quarta-feira, janeiro 04, 2006

Um Nidal - is this real?

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Thursday March 9, 2006

MEMRI: Wafa Sultan - Brother, you can believe in stones, as long as you don't throw them at me.

Saturday March 4, 2006

This is going a bit astray from Um Nidal, but it is part of what has to be done to understand what is going on; viz. get into Islam, the Koran, the history ... no other way to do it.

The article which follows looks like a place to start:

Globe: Hugh Graham- Has the lid finally come off?

Thursday March 2, 2006

Spiegel: Islamist Extremists Gain Upper Hand in Kashmir Relief Efforts

Tuesday February 14, 2006

The Globe told us today (in the print edition, not on-line) that "Young, religious women (are) putting their faith in Hamas", and went on to quote Ms. Saleh, recently elected, that "... the women of the PLC (Palestine Legislative Council) are not there just because they are wives of martyrs, or of a certain social background.", and "The women in the PLC are there because of their qualifications and experience. These women are not of the type that are told what to say; they have their own thoughts." Then the article, by Carolynne Wheeler, summarizes the qualifications of the 6 women elected by Hamas: Maryam Saleh - doctorate in Islamic law, working mother, 'senior' member of a major West Bank university; Jamila al-Shanty - professor at the Islamic University; Huda al-Qreinawi - professor at the Islamic University; Samira Halayqah - media-centre director in Hebron; Mariam Farhat aka Um Nidal - "best known for encouraging her sons to carry out suicide attacks against Israelis; and, Mouna Mansour - schoolteacher and widow of Hamas leader Jamal Mansour.

Two of these are obvious terrorists elected as such. Why Saleh hedges about giving the name of her university I do not know, and in my experience when someone is specified as 'senior' it means the opposite. Are they not told what to say?

My quibbles aside, almost half of these women are obviously oriented to violence, and they probably all are. Sorry, I just do not buy it.

NY Sun: How the Cartoon Protests Harm Muslims
Daniel Pipes' website - Mid-East Analysis

Friday February 10, 2006

Some sense being talked by Canadians:

Globe: Muslims 'R' us, not them
find - Christie Blatchford: 'One feather is made into five hens' in the Friday Globe.

Globe: A tale of two Muslim Danes
Globe: Self-censorship versus editing

Word of mouth feeds Muslim rage

From Friday's Globe and Mail

BEIRUT — Hussain Saad has never seen the controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed that were published in Europe, but he's furious anyway. What he's been told is enough to get his blood boiling.

One picture, he's heard, shows the Prophet wearing a turban with a bomb tucked inside it. That one appeared last September in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, and has since been published by some other newspapers in Europe and elsewhere, sparking an angry reaction from Muslims worldwide. Mr. Saad believes the picture is insulting, since it implies an association between Islam and terrorism.

But it's the second image he's heard was published that makes him really irate, featuring, he's been told, a bent-over Prophet having sex with another man.

"They are showing the Prophet in a sexual position with another man. We don't have this here. We don't have men sleeping with men, or women sleeping with women," the bearded 20-year-old Shia Muslim said, as other young men listened and nodded their heads in angry agreement.

All those standing in the muddy street said that the damage done by a mob that rioted in downtown Beirut this week, setting fire to the building that houses the Danish embassy, was the "very minimum" response to something so offensive to Islam.

"Our duty is to defend our religion," said Mahmoud Murrad, a 20-year-old Palestinian refugee. He said he had information that Sweden was holding a competition that would see a prize awarded to whoever could draw the most insulting picture of the Prophet.

The cartoon Mr. Saad and the others have heard about in such graphic detail has never appeared in any Western newspaper, nor is Sweden holding an insult-the-Prophet competition. But such myths are popular in the slums of Beirut and the adjoining Palestinian refugee camps, and are helping to fuel the anger boiling across the Muslim world.

