Saturday, July 29, 2006  

How would you

answer this?
It is your spouse, your child, your brother or sister, your friend, that's been kidnapped and by chance you get hold of the villain. You know the victim's buried in an earth coffin – another two hours to breathe.

If you turn over the culprit to the police you will miss your chance – they are bound by law. This is your moment:

Will you see in him your Neighbour – your fellow human being that has to be treated with respect and - if you are Christian – with love? Will you open your heart and show him your most tender sorrow, become vulnerable and readily 'turn the other cheek'?

Will you be prepared to cry an Ocean of Tears?

Will you refrain from beating the shit out of him?

Weigh in on this and other issues involving torure at Bloggers Against Torture


Torture is

not something we want done in our name.

You are in a country with no laws...

Check out this video fro Witness and other posts on Bloggers Against Torture- now running a 24-hour blogathon to raise money for Amnesty International and to raise awareness that torture is done in your name every day, often by 3rd party enforcement.


And now a word...

from Spinoza who was excommunicated 350 years ago this week:
Spinoza argued that no group or religion could rightly claim infallible knowledge of the Creator’s partiality to its beliefs and ways. After the excommunication, he spent the rest of his life — he died in 1677 at the age of 44 — studying the varieties of religious intolerance. The conclusions he drew are still of dismaying relevance.

read the rest

Friday, July 28, 2006  

Music to kill a country to...

Condi is said to be planning to play Brahms at the next scheduled meeting of the Southeast Asia Forum. She is reported to have said Brahms fits her mood.
As much as I like Brahms, it seems such an anemic choice for such a momentous occasion: the Killing of Lebanon.
It seems to me that it calls for much more forceful music, like Rachmaninoff.
Of course, one could look at the subtext of this farce Rice is engaging in and play it either way:

From the colonial files:
Adapt Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, espcially the sound of the head falling from the guillotine.

From the colonized/invaded/opressed, etc
Chopin- who was particularly upset when Russia put Warsaw under military rule. That should dovetail nicely with Bush's comment that the Iraqis should look to the Hungarian Freedom fighters for inspiration.

then, there is always Grieg, whose music was marked by Sweden's hold over Norway.

or, perhaps Rice could take another tact that might comfort the Lebanese a bit, those for whom a ceasefire might be "too premature." I would suggest Schubert's Ave Maria, perhaps with a speech from the Merchant of Venice set to it as a reminder to the Israelis and the American Congress who so cravenly voted not to condemn the bombing of civilians. Leila at Moorish Girl quotes Shylock's speech but I prefer the following from Portia, Act 4:

The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.


Local Announcement:

This happening SUNDAY
in San Diego, CA ilent Candlelight Vigil in Solidarity with the Suffering of
the Lebanese & Middle-Eastern Civilians

What: Standing on behalf of the innocent killed and those
suffering from the consequences of war

Why: Because we cannot support the taking of innocent human life,
because it crosses a moral boundary that our society needs to respect

When: Sunday, July 30th at 7:00pm - 8:00pm

Where: Balboa Park, Lawn on Park Blvd and Presidents Way

San Diegans are organizing a silent vigil in solidarity with the suffering of the Lebanese and Middle-Eastern civilians. In attendance will be over 500 San Diegans, including some that have recently evacuated Beirut, where the humanitarian situation defies all imagination.

We, as human beings, feel that this tragedy is not acceptable and cannot be excused by any political motives. This vigil is organized to raise awareness in the San Diego community and show our disapproval of the massacre of civilians and the destruction of their infrastructure. We are calling for an immediate cease-fire to halt any further loss of life. This vigil is non-partisan, all-faith demonstration. Our focus is to keep the event solemn and respectful.


Humor with a bite...

In honor of the 24 hour anti-torture blogathon, I thought I would post this link I found over The Arabist.

Meet Knuckles


An Important Annoucement: Torture is Unacceptable

Why? You can find out at the 24 hour blog against torture which is being held to raise the awareness of torture and to raise money for Amenesty International.

You can read the posts created by a dedicated group of bloggers who have already eloquently and creatively posted about torture throughout the month of June. You can also sign up to sponsot this action, and feel good that your money is going to a very worthy cause.

All this will be available starting at 6 am tomorrow at Bloggers Against Torture

You won't regret dropping by because these are some of the best writers the blogopshere has to offer.

Thursday, July 27, 2006  

Reach out and touch someone...

The voice sounded friendly enough. "Hi, my name is Danny. I'm an officer in Israeli military intelligence. In one hour we will blow up your house."
Israel is dealing in psychops in both the Gaza and Lebanon. Imagine getting a phone call from Mexico or Canada warning you to leave before they level you along with your house.

