Throw Off the White Woman’s Burden, Mona

FP coverOf all neoliberal women who claim the liberation of women as their cause, Mona Eltahawy consummately peddles imperialism under the guise of feminism.

Her recent article on Foreign Policy transports orientalism into the realms of the pornographic. The debased cover graphic of the issue in which the article appears is of a naked woman body-painted with a niqab and is well-attuned to the sly glittering generalisations in the content, where we do not read of women, but of events which happen to women. En masse, Arab women are reduced to powerless alien objects, victims of lascivious, sadistic orientals, the flip side of the romantic savage. This is the pornography of imperialism, where the natives are ritually objectified, voiceless victims to be aggregated and marketed to western voyeurs, all the better to appropriate righteously their treasures. The historical impact of the west is decontextualised and obscured – patriarchal tyrannies propped up to support exploitation of the vast riches of the Middle East, religious fundamentalism nurtured through inequality, hideous sanctions, pressures and intrigue to serve larger geopolitical goals are made secondary to the innate savagery of the oriental male and helplessness of his victim. One of the convenient, duplicitously benevolent western facades thus is assured to facilitate invasion, occupation and colonial aid as saviour to helpless women in societies which are miraculously located near areas with immense resources or with strategic import. Mona rails against the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists, although ironically both were abetted by imperialists in order to divide and rule, to assist in the ‘war against communism’ – and most importantly to ensure the riches of the region could be exploited by western capitalists.

The scapegoating and patronisation of the experience of non-western women also serves as a displacement for elite feminist class hatred of working class and poor women in western societies which cannot be expressed without losing leftist credibility. Non-western women are fair game, because racism and elitism seduces across the divide – the real war on women has no borders. Those who exploit us do hate us, and the ruling elite inculcates sexism, racism and bigotry to shore up its power. When we fight each other, we are diverted from challenging its loathsome power. And so Mona blames Arab men collectively and shifts the battle away from the cause: “Until the rage shifts from the oppressors in our presidential palaces to the oppressors on our streets and in our homes, our revolution has not even begun.” Who makes and polices laws which can end impunity for violence, which would stop “the men who can’t control themselves on the streets”, governments or individuals? why does Mona hold all Arab men responsible for the effects of rapacious western exploitation and puppets?

While western feminists focus on Islam and Arab men for the plight of Arab women, scrutiny of the predations of western imperialism and capitalism is minimised, and any potential threat from an evolution of the Islamic economic system nullified.

Here’s a collection of the best crits of Mona’s article “Why do they hate us?“:

Dear Mona Eltahawy

Despite having witnessed alliances between man and woman in the Middle East, who have often fought alongside one another, we understand that we may be oppressed beyond our own belief. That the oppression has rotted our very minds and blinded us from reality, that the men of the Middle East are nothing more than savage brutes, unable to feel anything besides hatred towards us.
Again, dearest Mona, we thank you, on bended knee, for attempting to free us from bondage. We could not have ever imagined a more noble, qualified liberator. We pray that you also deliver the following message, one which comes from the depths of our very souls, to your closest friend and ally, the white man:

We thank you, dearest white savior, for neglecting to address the ‘war on women’ in your own region, in order to watch us, the women of the Middle East, progress. Shamefully, we have not yet even begun to repay you for freeing us from bondage with your bullets and uranium tipped bombs in places such as Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan. We are forever indebted.

Dima Khatib examines paternalisation and orientalism represented in imported western feminism to the Middle East. Feminism of all things is a grassroots ideology, of individual and local empowerment.

Your article paints a picture of the Arab society that matches the images of the article: black, bleak, depressing, a painted black body. You have reduced the problem of the Arab woman to the feelings of men; while the image of the Arab woman was reduced to the image that the West has of her. What you have tackled is true, and we have a long road ahead, and the revolutions have not achieved anything for women or for any one else when it comes to societal demands, and we have not yet been granted our basic rights, as women or as men. Like you, I felt a huge shock when the new Egyptian parliament was elected in front of my eyes while I was in Egypt, with women representing less than 2% of it. But the picture in your article is incomplete and gives the impression that we are all miserable, helpless female beings. Arab society is not as barbaric as you present it in the article. You actually enhance the typical stereotype in the non-Arab reader’s mind, and it is a stereotype full of overwhelming generalisations, and contributes to the widening cultural rift between our society and other societies, and the increase of racism towards us.

Mona: Why Do You Hate Us?

The fundamental problem of Mona’s essay is the context and framework of how she analyzes why women in the Middle East are oppressed and the only reason she could give is because men and Arab societies (culturally and religiously) hate women. This is offensive to most women I know, who read the article and shared the same view. Women in the Middle East are not oppressed by men out of male dominance, they are oppressed by regimes (who happened to be men in power) and systems of exploitation (which exploit based on class not gender). Having women in power in a flawed system will not “fix” the problem either. We had a women’s quota in Mubarak’s parliament, did that change anything for women in reality? It was all ink on paper. Even after revolution, women are consistently used for political grounds by crony political parties. Explaining why women are oppressed without touching on any of the historical, political, or economical aspects of Arab countries, which are not all the same as she tends to generalize in her article, couldn’t be more delusional than this piece.

Us and Them: On Helpless Women and Orientalist Imagery

The laundry list of crimes committed against women, including “virginity tests” and genital mutilation, are serious charges which should not be ignored nor should they be denied. Eltahawy, in her attempt to highlight indefensible crimes against women, reaffirms the banal archetype of the poor, helpless woman of the Middle East-North Africa.

