Sunday, January 25, 2015

Angelina Jolie

I just wish that Angelina Jolie would stop pontificating on foreign affairs.  Adoption of multiple foreign children does not make one an expert on foreign affairs.

Shayma' As-Sabbagh: a socialist martyr from Egypt

It is clear: Western media can't get to concede that there are Arab socialists, communists, and anarchists.  In most Western media, Shayma' As-Sabbah was identified as a "liberal". Where did you get that? She belonged to an organization that is titled as Popular Socialist Democratic Alliance. 

elections of the teachers' syndicate in Lebanon today: Hizbullah proves yet again, it is a right-wing movement

For those on the left who may still suffer from delusions, Hizbullah proves once again that it is a right-wing reactionary movement when it comes to class struggle and the war on capitalism.  Make no mistake about it.

There is one thing I like about the Jordanian potentate

Unlike other Arab potentate, he seems acutely aware that he is quite dumb.  I like that about him.

Please rest assured: foregin correspondents of the Times are highly trained individuals

"Correction: January 23, 2015 

An earlier version of this article misidentified the president of Syria. He is Bashar al-Assad, not Hafez al-Assad, Bashar’s father and a former president."

Secret Israeli agents and the rule of Gen. Buhari

"It involved Israeli secret agents, giant packing crates and anesthetic drugs."

This Israeli fanatic called for nuking Iran, so New York Times thought that this was cute and profiled her

"like suggesting that Israel drop a nuclear bomb on Tehran."

House member, Richard Hanna

This Arabic paper declares that member of the US House of Representative, Richard Hanna (of Lebanese descent) is "Arabist in politics and culture".  In fact, he is a rabid Zionist

the Huthi takeover of Sanaa

Let us face it: despite my detestation of the Huthis and their ideology, their takeover of Yemen was largely bloodless.  Of course, they are pitted against Al-Qa`idah which is supported by House of Saud.

Maternity leave around the world

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The Bahraini pro-democracy movement, 4 years later

"just yesterday, an activist was apparently shot in the face by security forces while protesting, an incident caught on video. Gathered here are images of Bahrain's continued uprising, taken over the past year."

ISIS indistinguishable from Saudi Arabia

"Most egregious of all was the lack of any acknowledgement that the Saudi royal family promoted the puritanical ideology that created al-Qaeda and its offshoots. The kingdom is the cradle of Wahhabism, the extreme form of Islam that put the Saud family in power and keeps it there. The Saudis are almost as enthusiastic about public beheadings as their mortal enemy Isis, which shocked the world with videos of Western hostages about to suffer this awful fate. Where do people think Isis got the idea? Both al-Qaeda and IS want to restore a mostly imaginary caliphate that  would be, in many respects, indistinguishable from Saudi Arabia."

"“Nice to see a movie where the Arabs are portrayed for who they really are - vermin scum intent on destroying us"

“Great fucking movie and now I really want to kill some fucking ragheads,” read one tweet, in a set of screenshots that quickly went viral after being collated by journalist Rania Khalek for the online publication Electronic Intifada. “American sniper makes me wanna go shoot some fuckin Arabs,” read another. One tweet read: “Nice to see a movie where the Arabs are portrayed for who they really are - vermin scum intent on destroying us.”

Muslim school children across Britain are suffering bullying & abuse

"In one case, a teenage Muslim pupil at a school in Oxfordshire was this week allegedly slapped and called a “terrorist” by classmates after a teacher raised the murders of 12 people at the French magazine in a classroom discussion and suggested Muslims should be “challenged” by the display of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. The boy told his parents he did not wish to return to school." (thanks Amir)

The first design of an e-reader: quite practical to carry on a plane

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Terrorism in Egypt

The terrorist threat is real in Egypt: and it is represented by the Egyptian state and its military and intelligence arms.

According to Al-Hayat (mouthpiece of Khalid bin Sultan) "sports misses" the king--kid you not.

"They call themselves journalists"

From Basim: "The Al-Hayat newspaper carried full-page advertisements on Sunday pledging support for Salman and condolences on the death of Abdullah."

Zahran `Allush

This war criminal who takes responsibility for the indiscriminate shelling of Damascus and who warned Muslims to leave the city so he can slaughter the infidels is a graduate of the Islamic University in Madinah in Saudi Arabia.  His training shows in his words and deeds.

