and other news from the Arab revolutions:
Obama meets Bahrain crown prince at White House (AFP)
AFP – US President Barack Obama met the crown prince of Bahrain Tuesday, as Washington backed the Sunni royal family’s national dialogue to ease the political crisis in the Shiite majority kingdom.
Bahraini poet set to face verdict for protest reading
A Bahraini student could face a long prison sentence for reading out a poem criticizing the country’s King. A Bahraini poet faces possible imprisonment for reading out a poem criticizing the country’s King when a military court rules on her case next Sunday. Ayat al-Qarmezi, 20, a poet and student was arrested in March for reading out a poem at a pro-reform rally in the capital Manama. She has been charged with “incitement to hatred of the regime” and has reportedly been tortured while in detention.
Bahrain faces fresh torture claims over health workers’ trial
Doctors and nurses facing trial before a military court in Bahrain have made fresh claims of being tortured in detention. The Bahraini authorities must independently investigate fresh claims that dozens of doctors and nurses on trial before a military court were tortured in detention and made to sign false confessions, Amnesty International said today.
Bahrain campaign to humiliate Shiites goes beyond politics
Bahrain’s crown prince is set to visit the White House and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today. The US has remained largely silent amid harsh criticism of Bahrain’s brutal crackdown.
Bahrain’s Shiite clerics criticize police (AP)
AP – Bahrain’s Shiite clerics have criticized the Gulf kingdom’s police for attacking religious processions just days after emergency rule was lifted.
Bahrain bans opposition seminar on crackdown (AFP)
AFP – Bahrain’s main Shiite opposition group said on Wednesday that it had been banned from going ahead with a planned presentation detailing abuses committed during a government crackdown on Shiite-led protests earlier this year.
Bahrain medical staff ‘tortured for confessions’
Doctors and nurses put on trial in Bahrain yesterday told relatives they were beaten with hoses and wooden boards embedded with nails and made to eat faeces. They also had to stand without moving for hours, or even days, and were deprived of sleep in order to force them to sign false confessions.
Lawyers say cannot reach detained Bahrain medics (Reuters)
Reuters – Bahraini doctors and nurses arrested over the civil protests that rocked the kingdom eAarlier this year have been denied access to their lawyers, their attorneys and relatives said late on Monday.
Bahrain Grand Prix ‘not on’
Formula One commercial chief says rescheduled race almost certain to be scrapped due to opposition from teams.
Bahrain GP is no go – Ecclestone
Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone says October’s reinstated Bahrain Grand Prix cannot go ahead without the agreement of the teams.
AUDIO: Bahrain Grand Prix ‘will not happen’
Max Mosley says there is not the “slightest chance” that the F1 Grand Prix will take place in Bahrain
Bahrain GP shrouded in doubt as opposition mounts (AFP)
AFP – Uncertainty and confusion surrounded the Bahrain Grand Prix on Tuesday, just four days after the International Motoring Federation (FIA) had reinstated it on the 2011 Formula One calendar with a provisional date of October 30.
Report gave ‘all-clear’ for Bahrain Grand Prix
AFP – The controversial decision to reinstate the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix taken by the sport’s governing body FIA was taken after receiving a report saying that the political unrest in the country had stabilised, FIA president Jean Todt told the BBC on Monday.
Torturing Bahraini Doctors
For months, courageous Bahrainis protested peacefully against the Al Khalifa monarchy’s repressive brutality, corruption, and discrimination, as well as unemployment, poverty, and other unaddressed social justice issues. The response has been ruthless state terrorism against anyone challenging regime control, no matter how lawless, barbaric, and unresponsive to basic human rights and needs.
