Thursday, May 31, 2007
Of the 19 killed, two were extra-judicially executed and 12 were killed by Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip. Two other Palestinians, including one woman, died of wounds sustained during previous Israeli attacks.
Of the 67 injured, 8 were children and 9 were women. Also two paramedics and one journalist were wounded by Israeli military fire in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
According to PCHR, the Israeli army fired 46 missiles at Palestinian civilian and security targets.
The Israeli army carried out 56 incursions into the West Bank and one into the Khan Younis area of the Gaza Strip, PCHR says."
وفي إحدي حواري وسط القطاع كان يصرخ احد الاطفال في رفاقه يحثهم علي التمترس خلفه علي انهم من خليته المسلحة التي تنتمي للقوة التنفيذية، ليواجه زميله (عدوه) في اللعبة الذي حمل هو وزملاؤه المنتمون لفتح بنادق بلاستيكية مثل الآخرين في التنفيذية، ليحتموا بمتاريس وضعوها في الشارع إيذاناً بالبدء في الاشتباك المسلح
In the streets of Gaza neighborhoods, children shifted from their previous chasing game which was called "Arabs and Jews" to another game just like it called "Fateh and Executive" (Executive force is a Hamas militia). In one of the alleys in the middle of the strip, one kid was shouting at his friends urging them to line behind him as part of his armed cell belonging the executive, to face his friend (enemy) in the game who was, along with others belonging to Fateh, carrying plastic guns like the ones the executive kids were carrying and who were sheltering behind barriers they erected in the street in preparation for armed clashes.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
“I simply felt terrified, and I had excruciating pains in my back and I felt that my back was about to really break, and I yelled and cried and begged, but the torture did not stop. When the interrogation was over, at approximately 4 in the morning, they took me down to the cell. And all the time there were noises in the cell – knocking at the door… and I would even hear my own screams during the interrogation, which they had apparently taped”.
"I insisted I was innocent, and they changed their style. They brought long metal handcuffs and bound my hands behind me with the cuffs on my arms. They would close the cuffs and press on them until the metal dug into the flesh and you felt your arm has been amputated. When I cried out in pain, they laughed and jeered."
"According to the report, the idea of a "ticking bomb" was first coined as a literary concept by a French author in relation to the French occupation of Algeria, “which was no less brutal than the Israeli occupation of Palestinian Territories.”
"Nablus - Ma'an - The Al-Aqsa Brigades, the main armed wing of Fatah, shot two alleged "collaborators" in the legs in the centre of Nablus in the northern West Bank very early on Wednesday morning. The two Palestinians are accused of collaborating with the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian West Bank. A spokesperson of the brigades told Ma'an via telephone that the collaborators admitted to the charges against them during interrogation."
It's hard to believe but Faten Hamama, an icon of Arab cinema, has turned 76. Below is a clip from the film "Al Bab el Maftou7" (The Open Door), an adaptation of Latifa al Zayyat's novel of the same name. Mahmoud Mursi and Shwaikar appear with her. In this clip, it's Leila's engagement party to her conservative university professor who tells her that he's marrying her because, unlike her friend, she's obedient. He also tells her there's no such thing as love. In the confrontation with her friend, Gameela says her sexual transgressions are the result of her loveless marriage that even though it drove her to attempt suicide she was not allowed to end by her conformist family.
Bahraini parliament has approved a law of early retirement for women who work in the government sector for 15 years. Supporters of the legislation argued that it takes into account women's special role in society and helps them carry out their familial duties after long years of public service. Latifa Al Qu'oud, a female member of the Parliament objected to the new law on the grounds that it aims to get women out of the job market and return them to the house. She pointed out that this law sidelines women in their 40s and 50s at the height of their careers when they are less burdened by raising children. You can see what her male colleagues thought of her argument from the picture.
What is it with this pornographic fascination with violence that cell phone cameras seem to satisfy? Du'a Khalil's stoning and the rape of an Egyptian detainee that I posted about before and now this are all captured on cell phone cameras and made to circulate for the enjoyment of the spectators and the further humiliation of the victims.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Ok, granted, women exercise their agency and don't just follow rules like dumb beasts, they resist patriarchy even when they don't consciously intend to, and they manipulate the Abaya to make it more individualistic. Some even rebel and wear a brown Abaya instead of a black one.
But to be honest with you, and I know some will not like this, I can't really get too overworked about all this rebellion.
Only when a Saudi woman walks down the street in Riyad without an Abaya and is neither arrested nor molested, I'd get excited about "subversive" Abaya stories. Only when the Saudi Abaya is no longer a story it becomes news worthy.
All else sounds like Abaya propaganda.