Many who have taken part in the violent anti-cartoon protests that have hit places as far-flung as Lebanon, Afghanistan and Indonesia are poor and illiterate, with no access to the Western media or the Internet. They got their information about the drawings largely from word-of-mouth accounts, allowing preachers and politicians who have a stake in feeding the outrage to spread a distorted version of what the offending images contain.

The sexually charged portrait that Mr. Saad and many others have heard about is likely one distributed by a Danish Muslim lobby group called the European Committee for Honouring the Prophet. After two months of fruitlessly protesting to the Danish government about the publication of the original 12 cartoons that appeared in Jyllands-Posten, the group toured the Middle East distributing those caricatures, plus three much more offensive images that it says Muslims in Denmark received in the mail.

The group visited Cairo, Beirut, Damascus and finally Mecca, where it showed the cartoons at a December meeting of the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference, the world's largest gathering of Muslim countries. The cartoon issue caught fire at the OIC meeting, which in its closing communiqué "condemned the recent incident of desecration of the image of the Holy Prophet Muhammad in the media of certain countries."

After that meeting, the cartoon issue took on a new life, inciting a public already angered and humiliated by Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands and the presence of the U.S.-led armies in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. But the popular anger was also fed by Muslim governments.

After the OIC meeting, Libya and Saudi Arabia started a trend by recalling their ambassadors to Copenhagen. The cartoon issue started getting heavy attention in the state-controlled media of several Muslim countries, including Syria and Iran, which, according to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, have "gone out of their way to inflame sentiment and to use this to their own purposes."

In Lebanon, many have accused Syria -- which is angry at the government in Beirut after being forced last year to withdraw its soldiers -- of stoking the anger here as a way of destabilizing the country and regaining some of its lost influence. Of the more than 200 people arrested after Sunday's riot at the Danish embassy in Beirut, 76 were Syrians, while another 35 were Palestinians. Most of the Palestinian refugee camps in the city are controlled by factions that have links to Syria.

Yesterday, Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia, told a crowd of several hundred thousand Shiites marking the annual mourning period of Ashura that "there will be no compromise until we get an apology" from Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen over the publication of the cartoons.

Mr. Rasmussen has expressed regret that Muslims were offended by the cartoons, but has said he cannot apologize for Denmark's free press.

"The protests must be pursued everywhere. Bush and Rice should keep quiet and we tell them that we will not forgive those who offend our Prophet," Mr. Nasrallah told the massive crowd, which responded with chants of "we are at your service, oh Prophet Mohammed."

Canadian professor fans flames
Taping of Mohammed cartoon on door leads to tense protests on two campuses

From Friday's Globe and Mail

HALIFAX — Philosophy professor Peter March said he was exercising academic freedom when he taped cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed on his office door at St. Mary's University this week. Muslim students say he was mocking their faith.

More than 100 demonstrators took their anger to two Halifax university campuses in a noisy demonstration that grew tense when Prof. March showed up to join the group.

He said he wasn't there to antagonize, but his presence immediately raised tensions as demonstrators surrounded him, urging him to leave. Some of the students' placards urged that he be fired.

Abraham Khalafi, an engineering student at St. Mary's, said he thought the professor was more interested in stirring emotions and getting attention than in pursuing freedom of speech.

Mr. Khalafi, 20, and his friends went to Prof. March's office on Wednesday to explain why the cartoons are insulting to Muslims. The student said the professor "treated us like garbage."

"He said, 'I'm going to dis your religion.' And I said: 'Keep it to yourself.' That's not freedom. It's making racism."

Ahmed El-Anjou, 19, said Prof. March's actions were "degrading to Muslims." He said he didn't care if the teacher discussed the cartoons in class, but posting them on the door was a provocation.

"These images should be destroyed," he said.

The professor, who said he is a defender of civil liberties and opposes all religion, said his actions were designed to prompt a public debate, which he said is a cornerstone of university life. School administrators, however, moved quickly to diffuse the issue, ordering the professor to remove the cartoons, saying they conflicted with the school's anti-harassment policies.

