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Posts Tagged ‘Middle East’

A very insightful article appeared in the New York Times today, written by Ban Ki-Moon, who is as you should all know, the Secretary General of the United Nations. The article deals with, primarily,  the seeming inability for the state of Israel to accept the inevitability of criticism of their apartheid state as well as the urgency for peace.

Be it Mr. Ki-Moon, or Margot Wallström, the Foreign Minister here in Sweden, in my opinion a superb politician and a person with great sense of decency and convictions, who has taken a terrible beating from both the press and Israel, including Israeli newspaper Makor Rishon when they compared Margot Wallström to Count Folke Bernadotte (including a nod to the Swedish diplomat’s assassination in Jerusalem in 1948), noting “the latent anti-Semitism that characterizes her, her arrogance, ignorance and thinking about her Muslim constituents’ interests.”
(read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.700421  

And yet another Israeli newspaper, in an op-ed has declared that Ms. Wallström “deserves assassination, ( an article can be found here:  http://mondoweiss.net/2016/01/adelson-newspaper-suggests-swedish-foreign-minister-deserves-assassination-for-antisemitic-dna

 

Mr. Ki-Moon goes on to explain the need for immediate serious discussions regarding the two state solution, the need for a unification of thought between and including Gaza and Palestinian Authority, and of course, the immediate need for an end to violence in the areas as a whole. I have very high respect for both Mr. Ki-Moon and Ms. Wallström and urge you to inform yourselves and others regarding the status of Israels refusal to see the truth, and the urgency of the need for a solution. As Mr. Ki-Moon points out, quite correctly, it may be getting to late.

The link to the article is here.. http://nyti.ms/201P0OU

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-35311709

Hundreds of writers are taking part in readings in support of the Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh, who has been sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia.

More than 120 events are being held in 44 countries on Thursday as part of a campaign organised by the International Literature Festival Berlin.

It is calling on the US and UK governments to intervene on behalf of Mr Fayadh, who is accused of apostasy.

He denies the charges and claims that another man made false accusations.

Human rights activists also say Mr Fayadh was denied access to a lawyer throughout his detention and trial, in clear violation of Saudi and international law.

‘Unjust and morally repellent’

Mr Fayadh, a 35-year-old poet and art curator who was born in Saudi Arabia to Palestinian refugee parents, has been a key figure in taking Saudi contemporary art to a global audience, according to the International Literature Festival Berlin.

Chris Dercon, the director of Tate Modern gallery in London and a friend of the poet, has described him as “someone who is outspoken and daring”.

Mr Fayadh was arrested in August 2013 following a complaint by a Saudi citizen, who alleged that he was promoting atheism and spreading blasphemous ideas, according to Amnesty International.

He was released the next day, but was rearrested in January 2014 and charged with apostasy because of his supposed questioning of religion and spreading atheist thought through his collection of poetry, Instructions Within, published in 2008.

He was also charged with violating the country’s anti-cyber crime law by taking and storing photos of women on his mobile phone.

In April 2014, the General Court in the city of Abha sentenced Mr Fayadh to four years in prison and 800 lashes for violating the anti-cyber crime law. But it found his repentance in relation to the charge of apostasy to be satisfactory and not requiring further punishment.

However, an appeals court overturned his original sentence and sent the case back to the General Court, which sentenced him to death for apostasy on 17 November.

Mr Fayadh has asserted that the poems are “just about me being [a] Palestinian refugee… about cultural and philosophical issues. But the religious extremists explained it as destructive ideas against God.”

Irvine Welsh, who will read at the Two Hearted Queen coffee shop in Chicago on Thursday, said he hoped the worldwide reading campaign would put “pressure on governments who espouse democracy and freedom to consider their actions in dealing with [Saudi Arabia]”, according to the Guardian newspaper.

A L Kennedy, who will be attending a reading organised by PEN England at the Mosaic Rooms in west London, said Mr Fayadh’s persecution was “very obviously unjust and morally repellent”.

The Saudi government has not commented publicly on Mr Fayadh’s case.

 

This is a sample of his beautiful, moving poetry, translated by Mona Kareem,

http://monakareem.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/ashraf-fayadhs-disputed-poems-in.html