The interior minister has this to say:
"This great consensus shows the political maturity of Syria and the brilliance of our democracy and multi-party system."
What amazes me is the way the numbers are manufactured: I mean how did they come up with 97. 62 this time? Obviously, they were aiming for a more realistic number than the proverbial 99.9 percent some presidents get. But why not 93. 48 percent, for instance? Or 85.1 percent, or god forbid, 62 percent? These are still high numbers and may do a better job convincing the Syrians, the world, and the entire galaxy that the brilliant democracy in Syria is more than a cruel joke.
He's one of the rare leftist Arab intellectuals who is at least aware of how dangerous the current situation is in both Lebanon and Palestine and whose political discourse goes beyond distributing "You're a Traitor!" certificates right and left. Maybe because he's a novelist first and foremost.
Monday, May 28, 2007
The report shows that the average number of women killed for challenging patriarchal norms increased from 14 incidents to 32 in one year. The organisation reported that the youngest case which they dealt with was that of a 12 year old girl and the oldest was that of an 85 year old woman. 32 out of 48 reported cases were documented formally as murder on the basis of family honour.
According to the report, from these 32 reported cases of 'honour killing', 30 of the murdered girls were Muslim. Of these 30 Muslim victims, 14 were unmarried, 8 were married, 6 were divorced and 2 were widows. Half of the victims were in the Gaza Strip and the rest were in the West Bank. Villages recorded the highest rate of murder of women.
The report also shows that the murder of 'dishonourable' women was committed in numerous ways ranging from stabbing to suffocating to poisoning.
In 17 cases, the perpetrators were brothers, while in 5 cases the fathers killed their own daughters.
The report also affirmed that real figures are very hard to attain for several reasons: the lack of formal statistics; the lack of reporting of such cases and the legal closure of many cases in the name of fate and destiny."
Tinky Winky, the purple teletubby with a triangle over his head, is being subjected to psychological evaluation to determine if he's promoting a homosexual life style to Polish children. Apparently, the give away was the red handbag that Tinky Winky was carrying on the show. I personally was always suspicious of the triangle over his head and wouldn't let my son watch for that alone. And anyway everybody knows that purple is a girl's color. Duh!
قبل ما عرف بإنتفاضة الحجارة كانت المومسات اليهوديات من منطقة سديروت وعسقلان القريبتين لقطاع غزة من الذكاء بحيث ارتدين ملابس عسكرية لجذب الزبائن الفلسطينيين، فالرجل المقهور يزين له خياله نوعا من الإنتصار أو رد الإعتبارعندما يضاجع مومسا ترتدي لباس الجندية الإسرائيلية،(ويا نِعمك لو كانت رتبتها عالية)
،وبالمقابل فإن المومسات العربيات وفي المنطقة ذاتها كن يرتدين الملاءات لجذب اليهودي الذي سيتخيل أنه يضاجع واحدة حريم ألف ليلة وليلة!
This article reminded me to two things:
Of Mustafa Said, Tayib Saleh's hero in Season of Migration to the North, who wanted to liberate Africa with his penis. So he sets on seducing as many of the enemy's women as possible.
Of the film The Night Baghdad Fell, which I reviewed before. In it, Egyptian men exprience their defeat by the American invasion of Iraq as sexual impotence and can only perform when their wives, whose sexual appetite or sexual performance are not affected one bit by the defeat of their nation, dress up as American marines.
"We don't have anything against Muslims...But we don't want minarets. The minaret is a symbol of a political and aggressive Islam, it's a symbol of Islamic law. The minute you have minarets in Europe it means Islam will have taken over."
43 percent of Swiss polled agreed.
Warning: Satan is also known to have disguised himself in the form of a cell phone, a book, a television, and, of course, Haifa Wahbi.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Saturday, May 26, 2007
"Malalai Joya, one of Afghanistan's most controversial female lawmakers, was removed from her post on May 21 after she referred to the lower house of parliament as "worse than a stable" in a TV interview. Joya has been an open critic of Afghan tribal leaders since she was elected in 2005. In neighboring Pakistan, Nilofar Bakhtiar, the minister of tourism, was forced out of office after a pro-Taliban cleric criticized her for hugging a parachute instructor, Reuters reported May 22. Bakhtiar hugged the instructor while she was in France, after making a jump to raise money for the October 2005 earthquake that killed 73,000 people in Pakistan."
A New York Times article on Algerian women's increased participation in public life. They are doing it through education, something men seem to have given up on because of economic hardship and a different set of gender expectations. Women dominate medicine, and make up 70 percent of the country's lawyers and 60 percent of its judges. Nothing is said about the role the Algerian women's movement plays in all this. Some women mention how their adoption of the hijab gave their public life a moral cover that unveiled women do not have. One thing that comes through the article is the complexity of gender relations in Algerian society right now.