Sounds like targetting civilians to me.
Read the rest


Condi sets her sights on the American Century

Rice and the US continue to hold out for a certain kind of ceasefire- one that is "lasting." Rice was rather unclear on what she meant, but it is clear that such a ceasefire would be defined by the US and imposed by it as well. There is a sense that the US wishes to re-write the geo-politics and possibly the physical geography as well of the region and Rice fancies herself as Gertrude Bell. Would that were even remotely true. But Rice doesn't even have a fraction of the knowledge of the region at her disposal that Bell had, nor the language,

Another problem with the holdout is that Israel interprets this as the greenlight to continue bombing Lebanon to Kingdom Come.

And, apparently, Israel is partial to targets that phone regularly, asking not to be hit. That would be the UN among others, and now the Arab media. So,let me get this straight: no exit(they bomb civilian convoys), no aid (hasn't been able to get in), no observers (oops, were those blue things UN helmets?), and no Arab (not known to be pro-Israel) news. Sound like the Israelis are getting ready to whup Lebanon into oblivion.

Oh, well, back at the OK Corral, I mean the Oval Office, it still isn't time for a ceasefire.


And now, for a brief report...

Rather brief, actually. Very sorry but it's late. I'm tired, and I have students to torture tomorrow so you will just have to wait. But you can have this:

Hundreds Attend Teach-In
(San Diego) At least two hundred people came to a teach-in on the currect situation in Palestine and Lebanon, held at the Four Points Hotel. The featured panel included a well-known Arab-American artist, the director of the Center for Arabic and Islamic Studies at San Diego State, as well as several internationally known lawyers. The panel spoke on a variety of issues, including a brief run-down on the origins of Hamas and Hezbollah, teh need for diplomatic approaches, how Iraq plays into the equation and the rules of international law and war crimes in relation to the actions of Hamas, Hezbollah and Israel. After the presentation, members of the audience asked questions and a video compilation of news reporting from stations local to the Middle East was shown.

Details in a later post.


You're a great guy, Mahmoud, but I'm just not that into you.

Oh, look! Blogspot is behaving again!

Sometimes you come across a line in writing that just strikes you in some odd way. This is such a line:
You're a great guy, Mahmoud, but I'm just not that into you.
Which is actually a line waaaay down in an interesting essay on Syria on Slate.
Obviously, Syria can't, and doesn't particularly want to, completely turn its back on Hezbollah; the usual rent-a-crowd demonstrations on the streets of Damascus, and the vitriolic statements from the Assad regime have happened as expected. But the country is clearly keeping its options open. Syria may offer more support for Hezbollah than the United States and Israel are happy with—but U.S.-backed regime-change here, despite the tough talk out of Washington during the last few days, now seems more unlikely than ever. In fact, in light of the failure of the Rome cease-fire talks, which excluded both Syria and Iran, it seems inevitable that Damascus will ultimately play a role in negotiating a lasting cease-fire agreement.

And there's more.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006  

You must be joking...

Another Hezbollah leader, Mahmoud Komati, deputy chief of the group’s political arm, told The Associated Press that Hezbollah was surprised by the force of Israel’s reaction to its capture of two Israeli soldiers. He said Hezbollah had expected “the usual, limited” response such as commando raids or limited attacks on Hezbollah strongholds.

Hezbollah was surprised??!!??!! As in "oopsie?" Come on. Hamas captures Shalit and all hell breaks loose in the Gaza. What did Hezbollah expect? A carrier pigeon asking for the two Israelis back?

It's a little late and way too many dead to go around sheepishly saying we kind of screwed up in our calculations.

read the rest

Alan Dershowitz is another ass. I used to have some respect for him, but civilians as collateral damage is not a matter of degrees of guilt/innocence. Dead people are dead people and this is the 21st century version of Sherman's March- war crimes and all.

The Arabist has an interesting tidbit- there is an indication that perhaps the Israelis Hezballah seized were in Lebanese terrority on a mission. be followed up.

And Dahr Jamail is also talking about illegal weaponry.

There is also talk that locally the JDL may be trying to intimadate pro-Palestinian/Lebanese demonstrators at demenstrations.
We'll see. Two can play that game...


Did you know...why not?

"I, Tsilli Goldenberg, Israeli citizen

Accuse you - Ehud Olmert, Prime Minister of Israel, Amir Peretz, Minister of Defense, Dan Halutz Head of Staff Chief Commander of the Israeli Army, of committing this bestial barbaric slaughter in Lebanon.