Ashraf Fayadh’s “Disputed” Poems, in English Translation

1
petroleum is harmless, except for the trace of poverty it leaves behind
on that day, when the faces of those who discover another oil well go dark,
when life is blown into your heart to extract more oil off your soul
for public use..
That.. is.. the promise of oil, a true promise.
the end..
2
it was said: settle there..
but some of you are enemies for all
so leave it now
look up to yourselves from the bottom of the river;
those of you on top should provide some pity for those underneath..
the displaced is helpless,
like blood that no one wants to buy in the oil market!
3
pardon me, forgive me
for not being able to pump more tears for you
for not mumbling your name in nostalgia.
I directed my face at the warmth of your arms
I got no love but you, you alone, and am the first of your seekers.
4
night,
you are inexperienced with Time
lacking rain drops
that could wash away all the remains of your past
and liberate you of what you had called piety..
of that heart.. capable of love,
of play,
and of intersecting with your obscene withdrawal from that flabby religion
from that fake Tanzeel
from gods that had lost their pride..
5
you burp, more than you used to..
as the bars bless their visitors
with recitations and seductive dancers..
accompanied with the DJ
you recite your hallucinations
and speak your praise for these bodies swinging to the verses of exile.
6
he’s got no right to walk however
or to swing however or to cry however.
he’s got no right to open the window of his soul,
to renew his air, his waste, and his tears..
you too tend to forget that you are
a piece of bread
7
on the day of banishment, they stand naked,
while you swim in the rusty pipes of sewage, barefoot..
this could be healthy for the feet
 but not for earth
8
prophets have retired
so do not wait for yours to come to you
and for you,
for you the monitors bring their daily reports
and get their high salaries..
how important money is
for a life of dignity
9
my grandfather stands naked everyday,
without banishment, without divine creation..
I have already been resuscitated without a godly blow in my image.
I am the experience of hell on earth..
earth
is the hell prepared for refugees.
10
your mute blood will not speak up
as long as you pride yourself in death
as long as you keep announcing -secretly- that you have put your soul
at the hands of those who do not know much..
losing your soul will cost time,
much longer than what it takes to calm
your eyes that have cried tears of oil
* These poems appeared in Fayadh’s poetry collection Instructions Within which was published by the Beirut-based Dar al-Farabi in 2008 and later banned from distribution in Saudi Arabia.
Translated by: Mona Kareem

For information on what you can do to help with his release, go to Amnesty International at this address..

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/free-ashraf-fayadh-saudi-arabia-palestinian-poetry-apostasy-execution

 

I highly recommend reading this gifted poet, and of course, signing Amnesty’s petition for his release.

 

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I never knew death until I saw the bombing of a refugee camp Craters filled with disfigured ankles and splattered torsos But no sign of a face, the only

Source: A Poem for Gaza

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A beautiful poem by a new friend that puts the immigration issue into perspective, Please read!!

 

Source: We Can All Hear The Voices

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This is what I hope will be the first of numerous posts about the Nakba, the “Catastrophe” in Arabic, which is generally used to describe the forced removal of thousands of Palestinians from their homeland in 1948. The anniversary, if that is the proper word is generally recognized on May 15, the day after the foundation of the state of Israel, according the Gregorian calendar, being of course, May 14, 1948. But as this very well written history points out, it didn’t begin in 1948, but some 200 years earlier. This is a very sad tale of long term oppression, of brutal imperialist  governments without a care about the people in their rule, but outside their borders. I would ask EVERYONE to read this, to ask questions, to find out what REALLY happened in 1948,, why those who were forced out of their homes and country are STILL not allowed to return. I promise it will anger you, I truly hope it will open your eyes.

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/specialseries/2013/05/20135612348774619.html

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With the thought of the awful attack on the Jerusalem synagogue, it is worth a reminder of our shared humanity. We are all Palestinian, we are all Israeli, we are all Iraqi and American, and Russian, and Rom, and Hopi.

I can definitely understand the sense of frustration coming from the muslims in east Jerusalem as the see their history  being evaporated as Israelis rename streets, overtake homes and even disallow prayer in Al Asqa Mosque, the third holiest site in the Muslim faith, this going against a long-established agreement between the ruling Israeli government and Muslims living in Jerusalem. All of this, of course, on top of everything else they have had to endure. However, there is never a justification for violence. I will always believe a peaceful settlement can be found but not until both sides are ready. I can say with all certainty that Netanyahu is far from ready. Sadly until the rest of the world, the US and Great Britain especially, stop their blind support for Israel things aren’t going to change much. But about the photos…..

These beautiful photos celebrate Palestinian music, sculpture, art and the human spirit. That part of us that no one can truly conquer. Not war, not racism, not apartheid, not poverty, not illiteracy, but rather our souls, our essence. In that sense at least, we are indeed all Palestinians. As I’ve said many times before and will repeat many times, No one is truly free until we are all free, no one is equal while another is oppressed.  I urge all of you to take in the photos, the text and the spirit.

 

 

In Pictures: ‘We are all Palestinians’ – In Pictures – Al Jazeera English.

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Masha Shekarloo was a young, energetic pioneering passionate brilliant women’s rights activist in Iran, Just saying that should earn her respect, that she in a country so built on oppression, especially towards women,  would dare to stand up is admirable.  She was a pioneer but a woman, born in Tehran, educated in Chicago, who returned to Tehran and saw an oppurtunity to make a change.   Please read the article below and share it, share her passion, her belief in the possibilities and her work.

 

http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/10/remembering-mahsa-shekarloo-the-womens-rights-activist-and-internet-pioneer-born-in-iran/

 

Also, I highly recommend following the link to her online magazine, called badjens. It’s truly worth a follow!

http://www.badjens.com/

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