Friday, May 25, 2007
"It is not possible, indeed, to forget the sufferings and injustices inflicted by colonizers on the indigenous populations, whose fundamental human rights were often trampled on," the Pope said.
He was responding to Indian rights groups in Brazil who criticized him "for his insistence that Latin American Indians wanted to become Christian before European conquerors arrived centuries ago" when he "told a regional conference of bishops in Brazil that pre-Columbian people of Latin America and the Caribbean were seeking Christ without realizing it." Such a comment, protestors objected, " failed to take into account that Indians were enslaved and killed by the Portuguese and Spanish settlers who forced them to become Catholic."
Thursday, May 24, 2007
I don't doubt his influence. I just doubt it's a good one because in my opinion the last thing Muslims need, particularly young ones, is another authority figure to tell them the best way to blow their noses-- Islamicly.
But some would say it's better than authority figures telling them the best way to blow themselves up. Or those who tell them this crap. This is why he's being toasted in the West as a "moderate" Muslim.
Well, I think teaching them to be critical of authority figures, beard or no beard, works better to protect kids from the influence of all rascals.
CAIR invited him to give a lecture when he came to the US to receive his prize. Below is an excerpt. In just one minute he addresses women twice: "I feeeeeeeeeel for you," he says.
And I for you.
كنتُ أتمنى لو أن مخيم نهر البارد خرج عن بكرة أبيه ليطالب "فتح الإسلام" أو غيرها من المجموعات المسلحة التي لا يعرف لها أصل
ولا فصل، والتي ترتبط بأجندات وأجهزة أمنية عربية وإقليمية وربما دولية... ليطالب بخروجها من المخيم بدلاً من أن يجبر أهالي المخيم على الخروج منه، وكنت أتمنى لو أن الفصائل الفلسطينية تزعمت هذه الحملة وبادرت إليها وعملت من أجل اعتمادها كخيار شعبي وموقف ثابت وأكيد بدلاً من أن تقف هذه الفصائل لتشجب أو تدين أو تناصر أو تعادي. وكان بالإمكان اعتماد خيار من هذا النوع وفرضه بدلاً من الاكتفاء بالمناشدة والتصريحات الإعلام"
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
The PLO at Nahr el Bared camp has called the group a "gang of criminals." They should have protected the civilian refugees in the camp better by not allowing such a gang in their midst. Look who is paying the price now!
The threat of Fateh's Sultan Abu el Anain that if the shelling of the camp doesn't stop, there will be Intifadas in other camps is just an example of the irresponsibilty of such mediocre leaders. So to pretect Palestinian civilians he threatens that he's going to create more trouble for the Lebanese army and state. Great job!
"Israeli forces carried out indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks on a large scale."
"Israeli forces also appear to have carried out direct attacks on civilian infrastructure intended to inflict a form of collective punishment on Lebanon's people, in order to induce them and the Lebanese government to turn against Hezbollah, as well as to cause harm to Hezbollah's military capability."
"The million or so unexploded bomblets that were left continued to kill and maim civilians long after the end of the war... Some 200 people, including tens of children, had been killed or injured by these bomblets and newly laid mines by the end of the year."Aat least 20 people were killed by the cluster bomblets after the conflict had already come to an end.
"Failing to provide detailed maps of the exact locations where its forces launched cluster bombs to the UN bodies in charge of clearing unexploded ordnance, despite ... repeated requests that it do so."
"The international human rights organization also slammed the actions of IDF troops and settlers in the territories, saying some 650 Palestinians were killed by Israeli soldiers in 2006- half of them unarmed civilians, including roughly 120 children."
"Investigations and prosecutions relating to such abuses [by both soldiers and settlers] were rare and usually only occurred when the abuses were exposed by human rights organizations and the media," said the report.
"Trials of Palestinians before military courts often did not meet international fair trial standards, with allegations of torture and other ill-treatment of detainees inadequately investigated."
More than 700 Palestinians were being held in administrative attention at the end of the year [no formal charges and no trials].
Haleh Esfandiari is an academic who has been recently detained in Iran while visiting her mother. She is accused of involvement in regime change, or as Iranian television put it, in seeking to "soft toppl[e] the country." She's been denied legal representation. This article here sums up why Middle East scholars find such accusations chilling. There are also links to petitions asking for her release.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Is there anybody more vulnerable than the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon?