Bahraini government lies
A Bahrain source sent me this (I shall not identify her): ”A few days ago, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights met with Fatima Al Baloushi, Bahrain’s Social Development Minister (a real idiot who doesn’t know what she has gotten herself into). The Bahrain News Agency released a propaganda statement saying that Navi Pillay said that certain information that they had received about Bahrain was untrue. The pro-government idiots got REALLY excited (and I mean really excited.. I was surprised that they didn’t start celebrating on the streets) and the news was circulated on twitter and on many Bahraini and Khaleeji newspapers. Here’s an example: Today, the OHCHR released a statement denying the Bahrain News Agency Press Release saying that Pillay’s statements have been “grossly misrepresented.” Here is the press release: Of course the Bahraini government freaked out and now the blame is being placed completely on Al Baloushi: Another controversy brewing that you may have heard of is the decision of the F1 to hold the race in Bahrain in october. The FIA (their governing board I believe) said it based its decision on a fact finding mission to Bahrain. Here is the “fact finding” missions “report” (not a lot of fact finding if you ask me):
What year is it? 1984? In Bahrain
“MANAMA: Police have unveiled their latest recruit to help efforts to connect with the community. Suhayel is a computer-animated character tasked with spreading “optimism, forgiveness and loyalty”, according to Interior Ministry court general-director Brigadier Riyadh Abdulla.” PS I don’t know why, but I really sense the fingerprints and footprints of a K Street consulting firm in this Orwellian idea.
“Unethical and unprofessional” reporting in Bahrain
Earlier this month, Bahrain’s state-controlled television (BTV) broadcast a supposed exposé about Al Wasat newspaper. At the time, Al Wasat was the only mass media outlet based in Bahrain that was independent of the government, and often critical of it. Especially after the protests of February 14, Al Wasat dared to report on many actions of the Bahrain government that no other newspaper in the country dared to write about.
Khaled Said, Man Whose Death Sparked Revolution, Remembered In Egypt
CAIRO — Crowds of people dressed in black marched through Egyptian cities Monday to honor a young businessman from Alexandria beaten to death a year ago in a savage attack blamed on police that helped inspire the uprising that brought down Egypt’s president. Photographs of Khaled Said’s badly disfigured and bloodied face were posted on the Internet and became an instant rallying point for campaigners trying to bring attention to rampant police brutality under the regime of Hosni Mubarak.
Remembering Khaled Saeed
A letter to Khaled Saeed on the anniversary of his murder.
Trapped in Gaza: Rafah Crossing Closed to Palestinians Soon After Egyptian Pledge to Reopen It
In the Gaza Strip, the Hamas government has asked Egypt to drop restrictions on the Rafah border crossing, just days after the checkpoint opened last week. In a major policy shift, Egypt’s transition government had unsealed the Rafah border after years of closure under ousted Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak. But less than a week later, Egypt imposed a cap of 400 people per day, turning back busloads of people that had been cleared for passage. On Saturday, the border was sealed completely, causing angry Palestinians to storm the gates in protests. Democracy Now!’s Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar were one of the few teams of foreign journalists to witness the scene at the Rafah border and they file this report from the Gaza Strip.
US delegation visits Cairo to study Egypt’s new foreign policy
A US delegation of members of both Houses of Congress has been touring the Middle East, beginning with Cairo to identify new aspects of Egypt’s foreign policy. The delegation met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Al-Araby, who briefed them on the most important characteristics of the policy and its impact on various regional issues. Paramount is how Egypt is going to manage its role in the Israel-Palestine conflict; the American delegation is also going to visit Tel Aviv. The meeting included a discussion of the latest regional political and social developments.
Poll: Egyptians Don’t Want Theocracy
WASHINGTON (RNS) Four months after the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a new Gallup survey says a majority of Egyptians want religious leaders to advise the nation’s officials but they do not want a theocracy.
Wikileaks: ‘US Embassy lobbies Gamal Mubarak for Bechtel in Egypt’s energy sector’
What the XXXX?
