Thursday, November 16, 2006

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Europe's muslims

Interesting editorial in yesterday's issue of the Washington Post about the failure of european countries to integrate their muslim minorities:

Europe's Muslims

A year after the French riots, their alienation is growing.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006; Page A16

AYEAR AGO this week, riots erupted in mostly Muslim suburbs of Paris and other French cities, underlining the alienation of a subculture that makes up 8 percent of the country's population but has suffered from chronic unemployment and discrimination. One year later, that alienation -- and the threat of violence that comes with it -- appears to have worsened, not only in France but across Western Europe. French police are facing what some call a "permanent intifada" in Muslim neighborhoods, with nearly 2,500 incidents of violence against officers recorded in the first six months of the year. Some of these now take the form of planned ambushes: On Sunday a gang of youths emptied a bus of its passengers, set it on fire, and then stoned the firefighters who responded.

In Britain, the London bombings of 2005, which were executed in part by native-born Muslims, have been succeeded by this summer's arrest of another group of native extremists who allegedly plotted to blow up airliners. Two Lebanese residents of Germany were accused of trying to bomb passenger trains. The threat of violence by Muslims angered by perceived insults, whether from the German-born pope or the director of a Mozart opera, has become more frequent.

Europeans are slowly growing more aware that a major part of the global struggle against Islamic extremism must take place in their own countries -- and not just in faraway Afghanistan or Iraq. But their governments, media and political elites still appear to be a long way from coming to grips with the challenge. Rather than seeking to address the larger alienation of mainstream Muslims, European leaders often appear to do the opposite -- by challenging the culture of Muslims and defending gratuitous insults of Islam.

One recent but hardly isolated example came from Britain's House of Commons leader, Jack Straw, who criticized Muslim women for wearing veils and said he asked those who visited his office to remove them, on the grounds that they impede "communication." It's hard to believe that veils are the biggest obstacle to communication between British politicians and the country's Muslims; and it's even harder to imagine Mr. Straw raising similar objections about Sikh turbans or Orthodox Jewish dress. True, the Labor Party MP was reflecting -- or maybe pandering to -- the concern of many in Britain about the self-segregation of some Muslims. But veils -- which are also under government attack in France and Italy -- are not the cause of that segregation, much less of terrorism. Attacks on Muslim custom by public officials are more likely to reinforce than to ease the community's alienation.

Mr. Straw and other European politicians could contribute far more to combating radical Islam if they focused on those who actually foment intolerance among European Muslims -- as well as those in the mainstream community who promote prejudice against Arabs and South Asians and their descendants. Muslims in Europe should be invited to embrace the countries where they live on their own terms. They should be expected to respect laws and freedoms. But politicians would do better to work on dismantling the barriers Muslims face in getting educations and jobs rather than those that distinguish Islam from the secular majority.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Le monde a l'envers

Il y a quelque temps, un ami a moi qui observait les tendances sectariennes anti-chiites d'intellectuels arabes lors de debats au sujet de la guerre en Iraq sur certaines chaines de television satellitaires arabes (ou ces intellectuels soit-disant "eclaires" n'avaient d'autre souci que d'essayer de discrediter la majorite chiite gouvernant l'Iraq de l'apres-Saddam comme etant servile aux Ayatollahs iraniens), avait predit qu'un jour viendra ou les leaders arabes se mettront a genoux pour demander a Israel de les proteger de l'Iran. A vrai dire, je n'avais jamais pense qu'un tel jour viendrait aussi vite:

أفادت صحيفة يديعوت أحرونوت أن رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي إيهود أولمرت التقى خلال الأسابيع القليلة الماضية مسؤولين سعوديين كبارا في القصر الملكي الأردني في عمان، في لقاء نظمه كل من العاهل الأردني عبد الله الثاني ورئيس جهاز الاستخبارات الإسرائيلي (الموساد) مائير داغان.

وأوضحت الصحيفة أن أولمرت نقل في مروحية إلى العاصمة الأردنية ليلا برفقة مدير مكتبه يورام توربوفتيش والملحق العسكري الجنرال غادي شامني. وقالت إن الاجتماع الذي استغرق عدة ساعات تناول الأخطار الناجمة عن محاولة إيران امتلاك سلاح نووي وانتشار "الإرهاب الشيعي" في المنطقة

Joyeux ramadan a tout le monde...