The way this story is written is more confusing than the story itself. Here's what I understand:
Shahzine is a woman in love with her cousin, Shumail, who happened to be a woman wanting to be a man. For the past 16 years she/he underwent surgery (uterus and breasts were removed) but more work needs to be done. Shahzine is being coerced into an arranged marriage, so to get out of it and because she loves Shumail, they get married. For that to happen, Shumail says to the court he's a man. But the bride's family complains about the gender of the groom. Now the couple are facing jail because it's not allowed for two people of the same sex to be married.
If you think about it, there is another way, a much clearer way if you ask me, of telling the same story:
Two people fell in love and got married.
Monday, May 21, 2007
The title of the post is how she concludes her article: a quote from Gibran Khalil Gibran--a fitting motto for such a school and a reminder that there are better reasons to study Arabic than that it's "the language of the enemy."
Seen from a Palestinian point of view, the Israeli settlements were always government policy, supported by Labor, Likud, and everybody in between.
The genius who came up with the "breast feeding" fatwa that women should nurse men they work with to make mixing with them kosher has issued an apology. Apparently, he was forced to do so by his bosses at the Azhar who got embarrassed by the public condemnation of his learned pronouncements and are now considering disciplining him for his intellectual drivel (let's not forget he's the
So what did he say in his apology?
It's not totally clear, but he seems to explain that he based it on solid sources, that it refers to one single incident, and that he was attempting to be creative (Ijtihad: making a personal intellectual effort at coming up with a creative interpretation). He said he is now going back on this opinion that offended the public. (in Arabic)
I don't know about the rest of you, but this doesn't sound like a good enough apology.
"I, Dr. Izzat Ateyya, apologize for being a blockhead and an ass" would have been more to the point.
Update: according to this article, he is not allowed to work and is to be investigated on order from the highest Azhar authorities. (Thanks Atef)
Now, who the hell are those 8.2%, I want to know!
On the other hand, it's good news: now we know the exact percentage of the low lives in our society.
"Since the British military began allowing homosexuals to serve in the armed forces in 2000, none of its fears — about harassment, discord, blackmail, bullying or an erosion of unit cohesion or military effectiveness — have come to pass, according to the Ministry of Defense, current and former members of the services and academics specializing in the military. The biggest news about the policy, they say, is that there is no news. It has for the most part become a nonissue."
I'm glad gays are allowed in the military in Britain, for now they qualify to become conscientious objectors.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Friday, May 18, 2007
Thursday, May 17, 2007
See these guys at Al Azhar University may seem like they have too much time on their hands, but in fact they are not sitting around twiddling their thumps; they are working hard on coming up with Fatwas to help Muslims deal with some of the challenges facing them in these challenging times.
So the latest Azhar fatwa, ingeniously thought of by the head of the Hadith section at the university who argues it's based on a Prophet's strong Hadith (saying), is trying to solve the problem that in this darn age men and women are spending time alone together at work when that is forbidden. The solution? Easy! The problem can be easily solved by having the woman nurse her colleague. Yep. Nurse him as in put her breast in his mouth. This way they become related through nursing and as such can be alone together without breaking any moral or religious codes. But they need to keep accurate records of who nursed whom so things don't get mixed up. Once a man is nursed by a woman, she can take off her veil in front of him because now he's "forbidden" to her.
I'm not sure what effect this will have on productivity at the work place but then it might prove quite productive. I bet you it will make milk, not coffee, the favorite morning drink of Egyptian civil servants. Now, how can that be bad?
And they accuse Al Azhar of not being creative! How can they not be creative. They're NUTS!!!
He suggests that people do little but symbolic things to show the militias that they reject them: don't attend their rallies and Friday sermons, talk to young men to leave them, wear black ribbons, raise black flages on houses, don't follow their orders, don't serve them, don't greet them. Give them the silent treatment and direct only looks of disgust at them. It's the only way for the silent majority to say to all criminals, wether those wearing masks or ties, ENOUGH!
وليس الـمطلوب من الشعب الخروج في تظاهرات، أو الزحف لإخراج الـميليشيات وأصحابها من السلطة ومن الشوارع، بل مقاطعة السلطة والـميليشيات بالعصيان الـمدني، وبواسطة علامات احتجاج صغيرة ومباشرة.
فلو وضع كل رجل وامرأة وشاب وصبية شارة سوداء صغيرة على صدره، سيعرف كل من يراها أن هذا الشخص يقول للـميليشيات وأصحابها: أنا لا أريدكم، ولا أثق بكم، فاخرجوا من الحكم ومن الشارع.
ولو رفع كل مواطن راية سوداء على سطح بيته سيعلـم كل من يراها أن صاحبها يقول الشيء نفسه. ولو امتنع كل شخص عن تنفيذ أوامر الـميليشيات وأصحابها، أو تقديم الخدمات لهم سيدرك الجميع معنى هذه الرسالة.