Prof. March complied but vowed to bring the pictures to class yesterday for a discussion. In the end, he didn't do that.

The university's faculty union also came down on the professor, arguing that academic freedom is about providing teachers with the freedom to research, debate and publish. The cartoons hanging on Prof. March's door did not constitute an "honest search for knowledge," said Steven Smith, president of St. Mary's faculty union.

The cartoons, first published in a Danish newspaper and since reprinted in several countries, have sparked riots and protests around the world. Thousands took to the streets peacefully yesterday in Lebanon, Indonesia, South Africa, Bangladesh, Indian Kashmir and Azerbaijan.

In Montreal, the Muslim community is divided over whether to participate tomorrow in a public demonstration against the cartoons. While unanimous in saying that they want to react in a peaceful fashion, community representatives were at odds yesterday over what step to take.

Said Jaziri, the imam of the Al-Qods mosque, was organizing a demonstration for tomorrow, saying he was acting at the behest of community groups and many members of his congregation.

He pledged that the march would be held with the co-operation of the police and would be carefully marshalled to prevent violence.

However, other community representatives such as Salam Elmenyawi, president of the Muslim Council of Montreal, and Bashar Elsolh, of the Canadian Muslim Forum, said they would not join the protest, fearing it could spin out of control.

They said that, instead, they would organize events such as weekend open houses at local mosques to explain why the community is offended by the cartoons.

Hans Christian Andersen one little feather may easily grow into five hens

Thursday February 9, 2006

Economist: Mutual incomprehension, mutual outrage

Abu Laban and Ahmed Akkari were in cahoots apparently through a group called European Committee for Honouring the Prophet.

Wednesday February 8, 2006

Globe: It is not what I want to happen

Cupidity, stupidity, and fringe extremists ready to take advantage of any possibility. The worst of the cartoons came as hate mail to this Ahmed Akkari fellow and his colleagues and were then bundled up with the ones printed by Jyllands-Posten and sent wherever they would do the most harm in the middle east. Oops! Sorry, he says, bit late for that ...

This clears up one problem for me, because the 12 cartoons that I saw were simply not that bad, well, actually I thought they were 'bad' as cartoons since they were generally not very funny, but I did not think they were that offensive either.

Tuesday February 7, 2006

Ayann Hirsi Ali, May 14, 2005, We Must Declare War on Islamist Propaganda
May 18, 2005, A Critic Accuses Islam
February 6, 2006, Everyone Is Afraid to Criticize Islam

Monday February 6, 2006

"Keep to forgiveness O Mohammed, and enjoin kindness, and turn away from the ignorant."
The Koran, Chapter 7, The Elevated Places 199.

I read this in the Globe, in an article by Tarek Fatah around this Danish cartoon brouhaha, I can give you the link but I can't get there since I read it in print and they have the on-line one under lock and key - if anyone posts the article as a comment I will incorporate it here - I thought the tone was reasonable, Mohammed suffered greatly in his own life and se the example of forgiveness.

But I check my references, found the Koran translated (link below) and looked up the passage. Sure enough, but it seemed somehow equivocal, so I did a search on 'forgive', 'forgiveness', 'forbearance' etc. and did not come up with anything much less equivocal. But I did find the following:

"The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement, Except those who repent before you have them in your power; so know that Allah is Forgiving, Merciful."
The Koran, Chapter 5, The Table 33-34.

"Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them, forsake them in beds apart, and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. Surely God is high, supreme."
The Koran, Chapter 4, Women 33.

And there seemed to be lots of the same ferocity and intolerance, Jews named for special intolerance, and the like ... ?

The last shot is of the burning Danish Embassy in Damascus, torched by an extremist crowd. Either the firemen are not Moslems, or they have sided with the forgiving Koranic thread.

The notion of trading back biblical references makes me laugh (at myself) - but the worst of what is interpreted as misogyny in the Christian Bible (that I am aware of) is Paul in Ephesians 5 when he goes on:

"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing."

