Archive for Arab World

Remembering Deir Yassin

Posted in about the blog, Culture, Palestine, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 09/04/2012 by arabrhizome

Today is the 64’th anniversary of one of the first, although not the first, massacres in Palestine perpetrated by zionist terrorist groups against unarmed civilians. Deir Yassin was a village that was attacked and 254 villagers, and the rest were forced out of their homes which were destroyed. This is one of the many similar actions undertaken by zionist groups in 1947-9 in order to ethnically cleanse Palestine and establish israel as a majority Jewish country. In the days, weeks, and months following the massacre of Deir Yassin Palestinians were forced out of their ancestral homes en mass. The number of Palestinians forcefully expelled is estimated at 800000, half of which were expelled before the establishment of israel.

Today we must remember this horrible day. It is unfortunately not the worst massacre that Palestinians suffered, nor was it the first or last. Deir Yassin should remind us that zionism is racist, supremacist, and murderous ideology that is responsible for great injustice and unspeakable crimes. We must fight against it with all our power. The greatest weapon we have is BDS, boycott Divestment, Sanctions, which is a non-violent call to boycott israeli products and put pressure on israel until it complies with international law and human rights and respects the rights of Palestinians. I ask you all to read the call and join the struggle for justice.

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A Year On

Posted in Culture, Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 14/01/2012 by arabrhizome

It’s been a year since I was sitting at this very computer in my dad’s appartment while he was watching tv in his room and the news that Ben Ali fled Tunisia came through. It is still very difficult for me to express in words how emotionally charged that moment was. It represented a moment of pure joy and hope that I only experienced once before, when israel was forced out of most of South Lebanon. However, this had another flavour. This event felt monumental in a different way. It wasn’t the defeat and humiliation of a colonising state, it was the victory of a people against their domestic oppressor.

I wrote last year that it felt like the first truely post-colonial revolution in the arab world, and maybe in the whole of the colonised world, and a year on I can but reiterate that thought. The revolution in Tunisia has changed the world. It might sound like a platitude or a blanket statement, but it doesn’t make it less true. The desperate act of Mohamed Bouazzizi has created a tidal wave of revolution that is still building up. I had hoped that the Tunisian model was going to spread to the rest of the Arab World, and maybe the rest of the decolonised world. I’m happy to see a year on that it is still going strong.

What we saw was Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya (although that particular revolution was marred by imperial and neo-colonial intervention), Syria, Kuwait, Saudi, and other Arab countries rise up, in different ways and to varying degrees that speak to the specificities of their situations. Today Nigeria is rising up. What I did not expect is to see the people of Europ and the USA rise up. Much can be said about their particular forms of protest, particularly occupy wall street and its refusal to show solidarity with the people of Palestine (I’m not letting that one go until they rectify the situation), but the point still remains that the revolution has gone global.

We shouldn’t forget the movements in South America, particularly the student movement in Chile. It’s also important to acknowledge the precursor to all that which is the student movement in the UK. I still believe that that particular movement, allied with the anti-cuts movement, has been central in awakening the revolutionary spirit in the world. While Mohammad Bouazzizi’s self immolation is the spark that started it all, it would be wrong not to see the student demonstrations as the kindling that was gathered and made the fire of revolution take.

Now we have seen countless regimes shaken by the tidal wave of revolution, some fell, others are hangging by thin threads, others are trying to weather the storm. We have also seen the forces of counter revolution try to coopt or destroy revolutions or revolutionary gains. The egyptian army is trying to destroy the revolution in Egypt. Saudi, israel, and the West are trying to crush the revolution in Bahrain, but to no avail. We must remain vigilant and continue to show solidarity with the people rising up.

While I think that the counter-revolutionary forces might get some gains in the near future, I believe that the writing on the wall is there for everyone to see. They will eventually be defeated, even if they make some tactical victories. It is important though to realise that in a post-Tunisia world (even though this was true before), we can’t be frightened by the popular uprisings of people. I find that many people are still stuck within a paradigm that sees some dictatorial and tyrannical states as allies. I’m of course referring to Syria and Iran.

We must realise that the people have broken through the wall of fear. We shouldn’t be afraid of their choices. Those who argue that if the Syrian regime falls Syria will become another Saudi or that it will make peace with israel, have no understanding of the significance of the Arab Revolutions. People will not accept a new form of dictatorship. Some puppet regime might try to establish itself, but as Egypt is showing us and as the rumblings against the NTC in Libya are showing us, that’s not going to happen. We must be on the side of the revolutionaries wherever they are and trust that they will not abandon their hard earned freedom.

