names are/were: "Huda," "Hadeel," and "Haitham."
I've said this before, but I guess it's worth repeating: the Palestinians are the ones endangered by the Qassam rockets, despite the inflated rhetoric of Hamas and the others firing them. The beneficiaries are Israeli politicians, who use these pathetic attacks to foresake any restraint when it comes to bombing a civilian population. The Qassam rockets and the war rhetoric that sells them obscure what is really going on: an Israeli war on Palestinian civilians.
Hamas uses the Qassam rockets to score political points. This is the rockets major function for the group. They do not offer any protection to the Palestinians, do not force any restraint on the Israeli army, and do not advance the Palestinians towards a just political solution. And of course, they do not change the imbalance in militrary might between the Palestinians and the Israelis one bit. Let's keep in mind that Israel does not only have a mighty army, but it's also a nuclear power. The Palestinians have the Qassam rockets that land, mostly, in Gaza.
Speaking of scoring political points: I don't believe the Israelis will let the referendum on the two state solutions take place. They will subotage it anyway they can. What happened the past two days, in my opinion, serves that purpose. They would prefer Hamas in the government, so they can annihilate the Palestinian cause from the international political map.
What happened also helps Hamas out of a tight corner: their back was to the wall because the business of governing was not going well and they were losing support. The polls show that the majority of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza support the referendum document. Now, they are back to doing what they believe will restore their legitimacy.
Friday, June 09, 2006
And they want to market Dubai, home of Al Arabeya.net, as the new Cordoba!!! Fat chance.
40 people were injured.
The Israeli navey decided to stop shelling. For now. I guess to give the Palestinians a chance to collect all body parts, which I hear where blown all over Gaza's beautiful beach.
But not to worry.
The army (or navy in this case) will investigate.
They will investigate why people die when shells land on their heads.
They won't be investigating the toxic level of hatred in people's hearts which allows them to keep killing Palestinians in this way, day in and day out.
They won't be investigating the indifference of the Israeli population to these massacres that are committed in their name and for their security.
They won't be investigating the level the dehumanization of the Palestinians has reached that now adays nobody cries for their dead.
No, they won't.
"A Prince George's County man accused of making a pipe bomb that partially detonated inside a house yesterday had planned to blow up an abortion clinic, federal authorities said.
Robert F. Weiler Jr., 25, admitted planning the attack and also told investigators that he intended to "shoot doctors who perform abortions," according to a law enforcement affidavit."
Thursday, June 08, 2006
One of the sources for the article states: "In the Muslim religion, if a man dies his money goes to a male member of the family. After the Iran-Iraq war, there were so many widows that Saddam changed the law so it would go to the women and children. Now it has been changed back."
I don't know what Saddam did, but the first part of the statement is inaccurate. In Islam, women inherit from their fathers and husbands. The religion specifies the proportions for each specific situation.
But despite the fact that Islam gives women inheritance rights (rights British women, for instance, didn't get till the 'married woman property act of 1882'), in practice patriarchal traditions overrule religious injunctions. Thus, many women, especially of poorer classes, are coerced into giving their inheritance rights up for their brothers.
During my senior year in college, Birzeit University was closed down for 7 months. It was closed before that many times, for days, weeks, and months. Some universities are closed for years. There were always checkpoints and harassment. My foreign professors--Swedish, British, Irish, American, Greek--were harassed to sign anti-PLO statements in order to have their work permits renewed. My graduation was cancelled because days before the Israeli army shot dead several students at a university in Hebron.
All this (and more) was pre-first Intifada. But since then, things have been getting much much worse for Palestinian universities. When I taught at An-Najah University in the late 90s, students would photocopy whole books because their book shipments are stranded at the boredrer (and after so many bad experiences the professors stopped ordering them that way). Half of my students were former prisoners and the other half was risking arrest at checkpoints every day they attended school.
But instead of hearing about that, we have to hear much whining by Israeli academics about how the peaceful drive to boycott Israeli universities by some British academics is a violation of Israeli academics' freedoms and yes, you guessed it, is anti semitic.
But it is not. Here's a good article making the case for Palestinian universities.
Ann Coulter's venom is sparing no one. After spewing her poison againt Muslims, Arabs, feminists, liberals, democrats, the poor, and any one with a shred of decency for years, she turns her attentions to her new victims: four September 11th widows who have been demanding more investigation in the way the government guard against terror attacks.
Ironically, Coulter is angry with the widows because, accroding to her, they use their grief "to make a political point."
At least they are using their grief.