Yes, they would never press him Obama on Saudi Arabia which--let us say--is far less democratic than India

"NYTimes: Human Rights Groups Press Obama on India"

A Jewish delegation visits the tomb of Jihad Imad Mughniyyah

Signs of fissures in the ranks of 2nd generation Saudi princes

 Embedded image permalink  This is from the Twitter account of Prince Al-Walid bin Talal: he says that he "took the oath of acclamation" (mubaya`ah) for "my father" Salman and "my father" Muqrin but then added "and I congratulated my brother Prince Muhammad bin Nayif".  He did not use the word for mubaya`ah.  Also, on the second page of Al-Hayat (today's issue), the mouthpiece of Prince Khalid bin Sultan, under the picture it says: "The servitor of the two holy sites, the crown prince and Muhammad bin Nayif".  It did not in the caption use his title. 

Simplicity of burial in Saudi Arabia

Please. Enough of this silly propaganda about the simplicity of burial of the Saudi king. This has nothing to do with modesty or with simplicity: this is part and parcel of the Saudi Wahhabi doctrine which forbids that grave to be above ground and which insists on unmarked graves to prevent the transformation of grave-sites into shrines. 

le roi Abdallah, "un grand défenseur des femmes"

Head of the IMF declares: "Christine Lagarde : le roi Abdallah, "un grand défenseur des femmes" "

What is trending in Saudi media

According to this: "Flash.  An American family declared today its (conversion to) Islam after being touched from the scenes of the burial of King Abdullah bin `Abdul-`Aziz and the simplicity of his burial in a public cemetery."

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Fatin Hamamah's obituary in the Times

Whenever an Arab cultural icon dies, it takes the New York Times days or weeks to publish an obituary.  The reason is that they don't have in-house Middle East experts and they have to wait to read what was written in the British press before they produce some lame obituary. Notice in this one about Fatin Hamamah there is no reference to her staunch support for the Sisi and Mubarak regimes.

Propaganda and obedience in French schools

Is this not ironic given the vulgar self-praise that characterized French media and culture in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre?  "Ms. Vallaud-Belkacem said that such conduct would not be allowed. “Any behavior which will question the values of the republic and the authority” of the teacher, she said, “will be systematically signaled to the school principal” and followed by an “educational dialogue with parents.”"

peaceful ethnic cleansing

From James: "Peaceful ethnic cleansing: “Some readers may find it hard, as I did, to read Shapira’s brief treatment of the moment in 1948 when the commanders Yigal Allon and Yitzhak Rabin came to Ben-Gurion asking whether to carry out ‘a large-scale population evacuation.’ Rabin reported that Ben-Gurion responded with a wave of the hand, saying ‘Expel them.’ . . . Despite this, Ben-Gurion firmly believed peace was more important than territory: What he wanted was not more land but the ability to maintain an overwhelming Jewish majority in the land he had.”"

Five worst human rights abuses in the reign of King Abdullah

"Saudi Arabia has one of the worst human rights records in the world as the country routinely imprisons and executes dozens of people labelled as "enemies of the kingdom"."

U.S. should stop Syria not ISIS: Saudi prince

"U.S. policymakers should concentrate on eliminating the threat posed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad instead of Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, according to an influential member of the Saudi Arabian royal family."

Obama's reaction to the deaths of Abdullah & Chávez

""One obvious difference between the two leaders was that Chávez was elected and Abdullah was not. Another is that Chávez used the nation’s oil resources to attempt to improve the lives of the nation’s most improverished while Abdullah used his to further enrich Saudi oligarchs and western elites. Another is that the severity of Abdullah’s human rights abuses and militarism makes Chávez look in comparison like Gandhi. But when it comes to western political and media discourse, the only difference that matters is that Chávez was a U.S. adversary while Abdullah was a loyal U.S. ally – which, by itself for purposes of the U.S. and British media, converts the former into an evil villainous monster and the latter into a beloved symbol of peace, reform and progress."" (thanks Amir)

King Abdullah Of Saudi Arabia Receives Touching Tributes

"And How We Should Also Remember Him"

saudi myths

"Many are voicing surprise at the comments of IMF head Christine Lagarde following the death of the Saudi monarch: "He was a great leader. He implemented lots of reforms, at home, and in a very discreet way, he was a great advocate for woman. It was very gradual, appropriately so probably for the country, but I discussed that issue with him several times and he was a strong believer." After a reporter expressed surprise that a woman would say that, Lagarde added: "Very often, Saudi Arabia is portrayed as a place where women do not play quite the same role." The last sentence hasn't been seriously scrutinized, but it should be. "Quite the same role" is a remarkable way to describe a country that has a system of male guardianship.