There sure are a lot of XXXs in this redacted Wikileaks cable, citing an Egyptian parliamentarian’s speculation that Minister of Defense Hussein Tantawi and Director of Intelligence Omar Suleiman might thwart Gamal Mubarak from succeeding his father, back from 2007:
Egypt: Human Rights Reform an Urgent Priority
(Cairo) – Egypt’s transition to a democracy that respects the rule of law and human rights is at risk unless the military transition government carries out a number of immediate human rights reforms, Human Rights Watch said today.
Egypt haunts Saudi Arabia again | Soumaya Ghannoushi
By propping up the Arab monarchies, Saudi Arabia is reverting to its old anti-revolutionary role. Little did Riyadh know that the most severe strategic blow to its regional influence would come not from Tehran, or Tehran’s agents in Baghdad – but Cairo, its closest Arab friend. The ousting of Mubarak did not only mean the loss of a strong ally, but the collapse of the old balance of power. The region could no longer be divided on a Riyadh-Cairo v Tehran-Damascus axis. Revolutions have struck in both camps: in “moderate” Egypt and Tunisia, as in “hardline” Damascus and Tripoli. The principal challenge for the Saudi regime is no longer the influence of Syria, Iran or Hezbollah, but the contagion of revolutions.
Maliki asks for patience on Iraq reforms
Premier cites progress over past 100 days and asks for more time, but opponents already calling for protests on Friday.
Gaddafi forces shell rebel-held Misurata
At least 12 rebels reportedly dead as Gaddafi forces attack port city from two directions with rockets and missiles.
Gaddafi ‘will fight to the death’
Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi vows to remain in the country “dead or alive” in an audio message broadcast on state TV.
NATO strikes rock Libyan capital
Several explosions reported near Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s compound following rare daytime attacks.
Libya officials put a spin on conflict
Moammar Kadafi’s government alleges a mounting civilian toll and massive damage amid a punishing NATO-led bombing campaign. Foreign journalists learn that what officials say happened may not necessarily be the case. Amid intensified NATO-led bombing of Libya’s capital, the government is alleging mounting civilian casualties and massive damage to homes and civilian infrastructure, though foreign journalists see limited evidence of such devastation.
Libya’s Eman al-Obeidi in Romania
Eman al-Obeidi, a Libyan woman who says she was raped by pro-Gaddafi men, is recovering in a Romanian refugee centre, the UN says.
Victoria Penziner, “Politics and Natural Resources in Eastern Saudi Arabia”
Toby Craig Jones’s book Desert Kingdom: How Oil and Water Forged Modern Saudi Arabia deals with issues of progress, development, the role of science in the creation of a state, and also how the environment contributed to the articulation of Saudi identity. Though oil and water are in the title, it is not a book about oil or water. This book explores the role of natural resources in the articulation of the relationship between a central government and a resource-rich peripheral area — in this case, al-Hasa, the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia and a historical center of oil wealth and agriculture.
Robert Fisk: The dumping ground for despots welcomes another
Saudi Arabia is a great dumping ground for despots. Remember Idi Amin? We Brits loved him once, but when he turned against us and started eating his enemies – and keeping the occasional head in the fridge – we were happy he fled into exile in Saudi Arabia. Then there was Ben Ali of Tunisia who flew off to the kingdom with his wife and an awful lot of money this year when the people could no longer tolerate him. We used to like Ben Ali – the French more than others – because he was a “symbol of stability”. And now Ali Abdullah Saleh – who also used to be our hero in the “war on terror” – is wounded in the chest and freighted off to hospital in Riyadh.
Israeli-Saudi alliance: The New York Times on Saudi Arabia
This is about Saudi Arabia–not Sweden: ”While the Saudis — who are dedicated to enforcing stability in the region…” And then they cite a Yemeni from the Hamid Ad-Din family: ”Abdullah Hamidaddin, a political scientist, said Saudi Arabia had wanted Mr. Saleh to leave office because its leaders thought that would bring “less bloodshed, less unpredictability.” But, he said, “they wanted it in a way that does not create a power vacuum and an unpredictable future.”” They fail to mention that when the Hamid Ad-Dins were expelled from Yemen after the revolution, each member of the family would receive a check from the Saudi embassy in any capital in which he was living.