Eltahawy pens a lugubrious tale, where women of the Middle East-North Africa seem to have been forever chained to the floors, as captives. History is conveniently left out of this verbose condensation. There is no talk the Arab women of her native Egypt who defiantly took part in the forceful, countrywide revolution against the British occupation of both Egypt and Sudan in 1919, which led to Britain’s recognition of Egyptian independence in 1922; women, men, merchants, workers, religious leaders, students et al. held unified strikes against the British occupation on a daily basis, not in separate stalls but in the company of one another.

Omid Safi: “The hypocrisy of the “Why They Hate Us” rhetoric of Muslim Native Informants”

While bashing “cultural relativism” has been a favorite target of Fox News, it has also been used by genuine human rights activists such as Shirin Ebadi who have argued against condoning gender segregation and two-tiered models of citizenship based on gender. The difference between Ebadi and Eltahawy is immense: While they have both paid a price, and both suffered through violence and harassment, only one of them, Ebadi (the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner) makes the fight not about elevating her own position, but rather about establishing and networking with human rights and women’s rights organizations that actually uplift the lives and rights of Muslim women. (In fact, Ebadi refused the distinction between women’s rights and human rights, rightly seeing women’s’ rights as human rights.) Eltahawy’s move only elevates herself by stepping on Muslim women.

The problems that Muslim women face in so many different contexts are real, and are in need of urgent remedying. My intention is not to belittle or demonize one individual author. Rather, it is to point that that the solution is through solidarity and networking with the actual real work that is being done on the ground level, not by standing on the (Western) towers of moral patronizing, and elevating one’s own position.

Sherene Seikaly and Maya Mikdashi: “Let’s Talk About Sex”:

We would suggest, as many have, that oppression is about men and women. The fate of women in the Arab world cannot be extracted from the fate of men in the Arab world, and vice versa. El Tahawy’s article conjures an elaborate battle of the sexes where men and women are on opposing teams, rather than understanding that together men and women must fight patriarchal systems in addition to exploitative practices of capitalism, authoritarianism, colonialism, liberalism, religion, and/or secularism.

The battle against misogyny does not follow a “men hate women” formula. It cannot be reduced to a generic battle of the sexes spiced with a dose of Islam and culture. It cannot be extracted from the political and economic threads that, together with patriarchy, produce the uneven terrain that men and women together navigate.

Related Links

In this skin-crawling piece, Sami Kishawi describes the abominations inflicted on Palestinian women by Israel. When will Mona speak out against these western colonial horrors perpetrated against Indigenous women?

Nawal El Saadawi: “We are all the products of our economic, social and political life and our education. Young people today are living in the era of the fundamentalist groups.”

U.S.: Muslim Brotherhood gave assurances on Egypt-Israel peace treaty

Referring to a recent on the Muslim Brotherhood member interview with Al Hayat, where he said that the treaty with Israel is not binding, Nuland said: “We’ve seen this press report. I would say that it is one member of the Muslim Brotherhood. We have? had other assurances from the party with regard to their commitment not only to universal human rights, but to the international obligations that the Government of Egypt has undertaken.”

The U.S. official added by saying that, “as we’ve said again and again, not only with regard to Egypt but with regard to other states in that region in transition, we expect that legitimate parties will not only support universal human rights, but will also continue to support international obligations made by their governments they have made commitments to us along those regards, and as I said, we will judge these parties by what they do.”

Nuland’s comments came after last month top Egyptian opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei told Iran’s Fars news agency that the United States is engaged in secret talks with Egypt’s ruling military council geared at ensuring that the country’s democratically elected regime will maintain its peace treaty with Israel.

“The negotiations were completely secret and confidential,” ElBaradei told Fars, adding that what the ruling military indicated “said was that the talks were about bilateral and mutual relations, but I believe that Americans wanted to ensure that the deals signed between Egypt and Israel will remain intact if Islamists ascend to power.”

Harvard professor Leila Ahmed in debate with Mona

Resistance and Revolution as Lived Daily Experience: An Interview with Leila Khaled

From Part 3, Leila Khaled:

My mother had opposed my and my sisters’ involvement in the ANM. I was often spanked for attending meetings at a young age. Once I went to a meeting in my nightgown because I snuck out of the house after convincing my mother that I was staying home for the night. My commander was astonished at my appearance and my colleagues were not fully accepting of me. This incident was a particular challenge because I wanted to practice my membership and be a part of that movement. It was not only political but also personal. In that meeting I was criticized for my actions. This criticism made me think critically about what was happening. I considered it a sacrifice because the other members considered my behavior to be beyond the pale of acceptability. I was very annoyed. I wondered why they did not appreciate that I was fighting against my mother. I was always against older traditions and the city was very conservative. That was a turning point in my life. I realized that I was simultaneously discriminated against in my life and in my family. I had to prove myself. Eventually, I managed to gain my mother’s acceptance. But it was only with the support of my father as he reminded her that we were all driven out irrespective of sex and so we should all work to go back regardless of our sex.

Leila Khaled and Shireen Said Interviewed by Sukant Chandan

Shireen Said:

We shouldn’t forget that the capitalist system oppresses and exploits women and takes away their human dignity. Therefore we must adhere to our values of humanity and progressive politics as well as remain united and strong in the revolutionary left as the best means to achieve our ends. This is the only path to attain freedom, equality, and social justice for us, our families, and our children.