Monday, September 04, 2006

About the iranian president

Is the president of Iran really the radical islamist hate-monger who wants to "wipe Israel off the map", as he is often portrayed in western media these days ? Click here to find out.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Jewish rabbi against zionism

Interesting interview of a jewish rabbi who calls for the dismantlement of the state of Israel. Watch the clip here.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

How Jonathan Cook found himself with the "Islamic Fascists"

Very touching article by Jonathan Cook...

"As we approach the fifth official anniversary of the "war on terror", the foiled UK "terror plot" has neatly provided George W Bush, the "leader of the free world", with a chance to remind us of our fight against the "Islamic fascists". But what if the war on terror is not really about separating the good guys from the bad guys, but about deciding what a good guy can be allowed to say and think?

What if the "Islamic fascism" President Bush warns us of is not just the terrorism associated with Osama bin Laden and his elusive al-Qaeda network but a set of views that many Arabs, Muslims and Pakistanis -- even the odd humanist -- consider normal, even enlightened? What if the war on "Islamic fascism" is less about fighting terrorism and more about silencing those who dissent from the West's endless wars against the Middle East?

At some point, I suspect, I joined the Islamic fascists without my even noticing. Were my name different, my skin colour different, my religion different, I might feel a lot more threatened by that realisation.

How would Homeland Security judge me if I stepped off a plane in the US tomorrow and told officials not only that I am appalled by the humanitarian crises in Lebanon and Gaza but also that I do not believe the war on terror should be directed against either the Lebanese or the Palestinians? How would they respond if, further, I described as nonsense the idea that Hizbullah or the political leaders of Hamas are "terrorists"?

I have my reasons, good ones I think, but would anyone take them seriously? What would the officials make of my argument that, before Israel's war on Lebanon, no one could point to a single terrorist incident Hizbullah had been responsible for in at least a decade? Would the authorities appreciate my comment that a terrorist organisation that doesn't do terrorism is a chimera, a figment of the President's imagination?

Equally, what would they make of my belief that Hizbullah does not want to wipe Israel off the map? Would they find me convincing if I told them that Israel, not Hizbulalh, is the aggressor in the conflict: that following Israel's supposed withdrawal from south Lebanon in 2000, Lebanon experienced barely a day of peace from the terrifying sonic booms of Israeli war planes violating the country's airspace?

Would they understand as I explained that Hizbullah had acted with restraint for those six years, stockpiling its weapons for the day it knew was coming, when Israel would no longer be satisfied with overflights and its appetite for conquest and subjugation would return? Would the officials doubt their own assumptions as I told them that during this war Hizbullah's rockets have been a response to Israeli provocations, that they are fired in return for Israel's devastating and indiscriminate bombardment of Lebanon?

And what would they say if I claimed that this war is not really about Lebanon, or even Hizbullah, but part of a wider US and Israeli campaign to isolate and pre-emptively attack Iran?

Thank God, my skin is fair, my name is unmistakenly English, and I know how to spell the word "atheist". Chances are when Homeland Security comes looking for suspects, no one will search for me or be interested -- not yet, at least -- in my views on Hassan Nasrallah or the democratic election of a Hamas government for the Palestinians.

My friends in Nazareth, and those Pakistani neighbours I never knew in High Wycombe, are less fortunate. They must keep their views hidden and swallow their anger as they see (because their media, unlike ours, show the reality) what US-made weapons fired by American and Israeli soldiers can do to the fragile human body, how quickly skin burns in an explosion, how easily a child's skull is crushed under rubble, how fast the body drains of blood from a severed limb."

To read the whole article, click here.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

George Galloway on the war in Lebanon

If you haven't already seen the interview of George Galloway on Sky News about the Lebanon war, you definitely should immediately do so. You can either try this link, or, better still, this one. Here is someone who is not a racist, and who has the courage and moral integrity to stand up for justice and for truth:

"You don't give a damn! You don't even know about the Palestinian families! You don't even know that they exist! Tell me the name of one member of the seven members of the same family swatted on the beach in Gaza by an Israeli warship! You don't even know their name, but you know the name of every Israeli soldier who've been taken prisoner in this conflict because you believe whether you know it or not that Israeli blood is more valuable than that the blood of Lebanese or Palestinian! That's the truth! And the discerning of your viewers already know it!"

