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Posts Tagged ‘Egypt’

I found this article this morning while surfing the dreaded but unavoidable Facebook and it struck a chord with me. I remember the nights  directly after Obama won his first term as President. I was in Stockholm and everywhere there was a sense of enormous relief. Not only did it mean the imminent departure of Bush and Cheney, but we all wanted to believe it would bring about changes the likes of which we hadn’t seen for some time. The types of changes that we had been longing for, the types of changes that people were fighting and dying for. A government,  with a considerable amount of power, might turn back  to diplomacy as the first course of action. A government that might actually keep its promises, closing gitmo, ending the illegal and immoral wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A government that finally would repair perhaps the biggest wrong in the 20th century, and force Israel to return to its 1967 borders, one that would force Israel to rethink the nakba and allow the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes. A government that would free its political prisoners both those inside their own prisons and those illegally kept in prisons throughout europe. etc etc etc

 

Did we expect too much?   How much IS too much? What do we have the right to expect from our governments and from those who proclaim to be the world leaders?

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts after reading this article..

 

http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/10/obama-europe-s-biggestdisappointment.html

 

 

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DUSTY DUSTY DUSTY!!  WHEW  WHO GAVE THE MAID THE DAY OFF??

OK,, let me clean up here a little, ok? In the meantime, have a look around,,

The Muslim Brotherhood in the person of Mohamed Morsi has won the first presidential election in Egypts history. While I am delighted the military didn’t win, I have to admit that I’m unsure what this will mean in the long run for the people of Egypt who fought for their freedom. The military will never just pack up and leave, I’ve never known a military that was willing to do that, once in power they want to stay. So far, Morsi seems to be saying the right things about the revolution and revolutionaries and honoring those who lost their lives in the struggle, but I am wary, I must admit. I truly hope that my wariness isn’t based upon religious bias. I hope that I have evolved past that and I think I have. My biggest concern is one that I have spoken of earlier in this blog as well as on twitter,, that you cannnot have a successful revolution nor can a society truly be free while part of it’s citizens are still oppressed, and by that I mean women primarily, and of course lgbt as well. The simple truth, dear reader is that no givernment can succeed without women in high ranking decision making postions.

There is more on my mind and hopefully I’ll be back more often, please don’t give up on me quite yet!!

love and peace to all

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I found this wonderful poem after almost forgetting about it,, I’m sending it out the the brave people of Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, Gaza, Tunisia, Tibet, Burma, and the Occupy movements all around the world.

Freedom does indeed come at a price, and the cost of freedom should never be death, but it is always vigillance. As the current events in the US and many other places prove, it is far too easy for governments to become corrupt, and it is the duty of the citizens to stand up for their rights.

 

My Generation Reading the Newspapers by Kenneth Patchen : The Poetry Foundation.

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I am in a bit of a quandary, staring into the abyss known as the dreaded WB, writers block, but very much stunned by the fact that its been eleven days since i did anything on here, That seems so unfair, and at the same time, what has kept me away, dear reader, LIFE is actually swimming along rather well, albeit busy. In the meantime, what is laughingly known as my mind has all the while been stirring like the proverbial pot aboil quite well on its own and i can somehow feel that it’s going to erupt with the usual verbosity in no time. I had thought of writing my 100th post as something special, and had even asked my twitter friends for suggestions as to topic, (I did get one response out of about 300 followers), I had then realized that a couple of days ago was “Human Trafficking Awareness Day”. That is a topic I feel strongly about, and while I didn’t get time to write anything intelligent about it, i promised myself I will soon.

So then the bloody question is, what do i want to say? Fuck i wish I knew! Any suggestions? LOL

There are so many things that I can write about, of course, the path of elections in Egypt, the apparent majority win in parliament by the Muslim Brotherhood while not totally unexpected has me a little concerned, I had and still do have high hopes for peace in the Middle East, both between the Arab Nations themselves and with Israel, but I don’t believe it has a chance without democracy, and if the Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t deliver the type of freedom that the people of Egypt fought and died for then it will set the cause of peace back a great deal. I believe that the governments of Tunisia and Egypt need to be the sterling examples of what the revolution has been all about. They need to stand for the dreams of freedom which the people of Bahrain, Yemen and Syria are still fighting for while being held in the grips of butchers.