Mona Eltahawy Speaks To J-Street, But Who Is She Speaking For?

Mona Eltahawy, Your Facts Are Wrong and We Don’t Hate Women

On Muslim-Arab issues and the Danger of Aiding the Neo-Liberal Colonialist Agenda

Solidarity with the Uprising of the People of Egypt

While the US hedges its bets and makes appropriate tut tuts, the SCAF in Egypt refuses to relinquish power. The Egyptian police have killed 38 protesters, for which deaths the ruling junta have apologised, with 3,256 people injured. Protesters have been targeted viciously by the military with tear gas courtesy from US suppliers, although the US denies it was purchased with aid money, well, not recently, at any rate, so its spokespeople say.

Medics have been overwhelmed with casualties from the tear gas, with canisters landing in the clinic in this Reuters story at least once a day.

“We get two to three to casualties per minute,” said Salem. “Sixty to 70 percent are suffocation, the rest are pellets or bullets,”

“We are seeing serious convulsions,” said Salem. Behind him, a casualty displayed just the symptoms he was describing. From his pocket, Salem pulled a handwritten note detailing the ingredients of “CS gas”, one of the types being used.

Many of the gas canisters collected by the activists are unmarked, fuelling speculation that more sinister weapons have been used. The military council on Wednesday denied the security forces had used anything poisonous.

Will the SCAF and most specifically Tantawi, step down and permit presidential elections not just parliamentary elections?

Raafat Fouda, constitutional law professor at Cairo University, agreed saying that it was against the constitutional decree announced by SCAF in March.

“SCAF didn’t rule Egypt through a referendum, then they shouldn’t leave through a referendum either,” Fouda said.

“The people who accepted SCAF as their ruler during the transitional period can make it step down without a referendum,” he added.

However, Fouda favored the scenario where SCAF hands over power to the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC).

Fouda said that according to all the constitutions around the world, when the president fails to perform his duties and the parliament fails as well, the head of the SCC takes over.

“The head of the SCC doesn’t have the right to run for president and he is a respected member of the judiciary,” Fouda said.

The head of the SCC would then be responsible for appointing an interim government to draft the new constitution and hold the parliamentary elections.

Fouda also recommended handing over power to a presidential council.

“As long as the members of the presidential council include people with no specific political affiliation like presidential hopeful Mohamed ElBaradei for example,” he said.

Some protesters in Tahrir suggested that all prominent presidential hopefuls including ElBaradei, Adel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, Hazem Salah Abou Ismail and Amr Moussa be part of the council.

“The political scenarios are many, but the problem lies with whether SCAF is willing to heed to the people’s demands and leave power as soon as possible,” Fouda said.

UPDATE

Parliamentary elections to proceed? “Scaf also said elections would start as scheduled on Monday. There had been speculation that they might be delayed.”

Related Links

Egyptians Have Lost Their Fear. There’s No Going Back Now.
20 November 2011 – Revolution continues in Tahrir Square, Cairo.
Atomic Truth Bomb Dropped on FOX News
US widely distrusted (with very good reason) in arab world, while ‘Turkey is viewed as having played the “most constructive” role in the past year’s events and its prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, emerged as the most admired leader by far in the region’
I don’t know that SCaF was hailed as saviour of the Egyptian uprising, but still.
RT @asma_akram: Egyptians protesters shouting “if you want to turn this into Syria, we will turn it into Libya” #Egypt #Tahrir #Jan25

Other Links

UN member states, the ICRC and human rights groups reject a flawed US-backed plan for new regulations on cluster bombs

Bye Bye Bin Laden, Again?

Bin LadenApparently Benazir Bhutto’s estimation years ago that Osama Bin Laden was dead was greatly exaggerated. Obama’s election campaign will now experience a mammoth boost. All hail the mighty terrorist killer! Mission accomplished!

Bin Laden was reportedly killed in a mansion outside Pakistan’s capital Islamabad last week.

Reports say he was killed along with 20 other people in a drone strike.

The 54-year-old Saudi has been the most wanted man in the world since 2001 when he helped orchestrate the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

Positive ID?

President Obama announced late tonight that bin Laden was killed during a U.S. military action. DNA from bin Laden’s body, compared with DNA samples on record from his dead sister, confirmed bin Laden’s identity. The body was recovered by the US military and is currently in its custody.

Will the US military commitment in Pakistan and Afghanistan be reduced accordingly, or merely transferred to some other arena?

UPDATE

The dead martyr, if it is indeed him, is apparently to be buried at sea. The conspiracy theorists will make hay over this convenient disposal of the evidence, regardless of the official explanation.

The decision to bury Bin Laden’s body at sea was part of a carefully-calibrated effort to avoid having a burial place that would turn into a shrine to the Qaeda leader, a place where his adherents could declare him a martyr.

There may be a ‘gruesome’ photo of the dead man.

Bin Laden was killed with a bullet by US Navy Seals. About 24 Seals got out of Chinook and Blackhawk helos and raided the compound. About 40 Seals total were involved.

There is a photo of his dead body. According to this official the picture is “gruesome.”

3 other males were killed in the raid including a man believed to be Bin Laden’s 24 year-old son.

“Lots of bullets were fired.” This official called the raid, “purely a U.S. operation.”

He was asked to surrender briefly before being shot.