He does soften the message a bit:

"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; ..."

Am I missing something here? Someone who knows better, please guide me.

I did so take a look at the cartoons themselves - except for the one about "Stop stop we ran out of virgins!" they did not get a laugh out of me at all. How they can be construed to be inciting hatred or anything else is beyond me.

The Holy Qur'an - in English, searchable

Globe: What would Prophet Mohammed have done?

"Maybe I've a reason to believe
We all will be received
In Graceland." (Paul Simon)

Saturday February 4, 2006

Khaled Meshaal, chief of the politburo of militant Palestinian group Hamas, attends a news conference in Damascus in this January 28, photo. Hamas will never recognize Israel's right to exist but will negotiate conditions for a long-term truce with the Jewish state, Meshaal told a Palestinian newspaper in comments published on February 3. (Khaled al-Hariri/Reuters)

Thursday February 2, 2006

Hamas to send envoys to Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia

El Universal: Hamas, which is to lead the new Palestinian government, plans to send envoys to Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Venezuela to seek financial and political support, Brazilian daily newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo reported Thursday.

Hamas wants to contact the presidents of these countries "to make them forget about the idea that we are terrorists, and show them that the issue here is the Israeli occupation," Hamas spokesman Abu Kuhri in Gaza told a reporter of the Brazilian daily.

Monday January 30, 2006

Newly elected member of the Palestinian parliament, Hamas candidate Umm Nidal Farhat, at her home between her armed sons, Wissam and Mu'men, members of the Ezzedin al-Qassam Brigade, in Gaza City. Umm Nidal a 56-year-ol mother of 10, had three sons killed by Israeli troops during the last five-year Palestinian uprising.

Saturday January 28, 2006

Globe: Hamas - Separate classes for girls and boys

So, in the end it looks like terrorism works. Fatah and Hamas are equally terrorists. The west looks to be shoring up Fatah as the lesser of two evils but this can't work can it? The best possible outcome is that Hamas cleans up its act, gets the western power centres on-side, and uses them to leverage dialog with Israel. But Hamas are not showing any signs of softening yet - they say keep your aid money. The western press calls them naive and inexperienced which is a bad joke really since they have won through a combination of social programs and righteous defiance, self-righteous certainly but nonetheless righteous.

The guy at the right in the black balaclava is a Palestinian Policeman - quite a way from the "Serve and Protect" that I grew up with in Toronto. The ski-masks are for anonymity apparently - in the long run this has to change.

Friday January 27, 2006

A balanced view, or what appears to be one - discovered first in the Globe and Mail - but since they keep things under wraps and "for subscribers only", I went to the source: Rami G. Khouri is editor-at-large of the Beirut-based Daily Star newspaper, published throughout the Middle East with the International Herald Tribune; and you can find him at: http://www.ramikhouri.com/, and his paper at: The Daily Star - Beirut.

He says: "A troubled Arab citizenry's silent acquiescence in violence, and passivity in the face of homegrown atrocity, is today the single most important, widespread symptom of the malaise that plagues this region. It would be a terrible mistake to misdiagnose the Arab silence on Darfur as reflecting some Arab, Islamic or Middle Eastern cultural acceptance of violence. This is, rather, a troubling sign of Arab mass dehumanization and political pacification at the public level, which are largely our own fault due to our acceptance of poor governance and distorted Arab power structures over a period of decades." (from Rami Khouri: Darfur's Ugly Resonance in the Arab World , written in 2004)

This can be compared with what Gwynne Dyer implies in some of what he writes about Haiti - that there is a political evolutionary status (so to speak) that determines how people develop their body politic and how well it functions. In the case of Haiti it evolved from root-one and has not gotten very far beyond that, in the case of the arab world it amounts to decades of de-volution.

Two articles of interest to me:
Rami Khouri: My Choice for the Arab Future
Rami Khouri: Causes and Consequences of Hamas's Victory

Thursday January 26, 2006

Yahoo: Hamas Wins Landslide 76 Seats

Another small name change: Mariam Farhatis - a rose by any name ...