Bye Bye 2011

Posted in about the blog, Culture, Me, Palestine, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 30/12/2011 by arabrhizome

I thought I’ll write my post saying good bye to 2011 tonight, as I don’t know if I’ll be able to write more than a few words tomorrow. I thought that I would very creatively write a review of 2011. I know no one is blogging about that. I’m the only person in the world who’s ever thought of reviewing the year that’s just passed. Being serious for a second, I thought I’d write about my perspective on the year, with a mixture of personal and not so personal stories that made this year what it was for me. So, let’s start at the beginning.

The year started in a bad place for me. I had just gotten out of a long relationship and wasn’t feeling very good about myself. I had very little self esteem and was not able to get much work done. I felt slightly lost and was not sure what to do to get out of the hole I felt I was in. It was a difficult time and in many ways I’m still dealing with the aftermath of that. I am much happier today, not only because I’m able to be friends with my ex, which is brilliant, but also because I’ve moved on and I’m able to work again, which was another big problem this year.

That was another feature of the year. The clear lack of work. I kept trying and sometimes wrote some stuff, but it was never good enough. It wasn’t even slightly acceptable. However the more common occurrence was me spending most of the year sitting in front of my laptop trying to write but not being able to concentrate. This spell was broken at the end of November and the beginning of December. I was able to write a work in progress which went down very well. That gave me a great boost in confidence in the work department. But the year wasn’t all bad.

To remain within the personal for a bit this year also involved me discovering comic books and Dungeons and Dragons. Well if you’re a regular reader of this blog you’ll know all about Dungeons and Dragons. I’ve met some great people through it and I’m enjoying the great adventure that Andy our Dungeon Master has thought of for us. I’ve also met some new friends who are really brilliant through Remi’s poetry reading. I hope that I’ll get to see more of them  in the coming year. Nothing like meeting some great activist, feminist, pro-Palestine, vegan, anti-capitalists. I can’t wait to hang out with them soon. That also speaks to the other great thing that happened in my world this year. I became a vegan. I have to say that I still feel like this was the best things I’ve ever done. But I’ve written a whole post about that, you can read it if you want to know more.

Another highlight of the year was the wedding of two of my friends. I am not a fan of marriage but if there ever were two people who can make the institution work it’s those two. It was a wonderful wedding, with lots of emotion and many laughs. I met some very interesting people and enjoyed their company. Hopefully I’ll get to see more of them this year. Congratulations again to Mike and Becky. It was a beautiful wedding and I wish them all the happiness in the world. That was definitely a great day.

But how can we talk about 2011 and not talk about the great upheaval that shook the entire world starting in a village in Tunisia in 2010 when a fruit seller set himself on fire out of desperation and in so doing started a movement in the arab world that we are still living through. First it was Tunisia, then Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria. We’ve also seen protests in Kuwait, Saudi, Algeria, Morocco, and Jordan. Dictators fell others are still clinging to power, either through the help of Western imperial powers and their Arab lackeys, or through brute military force. We’ve seen what the West’s intervention in Libya has done, and so even though I fully support the Syrian revolution, I’m not happy to see it repeated in Syria.

The revolutions also moved to Europe, North America, South America, and parts of Asia. The occupy movement made a difference, apart from Occupy Wall Street’s refusal to show solidarity with Palestinians because of some zionist pressure. I point this out because it is important. There can’t be no justice without solidarity between all oppressed people. Occupy Wall Street’s refusal to show solidarity is a stain on their record and needs to be rectified. The rest of the movements showed a lot more solidarity, including occupy Boston, LA, Oakland, Chicago, and others. We also saw how much the US’s political system is sold to corporations. The incredible brutality with which the police responded to those protests, which was reminiscent of some of the worst dictatorships in the world, showed that at the end of the day Corporations mattered more to the US political system than the people.

There was also the riots of the summer in the UK. I saw many people who call themselves leftists, when faced with the actual raw reality of class warfare and the real anger caused by police brutality and economic pain, turned to fascist language about the rioters. I was shocked, but not surprised, to see how many arm chair activists are happy to abandon all of their supposed beliefs when the poor stand up, however clumsily, and are ready to adopt rightwing narratives. The riots showed that a large section of the British society are disenfranchised and feel completely disconnected from their communities. What we saw, in my opinion, is the result of Thatcherism and Reganomics combined with the clear police brutality felt by the youths of deprived areas in Britain.

Then there was Palestine. This year so much in the struggle for justice in Palestine. I can’t cover all of it, however, I’ll write about a few events that marked me. First there were the protests on Nakba. For the first time, Palestinian refugees from neighbouring countries walked to the borders of Palestine demanding their internationally recognised right of return. Israel responded the only way it knows how, with brutality and without any regards for civilian life or international law. They fired across international borders killing and injuring dozens. This year the BDS movement kept growing and becoming more and more mainstream. There was also much unnecessary death and destruction. Palestinian human life is still too cheap in the eyes of israelis and the world.