These Seals have been practicing the operation for 1 week.

Dishonouring an enemy demonstrates fear. Was OBL the greatest threat to imperial power the US has ever fostered? terrorism kills very few people. Perhaps it was his words which the empire despised so much, yet ideas can’t be killed. Unfinished business?

‘Interestingly enough, according to the Encyclopedia of Death and the Human Experience, burial at sea was more a matter of necessity than choice. Sailors accepted it when far out to sea because there was no other option, but bodies were apparently buried ashore whenever possible. This could be because the changeable nature of the sea denies the living a sense of the permanence of death, a way to complete the ritual of separation that a burial in the earth represents. It also denies the living a single place to go to memorialize the dead. When memorialization was considered especially important (as in the case of Admiral Lord Nelson after Trafalgar), those in command went to extraordinary lengths to ensure the body would be buried ashore.’

Osama bin Laden buried in North Arabian sea from deck of aircraft carrier USS Carl-Vinson

“A military officer read prepared religious remarks which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker. After the words were complete, the body was place on a prepared flat board, tipped up, whereupon the deceased’s body eased into the sea,” the official said.

Burying Osama bin Laden’s body at sea has ensured that his final resting place does not become a shrine and a place of pilgrimage for his followers.

Saudi Arabia is reported to have refused to take the body for burial.

Islamic scholars criticize bin Laden’s sea burial

Although there appears to be some room for debate over the burial — as with many issues within the faith — a wide range of senior Islamic scholars interpreted it as a humiliating disregard for the standard Muslim practice of placing the body in a grave with the head pointed toward the holy city of Mecca.

Sea burials can be allowed, they said, but only in special cases where the death occurred aboard a ship.

Bin Laden’s burial at sea “runs contrary to the principles of Islamic laws, religious values and humanitarian customs,” said Sheik Ahmed al-Tayeb, the grand Imam of Cairo’s al-Azhar mosque, Sunni Islam’s highest seat of learning.

A radical cleric in Lebanon, Omar Bakri Mohammed, said, “The Americans want to humiliate Muslims through this burial, and I don’t think this is in the interest of the U.S. administration.”

But the Lebanese cleric Mohammed called it a “strategic mistake” that was bound to stoke rage.

In Washington, CIA director Leon Panetta warned that “terrorists almost certainly will attempt to avenge” the killing of the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks.

“Bin Laden is dead,” Panetta wrote in a memo to CIA staff. “Al-Qaida is not.”

According to Islamic teachings, the highest honor to be bestowed on the dead is giving the deceased a swift burial, preferably before sunset. Those who die while traveling at sea can have their bodies committed to the bottom of the ocean if they are far off the coast, according to Islamic tradition.

“They can say they buried him at sea, but they cannot say they did it according to Islam,” Mohammed al-Qubaisi, Dubai’s grand mufti, said about bin Laden’s burial. “If the family does not want him, it’s really simple in Islam: You dig up a grave anywhere, even on a remote island, you say the prayers and that’s it.”

“Sea burials are permissible for Muslims in extraordinary circumstances,” he added. “This is not one of them.”

But Mohammed Qudah, a professor of Islamic law at the University of Jordan, said burying the Saudi-born bin Laden at sea was not forbidden if there was nobody to receive the body and provide a Muslim burial.

“The land and the sea belong to God, who is able to protect and raise the dead at the end of times for Judgment Day,” he said. “It’s neither true nor correct to claim that there was nobody in the Muslim world ready to receive bin Laden’s body.”

Clerics in Iraq, where an offshoot of al-Qaida is blamed for the death of thousands of people since 2003, also criticized the U.S. action. One said it only benefited fish.

“If a man dies on a ship that is a long distance from land, then the dead man should be buried at the sea,” said Shiite cleric Ibrahim al-Jabari. “But if he dies on land, then he should be buried in the ground, not to be thrown into the sea. Otherwise, this would be only inviting fish to a banquet.”

Bin Laden was unarmed when SEALs stormed room

Osama bin Laden was unarmed when Navy SEALs burst into his room and shot him to death, the White House said Tuesday, a change in the official account that raised questions about whether the U.S. ever planned to capture the terrorist leader alive.

The Obama administration was still debating whether to release gruesome images of bin Laden’s corpse, balancing efforts to demonstrate to the world that he was dead against the risk that the images could provoke further anti-U.S. sentiment. But CIA Director Leon Panetta said a photograph would be released.

Panetta underscored on Tuesday that Obama had given permission to kill the terror leader: “The authority here was to kill bin Laden,” he said. “And obviously, under the rules of engagement, if he had in fact thrown up his hands, surrendered and didn’t appear to be representing any kind of threat, then they were to capture him. But they had full authority to kill him.

White House Changes Story Of How bin Laden Was Taken Down

Related Links

Western Moral Authority Died in Abbottabad
Statement of the Leadership Council of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Regarding the Martyrdom – the Taliban affirm the counterproductivity of the US extrajudicial slaying.
Death of Osama Bin Laden ‘pretty irrelevant’: Robert Fisk
Killing of bin Laden: What are the consequences?
Killing Resolves Nothing
Bin Laden’s death: where are the photos Mr. President?
Bin Laden’s death makes the world safer, leaders say
Poll: Palestinians retained highest support of Osama bin Laden since 2003
The 2004 tape which contains bin Laden’s first public acknowledgment of al-Qaeda’s involvement in the attacks on the U.S., noting that he first thought about attacking the World Trade Center in 1982, after watching Israeli aircraft bomb Lebanon during the 1982 Invasion of Lebanon:

And as I looked at those demolished towers in Lebanon, it entered my mind that we should punish the oppressor in kind and that we should destroy towers in America in order that they taste some of what we tasted and so that they be deterred from killing our women and children.