Exit polls last night gave Fatah a slim lead. News this morning is that Hamas have declared victory, but that complete results are not yet available. Israel and the US say they will not deal with Hamas, not that Fatah is much better according to what I know. Abbas remains and must cobble together some kind of government; I have seen nothing that indicates that he has the mettle. If other Arab nations supported the Palestinians they would not need to concern themselves so much with the whip hand that is American aid money. More later.

Wednesday January 25, 2006

Spiegel: Iran "Is Making Lunacy Official Policy"

Monday January 23, 2006

Friday January 13, 2006

Mullahs Up the Ante in Nuclear Poker

Friday January 6, 2006

They're kidding right? Aljazeer reports that "Palestine reflects on Sharon". There may have been an instant or two of reflection, but everywhere else on the web I am seeing arab jubilation and prayers for his speedy death.
Aljazeer - Palestine reflects on Sharon, Laila El-Haddad.
Palestinians have reacted to news of Ariel Sharon's illness with emotions ranging from satisfaction to ambivalence - all tinged with feelings of uncertainty about the future.

On the whole, Palestinians are shedding no tears for the man referred to as the "butcher", reviled in Gaza and elsewhere for evicting thousands of Palestinians from their homes and overseeing many massacres.

The Islamic resistance group, Hamas, strong contenders in this month's Palestinian legislative elections, said the region is better off without Sharon. The Islamic Jihad was even blunter, telling Aljazeera that he could go to hell for all it cared.

Economist - Ahmadinejad’s nuclear gamble.

Here we have the two front-running Iranian politicians: Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, recently lost; and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, recently won.

Rafsanjani says Muslims should use Nuclear Weapon Against Israel.

One of them says build nuclear bombs and drop them on Israel, the other says Israel should be wiped off the map - not that much to choose between them really.

This sort of thing is not entirely new. Wikipedia - Osirak

Thursday January 5, 2006

Ok, you can't understand anything without some history. In this case I feel like I want to be particularly careful of revisionism since both parties have a huge interest in rewriting, respinning, reinterpreting and so on, and UN sites will not be above this - if anything they will be prone to it. This may also start to explain why the UN has become so disfunctional. Here are some UN sites anyway:
1. UNISPAL - United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine
2. Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
3. The Origins and Evolution of the Palestine Problem: 1917-1988

Wednesday January 4, 2006

Yes, it looks like it is real ... pause ...

This woman, Um Nidal, aka Mariam Farahat(Farhat?); her son Mohammed Farahat, 17, who perpetrated a suicide attack in Atzmona in which five yeshiva students were killed; real. Two other sons also died for the cause. She brags about it although even in these first two tiny pictures that I have found you can see that she is not a happy person. Incredible to me. And she is apparently running for public office for Hamas. Proven character I guess. The 'Arafat precedent', can we call it that?

This is not madness, but one would prefer that it was. No, not mad, but so far off the rails that even thinking about it is doing something to me that I cannot yet describe. I feel like the stringer from some highschool newspaper who has stumbled into an interview with mister Hitler himself. Must be a nightmare, I am wondering when I will wake up. Sorta like life itself huh ... ?

She does look a little dim at times - as if she were reciting lines. Brainwashing? - is that it? Nope, don't think so, not that simple.

Both of the following videos need Windows Media Player.

Here you can watch her rationalize in an interview: MEMRI - Video with English subtitles.

Or read the transcript: MEMRI - Palestinian Legislative Council Candidate and Bereaved Mother of Three Hamas Terrorists Umm Nidal Farhat: Israelis Are Not Civilians and There Are No Prohibition on Killing them. I Am Willing to Sacrifice All My Sons.

Here you can watch her drive off in a mini-van, kiss her son goodbye, rationalize some more (remember the mini-van ...): Palestinian Media Watch Video.