The House of Saud strikes back
Saudi Arabia isn’t taking this whole democracy thing lying down. It’s putting down uprisings, beefing up alliances with fellow autocrats, and distancing itself from the US.
The Muslim Brotherhood: enemies of the Arabs and friends of Israel
I have argued below that the Muslim Brotherhood is now a key element or tool in the US/Saudi/Israeli/Qatari Arab counter-revolution. The logical step is for the Brotherhood to inch closer toward peace with Israel. Just look at the statements on Israeli TV by those two leaders of the Brotherhood (one from Egypt, and the pathetic Hariri tool, `Ali Bayanuni–the former (actually he is still head but has stepped out of leadership for political reasons) head of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood). They will only become more pronounced.
French foreign minister promises Security Council push against Syria
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé said Monday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has lost his legitimacy to rule and that France and the United States are prepared to push forward with a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning his regime for its violent crackdown on protesters. However, the path toward the resolution’s ratification may not be as easy as he made it seem.
Did Syria’s ambassador to France just quit?
If she did, it could spell trouble for President Bashir al-Assad.
Syria vows retaliation over ‘deadly ambush’
Damascus threatens armed groups who reportedly killed 120 security personnel in northwestern town of Jisr al-Shughur.
Hundreds flee Syrian town in fear of reprisals
Hundreds of civilians fled towards Turkey last night, fearing a massacre after Syria’s Baathist regime vowed to respond “decisively” to claims that 120 members of the security forces were killed by armed groups in the north-western borderlands.
Eyewitness: The view from the epicentre of the Syrian revolt
Jisr al-Shughour is a ghost town today. Nobody’s around because people are afraid the army will invade the city again. We had the biggest demonstration here on Friday since the start of the problems in Syria. It was peaceful at first, but in the evening groups of armed government men arrived and the shooting started.
Clashes intensify in northern Syrian town
Syrian State TV said hundreds of armed gunmen have been clashing with government forces in the northern town of Jisr al-Shughour, where the military allegedly carried out deadly crackdowns on anti-government protesters over the weekend. Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford reports.
Syrian TV: Security officers killed in ambush
Government threatens to retaliate after blaming “armed groups” for the deaths of 120 officers in country’s north.
Syria Reports 120 Military Killed in Jisr al-Shagour, Promises Decisive Response. More Economic Woes
Syria is slipping toward civil war. The announcement today that 120 Syrian officers have been killed in Jisr al-Shughour indicates how dire the contest between the opposition and government forces has become. This weekend over 100 Syrians were killed by government troops.
Erdogan: Turkey will not ‘close its doors’ to Syrian refugees
Turkish Foreign Ministry says there are now more than 420 Syrian refugees in tent camps set up in the border town of Yayladagi.
Protests in Damascus
“The resilience of the protest movement is not immediately apparent in Damascus. On Fridays, hundreds of plainclothes mukhabarat, or secret police, mill around public places. There are military checkpoints on the roads out of the city, and usually bustling markets and bus stations are empty. Suburbs such as Muadhimiya and Douma, where thousands have rallied in recent weeks, are now inaccessible, locked down by the army, with movements by residents severely restricted. But there are protests, albeit small and swiftly dispersed, in the city itself. On Thursday nights before the protests, young Syrians look at dinky laptops in cafes with Wi-Fi, reading Facebook pages about protests and opposition movements. And Damascus residents, though conditioned by decades of heavy surveillance not to express views publicly, speak out against the regime.”