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A farcical resolution

Excellent analysis of the draft UN resolution on the war in Lebanon in Sunday's edition of Counter Punch. Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the establishment of the so-called "New World Order", the UN has turned into a mouthpiece of western interests, with no regard for international law or for moral decency whatsoever...

Another interesting analysis of the same resolution can be found here. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Lettre ouverte de Salim el-Houss, ancien premier ministre libanais, aux dirigeants arabes

"صاحب الجلالة، صاحب السمو، صاحب السيادة، صاحب الفخامة، حفظكم الله للألقاب الفارغة، حفظكم الله للمناصب الزائلة. أمام ما نواجه في لبنان من مآس وفواجع كدنا ننسى أنكم موجودون. أنكم تشهدون بأم العين الأطفال يسقطون تحت نيران العدو الهمجي، وكذلك النساء والشيوخ والعجزة، ولا تبدون حراكا.

سمعنا منكم لوما على أسر جنديين إسرائيليين، أما ما كنا دوما، كل يوم، نتعرض له من اعتداءات إسرائيلية، فلم يكن يلقى منكم أي اعتراض أو احتجاج أو تحرك. أما أن تكون أرض لبنانية ترزح تحت الإحتلال خلافا لقرارات الشرعية الدولية فلا يعنيكم.

أما أن يكون في معتقلات العدو أسرى لبنانيون فلا يستحق منكم التفاتة. ''حزب الله'' أسر جنديين على أمل مبادلتهما بأسرى لبنانيين. لو استجابت إسرائيل لما كان كل ما كان من إبادة ودمار في بلدي لبنان. وإسرائيل لها تاريخ طويل في مبادلة الأسرى بالأسرى والأسرى بجثث. كانت عمليات تبادل مع لبنانيين ومع فلسطينيين. أنتم لا تكلفون أنفسكم عناء التساؤل: لماذا يا ترى أجازت اسرائيل التبادل مرات وحرمت التبادل هذه المرة فقط؟

ألا يوحي هذا إليكم يا أصحاب العروش والقصور والدواوين أن أسر الجنديين لم يكن سوى ذريعة مكشوفة، ولو لم تكن لاختلقت إسرائيل سواها، فتدمير لبنان وإبادة شعبه هو مشروع مبيت ومعد مسبقا بالإتفاق بين العدو الأصغر إسرائيل والعدو الأكبر الإدارة الأميركية، ولا نقول الشعب الأميركي الذي نحن على يقين أنه ما كان يجيز ما ينفذ من جرائم ضد الإنسانية على أرض لبنان لو كان على علم بها. كدنا ننسى وجودكم أيها الحكام العرب لو لم يذكرنا بكم أيهود أولمرت، رئيس وزراء الكيان الصهيوني إذ قال ما حرفيته في 1/8/2006 ''إنه يرحب بالدعم الدولي غير المسبوق وبمساندة الدول العربية التي اتخذت للمرة الأولى في إطار مواجهة عسكرية بيننا وبين عرب، موقفا ضد منظمة عربية''. وكان هذا الوحش المسعور قد ذكر في الأيام الأولى من هذه الحرب الطاحنة، هذه الحرب التي تطحن الإنسان في بلدنا وكل معالم الحياة، أن أحدكم أيها الحكام العرب كتب إليه يشجعه على عدم التوقف حتى القضاء علينا.