ولو أضرب الـموظفون ليس لأنهم لـم يتلقوا رواتبهم بل لأنهم لا يريدون بقاء الحكومة، ولا الـميليشيات، ولو تمكن كل شخص بطريقته الخاصة من إظهار امتعاضه من الـمسلحين وعدم احترامه لهم، ولو تحوّلت الخدمة في الـميليشيات وارتداء الأقنعة على الوجوه ونصب الحواجز في الشوارع إلى أشياء تثير القرف والخجل.
ولو حاول كل مواطن إقناع قريبه أو جاره أو صديقه بالانسحاب من الـميليشيات، ولو امتنع الناس عن حضور الندوات والـمؤتمرات والـمهرجانات وخطب يوم الجمعة التي ينظمها أصحاب الـميليشيات، وكفوا عن إلقاء السلام عليهم، وتبادل الزيارات معهم، وقابلوهم حتى بالصمت ونظرات العيون.
لو حدثت أشياء كهذه، وأدرك الناس أهميتها الرمزية والأخلاقية والسياسية، سنجد أنفسنا أمام أفكار جديدة، وابتكارات لا تعد ولا تحصى للتعبير عن الرفض والـمقاطعة. تبدأ أفعال كهذه صغيرة، لكنها تنمو وتكبر، فإذا تحوّلت إلى حالة شعبية عامة، وتحلى الناس بالصبر والشجاعة، ولـم يفقدوا الأمل، ولـم ينخدعوا بالكلام عن الحوار، والوحدة، والتوافق، سيتمكن الشعب من فرض إرادته، وطرد هذه الحكومة وميليشيات أصحابها.
العصيان الـمدني ممكن، والهدف قابل للتحقيق، وإلا سنبقى في دوامة القتل، والدورة الـمتجددة للعنف، والاتهامات الـمتبادلة، والحلول التوفيقية التي لا تعالج جذر الـمشكلة. الـمطلوب بداية جديدة، يقول فيها الناس، أي الأغلبية الصامتة للـمجرمين سواء وضعوا الأقنعة على وجوههم في الشوارع، أو ارتدوا ربطات العنق: كفى.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
"Journalists, correspondents and other employees at Arab and international news agencies and satellite TV stations are currently under siege in a tower building which hosts the offices of several press agencies."
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
The defense is going to argue that the guard acted only in self defence: he felt gravely threatened when he witnessed the Islamic man engage in a such a weird and dangerous Islamic ritual involving washing his Islamic hands, face, feat, and ears!
والمحزن في هذا الشأن أن العقدة تشتد على أعناق الفلسطينيين شعبا وقضية في وقت يشهد صعود أكثر السياسيين في تاريخهم وضاعة، وجهلا، وابتذالا، وضيق أفق، وهؤلاء هم أصحاب عصابات القتل في غزة، وفي غيرها، بصرف النظر عن تسمياتهم التنظيمية والأيديولوجية، وهم مهندسو النكبة الجديدة
The saddest thing is that the noose is tightening on the Palestinian neck at the very moment we are witnessing the rise of the worst politicians in Palestinian history: the lowest, most ignorant, most vulgar, and most close minded ever. They are the ones with the murderous gangs in Gaza and elsewhere, regardless of their factional and ideological affiliations. They are the engineers of the new Nakba.
Give them hell, Hassan!!
"Almost 100 million girls "disappear" each year, killed in the womb or as babies, a study has revealed.
The report, "Because I am a Girl", exposes the gender discrimination which remains deeply entrenched and widely tolerated across the world, including the fact that female foeticide is on the increase in countries where a male child remains more valued.
The report highlights the fact that two million girls a year still suffer genital mutilation, half a million die during pregnancy - the leading killer among 15 to 19-year-olds - every 12 months and an estimated 7.3 million are living with HIV/Aids compared with 4.5 million young men. Almost a million girls fall victim to child traffickers each year compared with a quarter that number of boys.
Of the 1.5 billion people living on less than 50p a day, 70 per cent are female, with 96 million young women aged 15 to 24 unable to read or write - almost double the number for males...In the UK, two women a week are killed by current or former partners. The country also has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Europe and having a baby at a young age means women are more likely to miss out on education and slip into poverty."
According to Ha'aretz:
"Seven members of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah-linked Presidential Guard were killed on Tuesday in an attack by Hamas gunmen near Gaza's Karni commercial crossing with Israel, security officials said.
Two Fatah men who fled the scene of the attack then were then killed by IDF soldiers on the Gaza border."
No escape in Gaza. Die you must.