Look at this front-page article in the New York Times. It is yet another example of the shoddy journalism that now fills Western media in covering countries that are not aligned with the US (or even countries that happen to be aligned with the US). Read the whole article and what do you learn? You learn based on not one identifiable source that Maher Al-Asad has influence in Syria. I have no doubt that he does and I have no doubt that he bars responsibility (along with his brother and others) for the repression in Syria. But the journalism of the article is rather laughable. There is one scene in which the article cites “Syrians” asserting that Maher himself is shooting at demonstrators. The article tried to feign false objectivity but maintaining that it could not confirm whether this is true or not, but then added: it does not matter. Can you imagine if “Arabs” claimed that Netanyahu actually killed Arabs himself (the claim, in the case of Israel, is far more credible because almost every prime minister in Israel since the 1950s has himself killed Arabs–not counting Golda Meir.) Who does the article cite? It cites that Syrian in Washington, DC but seems to have stumbled on another source: ”a former Syrian diplomat who now lives in exile in Virginia”. So now you have three Syrians in the DC area who can freely feed any claims to the receptive Zionist US media. The article concludes with this passage: ”Mr. Bitar, the former diplomat, said: “Maher, how I am going to say, he likes the blood. The minute I saw that video I said immediately, ‘That is Maher.’ ”” Can you imagine if an article on Israel ends with such statements? I mean, every prime minister in Israel in the last two decades have killed far more than Maher Al-Asad, but such statements would be considered unacceptable by the special standards of the New York Times. This is not about politics, mind you. It is about how the Zionist media are rushing to print anything that contributes to a political campaign regarding the Syrian situation. What a joke. One more time: this article was on the front page.
Covering Syria in the West (and East)
There is an article, or even a book, to be written on how Syria has been covered in the last few weeks in Western and Saudi/Qatari/Syrian media. You certainly can’t trust the Syrian regime media; the other day Syrian TV was blaming “anarchists”. I kid you not. I was personally offended. So now it is a Salafite-anarchist conspiracy? And the Saudi/Qatari media (which are indistinguishable as of late), can’t be trusted either. They don’t cover or inform anymore: they merely propagandize (well, to be fair, Saudi media did that all along, but one expected something different from Aljazeera). They rush to post anything about Syria that fits into the agenda of Western government: we are talking about NATO media now, really. Look at the story of the Syrian ambassador in France: Al-Arabiyya TV (the news station of King Fahd’s brother-in-law) is now claiming that the story originated with France 24. In reality, the story was top news all day on Al-Arabiyya’ s website, and it did not attribute it to France 24 but to its own correspondent in Paris. And even when the story was revealed to be false or fabricated, the Western media, including the New York Times, cover it as an opportunity to still maintain that it was true. A friend of the ambassador who listened to the statement on France 24 told me that it was clear not her. Yet, the New York Times writes a whole article to still imply it was true. In Syria, we are bombarded by lies and fabrications by all sides. It is a difficult story to cover. I recommend the articles that have been published in As-Safir by Ghadi Francis (who was fired from the SSNP for those independent articles). I get messages from Syrians daily and one thing is clear: people are scared: scared of the repressive regime and scared of what may come later. The secular progressives have the most difficult time: they oppose the regime and they oppose the dominant trends in the opposition.
Love in a time of torture
A young man’s account of sadistic torture in a Syrian secret prison, and how a girl’s note helped him through his pain.
Painful doubts about Amina
This morning I woke up to reports that Amina Abdalla, aka Amina Abdallah Arraf al Omari, who blogs on Gay Girl in Damascus had been detained in Syria. Her cousin posted to give the details, and people were twittering and blogging about the situation, there was a Facebook page and a #freeamina hashtag and people talking about what to do as activists to pressure for her release. At work in the morning, I let people at BlogHer know, since we featured her post some months ago, My Father, the Hero. My coworkers were very concerned, Heather Clisby posted about Amina’s situation, and our entire community of women bloggers geared up to support her. I wrote to one of my senators and signed some online petitions in her support, and sent out messages to everyone I know to try to help her.