And that day, it was confirmed to me that oppression and the intentional killing of innocent women and children is a deliberate American policy. Destruction is freedom and democracy, while resistance is terrorism and intolerance.

This means the oppressing and embargoing to death of millions as Bush Sr did in Iraq in the greatest mass slaughter of children mankind has ever known, and it means the throwing of millions of pounds of bombs and explosives at millions of children – also in Iraq – as Bush Jr did, in order to remove an old agent and replace him with a new puppet to assist in the pilfering of Iraq’s oil and other outrages.

So with these images and their like as their background, the events of September 11th came as a reply to those great wrongs, should a man be blamed for defending his sanctuary?

Is defending oneself and punishing the aggressor in kind, objectionable terrorism? If it is such, then it is unavoidable for us.

This is the message which I sought to communicate to you in word and deed, repeatedly, for years before September 11th.

And you can read this, if you wish, in my interview with Scott in Time Magazine in 1996, or with Peter Arnett on CNN in 1997, or my meeting with John Weiner in 1998.

You can observe it practically, if you wish, in Kenya and Tanzania and in Aden. And you can read it in my interview with Abdul Bari Atwan, as well as my interviews with Robert Fisk.


This is in addition to our having experience in using guerrilla warfare and the war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers, as we, alongside the mujahidin, bled Russia for 10 years, until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat.

All Praise is due to Allah.

So we are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. Allah willing, and nothing is too great for Allah.

That being said, those who say that al-Qaida has won against the administration in the White House or that the administration has lost in this war have not been precise, because when one scrutinises the results, one cannot say that al-Qaida is the sole factor in achieving those spectacular gains.

Rather, the policy of the White House that demands the opening of war fronts to keep busy their various corporations – whether they be working in the field of arms or oil or reconstruction – has helped al-Qaida to achieve these enormous results.

“Injustice chases its people, and how unhealthy the bed of tyranny.”

(If Benazir Bhutto was correct, and Omar Sheikh assassinated OBL prior to his arrest in 2002, the above testimony is a fake.)
Hamas slams killing of ‘holy warrior’ Osama bin Laden
Muslim sea burials

‘623. * If a person dies on a ship and if there is no fear of the decay of the dead body and if there is no problem in retaining it for sometime on the ship, it should be kept on it and buried in the ground after reaching the land. Otherwise, after giving Ghusl, Hunut, Kafan and Namaz-e-Mayyit it should be lowered into the sea in a vessel of clay or with a weight tied to its feet. And as far as possible it should not be lowered at a point where it is eaten up immediately by the sea predators.

624. If it is feared that an enemy may dig up the grave and exhume the dead body and amputate its ears or nose or other limbs, it should be lowered into sea, if possible, as stated in the foregoing rule.

625. * The expenses of lowering the dead body into the sea, or making the grave solid on the ground can be deducted from the estate of the deceased, if necessary. ‘

Israel / Palestine Links

ISRAEL IS AN APARTHEID STATE: A NOTE TO THE “VANGUARD LEADERSHIP GROUP”

A few examples give meaning to the ‘apartheid’ analogy–for example, at least 40% of the land in the West Bank is now inaccessible to Palestinians for residence, agriculture, transportation, or commerce; or the existence of entire road systems that are restricted to Israelis alone; the continuing ethnic cleansing of occupied East Jerusalem; and of course, there is the so-called ‘Separation Wall’, which is condemned by the International Court of Justice. This apartheid wall has divided the West Bank into isolated segments very similar to the Bantustans of South Africa in which Palestinians live isolated from their own families and communities.

Furthermore, the problem of apartheid extends beyond the Occupied Territories. Ninety-three percent of the land in Israel is managed by the Israel Lands Administration whose interests are in preventing the purchasing, leasing or renting of land to those who are not Jewish. Several cases of attempts by Israeli citizens to rent to Palestinian families have been brought before the Supreme Court because of government interference. The Israeli government, for instance, denies Palestinian citizens of Israel the right to marry and raise a family in Israel with someone from the Occupied Territories. We would point the VLG to the racially segregated school systems which exist within Israel itself, or the fact that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, expelled from Palestine beginning in 1948, have never been granted the internationally recognized “right of return” to their homes of origin. And discussions have been underway in Israel that, while originating among the so-called right-wing fringes, have now shifted to the so-called mainstream circles proposing to remove Palestinian citizens of Israel entirely from the country and relocate them in either the Occupied Territories or some other Arab country.

Truth Matters: A response to the Vanguard Leadership Group

The VLG is an organization whose cryptic website reveals little about who is involved, who it represents, what it does, and what it believes in, though the website is peppered with references to the VLG’s participation in AIPAC conferences and tours to the Israeli Knesset.