My own government has yet again shown its enormous capability to embarrass its self and us who have eyes opened. The video of American soldiers urinating on dead Afghans is dreadful!! When o when will my homeland ever wake up? Plus to top it off, they are sending more troops and “advisors” into Israel, and it would seem allowing Israel to not only determine governmental policy towards Iran but quite possibly to be pushed into a war with them. I am, in no way shape nor form a fan of the Iranian government.  I have to admit that I do fear what a government like theirs could do with nuclear weapons, but to allow one country to push a superpower into a war is just wrong, and of course it will echo to every Arab nation as well. Americas seemingly blind support of the government of Israel, one which I frankly consider to be quite fascist, is perhaps the biggest roadblock to peace in the middle east, and the behaviour of its troops, urinating on corpses is simply proving everyone who hates the  US correct to do so.

Ok,, end of rant,

I’ll try to think of something positive to write about soon!

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2011 was a fascinating year full of surprises and disappointment, but also growth, struggle, oppression, death, life, love, bravery, hope and inspiration. The changes and challenges faced so bravely by the people of Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and Gaza, the occupy movement in my home country, have forever changed my world view for the better, despite my extreme disappointment at the lack of changes by the Obama administration, it seems we’re stuck in a terrible rut because of Dubya and no matter who we elect we still have the spectre of fascism hanging over our heads.

As the new year approaches, I only want to send to all of you my warmest wishes for a wonderful new year. I am so excited at the possibilities, perhaps more so than i have been in quite some time, regardless of what might happen in the U.S. elections. The prospects of democracy and freedom spreading where it’s been absent is too exciting to overlook. I simply have to be involved in it, in my own small way, and perhaps find ways to expand on that.

Peace, freedom and love and growth may I wish all of you wonderful brave freedom fighters around the world, and to everyone, my wonderful wife, I adore you, my lovely family I miss you very much,my  friends here in Sweden, back in the US, comrades everywhere and everyone!

Have a wonderful new year!!

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As so many around the world did, I watched the Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies, or as much as I could until work so rudely interrupted. It was a wonderful celebration of women and their various political and governmental roles, both on a grass-roots level and in leadership positions. I don’t feel that I’m going too far out on a limb to say that at no time in history has the effect of and possibilities of women in leadership roles been more apparent, especially in the political realm. The roles of women has changed considerably in this young century, changed to the point that they are finally getting the respect they deserve as it becomes more and more apparent that in no country can there be a true peace or democracy without the direct input, active participation and leadership of women.

However, as always in the cause of civil liberty, those gains have come at a very high price. In his ceremony speech to present the Nobel Peace Prizes, Thorbjörn Jagland, the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee said this,

“Men and women have at all times experienced war in different ways. Although women, too, have fought in wars through the centuries, and today even engage in terrorism, it is the men who to a far greater extent have engaged in the actual warfare. In modern wars the majority of the victims are often civilian and very many of them are women and children.

Rape has always been one of the horrors of war. But in recent years, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in Darfur, in Rwanda, and in Congo, among many other places, we have seen rape working not just as a massive violation in itself. Rape has become part of the tactics of war. The aim is to break down the enemy’s morale, to force populations to move, and to punish opponents also after the war is over.

This was defined as a crime against humanity and as war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has since reached the same conclusion.

Popular opinion in favor of this view must be strengthened, and that is what we are doing here today.

We are doing so by attracting renewed attention to the resolution adopted in October 2000 by the UN Security Council, Resolution 1325. The resolution for the first time made violence against women in wartime an international security issue. It underlined the need to have women become participants on an equal footing with men in peace processes and in peace work in general. Women had to break out of their roles as victims; they must themselves become players who will contribute to creating peace. These goals were then hammered out further in four new Security Council resolutions, 1820, 1888, 1889 and 1960.These resolutions must be given prominent and visible places on the desks of all heads of state.

For there is still a long way to go before the goals of these resolutions are reached. In recent peace negotiations in various parts of the world which are surveyed, fewer than 8 per cent of the participants in the negotiations and fewer than 3 per cent of the peace agreement signatories were women. No woman has ever been appointed chief negotiator in any peace negotiations led by the UN.

Meanwhile the rapes continue, thousands of them, day after day.”