Coulter and co. have been using a nation's grief (and fear) to make plenty of political points.
Coulter does not bother me. Every age has its slime. Her readers, however, those who put her on the best seller list, do.
Another thing that bothers me is that The Washington Post files this article under entertainment news. Yeah, right. Coulter's attacks on 9/11 widows are classy "entertainment" of the first order: up there with mud wrestling and Jerry Springer.
It seems that now women are allowed to be pregnant and fashionable, at the same time. It used to be that a pregnant woman was expected to hide her bulging belly and to just grin and "bear it" till delivery. But now showing off is in, thanks to older moms with cash. And Angelina Jolie, of course.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
"Almost everything the tribe had established over the previous 30,000 years was gradually taken away from them. The land they had roamed for centuries was taken over by white settlers. The pastoral peace which they cultivated for generations was shattered. Much of the tribe died out; those who remained were forced into poorly paid manual work. Not even their name would remain; rather they were dubbed "Hottentots" by the Dutch - a pejorative term loaded with the derision with which they were viewed. As a people, the Khoekhoen were ridiculed as a collection of backward curiosities. Many were even brought to Europe during the 19th century to be paraded naked for the entertainment of the London and Paris elites."
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
what was he before? A boy? A woman? I sometimes wonder if Fateh's problem is basically an excess of testosterone.
Btw, Ha'artez passingly mentions that Jibril al Roujoub is now "immersed in academic studies." I had to read that a few times and I still don't get it. What academic studies is he immersed in, I'm dying to know.
Zionism really hates this kind of stuff. An Arab Jew? That can't be. Erase them. But Jewish people have been part of the Arab and Muslim world for centuries and their important cultural and scientific contributions are integral to Arab civilization.
I know that a number of Egypt's well-known actors and singers were Jewish. Leila Murad is one. Yousef Wahbi?
This reminds of a scene in Elia Suleiman's film Divine Intervention. The Palestinian main character is in his car, stopped at a red light. Next to him also at the light is an Israeli man, a settler perhaps, waiting. The Palestinian starts playing a song by Natasha Atlas: "I put a spell on you/Becaue your mine ...) He directs hostile, difant looks at the Israeli man, who returns the favor. The scene is hilarious and ironic on so many levels, one of them is that this act of "resistance" by the Palestinian is mediated by Atlas, who is a Moroccan Muslim/Jew (figure this one out yourself), singing a song in English.
Egyptian courts finally gave Hind El- Hinnawi some justice: they ruled that Ahmad
El-Fishawi is, indeed, the father of her daughter.
This paternity suit has been the talk of Egypt for a while. Hind sued Ahmad after giving birth to a daughter, saying that they were married a 'urfi (customary) marriage and that Ahmad, son of the famous but spineless actor Farouq El Fishawi, should own up to it. She wanted her daughter's rights.
While cusotmary marriages are not uncommon in Egypt, they have a stigma attached to them. They leave the woman in a vulnerable position, with no rights or recourse. Once the man deserts the woman, often she just fades away licking her wounds and keeping silent so as not to be disgraced.
The educated, middle-class professional decided to speak out and went public. Her parents, instead of being disgraced by her, SUPPORTED her. Wow! What shock!! Good for her. El Fishawi first denied that he even knew har, implying that she's a loose woman who sleeps around. Later, he admitted to the marriage.
If there is any true sense of justice, this cad should be disgraced for not standing by his daughter and for working to ruin her mother's reputation. Instead, he's still acting, protected by daddy's fame and connections.
Mabrouk Hind. Kick his ass, girl!
This is a devastating (and I mean devastating) critique of Azar Nafisi's much celebrated book Reading Lolita in Tehran by Hamid Dabashi. Called "a masterpiece" by the father of all orientalists Bernard Lewis, Reading Lolita in Tehran has been all over the place, ironically appearing as a good title for courses on world literature when the only literature it celebrates is "Western Masterpieces."
The article is long and academic but well-worth reading. I would say for anyone who read the book or is thinking of reading it Dabashi's piece is a must read. For anyone teaching the book, it would be irresponsible not to include the article as required reading.
Azar Nafisi spoke at George Mason about a year ago. I started reading her book in preparation for attending the lecture, but I never could finish it. I hated it.
One important thing Dabashi shows in his article, is Nafisi's connections with the neocons. That is juicy stuff.
His reading of the picture on the cover is brilliant. Above you can see the original picture before it was "cropped" (and with it Iranian history, culture, and people) for US consumption.