BDS update: Breaking new barriers
Publishing Propaganda, Ignoring Facts : zionist hasbara on upcoming Gaza flotilla

Naturally, this suggestion ignores the fact that, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 61% of Gazans are “food insecure,” of which “65% are children under 18 years;” the level of anemia in infants is as high as 65.5%, about 70% of Gazans live on less than $1 a day, 75% rely on food aid, and 60% have no daily access to water. It also sidesteps the fact that, as Rebecca Sargent of the Peace and Collaborative Development Network has noted, “Much of the population remains unemployed and thus have no money to buy supplies for themselves. U.N. Resolution 1860 calls for the unfettered access of aid and commercial goods to Gaza, although it would appear this call has been mostly ignored by the Israeli government’s blockade.”

Israel’s West Bank policies render the two-state solution DOA
The legal tsunami is on its way

If the Palestinian government also decides to sign and ratify the international criminal court’s Rome Statute, the territories of the West Bank and Gaza will fall under the international tribunal’s authority to investigate and prosecute.

The ghost town between Palestine’s past and its future

Lifta is the last of the deserted Palestinian villages still standing in modern-day Israel. The several hundred other communities abandoned have either been built over, destroyed or resettled.

Disappearing Palestine and “typically Israeli” landscapes

For decades the quasi-governmental organization the Jewish National Fund has been planting non-indigenous forests on Palestinian land, often covering up the remains of destroyed villages, as part of the state’s quest to colonize more and more land.

Egypt urges US to back Palestinian state declaration Mr Araby says Egypt now fully supports the Palestinian plan, and has urged the US to do the same.
‘Israel secretly requested Mashaal’s visit to Ankara’

Abdüllatif ?ener, a former AK Party deputy who resigned and established his own Turkey Party (TP), told Today’s Zaman in an exclusive interview during an election rally in Sivas that the Hamas leader visited Turkey under an agreement between the Turkish and Israeli governments. “The official invitation was extended to Mashaal after a secret agreement was brokered between Turkey and Israel. I know for a fact that the visit was originally planned at the request of the Israelis,” he added.

Since Hamas “won a democratic election, from now on it must act in a democratic way,” he said. US and Israeli officials insist they will have nothing to do with the Hamas administration unless it renounces violence and recognizes Israel’s right to exist. ?ener further claimed that Erdo?an called Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to silence the outspoken Israeli ambassador in Ankara who harshly criticized the visit. “In the company of some people, including me, the prime minister called the Israeli foreign minister and said: ‘We made an agreement with you before Mashaal came. Tell your ambassador [in Ankara] to stop making comments. This is enough,” ?ener recalled.

Hamas leader Meshaal in Cairo to sign unity deal
Report: Better to be a Holocaust Survivor Outside Israel
Fayyad urges international intervention over Israeli freeze on Palestinian taxes

Egypt Links

Report: Mubarak’s wealth came from Israel gas deal – Cairo’s new justice minister says ousted Egyptian president owes his vast fortune to corrupt arms deals, gas sales to Israel. Arms deals? – no mention on the ANI site which Ynet quotes.
Billionaire Mubarak made fortune in arms deals with Israel, minister says
Mubarak’s wealth came from gas exports to Israel, arms deals: Justice Minister
The difficulty of moving Hosni Mubarak to a prison hospital in Cairo shifted attention to the serious accusations levelled against the deposed president
Gulf Arab states don’t want Mubarak tried
West accused of double standards over Arabs
New direction : Egypt breaks with U.S. foreign policy
Hague in talks with Egypt’s leaders

Catastrophe in the Shaky Isles

Today, my distress after the dreadful earthquake rocking Christchurch in New Zealand’s South Island is increasing. Civil Defence Minister John Carter has declared the death toll indeterminate for the present. Adding insult to injury, the scurrilous vamperazzi has outdone itself with a monstrous feasting on human suffering. In juxtaposition, the CTV building has been destroyed and there are fears for the lives of 100 people who may have been inside. I wait, along with so many others, to hear from a friend whom I love.

Whilst I am a ‘strict’ atheist, Christchurch Cathedral is one of my favourite buildings, where charming volunteers are always happy to take folks on a grand guided tour. The cathedral has been shaken and damaged by quakes several times since its construction in 1881 but in the latest quake, the cathedral spire has fallen, as though the symbolic connection with the heavens are broken while underworld ogres wreak their wrath on mere mortals and their puny dwellings. Worse, there may be several people still trapped inside.

I’ve played the magnificent cathedral organ and inspected the wonderful archive of music, sacred and secular, from all performances ever held at the cathedral. In another life, I would have loved to have been the organist at this special community hub which cared even to include me. The architecture inside the cathedral is stunning, most particularly, the roof, buttressed inside by the upturned hull beams of a ship constructed with matai and totara. Another fabled local attraction, the Wizard of New Zealand, orates outside in the square. Fortunately the Wiz is unscathed though his home has minor damage.

Floods and fires there are in Australia aplenty, yet not so many quakes as in New Zealand which sits squarely on the Pacific Ring of Fire. There’s something deeply disturbing about earthquakes – solid ground proves not so reliable, protective structures are racked and shattered by forces beyond restraint. Blessings to everyone affected by this tragedy which has devastated a city and people I love.

HOW TO DONATE

Donate to The Salvation Army:
Freephone 0800 530 000; online at www.salvationarmy.org.nz; or by post: The Salvation Army, PO Box 27001, Marion Square, Wellington, 6141. Mark correspondence: “Canterbury Earthquake Appeal”.

Donate to the Red Cross:
http://www.redcross.org.nz/donations

Donation drive from the Auckland University Students’ Association:
Call (09) 309 0789 or go to Auckland University’s Student Union building.