This is one version of the events as reported by Maan:
"There were contradictory stories about the death of the security forces' members. The leadership of the national security forces accused the Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, of "obstructing a car belonging to the Palestinian national security forces near the evacuated Israeli settlement of Nezareim, before forcing them out of the car and liquidating them on the spot by shooing them in their heads."
Even if it didn't happen this way, it's being imagined.
But Maan reports that "The spokesperson of the executive force, Islam Shahwan, denied that any of the executive force members participated in the attack at the Karni crossing." More here.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Sunday, May 13, 2007
"Jerusalem may, God forbid, not be under Jewish sovereignty, but ruled by Hamas, which knows that it can conquer Jerusalem demographically within 12 years. We need a plan in order to ensure that Jerusalem remain Israel’s capital for all eternity,” Lupolianski said."
I just can't think of what that plan can be!!! Any ideas?
Note how the Palestinians are invisible--as usual--and only Hamas exists!
And ruin my morning. And it's mother's day today!
Her latest handiwork is this article on the increased influence of Al Qua'eda in Gaza. I just posted an article by Khalid Amayreh on the same topic. Unlike Amayreh, Prusher manages the amazing feat of talking about Gaza and the increased influence of the salafis without once, not once, mentioning the Israeli occupation or the international embargo. Gaza, according to her article, exists in a vaccum or a bubble. Israel is light years far a way and is only mentioned when its experts comment and analyze as neutral observers who watch from a distance. These experts hardly have anything to say about the topic at hand, but they do go on and on about Iran and Hizballah, who have nothing to do with Al Qa'eda, to create the spooky Hizbo effect Prusher insists on for her articles.
Bravo Prusher! You did it. Again and again.
I heard of the "threat to national security" crap but "weakening national feelings" is a new one.
"One in 13 mothers worldwide will die from pregnancy-related causes, the U.S. charity Save the Children found in its annual Mother's Day Report Card, an index that ranks nations for how women and children fare by comparing 13 key indicators, such as mortality rates, heath care provisions and female school enrollment.
The United States and Hungary were tied in 26th place on the ranked list. The worst country to be a mother is Niger, where maternal mortality claims 1 in 7 women. Sweden received the top ranking."
Saturday, May 12, 2007
"XM Satellite Radio hosts Opie and Anthony have come under fire for responding with laughter to degrading comments on their talk show, the New York Daily News reported May 11. A caller known as "Homeless Charlie" declared on the show that he would like to rape U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, first lady Laura Bush and Queen Elizabeth II of Britain. Opie and Anthony played up the remarks and said they would enjoy the "horror" on Rice's face as she were punched and held down. A White House spokesperson said he would not "dignify the comments" by responding to them."
The show is popular with males age 18-39.
"to win the war on terrorism, we're going to need many more people who know Arabic, get the difference between Sunnis and Shiites and understand the complex culture of the Middle East."
He doesn't give any other reasons for learning Arabic. So what we have here are two arguments: we should not teach Arabic because it's the language of the enemy, and we should teach Arabic because it's the language of the enemy. Both arguments are against Arabic.
Not only do both arguments credit Bin Laden and Al Qa'eda with inventing the Arabic language, not only do they ignore the zillion of other reasons that people have to learn this language, they also make me my son's enemy.
Ironically, I read Zimmerman's words , and I'm writing this post, while sitting in a cafe waiting for my son to finish his weekly Arabic lesson, taught to him in a "school" that exists, precariously, through the efforts of five wonderful women who happened to love kids and Arabic.
I want my son to learn Arabic because it's his mother's tongue, not his enemy's language. I want him to learn Arabic from someone else because for the first few years of his life he thought it was a private language that mom invented to talk to him in code. I want him to learn Arabic so he knows that his middle name isn't really "habibi"* as he once told his kindergarten teacher. I will not correct him. This is something he has to figure out on his own-- by learning Arabic.
This is all I have to say in defense of Arabic language teaching. For today.
* to know what "habibi" means either fall in love with an Arab or learn Arabic. Or both.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Charges of rape and luring minors are leveled at the parents of the girls as well.
But here is the blow:
The two girls were made to marry (in a form of civil marriage) the rapists till the end of the trial.
حيث قامت الشرطة باتخاذ الإجراءات القانونية بحق الشابين ووالدي الطفلتين، ووجهت إليهم تهم الاغتصاب والتغرير بقاصر، وتم تحويلهم الي القضاء، وتم تزويج الشابين من الطفلتين عرفيا، الي أن تتخذ المحكمة قرارها.