One female journalist that I know from twitter, New York resident Mona Eltahawy was in Cairo on Nov. 23rd,where she was arrested and held for 12 hours and subject to beatings and sexually molested, not raped but groped and molested repeatedly by a group of 5 or 6 men while being called terrible names. Her left hand was broken and her right arm was broken so severely that it required surgery, including a titanium plate and screws to hold it together. She describes her ordeal in this article..  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/24/journalist-mona-eltahawy-sex-assault-cairo

Obviously her story is hardly the only one, and as she points out, it may have been her dual citizenship, (Egyptian and American) that kept her from suffering a worse fate. I bring this up not to minimize what is happening daily to other women, but to give those other women who suffer in silence a face and a strong voice. She has taken on the mantle of many oppressed women throughout the world and I applaud her for that.

On December 17, a video went totally viral over the Internet. It showed an Egyptian woman being grabbed by her black robe, dragged, beaten kicked and partially stripped at Tahrir Square during a protest calling for the end of the military rule. Women, who played a substantial role in the protests leading to the fall of Mubarak are now feeling as if they are being targeted.

During the Bosnian war, Serbian troops established houses for the entrapment of Bosnian women and young girls. The most infamous was what became known as the “Karamans’ House” where Bosnian women and girls were brought against their will, trapped as sex slaves and repeatedly raped, beaten and abused and extremely humiliated. The youngest victim being only 12 years old as the Muslim women were targeted only as a means for the Serbian troops to assert their superiority and feeling of victory over them. Estimates are that during the Bosnian war Serbian soldiers raped between 20,000 and 50,000 Bosnian women. This number doesn’t even factor the men and boys who suffered the same fate. In Somalia, women in refugee camps reported being afraid to even go outside to gather firewood for fear of being raped by Kenyan gangs waiting in the bushes to demoralize them. This barbarism is sadly commonplace in such places as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, the Sudan and numerous refugee camps.

War rape is a type of slow genocide that affects the victims in many forms because of the physical impact on the victims including vaginal fistula, seen in the widespread rapes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but also unwanted pregnancy and sexual transmitted disease. It can lead to them being jailed as prostitutes in places like Afghanistan and being totally ostracized and outcast from society and family and left with an unwanted child and feelings of hopelessness fear and anxiety, shame and anger. The effects on the child can be catastrophic as well, Imagine having this as your legacy! Not to mention the enormous psychological effects on the victims themselves.

In Libya, during the conflict that saw the fall of Gaddafi, the International Criminal Court reports that as an official policy troops were given Viagra to ensure that they were prepared to rape at any time. The chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo reports that it is difficult to know exactly how often it was used but that certain areas reported rapes numbered in the high hundreds at least.

In fundamentalist Muslim countries such as Iran, women are still being stoned to death for being raped, the view being that it is the victims fault that the man is a total animal and unable to know right from wrong, and how to treat people with any modicum of respect.  Obviously this has to stop! This oppressive, inhuman treatment of women is the extreme male perspective, and supported by an extremist regime. There are people who are trying to fight against such hatred.  I have the utmost respect for anyone willing to stand up to such an oppressive barbaric regime.

But things are not all dread and doom, dear reader. Women are making incredible gains around the world.

I am inspired by the story of  Tawakol Karman from Yemen, who started the revolution against one of the most oppressive governments in the world, in one of the world’s poorest countries. It began in 2005 when she co-founded the group Women Journalists Without Chains. The groundswell, which became the revolution, was started in 2007 by, as she said in an interview during the Nobel Peace Prize activities, three women who had simply had enough.  (For more information please refer to the links below) Despite being arrested, beaten and chained for 36 hours, and having her life threatened numerous times, she held on to her belief and it led her to the Nobel Peace Prize.

It moved me tremendously to think that in Yemen, a country where women are not allowed to even be outside after 19:00, that three women could start a movement that would topple a ruthless dictator.  It is still very dangerous for women in Yemen, in Syria, in Egypt and all through the Middle East and Africa. In fact it is still dangerous for women all over the world.

Yesterday was Christmas. Today I want to believe in all the dreams I grew up with. Peace on Earth, goodwill to men and women, a safe place where Muslim children can play with Christian or Israeli children without fear, where men no longer victimize women for their own pathetic sense of self-esteem.