Reuters - Hamas "mother of martyrs" runs in Palestinian poll

About equivalent rhetoric on either side:
Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades Official Website
Arutz Sheva - Israel National News

What verb do you use when referring to a suicide bombing? "Perpetrate" is neutral enough, but clumsy, so what do you say? Execute? Accomplish? And anyway this is terrorism not war.

I wonder if there was such bragging by mothers in Europe and North America during WW1 and WW2? Though it would be equally heinous coming from a father.

Jewish Virtual Library - Myths & Facts

A-and in other news ... Taliban Is Blamed for Beheading Teacher

Ok, here's a start - let's look at the language:

Daniel Okrent, March 6 2005 - The War of the Words: A Dispatch From the Front Lines

He says "Nothing provokes as much rage ..." - well, numerous things do actually, but let that go. He doesn't get much further than identifying discomfort at being unable to get at it with the words provided. But he brings to my mind a memory of The United Church of Canada versus the Mennonites. This happened years ago, late 70's.

I met a woman, a Minister of the United Church of Canada, ordained and what not, but you know, from Rosedale or somewhere toffy, and she had been sent on a paid vacation to the Middle East to see what was what with the Israelis and Palestinians. She was a friend of the family, though no friend of mine - we fell finally out when she described my mother, in an obloquy disguised as an eulogy, as a "feminist", which ideology my mother, strong and successful as she was, never did either understand or subscribe to; but that's another story.

We were at 'the lake', a cottage on Lake Muskoka, on the porch after dinner, and she was telling us of her recent travels, and she said, as a conclusion mind you, as somthing to tie it all up: "The problem is, the Israelis are just bullies." ?!? How many thousands of dollars of pew-sitter cash went into this sentence I wonder? I had spent a few months working over there the previous year, and I thought that maybe I knew what she was talking about, and where she had gone astray - I mean I caught the thread of an objective-correlative sort of: the Israelis don't drink and they do argue bluntly. So I took her up on it. But she would not be budged - mind like a steel trap.

About the same time the Mennonites via their Central Committee sent two authors to research the Arab and the Israeli points-of-view and with the assignment of writing a book. I will check in a few minutes and see if it is still remembered and in print. I read about it in the paper and got it from the public library and read it.

Canadians live in what is sometimes called 'two solitudes'; two official languages, two cultures, sometimes almost at war with each other. There were bombs going off in Canada too in those days - more politely of course, in mailboxes and late at night, I can't remember anyone being blown up. There was a botched kidnapping though, James Cross lived but Pierre Laporte was murdered. Pierre Trudeau called in the army - they called it the October Crisis. The kidnappers were eventually allowed to flee to Cuba. One of them came back later and did so run for public office, can't remember if he got elected, Paul Rose was his name I think. But he was (at least publicly) rehabilitated eh.

All this to say that there was some resonance for me in the descriptions these two Mennonites made of the internecine warfare going on in Israel/Palestine.

'Internecine' means for me, a struggle between parties who cannot let go because they are in some sense brothers. The OED does not mention this, but it is the root poignancy of this whole situation isn't it?

What general good this book did I can't say except that it opened my eyes a little. So although the news of this woman and her sons stuns me, shocks me, I can still hear a small compassionate voice that stops me from outright and complete condemnation of the Palestinians as the obvious villans, terrorists, what ever you call them as they slouch toward Bethlehem to be born. I have not seen Speilberg's Munich film yet, but I pray that he has been even-handed - if he has sided with the Palestinians beyond what is necessary I will be lost.

She enshrines her sacrificed sons naturally enough - you have to maintain some kind of distance, be it even just a layer of plastic. These pictures were apparently taken in her home. Not so unlike bourgeois homes I have seen in Brooklyn or Dorval with prints and statuettes of Don Quixote and slip-covers on the furniture removed to show off the chintz and brocade upholstery and a certain kind of tidiness, a certain cleanliness and organization.

Enough for tonight.

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