However, I am feeling optimistic. I believe that public opinion is changing. The world thanks to the incredible work of many activists who work very hard to bring the truth about the Apartheid state of israel and the brutal racist policies of the zionist state to the world. I trust that when people see and understand the deep injustice in Palestine they can’t but find themselves in the anti-zionist camp. What we also saw was that israeli propaganda and intimidation tactics aren’t working as well as they used to. As many have said, the truth is that the facts are anti-zionist. On this note, I hope you all had a very good year. It certainly was an interesting one. Stay safe everyone. Live long and prosper.

There Are No Words

Posted in Palestine, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 10/12/2011 by arabrhizome

It’s very hard for me to write a coherent post today. I am angry and sad. Today Mustafa Tamimi, one of the many Palestinian Gandhis that liberal spineless orientalist westerners and their house arab lackeys keep asking for while simultaneously ignoring, has died as a result of the injuries he suffered yesterday. He is one of the many brave Palestinians who for years now have been staging peaceful weekly protests in West Bank villages affected by settlement activity and the Apartheid wall stealing their land, water supply, and cutting them off from their crops. He was shot in the face by a high velocity tear gas canister fired at close range from an armoured israeli military jeep.

Mustafa Tamimi was 28 years old. A life snuffed by the brutal military occupation force of the apartheid regime. That in itself, unfortunately, is not a remarkable event in the eyes of the world it would seem. We have grown accustomed to Palestinian deaths. They are numbers and statistics. Casualties of what is often represented as an intractable conflict that has plagued the land for centuries. Of course this analysis is flawed on several levels. The conflict is around 60 years old and is very simple. A native population is colonised and being ethnically cleansed at varying speeds since 1948 by a brutal racist ideology, zionism.

What happened today is not remarkable because for too long Palestinian deaths have been reduced to numbers or shorthand words that dehumanise the murdered. The dead are referred to as militants, protesters, rock throwing youths. Make no mistake all these terms are designed to obscure and hide the fact that these are human beings with stories, families, experiences, and histories. They are not just nameless statistics, or faceless numbers. They are human beings like Mustafa Tamimi with friends and families who will never be able to see them again. Who have to continue to live under a brutal military racist occupation. We must never lose sight of that.

The story however is even more disgusting than that. Mustafa’s sister was not allowed to get to her brother’s body after he was deliberately shot in the face with a high velocity American made tear gas canister at close range from an armoured military jeep. Medical services were deliberately delayed and were not allowed to tend to him straight away. Occupation soldiers laughed in the face of the other protesters as they cried because a young man, their friend, neighbour, and family member, was laying with a broken face on the floor unattended. The soldiers showed no remorse because they have been raised within a racist system that teaches them that they are the chosen people and that Palestinians are not human beings.

Mustafa’s father, and other members of his family, were not allowed to visit him in hospital. Eventually he died as a result of the injuries he sustained after being deliberately shot in the face with high velocity American made tear gas canister fired from a rifle at close range from an armoured military jeep. I hope that me repeating this fact bothers you and makes you uncomfortable because it should. These words should never be a sentence. These words however are the actual description of what happened. This is what the israeli army does to the Palestinian Gandhis. Remember that the next time you hear a liberal say something stupid like “where are the Palestinian Gandhis?” Remember Mustafa Tamimi’s name and deliberately shoot it in their face. Tell them this is where they are! Why don’t you open your eyes and see them?

I am angry. Mustafa is not the first to die, he won’t be the last. In fact, many have died this week in Gaza because of fighter jets bombing the besieged territory. There are no words to express how I feel. I am aware that no matter how angry or sad or outraged I might feel, it is nothing compared to how the families and friends of those who are being killed everyday must feel. I know that my anger, being righteous or not, is nothing. I did not know Mustafa Tamimi, now I never will. I recommend you read this article which articulates the anger that is felt today better than I ever could. I also recommend you read this article about the disgusting and stomach churning IDF attempts at justifying the murder of Mustafa Tamimi on twitter. And for those who think that this post is not balanced, please tell me what justification do you have for the deliberate shooting in the face of an unarmed 28 years old Palestinian named Mustafa Tamimi in the face with a high velocity American made tear gas canister fired from a rifle by an occupation soldier from an armoured military jeep?

Gaza

Posted in Palestine, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 18/08/2011 by arabrhizome

So for the past month, more or less, israel has been looking for a fight. The israeli army entered Lebanese territory a few days ago and there was an exchange of fire. There has been an intensification of the daily raids and kidnappings in the West Bank, including members of the freedom theatre in Jenin. There have been a series of bombings and shootings in Gaza resulting in a few deaths. Yesterday a disabled boy was shot to death repeatedly because he was too close to the border fence in Gaza. The night before a man was run over by a military jeep and killed in Jerusalem while making his way to work.