أنتم جبناء إذ تأخذون بمبدأ ''الحق للقوة''، وكان يجب أن تدركوا من واقع تجاربكم مع العدو الغاصب أن هذا المبدأ إنما يعني أن الحكم هو للقوة ولا مكان للحق، أنتم جبناء، فلا تتجرأون على عدم الإمتثال لأوامر، لا بل لإملاءات، الدولة العظمى. فهي لم تسمح لحكامنا في لبنان بتقديم شكوى ضد إسرائيل على كل اعتداءاتها علينا، ولا حتى على شبكات التجسس التي زرعتها في أرضنا فارتكبت أبشع الجرائم. وهي لم تسمح لكم بمطالبة مجلس الأمن باتخاذ قرار بوقف اطلاق النار ووضع حد للمجازر التي ترتكبها إسرائيل، ربيبة الدولة العظمى وشريكتها في جرائمها في حق الإنسانية. لا بل لم تسمح لكم بعقد مؤتمر قمة للاعراب عن وقوف الأمة إلى جانب لبنان في محنته واتخاذ ما ينبغي من خطوات عملية وجدية لنجدته وإنقاذه. أنتم جبناء. ونحن إذ نطلق عليكم هذا الوصف إنما نتوخى أن ندرأ عنكم نعوتا أخرى يكيلها آخرون إذ يتهمونكم بدعم العدوان أو التواطؤ معه. كفرنا، في غمرة المحنة التي تلفنا، بالقيم الحضارية والإنسانية التي تتشدق بها الدولة العظمى، إذ تتغنى بالحرية والديموقراطية والعدالة وسائر حقوق الإنسان. محنتنا أبلغ شاهد على زيف هذه القيم التي باتت مجوفة من معانيها. ولكننا مهما فعلتم، كيفما تصرفتم، مهما تخاذلتم، مهما تواطأتم، فلن نكفر بعروبتنا. فالعروبة تبقى أعز القيم على أنفسنا. والعروبة هي هدف المشروع الذي تتبناه القوة العظمى التي ترهبون والتي تدينون لها بالولاء لا بل بالطاعة العمياء. ما يسمى الشرق الأوسط الجديد إنما يرمي إلى القضاء على العروبة نهائيا وتسليط إسرائيل على المنطقة بأسرها. وأنتم، في تخليكم عن لبنان في محنته، شركاء في هذا المشروع المشؤوم. سامحكم الله، لا بل هداكم الله. حكم التاريخ لا يرحم، وكذلك حكم الشعوب. ستندمون ولات ساعة مندم

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Cana: then, and again

Then: Cana, April 12, 1996

Cana: 102 Faceless Dead

We killed 170 people in Lebanon, most of whom were refugees, during the month of April, 1996. Many of them were women, old people and children. We killed 9 civilians, one a 2 year old girl and one, a centenarian, in Sahmour, on April 11th. We killed 11 civilians, including 7 children, in Nabatyeh, on April 18th. In the UN Camp in Cana, we killed 102 people. We made sure to inflict death from a distance. In a very secular manner, without the archaic idea of sin, without the antediluvian worry to consider man in the image of God, and without the primitive proscription, "You shall not kill!"

Our solid alibi is that we are responsible for nothing, that the responsibility falls on Hezbollah. A most doubtful alibi. For when we decided to launch a massive attack on the civilian region of South Lebanon (while Israel ran no vital risk), we decided, ipso facto, to spill the blood of X number of civilians. When we decided to drive half a million people out of their homes and to shell those who remained behind (while in Israel, we did not have one single victim), we decided, in fact, to execute several dozen of them. This (alibi) allowed us to make such cruel decisions without seeing ourselves as rotten.

We killed them because the increasingly wider gap between the sacrosanct character that we attribute to our own lives and the more limited character we give to theirs, allowed us to kill. We believe, in the most absolute manner, with the White House, the Senate, the Pentagon, and the New York Times on our side, that their lives do not have the same weight as ours. We are convinced that with Dimona (Israel's atomic site), Yad Vashem and the Shoah Museum in our hand, we have the right to compel 400,000 people to evacuate their homes in 8 hours. And we have the right, at the end of 8 hours, to consider their homes as military targets. And we reserve the right to rain 16,000 shells on their villages and their populations. And we reserve the right to kill without any guilt feelings.

But all this cannot alleviate the gravity of the massacre, Israeli style, and our responsibility for its execution. For it is perpetrated, in general, in places to which we give free range to immoderate violence.

The shelling of Cana was executed according to the rules, orders and objectives of operation, "Grapes of Wrath." There is something wrong in these rules, orders and objectives. Something that is no longer human. Something that touches on the criminal.