It is not unusual to make rapists marry their victims. The idea is that the rapist "spoiled" the woman and that since that makes her damaged goods and unmarriageable--and a life-long burden on her family and a disgrace to their honor --he must be punished by keeping her.
The idea that the rape is a violation of the woman's body and self (not her family's honor) and that she needs to be protected from her rapist does not figure in this solution.
I have a feeling this is how this story will end. The men will be "forced" to marry the girls, the price will be called a dowry, and ya dar ma dakhalek sharr (no evil in this house).
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Teachers in Rafah held a sit in in the UNRWA school that was attacked by gunmen opposed to a mixed celebration. The teachers denounced what they called "extremist thought" and those who try to impose their ideologies by force and demanded that the perpetrators be punished. (in Arabic)
What was the father charged with? The article doesn't say. Is there a punishment on the books for a father who sells his daughters? Probably not. A new crime. The law hasn't caught up yet.
I'm stunned. Last time I talked to my brother on the phone, he did say that crime is rising in Ramallah. But he was talking about robberies. Not this. Not this.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
The article briefly profiles two women, one is an imported bride who hardly knows English and the other an educated Muslim-American, who both turn out to have abusive husbands who mistreated them. Both stories end happily: they both dump their husbands and continue their lives, in the first case, with help from women's groups and sympathetic advocates, and in the second through self-reliance. The writer doesn't tell us if either of the women renounces her religion or faith to achieve freedom from abuse. I doubt it. But their Muslim identity as always is only emphasized when they are battered and disappears when they are not.
The article conflates "culture," "tradition," "religion," and pretty much uses them interchangeably. The one word absent from the article is the only relevant one in my opinion: Patriarchy. But use of that word would make the journalist writing the essay sound more like a feminist and less like a bad anthropologists (which might undermine her authority in the eyes of Washington Post readers), would place abuse of Muslim women in the context of violence against all women (how boring is that!), and would undermine cultural and religious interpretations (which are the reason we are all here after all).
To be fair to the writer, she does say: "Domestic abuse is hardly unique to Muslim immigrant communities; it is a sad fact of life in families of all backgrounds and origins." But that sentence is there to serve a pre-emptive function and not to make good-faith connections. Predictably, it is soon drowned in prose about the specificity and uniqueness of the social pressures facing Muslim wives in particular.
So what is the source of this particularity and exceptionality? You guessed it. Islam. So we read:
"A major obstacle to recognizing and fighting abuse, experts said, can be Islam itself. The religion prizes female modesty and fidelity [as opposed to Christianity, Judaism, and Hinduism?] while allowing men to divorce at will [have you talked to some Israeli Jewish women lately?] and have several wives at once [so monogamy prevents battering?] Many Muslims [how many? ten, a hundred, a million, a billion?] also believe that men have the right to beat their wives. An often-quoted verse [who quotes it often aside from journalists and Asra Noumani?] in the Koran says a husband may chastise a disobedient wife, but the phrasing in Arabic is open to several interpretations [which we will ignore in favor of the one we favor].
Who are the "experts" the author relies on for this conclusion? I'm not sure. But immediately after this passage she quotes Mazna Hussain, an attorney for abused women, who explains how some batterers manipulate Islamic rules. In other words, it's men using religion to manipulate women. But men manipulate all rules and laws to justify battery and abuse. This will get us into patriarchy again, and we know we don't want to go there. Still, the expert witness does not say what the article makes it seem she says.
The thing is, as the article itself accidentally shows, Islam is used to free these women from abuse and battery. This is what some Imams and women advocates are doing: they educate the men against violence and the women about their rights in Islam. They do it from within the religion itself.
Now, imagine a whole article about that!
previous related posts are here and here.
Monday, May 07, 2007
Both journalists are Muslim.
So to prove the journalists wrong in their views of Islam as intolerant and violent, so-called defenders of Islam can't find any better defense than to force the journalists' mouth shut through jail. The other option is killing them, which some people in the court apparently attempted to do. They were trying to execute a fatwa issued by an Iranian clerk that killing the reporters is a duty for every Muslim.
Yep. That makes sense. Now, can you please beam me out of here?
1. They want the Palestinian Authority to give them a piece of land that is not legally theirs.
2. They want the Jordanian government to release Sajeda Al Rishawi, the suicide bomber who tried to blow up the Jordanian hotel with her husband, who succeeded.
3. They want the British Government to pay them 5 million dollars.
Haniya reportedly said that earlier the kidnappers had ten demands that has nothing to do with the Palestinian situation, but after negotiations, they reduced them to 3 (that still don't have anything to do with the Palestinian situation).
Haniya also said that the PA opened secret negotiation channels with the kidnappers and thought of using force to free Johnston but the British don't want them to do that for fear for his life.