Those are a few examples of what israel has been doing for the past few weeks. They have been doing this for the last 63 years but there has been a clear intensification of actions in the past few weeks. The reason for that is very clear for anyone who follows politics in the region. There have been some protests in israel about the cost of living. I haven’t written about the protests because they have been, from my perspective, completely uninteresting. My main problem with them has been the absolute refusal of the protestors to recognise their own privilege and that this privilege is predicated on occupation and apartheid. Everytime the occupation or the status of Palestinian citizens of israel is brought up people would say that it is too political and that these protests are about social justice.

In fact, I’ve seen some terrible racism and zionist nationalism directed at anyone who dares criticise their silence on the Palestinian plight. The point though is that the protests have eroded the popularity of the far right government of israel. A proven and guaranteed way for an israeli government to gain popularity is to wage a war. You can look at the history of israel and see that whenever israel wages a war the government gets very popular. This government by intensifying its harassment tactics, as I explained above, has been poking potential targets expecting a retaliation and then using that retaliation as an excuse to wage war.

Anyway, today it seems they got just that. I woke up, very late but that’s irrelevant, to the news that there was an attack in the south of israel in the region of Eliat. The news wasn’t very clear, it’s still not completely clear. The IDF spokes person on twitter tweeted first that 5 soldiers were killed and a number of others injured. Then they changed their story saying the dead and injured were civilians. Although it is now, at least it seems to me, accepted that the 6 or 7 people who were killed were in fact soldiers. Now let us be clear, I do not advocate violent acts, but if someone is engaged in a situation of militant resistance than soldiers are fair game. It is wrong to say that an attack on soldiers is a terrorist attack, it isn’t. Soldiers are legitimate targets in a state of war.

Anyway, as I said the details of the attack are still not very clear. People said that the assailants might have entered israel form the Sinai in Egypt. We are also unclear about who is behind the action. Although israel was very quick to accuse Gazan groups of carrying the attacks. Everyone so far in Gaza denied involvement, and if there is something we know about Palestinian militant resistance factions is that they will always claim responsibility for such attacks. It is increasingly obvious that Gaza had probably nothing to do with it. However the israeli response was as hysterical as anyone familiar with the region would expect.

Israel accused Gaza and started a large scale operation of arial bombing of the Gaza strip killing at least 6 people including a 9 year old child. It seems that the attacks have calmed down for now. it is yet unclear if this is going to be the beginning of a large scale operation like Cast Lead, which led to the death of over 1400 Palestinians the absolute majority of whom were civilians, or if it’s going to be used in order to justify the continuation of the constant daily harassment of Gazans. When I say harassment, people might think it isn’t that bad, but we are talking about bombings and shootings that lead to death and injury, mainly for a civilian population that is already under an inhumane and illegal siege.

Anyway, today was awful I spent all day following the news, and will probably spend the rest of the night doing so. I feel angry and frustrated because the media have been completely silent about all the deaths before today and only spoke of the region when israel was attacked. The deaths of the Palestinians are clearly seen as unimportant. Clearly to the editorial teams of the BBC, Sky News, CNN, and others israeli lives are a lot more precious and important than Palestinian lives. If you are disgusted by this and if you feel like you want to help than please join the BDS campaign and boycott israeli products, write to your representative and ask them to defend the rights of Palestinians, Write to your local supermarket and ask them to stock Palestinian products and boycott israeli ones, join marches of solidarity, get involved. The people of Palestine need us to be their voice. We must not let them down.

Day Four

Posted in about the blog, Culture, Uncategorized, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , on 31/07/2011 by arabrhizome

Day four has been slightly better than day three and two, however not as good as day one. Still it’s an improvement and that’s a good thing. Hopefully, the rest of the night will be more productive. I woke up quite late and I don’t think that I will go to sleep anytime soon. In the mean time today has been one of the bloodiest days in the Syrian uprising with tanks going into Hama and killing a great number of civilians. There are also news of other massacres in other parts of the country. It’s really appalling. to see this kind of behaviour. I am also very disappointed in so called arab leftists who are nothing but apologists for the Assad regime. The “West” is useless in this situation, as it has been through out the Arab uprisings. Again I have more to say about all this but unfortunately I need to focus on my work. I would only like to say that the brave people of Syria have my full support and solidarity. I hope to visit a democratic Syria in the near future. The dead of the past months will never be forgotten. Stay safe everyone.

No Time To Blog

Posted in about the blog, Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on 28/06/2011 by arabrhizome

Hi everyone. I don’t really have much time to blog. I’m working and it seems that it’s kicking off in Egypt again. I’m not very sure what’s happening but it seems that the police has attacked the martyrs families who have been camped out in Tahrir. It seems that clashes are ongoing right now. I’ll try to blog more about it when I know exactly what’s going on. It seems that the revolution, that was never completed since the army seems to continue the dictatorial regime of Mubarak, is back on and might be seen through. I am also going to stay up I think and try to work while I’m also watching the news. In the mean time stay safe. Love you bye.