And all of us, without exception, were an integral part of this machine. The public supported the media, who supported the government, who supported the Chief of Staff, who supported the inquiry officer, who supported the officers, who supported the soldiers who fired the three shells that killed 102 in Cana.

Nothing can prevent Cana from becoming an integral part of our biography. Because, after Cana, we did not denounce the crime, we did not want to subject the affair to the eyes of the law, we merely wanted to deny the horror and go on with our current affairs. That is how Cana is part of ourselves -- like one of the features of our face.

As the massacre perpetrated by Baruch Goldstein (in the Cave of the Patriarchs on Muslims while praying) and the crime committed by Ygal Amir (like the reactions to them) were manifestations of rotten seeds in the heart of the national-religious culture, the massacre of Cana is no less extreme a grain of rottenness in the heart of secular Israeli culture: its cynicism, brutality, instrumentalism, egocentrism of the powerful; this tendency to blur the frontier between good and evil, between permitted and prohibited; this tendency not to require justice, not to care about truth.

The manner in which contemporary Israel has functioned during and after Cana shows that modern, rational Israeli life conceals a terrifying aspect.

Ari Shavit/Haaretz/New York Times Syndication.
Ari Shavit is a writer and columnist of the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz. He lives in Jerusalem. (Translated from Hebrew in "Liberation" of May 21, 1996.)

... and again: Cana, July 2006

القاتل يعيد ذبح ضحيته

غسان شربل الحياة - 31/07/06

يولد الجنوبي لينتظر موعد استشهاده. تزغرد أمه في استقباله وتخفي خوفها من رائحة الوداع. لكل طفل يولد قذيفة تولد على اسمه في الضفة الأخرى من الخط الأزرق. قذيفة تنتظره وتسأل عنه. وهي آتية وإن تأخرت. قد يذهب الى المدرسة لكن ليودع رفاقه. قد يذهب الى العمل لكن ليلوح بيديه. قد يذهب الى الحقل لكن ليشم رائحة قبره. لكل طفل يولد قذيفة جائعة الى لحمه.

خطأ ان تولد في لبنان. خطيئة ان تولد في جنوبه. ومن الوقاحة ان تقيم هناك. وأن تبني سقفاً وتتوهم انه يحميك. وان تزرع موسماً كأنك ستقطفه. هذا ليس جنوب الوطن. انه حقل رماية. على المدافع ان تظهر دقتها. على الطائرات ان تثبت تفوقها. يحتاج حقل الرماية الى اهداف مثيرة. اطفال في احضان الأمهات. صغار تحت عريشة الدار. مدنيون مكدسون في الطابق الأرضي يتوهمون انهم خدعوا الطائرات وضللوها.

كم جثة طفل يحتاج الضابط الصغير ليصبح جنرالاً. كم ليتراً من الدم يلزم لصناعة وسام. كم جنازة يحتاج رئيس الوزراء المدني ليجلس في نادي حراس الهيكل. حظهم سيئ اطفال قانا. لم يكن ايهود اولمرت محارباً لحظة ولادة الدولة. لم يرتد يوما بزة الجنرال. لا احتل أرضاً ولا أنقذ الكيان. كيف يجلس قرب اسحق رابين؟ كيف يخاطب ارييل شارون؟ كيف يحدق بأوسمة ايهود باراك؟ تلزم لهذا الرجل مذبحة غير عادية. يحتاج سلماً من الجثث الصغيرة ليتسلق على حبال الدماء الى كتب التاريخ. حظهم سيئ اطفال قانا.

يتمشى اولمرت في مكتبه. لبنان بلد يستحق القتل. لبنان بلد معاد. تركيبته. ديموقراطيته. قدرته على التحريض. من جامعاته جاء جورج حبش ووديع حداد. عاصمته احتضنت ياسر عرفات وابو اياد وابو جهاد. وحين اقتلع «جيش الدفاع المخربين الوافدين» نبت من التراب اللبناني جيل أشد وطأة وهولاً. لبنان حالة ميؤوس منها. لا علاج لهذا المريض غير قتله. وهو سيقتله جسراً جسراً. سيغطي الخريطة بالركام بعد تقطيع أوصالها. لن تفلت قرية من رائحة الموت. لن ينجو شريان. هذه حربه ولن يترك جنرالات اليوم يتحسرون على جنرالات البارحة. يتمنى لو يستيقظ شارون لبعض الوقت ليبلغه كم دفع لبنان حتى الآن ثمن خطف جنديين وثمن التطاول على هيبة اسرائيل. ليبلغه ان المدنيين ايضاً يجيدون السباحة في دم اللبنانيين.