The article concludes with this: "Haniya pointed out that Johnston's file is now connected with the Shalit file and others."
I'm stumped. I don't understand this last bit. What does it mean exactly? Who connected the files? The low life thugs and criminals holding Johnston? Are they the same ones holding Shalit?? Or are they striking an alliance only?
The response of the Israeli army: The Palestinians are dreaming.
In their statement, the council said: "We head and members of the council strongly condemn this horrible crime in the village of Bahrani (near Ba'sheka), where a group of irresponsible young men brutally murdered a young Yazidi girl because of worn out tribal values."
"نحن رئيس واعضاء المجلس ندين بشدة الجريمة النكراء في قرية بحراني (قرب بعشيقة), اذ ارتكتب زمرة من الشباب الطائش جناية القتل الوحشي البشع لفتاة ايزيدية يانعة انسياقا لاعراف عشائرية بالية".
They also said that "the murder of the girl is a huge tragedy to her family and the Kurdistani society and a crime that cannot be accepted by any religious, social, or ideological laws."
"مقتل الفتاة دعاء مآساة كبيرة جدا لعائلتها والمجتمع الكردستاني وجريمة لايقبلها اي قانون ديني او اجتماعي او ايديولجي". واكد على ضرورة ان "يعاقب على وجه السرعة جميع الذين شاركوا بشكل مباشر او غير مباشر في قتلها".
I have this nagging question:
Why wait till now? The murder was committed on April 7th. Almost a month ago. The murder of the Yazidi men in retaliation was committed on April 23. Did the council not know till the video surfaced on the internet? It's a murder that was committed in broad daylight, in public, for all to see, and it seems many cell phones recorded it. There were hundreds of witnesses. How could the leaders of the community not know?
But this belated response is not the only thing that bothers me about Du'a's murder: If you read the responses of Al Arabiya readers you will see a troubling thread: there are some people mourning her because she died a Muslim or wanted to be a Muslim. This is what bothers them, not the fact that a human being was treated this way. They are calling her "martyr." The least I can say about this response is that it's obscene.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Let's see if the police will still say this is a non-existing group as it did before.
The sorry details below:
"Rafah – Ma'an – One Palestinian was killed and six injured in the Gaza Strip when an unidentified group of gunmen attacked a Palestinian school belonging to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). The attack took place while the director of UN relief operations in Gaza, John Ging, and Palestinian officials were attending a celebration at the UN's 'Umariyya school, in Tal as Sultan, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip.
Palestinian security sources told Ma'an 'an armed group hurled grenades and opened fire at Palestinian citizens and the visiting delegations while they were on their way out of the school. They also attacked the convoy of the UN operations director, which resulted in the killing of 27-year-old Sulaiman Ash-Shaer, one of the escorts of PLC member, Majid Abu Shammala. Six other people were injured.' Among the injured were students and their relatives, in addition to the school guard....
In a demonstration near the school on Saturday a religious group threatened to attack the celebration, as they claimed it contradicted Islamic laws.
It is unprecedented in the Gaza Strip that a school is attacked with grenades and machine guns.
In another incident, a group of journalists who were covering the celebration at the 'Umariyya school, were attacked and beaten by masked gunmen, before the Palestinian police intervened to protect the journalists."
"Since the mid 1990s, Amer has also incorporated more direct images of sexuality into her richly textured canvases. Amer often uses images of women in explicit sexual poses, copied from softcore pornographic magazines, reproducing a selected image repetitiously across the canvas. Here she recalls another technique from the history of embroidery, namely patterning, the repetition of a selected image also results in the blurring of the image, as if to render it mute or abstract. At the same time, Amer has begun to color her canvases, pouring and blotching paint over parts of the painting before embroidering into it. By taking on methods of painting that were first introduced and canonized by Abstract Expressionism and combining them with the repetitious embroidery of pornographic images, Amer has arrived at a more openly pronounced criticism of (stereotypically) male artistic behavior. With Abstract Expressionism as the common point of reference for heroic artistic gestures and the sexist visualness of pornographic magazines as the definitive example of the male gaze, Amer has isolated two dominant strands in popular visual culture. By combining these with the subtle textuality of her intertwined threads, colored blotches and soft objects, Amer manages to continue her quiet critique of the stereotypes of domesticity, femininity, and sexuality, while simultaneously embracing the contested imagery. The slightly disconcerting feeling of unrest that often comes with her work thus can be seen as proof of the constant rejection of simple visual or thematic solutions to the questions Amer’s work has been asking for over a decade."
For more on Ghada Amer's art from a Lacanian point of view, read here.
Also here from Art Journal (thanks kb)