Donate via Westpac:
Westpac account 03 0207 0617 331 00.

Donate via ANZ:
ANZ account 01 1839 0188939 00.

Beware email scams asking for donations

NEW ZEALAND INFORMATION

What you need to know
Christchurch earthquake: How to donateHow to donate

AND IN OTHER DISPATCHES

Israel’s theft and denial of water from Palestinians is an integral part of the ziocolony’s genocidal tactics which support its expansionism.

Racist violence in Jerusalem against Palestinians, where a Palestinian youth is murdered by Israeli youths – as Joseph Dana notes, the incident was covered up by the government, then ignored and distorted by the media.

The Israeli government quickly put a media blackout on the case fearing a violent reactions from Palestinians in Jerusalem, Israel and the West Bank. Once the media blackout was lifted, select Israeli media outlets covered the story as a “drunken brawl turned bad” and the story was largely ignored.

Palestinian Unity Revolution for March 15 Promo:

Egypt Links

Conversation with an Egyptian socialist
How taking it to the streets works to overthrow oppressive regimes

Libya Links

Live Blog – Libya Feb 23
The Gaddafi family and the limits of western education
Gaddafi’s former number two resigns in support of protesters
Libya’s tragedy, Gaddafi’s farce
Gadafy family may have billions in secret accounts
Libya’s free to the East
The King of Kings’ speech
30% of Libya in Hands of Youth Movement
Bouazizi family’s message to Libya
The Nato Plan Is To Occupy Libya – Reflections by Comrade Fidel – oh dear, Fidel!
Where does the US draw the line with Libya?

Palestine / Israel Links

The Knesset Passes Human Rights NGO Harassment Bill
Israeli army will cash in on Egypt’s upheavals
Knesset member Aryeh Eldad places ad in Haaretz calling on Jordan to declare itself Palestine.
Is the West Bank next?
FRANKLIN LAMB : FROM TAHRIR SQUARE TO SHATILA CAMP, “HURRIYA” (FREEDOM)
Israeli army will cash in on Egypt’s upheavals
Stop international soccer championship in Israel
Israeli shelling east of Gaza City, reports of injuries
Israeli Army Arrests Palestinians from Hebron Area
Fayyad willing to visit Gaza to discuss Hamas unity deal
Palestinian house inside cage in Jewish settlement
Palestinian hit by gunfire sent to IDF jail despite injury
Israel Philharmonic Protest NY Carnegie Hall 22/2/2011
New Yorkers protest Israel Philharmonic, more protests planned in other cities

Other Links

An end to this soft bigotry against the Arab world
Irony of the day : Iran urges rights body to examine Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya
Afghan resistance statement : Statement of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Regarding the Martyrdom of Innocent Afghan Civilians as a Result of American Merciless Bombardment in Ghazi Abad District, Kunar Province.
Will the House of Saud Be the Next to Go Down?
Middle East Uprisings: Like 1989? How About 1848?
WikiLeaks: US Lied About Bala Baluk Massacre, Red Cross Concealed Truth
Regardless of Shameful U.S. Endorsement; Toss Elections
Saudi king announces reforms ahead of return: report
Indiana Official: “Use Live Ammunition” Against Wisconsin Protesters

The Egyptian Revolution Continues

Keep the revolution flowingThe roots of the Egyptian people’s revolution lie in the labour movement. It does not augur well that the ‘interim’ army rulers are intending to restrict worker meetings and strikes. In effect: ‘you won democracy so now give up one of democracy’s key tenets’.

From Reuters:

‘Egypt’s new military rulers will issue a warning on Sunday against anyone who creates “chaos and disorder”, an army source said.

The Higher Military Council will also ban meetings by labour unions or professional syndicates, effectively forbidding strikes, and tell all Egyptians to get back to work after the unrest that toppled Hosni Mubarak.’
Egypt’s military to warn against “chaos and disorder”

In response, an action plan which builds on the original strategy:

@3arabawy: Don’t trust the Generals! Don’t trust the Generals! Keep building your trade unions. That is the only thing that can protect our revolution. #

@3arabawy: Everyone should start forming unions & labor associations now. If we don’t build those now, we’ll be fucked by the regime soon. #egyworkers #

@3arabawy: Army is now warning against strikes. Remember when army took over in 1952, 1st thing they did: executing 2 strike leaders in Kafr el-Dawwar. #

@stupiditytries what are they going to do??? shoot people? let them try. if people want to organize, they will (and they should). #

@InasBseisos the military are waving with STICK after they already lured us with the carrot #Jan25 #

@jmayton: The military in #Egypt is not looking so “honorable” right now. Getting reports of people being roughed up by army. #Jan25 #

Egypt is now led by the Defence Minister and leader of the military, Hussein Tantawi.

Egypt’s new military rulers on Sunday suspended the constitution and dissolved a parliament dominated by the ruling party of former president Hosni Mubarak, after he was overthrown in a popular revolt. Skip related content

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces’ “communique number five”, which was read out on state television, said a transitional period of military rule would last six months while reforms were put in place to allow free elections.

The council announced the suspension of the constitution and said it would “run the affairs of the country on a temporary basis for six months or until the end of parliamentary and presidential elections.”

It announced the “dissolution of the lower and upper houses of parliament” and said it would continue to issue decrees during the transitional period.

The legislative body was seen as illegitimate following elections last year that were marred by widespread allegations of fraud and gave Mubarak’s National Democratic Party (NDP) an overwhelming majority.