يتمشى اولمرت في مكتبه. هذه ليست قصة جنديين. سكان حيفا يلازمون الملاجىء. بعضهم يتحسس جوازات السفر. الصواريخ تصيب المدن وتثقب الهيبة. ولواء غولاني ينهمك بإخلاء قتلاه ثم ينسحب. وأحمدي نجاد ينصح سكان «الورم الخبيث» بحزم حقائبهم. ستكون الف قانا بعد قانا. غداً ينسى العالم صور الجثث الصغيرة وبيانات الاستنكار. تقول التجارب ان للعالم ذاكرة تنسى.

كم جثة طفل يحتاج مجلس الأمن لعقد اجتماع. كم نهراً من الدم يحتاج لتدبيج قرار وقف النار. كم شعباً من المقابر تحتاج الإدارة الأميركية لتحتفل بولادة الشرق الاوسط الجديد.

يولد الجنوبي لينتظر موعد استشهاده. العمر جسر معلق بين جنازتين. البر غدار والبحرغدار. كلما ولد طفل ولدت قذيفة لاصطياده. البر دبابات والبحر بوارج والسماء مثقلة بالطائرات. يتوجع العالم برصانة قاتلة، يتوجع ببطء شديد. هذا لحمنا المهروس تحت الركام. هذا لحمنا يتطاير في كل اتجاه. هذا العالم موحش. هذا العالم متوحش. بعد عشرة أعوام عاد القاتل إلى مسرح جريمته وأعاد ذبح ضحيته

Funny cartoon in today's issue of al-Hayat

The so-called "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" in the UN's trash bin... Come on! Al-Hayat's cartoonist must be very naive if he ever thought that the UDHR applied to him. In fact, the UDHR has never been anything else than a declaration of the white man's rights. As for the rest of us thugs, well, we now know our worth...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Israeli peace activist on the war in Lebanon

Today, I give you two lucid articles analyzing the events in Lebanon by the israeli peace activist Uri Avnery. I personally subscribe to many, if not all, of the author's points of view in the first article, but I only hope that events will prove him wrong (regarding Syria) in the second one.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Règles pour mieux decrypter les infos

Voici, en exclusivité, des règles que tout le monde doit avoir à l'esprit lorsqu'il regarde le journal televise le soir, ou quand il lit son journal le matin. Tout deviendra simple.

Règle numéro 1 : Au Proche Orient, ce sont toujours les arabes qui attaquent les premiers et c'est toujours Israël qui se défend. Cela s'appelle des représailles.

Règle numéro 2 : Les arabes, Palestiniens ou Libanais n'ont pas le droit de tuer des civils de l'autre camp. Cela s'appelle du terrorisme.

Règle numéro 3 : Israël a le droit de tuer les civils arabes. Cela s'appelle de la légitime défense.

Règle numéro 4 : Quand Israël tue trop de civils, les puissances occidentales l'appellent à la retenue. Cela s'appelle la réaction de la communauté internationale.

Règle numéro 5 : Les palestiniens et les libanais n'ont pas le droit de capturer des militaires israéliens, même si leur nombre est très limité et ne dépasse pas trois soldats.

Règle numéro 6 : Les israéliens ont le droit d'enlever autant de palestiniens qu'ils le souhaitent (environ 10000 prisonniers à ce jour dont près de 300 enfants). Il n'y a aucune limite et les israéliens n'ont besoin d'apporter aucune preuve de la culpabilité des personnes enlevées. Il suffit juste de dire le mot magique "terroriste".

Règle numéro 7 : Quand vous dites "Hezbollah", il faut toujours rajouter l'expression « soutenu par la Syrie et l'Iran ».

Règle numéro 8 : Quand vous dites "Israël", il ne faut surtout pas rajouter après : « soutenu par les Etats-Unis, la France et l'Europe », car on pourrait croire qu'il s'agit d'un conflit déséquilibré.