Is there a blogger by the name of Amina? I don’t know and seek answers
Yazan sent me this (I cite with his permission): ”The story of Amina has been troubling me for a while, and there more I dive into it, the weirder it gets. I do want to believe that she exists and is part of the ranks who are challenging the regime, but if there is something more to her, then this is a disaster and a boon for the regime’s propaganda. Here is an article by NPR’s Andy Carvin in regards to her story:Carvin cautiously points out that no media organization was able to personally meet her, or speak to someone how knows her (such as family, friends, co-workers). Another blogger, one Liz Henry, suggested some “painful doubts” on her own post regarding the story: Henry points out the examples of Plain Layne (a supposedly bisexual young woman who turned out to be a middle-aged white man, who in turn won an award for writing as a young Muslim girl with a Jewish girlfriend). Henry calls these examples as “fictional” blogging, which can be used in a number of ways by a number of individuals and parties for some end. I understand how dangerous this line of argument presents itself, a danger that both Carvin and Henry acknowledge as well; doubting a person’s existence when they possibly do exist and are in a situation of potentitally great harm, is damning. What doesn’t help as well in all this is the recent information, as published by the Wall Street Journal, that the photos being passed around of Amina is apparently of another woman. Very curious stuff, and can only be dispelled if someone close to Amina, a family or friend, does speak out about her.” PS I have no way of knowing whether she exists or not, but seek verification. I am sick and tired today of the festival of lies and fabrication surrounding coverage of Syria. PSS Yazan suggested that we read here too.
Yemen’s Saleh could be away for months, complicating transition plansYemen’s political opposition and protesters are pushing for an immediate transition amid reports that Saleh’s injuries are worse than previously admitted. But his supporters are intent on his return.
Yemen’s Saleh ‘gravely wounded’
Yemen’s President Saleh was more badly injured than thought in a rocket attack last week, suffering 40% burns, officials tell US media.
Yemen braced for power battle as President vows to return
Pressure is building on Saudi Arabia to quickly conclude a power transfer deal for Yemen amid reports that the convalescing Yemeni president, who fled the country after an attack at the weekend, could try to come back.
2 Saudi Guards Killed at Yemen Border
Violence erupted along the Saudi-Yemeni border as a gunman killed two Saudi border police officers and wounded a third before being gunned down himself.
Yemenis protest after talks rejected
Thousands gather outside vice-president’s residence after government rejects proposed dialogue as “ridiculous”.
Democracy Now! Interview with Abdul-Ghani Al-Iryani on Saleh Departure
This is an interview conducted with Abdul-Ghani Al-Iryani on Monday, June 6, in regards to President Ali Abdallah Saleh’s departure from Yemen. The interview addresses the events surrounding his departure to Saudi Arabia, highlighting the possibilities of regime change and the role US foreign policy. Transcripts of the interview follow the below video. Thousands of people in Yemen are rejoicing at the departure of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The embattled leader is reportedly in Saudi Arabia for medical treatment after being injured in a rocket attack on his presidential compound. Saleh temporarily ceded power to his vice president on Saturday night. His nephew remains in command of the Central Security paramilitary forces, and his son, Ahmad Ali Abdullah Saleh, still heads the elite Republican Guard. To discuss the implications of Saleh’s departure, we’re joined from Sana’a by Abdul-Ghani al-Iryani, a political analyst and co-founder of the Democratic Awakening Movement.
Mohammed al-Qadhi speaks about the situation in Yemen
Mohammed al-Qadhi, a journalist at Abu Dhabi based The National newspaper, spoke to Al Jazeera from Sanaa.
The mathematics of the Arab Spring
Since ousting their leaders, Egypt and Tunisia are facing difficult choices on balancing the influences of foreign aid.