I accuse you of committing Crimes against Humanity towards the Palestinian People. I accuse you of deserting our soldiers, when their lives could be saved by negotiations, and I accuse you of starting an unjustified war in my name." - Tsilli Goldenberg, Masarik 11, Jerusalem 93106 Israel

Did you know that "The delivery of at least 100 GBU 28 bunker busters bombs containing depleted uranium warheads by the United States to Israel for use against targets in Lebanon will result in additional radioactive and chemical toxic contamination with consequent adverse health and environmental effects throughout the middle east."?

Did you know that what's going on is "subject to review by Israel's chief military censor, who has - in her own words – 'extraordinary power'. She can silence a broadcaster, block information and put journalists in jail"?

Why not?

Gabriele Zamparini over at The Cat's Dream has a very interesting list of things about the current situation in Lebanon that you may not know. And even if you do, he has more info that you may not be aware of.

Check it out here

Sunday, July 23, 2006  

request for help to save important history

This was sent to me and now I am passing it on. If you can help out, it would be greatly appreciated.

Dear friends...

If you know anyone (preferrably British) who is in Beirut, and who is about to be evacuated, would you please see if they are willing to help save a very valuable archive of Palestinian oral history?


Diana Allan, an anthropologist at Harvard, has worked with Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, particularly Shatila, and collected precious oral testimonies of 1948 survivors. She has hundreds of hours of testimonies, comprising of 750 DVD's. Needless to say, this is a major treasure for our community and, as far as we know, nobody has done this work as extensively and thoroughly as Diana has.


We need to salvage this valuable archive by getting it out of Beirut asap, preferrably with foreigners being evacuated. The evacuees are only allowed a small bag, but the British embassy has agreed to let this be carried and not count as part of someone's baggage allowance, but conditional on having someone to carry it and take responsibility for it. It is 15 kg. So... if you know anyone (preferrably British, otherwise they would need to be willing to carry it at the expense of their personal belongings) who is trustworthy and willing to take this... please let us know right away!!


Please contact Diana at I'm reluctant to include her phone number on an e-mail which will hopefully get some circulation, so just call me (Haithem) and I will either coordinate or connect. 972 522 312 817 (Ramallah, GMT + 2)

Needless to say, this needs to get taken care of asap. Please help!!

Haithem El-Zabri


To see

Can't go to any rallies today due to mechanical difficulties (stupid car) and the bus service is no good here. But there are things going on in SoCal.
One really good thing is this program,Alternative Focus. Check it out. If it doesn't show in your viewing area, see if you can get it on your local cable channel.

One of their latest docs is just gorgeous:
Orpheus in Nazareth
Arab Israeli citizens in Nazarath, Israel created Orpheus, a nonprofit group, to promote classical music among the Arab population in part because the Israeli government has been neglecting music education among their Arab population. Orpheus hires music teachers, trains students, and produces classical music concerts. Producer: Ed Sweed

Off to crawl under the hood.


Silent Rally in Support of Palestinian and Lebanese- LA /Today(Sunday,, July 23)

Passing this along:

Silent Rally in Solidarity with the Palestinian and Lebanese People

WHAT: Rally on behalf of those who have been silenced as a result of the illegal actions of Israel.

Counter the propaganda of those who would lead you to believe it is permissible to kill innocent women and children, to bomb homes, to demolish dreams...

WHEN: Sunday, July 23rd at 3:30 p.m.

WHERE: Southwest corner of the San Vicente / Wilshire intersection, one block west of 6505 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles

The Israeli Consulate and the pro-Israel organizations will be rallying in support of Israel along with the Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

We need to be out there with a counter protest, condemning Israel's brutal attacks on Lebanon and Palestine. This protest will be huge – so, we need everyone's support. Bring posters and tell everyone you know. We need to show up in numbers.

CONTACT: For more information, contact Amir Mertaban or call (909) 395-7810.

The rally has been sponsered by MSA West, the International Socialist Organization, and Women in Black.

Carpools [please RSVP by Sunday morning]:

Inland Empire:
Meet at Cal Poly Pomona at 3 p.m.
Sarah Al-Habib - or (909) 239-6858
Amir Mertaban - or (909) 395-7810

Los Angeles:
Meet at the site at 3:30 p.m.
Sabiha Ameen - or (310) 483-3345

Orange County:
Meet at the Islamic Center of Irvine at 2 p.m.
Omar Kurdi - or (714) 293-8337
Huda Shaka - or (949) 933-8982


Southern California
2180 W. Crescent Ave., Suite F
Anaheim, CA 92801
Tel: (714) 776-1847
Fax: (714) 776-8340
To subscribe/unsubscribe to CAIR Southern California's e-mail list, send an e-mail to

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