Règle numéro 9 : Ne jamais parler de "Territoires occupés", ni de résolutions de l'ONU, ni de violations du droit international, ni des conventions de Genève. Cela risque de perturber le téléspectateur et l'auditeur de France Info.

Règle numéro 10 : Les israéliens parlent mieux le français que les arabes. C'est ce qui explique qu'on leur donne, ainsi qu'à leurs partisans, aussi souvent que possible la parole. Ainsi, ils peuvent nous expliquer les règles précédentes (de 1 à 9). Cela s'appelle de la neutralité journalistique.

Règle numéro 11 : Si vous n'êtes pas d'accord avec ces règles ou si vous trouvez qu'elles favorisent une partie dans le conflit contre une autre, c'est que vous êtes un dangereux antisémite.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

About the war in the Middle-East

"Words fail; ordinary terms are inadequate to describe the horrors Israel daily perpetrates, and has perpetrated for years, against the Palestinians. The tragedy of Gaza has been described a hundred times over, as have the tragedies of 1948, of Qibya, of Sabra and Shatila, of Jenin -- 60 years of atrocity perpetrated in the name of Judaism. But the horror generally falls on deaf ears in most of Israel, in the U.S. political arena, in the mainstream U.S. media. Those who are horrified -- and there are many -- cannot penetrate the shield of impassivity that protects the political and media elite in Israel, even more so in the U.S., and increasingly now in Canada and Europe, from seeing, from caring.

But it needs to be said now, loudly: those who devise and carry out Israeli policies have made Israel into a monster, and it has come time for all of us -- all Israelis, all Jews who allow Israel to speak for them, all Americans who do nothing to end U.S. support for Israel and its murderous policies -- to recognize that we stain ourselves morally by continuing to sit by while Israel carries out its atrocities against the Palestinians."

To read more of Kathleen Christison's article, click here.

Mrs. Christison is a former CIA analyst, and an outspoken critic of US policies in the Middle-East and of the war in Iraq. I had a chance to hear her speak at a conference a couple years ago, and she gave me the impression of a widely read, sharp-witted lady. I very much enjoy her writings.

For more about the Israeli tactics and long-term strategies in Lebanon and Gaza, I recommend Gideon Levy's opinion piece that appeared in last Sunday's Haaretz (I got this link thanks to Ibn Kafka, who by the way has an excellent coverage of the war and the reactions to it on his blog), and this other one by an Israeli jew. See also this piece by Mike Whitney on the silence of the mainstream media in Europe and the US.

The most troubling thing in all of this was when the Saudi government gave carte blanche to Israel to do whatever it wants in Lebanon! There was a time where we wondered why arab leaders kept silent in the face of israeli agression. Now, we just wish they would shut up.

Friday, July 14, 2006


A quite good analysis by Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, assistant professor of political science at the Lebanese-America University, on the last crisis on the middle east.

Act 1: Ghaza, 1 (one) soldier is captured. Israel’s reaction is demolishing homes, killing and imprisoning hundreds of civilians.

Act 2: A couple of soldiers are captured by Hezbollah. Israel’s reaction is demolishing airports, homes, roads, and killings civilians.

Targetting civilians and still claiming fighting terrorism.

How beautiful!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Ghassan Sharbal on the Iran question

Excellent editorial by Ghassan Sharbal in yesterday's issue of al-Hayat on Iran's nuclear ambitions, and how these might affect neighbouring arab states. Happy reading!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

On the destruction of islamic landmarks in Mecca and Medina

Interesting article in the current issue of Islamica Magazine about the systematic destruction of islamic historical landmarks at the hands of wahabi zealots and real estate speculators. Enjoy!

Monday, February 27, 2006

On the attack on the shrine of shii Imams

Last Wednesday was a very sad day for millions of Iraqis, both shia and sunni, and millions of shia muslims worldwide. A major shii shrine in the city of Samarra has been blown up in a horrific attack that transformed the beautiful golden dome that used to adorn the city's skyline into shambles [click here for pictures of the shrine before and after the bombing, and here for a overview of the history of the shrine]. Despite calls from Grand Ayatollah Sistani for restraint, angry shii gunmen have reportedly attacked sunni mosques, killing several dozen people. (According to the author of the Iraq the Model blog, angry shia mobs targeted mosques that are known to be attended by takfiri/wahabi/salafi groups, and did not harm mosques belonging to the more traditional iraqi sunnis.)