The ‘fallen’ heroines of the Arab spring
Women who abide by cultural traditions while rebelling politically have become icons. But there is another vanguard of outsiders. Since the start of the wave of uprisings that have swept the Arab world, “establishment” figures, especially women, have been celebrated as the “icons” of the revolution – symbols of its homegrown, indigenous nature.
from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by As’ad AbuKhalilI used to wake up and turn on Aljazeera to watch the news. It was an excellent source of daily news. Not anymore. I now wake up and face crude and blatant propaganda. Aljazeera and Al-Arabiyyah (bitter rivals in the past) are now so similar, and this critic in As-Safir found great similarity between the two in how they (un)covered Israeli crimes at the border with Syria. Saudi media used to criticize Aljazeera on a daily basis and now they defend it against critics. That should tell you where it is going. FLC here casts doubt on the story peddled in Aljazeera about a Syrian deserter.
Arabs who work for the New York Times
I do believe that Arabs who work for the New York Times should be ashamed of themselves–especially those who serve in the foreign bureaus as servants of the master Zionist who heads the office. The story of Taghreed El-Khodary is known by now: she resigned when it was too late. She was assigned by her boss, Ethan Bronner (who has sent his son to the Israeli terrorist Army) to search for Palestinians willing to criticize Hamas and to report on the plight of Israeli collaborators throughout the Israeli war on Gaza. Look at this piece of propaganda here: the two Arab servants of Zionist bosses were assigned to go and find appropriate quotations in clearly edited interviews with Palestinian individuals (notice that their cited words contain no criticisms of Israel whatsoever). For Arabs to work for the New York Times (the semi-official mouthpiece of international Zionism and a newspaper with a clear and solid record of racism against Arabs and bigotry against Muslims) is like Jews working for Der Angriff. I stand by this analogy. The funny thing about this piece is that yesterday the New York Times devoted a piece to cover the Israeli propaganda claims about their own shooting of civilians. That was not enough. So they decided to devote a second piece to highlight Israeli propaganda claims. Notice that not one word has been written about the victims: not one word. Not one picture of a funeral. You wonder why I detest the New York Times so much?
Democracy against Democracy
Comrade Joseph writes about the future trend of the counter-revolution: ”Moves to limit economic protests and labour strikes are ongoing in Egypt and Tunisia. Once elections are held to bring about a new class of servants of the new order, we will hear that all economic demands should be considered “counterrevolutionary”and should be prosecuted for attempting to “weaken” if not “destroy” the new “democracy”. If, as is becoming more apparent, the US strikes alliances with local Islamist parties, we might even hear that economic protests and opposition to neoliberal imperial economic policies are “against Islam.” The US-imposed “democracy” to come, assuming even a semblance of it will be instituted, is precisely engineered to keep the poor down and to delegitimise all their economic demands. The exchange that the US hopes to achieve by imposing some form of liberal political order on Egypt and Tunisia is indeed more, not less, imperial pillage of their economies and of the livelihoods of their poor classes, who are the large majority of the population. The ultimate US aim then is to hijack the successful uprisings against the existing regimes under the cover of democracy for the benefit of the very same local and international business elites in power under Mubarak and Ben Ali. How successful the US and its local allies will be will depend on the Egyptian and Tunisian peoples.”
Fouad Ajami and the Jewish quarter in Beirut
Daniel sent me this on yesterday’s post (I cite with his permission): ”"Wadi Abu Jamil, the Jewish quarter of the Beirut of my boyhood, is now a Hezbollah stronghold, and no narrative exalts or recalls that old presence.” This is so offensive, especially since, if I recall correctly, it was Solidere, American-supported capitalist entity, that wanted to raze the Grand Synagogue, now being rebuilt in the heart of Beirut with the full support of the Hezb. As was rebuilt the retaining wall of the Jewish Cemetery near my house in Ras En-Nebaa many years ago. This is more respect than is given Muslim or Jewish cemeteries in Europe, and certainly more respect than mosques in Europe or North America. Students from our dept. at AUB have, in the past, worked in this neighborhood, creating for one example directional signage for the synagogue as a landmark, and interviewing the last surviving Jewish resident of the neighborhood who vowed never to move to Israel (she passed away a few years ago I believe). Who destroyed Wadi Abu Jamil? The rampant neo-liberalism that Ajami champions. Shame on him.”