A committee will also be formed to oversee amendments to the constitution and a popular referendum will be organised to vote on the changes, the council said, in a bid to ease restrictions on presidential candidates.

The statement also confirmed Defence Minister Hussein Tantawi as Egypt’s de facto head of state.

“The head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces will represent the council domestically and internationally,” it said, stressing its commitment to international agreements.

What is to come?

@RamyYaacoub From @Ghonim ‘s meeting with Military leadership: Constitution amendment council might be pumping out amendments in 10 days #Jan25 #Egypt #

A double narrative of the Egyptian people’s revolution is emerging after the military assumption of power : one is the solid perspective from the Egyptian trade union movement which built and is maintaining the revolution, and the other from the middle class represented in western media by Google executive Wael Gonim which responded in self-interest to the killing of middle class Khaled Said, attributing much of the revolution’s success to twitter and facebook and which now feels appeased. The alliance between the working class and bourgeois has proved a winning combination, but let’s not forget where the revolution started and continues – in the grassroots trade union movement.

Egypt Links

“There is a Pre-History to this Revolt”: As Egypt’s Military Bans Labor Strikes, Mona El-Ghobashy Examines How Egyptian Labor and Social Movements Laid the Foundation for Revolution
Egypt: The Distance Between Enthusiasm and Reality
Army urges Egyptians to end strikes
Egypt’s military dissolves parliament, suspends constitution
Industrial Action Updates
Mubarak’s Folly: The Rising of Egypt’s Workers
Egypt’s military to warn against labor strikes
Biting the hand that fed you : Mubarak slammed U.S. in phone call with Israeli MK before resignation
Jordan Muslim Brotherhood: Israel, U.S. main losers in Mubarak ouster
Mubarak’s final hours: Desperate bids to stay
Revolutionary Socialism #Egypt #Jan25 #EgyWorkers [arabic]
Israel and new Egyptian leadership make contact
#Jan25 Opera #egyworkers on strike
Egypt’s military rejects swift transfer of power and suspends constitution
Wael Ghonim and Egypt’s New Age Revolution
Was the Revolution Facebooked? 1 of 2
Where in the world are the Mubaraks ?
Did Facebook bring down Mubarak?
Egypt’s thirst for freedom has intensified, even after Mubarak’s exit
Egypt: It’s Not Over Yet!
Egypt being governed same way as before, PM says
The rumor trail: Where is Mubarak?
Paul Barry: where’s Mubarak’s loot?
Egyptian military tortured, “disappeared” thousands of demonstrators
Mubarak in life/death state in Germany hospital
Visualizing The New Arab Mind
West has ugly history of blocking Arab freedom
Rendition For Mubarak: Hand Him Over To The Iraqi Resistance
Public transport #egyworkers strike
Egyptian activist Mona Seif: It’s a revolution, and it’s not over
OK. It is official. Wael Ghonim is starting to annoy me
Military urges halt to strikes gripping Egypt
Knowing and Unknowing the Egyptian Public

Palestine / Israel Links

#BDS: Focus On Israel’s Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Fast Train
Israel/Palestine: Apartheid of a special type?
Israel wary of changes in Egypt as ex-officials predict hostility

Indeed, Israeli officials appear to have little sympathy for the democratic aspirations of citizens in Arab states. As Gabi Ashkenazi, the outgoing Israeli army chief, was quoted by Israeli media as saying last week: “In the Middle East, stability is preferable to democracy.”

When will Obama start talking to Hamas and Hezbollah?
Hamas prohibits import of Israeli-manufactured clothing
Youth Against Normalization: #BDS: Boycott Sign in Washington State
Only someone like Mubarak could defend Netanyahu’s brand of democracy
Beit Ommar Demonstrators Protest Settlers, Vow Solidarity With Egypt
International/Egyptian March to Gaza, Rafah Crossing, on February 26th, 2011
Haaretz notices GOD TV’s role in JNF Forest of Hate (while GOD TV squirms)
Israeli and PA Forces Suppress Solidarity with Egyptians
An Open Letter to the Participants of the Red Sea Chamber Music Festival
Egypt’s revolution and Israel: “Bad for the Jews”
US vows to oppose UN resolution on Israel
Israel’s fruitless lie

Wikileaks Links

RT @crowdleaks: Search through all the #hbgary emails using the #crowdleaks search tool http://ping.fm/Vi7dg
For those who may be interested, got a response from @JuliaGillard to the open letter about #Assange.

Australia Links

1988 Anti-Bicentennial Cartoon Book
Remove Schedule 2 of the FaHCSIA and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2010
In Australia, a Fight Over Aboriginal Lands
Australia is the same as Israel – without guaranteed equal rights, all rights can be compromised by the majority racist government. Australia desperately NEEDS a Bill of Rights for real equality and justice.

Other Links

Live conversations and updates on Algeria protests as they happen!
Tunisia: An On Going Battle for Democracy
Uncertainty In Arab Countries After Protests Dispersed In Algeria, Yemen
@exiledsurfer: Protest schedule: #Bahrain #feb14, #Libya #feb17, #Algeria #feb19, #Morocco #feb20, #Cameroon #feb23, #Kuwait #Mar8 #
Inside the Muslim (Journalist’s) Mind
Four Myths About Iran’s Clerical Regime : Is Ahmadinejad an anti-imperialist, or really a deceptive populist?