An image that will remain in my memory for a long time: the one of Abdulghafour Samarrai, a sunni sheikh, leading a protest in Samarra after the explosion, weeping. Thank you sheikh. Your tears came from the heart and gave a good example of how genuine solidarity between fellow muslims across the sectarian divide expresses itself during difficult times. I am sure that, in the absence of salafi zealots [part1, part2], who inflict atrocities on iraqi shia almost everyday, Iraq's problems would find a straightforward way to peaceful settlement.

Update, February 28: Interesting article by Jihad al Khazen in today's al Hayat on the situation in Iraq after the shrine bombing.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad : the controversy goes on

Before I go to sleep, a quick update: the editor in chief of Jyllands-Posten, Carsten Juste, has written a public apology [english, arabic] for the offending cartoons of Prophet Muhammad published by his newspaper last September. While the cartoons have been reprinted by several European newspapers, the Editor-in-chief of the Frech daily France soir has reportedly been fired by the newspaper's owner, Egyptian magnate Raymond Lakah.

I now have to go to bed. More to come tomorrow. In the meantime, you are welcome to post any thoughts or comments you might have :-)

Update - Friday, Ferbruary 3, 2006
[I had written this update yesterday, but for some reason it did not get published :( - sorry for the inconvenience]

The uproar over the offending cartoons now has spread to most of the Islamic world (click here for a slide show on protests that took place in Asia). In Gaza, gunmen burst into hotels in search of westerners to take as hostage, reports the Associated Press. For its part, the U.S. State Department has condemned the drawings and urged for tolerance. And while Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik said EU leaders have a responsibility to "clearly condemn" insults to any religion, French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy with his usual, despicable arrogance said that he preferred "an excess of caricature to an excess of censorship".

On the religious side, Sheikh Youssouf al-Qardawi has issued a statement calling on arab countries to put pressure on the Danish government so as to ensure that such insults do not take place again in the future. On the other hand, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani has issued a statement calling on muslims to react to these odious caricatures which debase our most fundamental beliefs. The statement acknowledged that the actions of a devious minority of extremists have given non-muslims a very bad picture of Islam, and has provided the bigots with an excuse to distord the truth and bash this religion of peace and justice. I personally found this last statement to be very balanced, as it did not shift all the blame on the West, but put part of the responsibility on the muslim extremists as well.

And last, but not least: two opinion pieces I found interesting. The first one is by a western political activist, and the second one by a Syrian diplomat. Happy reading!

Second Update - February 7, 2006

So now, after angry rioters have set the Danish consulates in Beirut and Damascus ablaze, in an ironic twist of events it incumbed to the Syrian and Lebanese governments to present their apologies to the Danish people, not the other way around.

Today, an iranian newspaper has indicated that it will hold a contest on cartoons about the holocaust, to see whether the West can uphold the same standards of freedom of speech in its attitude toward this historical event as it did with the offending cartoons. I think we already know what will the reaction of the west be, one that is full of contempt and hypocrisy.

And, according to Jihad al-Khazen, these same muslims who are reacting so violently to these cartoons have missed out when it came to reacting to the organized campaign of islamophobic propaganda waged against them and their governments in the West. Muslims: waaaaaaaaaaaake upppp!!!

Prominent Jewish leader condems the offensive caricatures about Prophet Muhammad

In today's issue of al-Hayat, an interesting article by Edgar Bronfman, president of the World Jewish Congress, about the offensive caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) which appeared in a Danish newspaper a couple weeks ago. The caricatures had sparked outrage from the muslim community in Denmark as well as from muslims all over the world. In his article, Mr. Bronfman argues that freedom of expression should not be used in a malicious way to ridicule or insult the religious beliefs of others, especially when those targeted are in minority status. While I might disagree on Mr. Bronfman's position on the middle-east conflict, I think this article is a noble moral gesture of support for the muslims in these difficult times, and as such is worthy of respect.