But I think it's noteworthy that the source of the comments was hardly some random woman. It was the head of the IMF, an international financial institution purported to aid the global development but that is frequently criticized as doing the bidding of the rich and powerful -- such as the major U.S. and European banks. And, like a good managing director, Lagarde is probably on the lookout for more funding for the IMF, it's not straightforward to find out how much the Saudis have already ponied up. But once again, we see here the emptiness -- even on the most limited basis -- of a shallow diversity that seeks to put a woman or African American in a prominent position while maintaining incredibly oppressive power dynamics. " (thanks Sam)

Canada mourns the Saudi tyrant

"Knox Metropolitan Church bells ring for King Abdullah"

Ben Norton on Yarmouk camp

This article seems to reproduce word-for-word the talking points of the Syrian exile opposition.  In the case of the Yarmouk camp, there are two killers: the Syrian regime and the Nusrah front and other Bin Ladenites on the other side. The residents are victims of both sides.  Norton does not mention the role of the rebels in using the camp for their won ends, and in shooting at aid convoys. 

Prince Muqrin, the intellectual

According to the Hariri newspaper, Al-Mustaqbal, Prince Muqrin is an intellectual who is well-versed in astronomy (read astrology) and that he owns a library of 10,000 books.  I think that they meant a library of 10,000 films, and all pornographic.

In Video: how Shayma' was shot

Yes, she died

The caption says: "What is this? She died?"

Shayma' with her son

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The Sisi regime killed her--with US and GCC money and arms

Paul Wolfowotiz

Is this guy for real? He appeared on one American channel and said: look at Muslims from all around the world flocking to Mecca to mourn the Saudi king. 

That should be apparent

"The idea that journalism can ever be completely free from the prejudices of its practitioners is a fiction, and the way to deliver trustworthy reporting is to be honest about what those prejudices are. “Everybody has an agenda in that they have things that they think are true and things that they think are important, and vice versa,” he says. “There’s a sort of pretence that it’s not so, and that’s fine, but one should also make clear in writing where one’s coming from. That should be apparent.”" (thanks Laure)

Inside Al-Aqsa Mosque while the speaker eulogized the Saudi King

Watch here. (thanks Seif)

Israeli media obsession with Holywood

Israeli media are worse than Lebanese media with their obsession with Hollywood.  They are so pained by lack of mainstream support form big Hollywood starts that they brag about support from the likes of Pamela Anderson and Sylvester Stallone.  In the past, all major stars were supporters and fundraisers of Israel (Paul Newsman, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, John Wayne, Bob Hope, etc).  Now, they are happy to get the sympathy from Seth Rogen and Rob Lowe.  Rob Lowe.

Norman Finkelstein responds

I don't wish to respond to pure polemics and cliches (I mean, how original and new this line that extreme left is like extreme right? Like, I have not heard that one before? And what is the relevance? I am trying to reserve my fire at Norman because I still believe that he suffered greatly from outspokenness against Israeli propaganda, and because for years I assumed that he and I were in the same trench.  I still don't doubt his motives but think that he is in error, big time)  But I will say this: yes, international law has not bothered Israel one bit and some international legal experts at the US government were able to come up with interpretations that made torture to be consistent with Geneva conventions (and one of those legal experts teaches at UC, Berkeley law school). That is also international law.  And I never thought that the battle against Zionism is purely legal anyway even if "international law" and its sacred texts nullified Zionism in theory.  The institutions and apparatuses of power of Zionism will be eventually dismantled the way they were set up: by force.  If international law can be useful in some cases, that is fine but the notion that we should modify the just cause of the liberation of all of Palestine because we need to fit the goal into the Zionist interpretation of what international law is, is just silly.