I began writing this with the memories of my own youth in my head. When women’s political involvement was, in the minds of many typically ill-informed and unsympathetic men, seen as little more than Greenpeace and green tea, where the idea of being environmentally aware for a guy was ok, but not always with the idea of actually accomplishing anything, but only as a way to meet women. I actually had a male friend suggest exactly that to me in college. Obviously he didn’t get the response he expected. We didn’t stay friends after that.  (Having said that, I want to say that I mean absolutely no disrespect to the wonderful work of Greenpeace, rather that at that time, in the early 80s they hadn’t gained the respect they were due among many American men.)

I am more and more convinced of the fact that there can be no peace without women being actively involved in government and decision policy making on every level. We’ve come a very long way in my lifetime. I am very aware of how far we have to go, of course, but I am so very buoyed by the confidence that as information flows and outside opinion becomes more accessible, as more and more women stand up against oppressive gender fascism, as tyrants are overthrown and democracy builds, that women may well be on the way to getting the power and support they so richly have deserved.

References and recommended reading;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tawakel_Karman

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-15216473

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/nov/01/west-must-not-forsake-yemen

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/19/opinion/19karman.html?_r=1

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/apr/08/revolution-saleh-yemen-peace-historic

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR16/002/2007/en/6e0e217b-d37f-11dd-a329-2f46302a8cc6/afr160022007en.pdf

http://womennewsnetwork.net/2011/08/10/genocide-war-rape-female-survivors/

http://www.bim.ba/en/39/10/1776/

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Thoughts:

I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, “Mother, what was war?”
Eve Merriam

Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.
– John Lennon

Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.
– Lao Tzu

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
– Harriet Tubman

No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.
– Helen Keller

Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.
– John F. Kennedy

Most people see things as they are and ask why… i dream things as they could be and i ask why not.”
– George Bernard Shaw

The best soldier does not attack. The superior fighter succeeds without violence. The greatest conqueror wins without struggle. The most successful manager leads without dictating. This is intelligent non aggressiveness.
– Lao Tse (Lao Tzu)

Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace.
– Buddha (560-483 B.C.)

Please post “I Declare World Peace” on the wall of your favorite social medium.

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Obama’s ‘Arab Problem’ – Opinion – Al Jazeera English.

This brilliant article from Al Jazeera English stirs things in me. Enormous anger at the GOP, how in the name of all that is holy can they continue their racist diatribes against Muslims and Islam? I am not Islamic by faith but have learned a great deal since 9/11 about the Middle East in general and the “Arab World” in particular and my respect for them and their world and culture has grown enormously.  I  have realized among other things that the US is directly to blame for a great deal of the continued hostility in the Middle East and I am more convinced that Israel  is an Apartheid State and that Palestine, while not entirely innocent in all of this either, is a land that simply must be freed!

I was pleased when the Obama administration admonished Netanyahu shortly after the fall of Mubarak, telling him in what seemed no uncertain terms that they wanted Israel to return to the 1967 borders. I wish they had meant it. Or at least if they did, then I have to say that I think they are going about proving their point in a very odd way. Wouldn’t you think, as I did, that if they meant it, they would support the Palestinian move for statehood? But no, here they are smack in Israels corner yet again.

Even in his so-called support for the “Arab Spring” Obama has been strong in his pursuit of the status quo, including of course unfettered access to the oil, which makes him seem like a huge hypocrite in my view. Remember that both Obama and Biden, when asked if they viewed Mubarak as a dictator responded negatively, saying that he couldn’t be a dictator due only to the fact that he was an ally of the US. (1930s  Germany was an ally too, Mr. President.)

I can’t help but wonder how Obama plans on gaining peace with the new governments of the Arab nations while continuing to support the apartheid in Palestine and the Gaza Strip. He has almost no credibility there at all and it’s going to take more than his strong skills as an orator to eliminate all the years of American imperialism. America’s track record of selling arms to dictators contains such luminaries as Noriega, Duvalier, Botha, Mubarak, Gaddafi, Hussein, Khalifat, the Taliban and many more, and are still supporting many of them. If  Obama wants to earn that Noble Peace Prize he got so prematurely, then stopping that is a good place to start!

But having said all that, I should get back to the topic at hand. The Grand Old Nitwit Party has been having a field day with Obama and his last name since he first announced his candidacy for President. Now, since he’s been bombing the hell out of Afghanistan and Iraq, they seem to feel that perhaps that card has been played out and are now trying to blame the Arab Spring, which they see as a major threat, on him and to claim it is a failure and that he is responsible!! Gimme some of those drugs guys!! These are two quotes from the article:

“On September 29, presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann told supporters, “You want to know why we have Arab Spring? Barack Obama has laid the table for the Arab Spring by demonstrating weakness from the United States of America.”

Just last week, another Republican presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich, pronounced the Arab Spring to be the result of the Obama foreign policy‘s “grotesque failure”. Gingrich went so far as to call it an “anti-Christian spring”, apparently believing that longstanding authoritarian rule was the only thing protecting religious minorities in the Arab world from unbridled persecution.”

(Now, of course no one with half a brain takes either Bachman or Gingrich seriously, but as long as we have the wonder known as Fox News you can’t entirely discount them as the fools they are either. As disgusting as it sounds, Americans still listen to Fox News in droves.)

Anyway,  dear reader, back to Dear Old Newt, One important thing is missing in all of his inane rhetoric, the truth, and as usual with him  it’s what he never quite seems to figure out. In this instance what he can’t connect with is the heart of the brave people of Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Syria, Yemen, Palestine, Iran, and the entire Arab Spring movement. They were the ones who were so desperate for freedom they fearlessly faced bullets, bombs, dictators and the armies they commanded, and in some countries still do, and DEMANDED their freedom. Obama, even with his flowery tributes and pledge of 100 million US Dollars can’t take that away. Newt and his GOP fools would love to!

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fascinating article, and a riveting picture!

altahrir, news of Islam, Muslims, Arab Spring and special Palestine

An Egyptian woman stands in front of Egyptian police forces.
A number of Iranian and Egyptian women experts and officials have held a meeting to discuss developments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, Press TV reports.

The one-day meeting, entitled Women’s Role in Egypt’s Revolution, was held in the Iranian capital Tehran on Tuesday.

During the gathering, the Egyptian women revolutionaries discussed the role that women played in the revolution that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak earlier this year.

They noted that Iran was a model for Egyptian revolutionaries during the early days of their struggle for freedom and democracy.

“The revolution in Egypt and other Arab countries, as well as the popular protests in the West, have all been inspired by Iran’s revolution,” Egyptian researcher Awatel Aboshady told Press TV on the sidelines of the meeting.

Naglaa Elkaluby, who also participated in the meeting, said that…

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With all the amazing changes going on in the world, I’m drawn to this wonderful but sad poem by one of my absolute poets. I’m dedicating this to the Arab Spring, to Palestine and to the Occupy Wall Street movements spreading across the U.S.

For Eli Jacobson,, by Kenneth Rexroth

 

December 1952

There are few of us now, soon
There will be none. We were comrades
Together, we believed we
Would see with our own eyes the new
World where man was no longer
Wolf to man, but men and women
Were all brothers and lovers
Together. We will not see it.
We will not see it, none of us.
It is farther off than we thought.
In our young days we believed
That as we grew old and fell
Out of rank, new recruits, young
And with the wisdom of youth,
Would take our places and they
Surely would grow old in the
Golden Age. They have not come.
They will not come. There are not
Many of us left. Once we
Marched in closed ranks, today each
Of us fights off the enemy,
A lonely isolated guerrilla.
All this has happened before,
Many times. It does not matter.
We were comrades together.
Life was good for us. It is
Good to be brave — nothing is
Better. Food tastes better. Wine
Is more brilliant. Girls are more
Beautiful. The sky is bluer
For the brave — for the brave and
Happy comrades and for the
Lonely brave retreating warriors.
You had a good life. Even all
Its sorrows and defeats and
Disillusionments were good,
Met with courage and a gay heart.
You are gone and we are that
Much more alone. We are one fewer,
Soon we shall be none. We know now
We have failed for a long time.
And we do not care. We few will
Remember as long as we can,
Our children may remember,
Some day the world will remember.
Then they will say, “They lived in
The days of the good comrades.
It must have been wonderful
To have been alive then, though it
Is very beautiful now.”
We will be remembered, all
Of us, always, by all men,
In the good days now so far away.
If the good days never come,
We will not know. We will not care.
Our lives were the best. We were the
Happiest men alive in our day

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