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Posts Tagged ‘Mubarak’

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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Well well, today is the 4th of July and unless you live on another planet, I’m sure you all know, it’s the day Americans celebrate their independence. Truly a worthwhile thing to celebrate, But I want to look a little deeper at this, let’s scrape away the red white and blue varnish shall we?

Let’s get rid of the tired GOP rhetoric and get down to the business of where are my 40 acres and my mule? What happened at Wounded Knee?  The 504 who died in just four hours at My Lai, the 4 protestors killed at Kent State, the more than 200 years of violent oppression based upon race, creed, sexual preference, marital status, gender, place of national origin, religion, education, economic status, class,  and so many other forms all supposedly illegal, finally, under the US Constitution, (If you doubt this, I’ll be more than happy, dear reader, to enlighten you), the secret military actions against governments that are not on the weekly revised BFF list,  How many legitimately elected governments has the CIA illegally overthrown only seeking economic or political favour or colonial domination in a geopolitical arena?  Do you realize that Al Queda and the Taliban were armed, trained and funded by the American Government? They grew out of the Mujahedin, which was armed and funded by the CIA and Reagan in response to the Soviet Unions invasion of Afghanistan. That short sightedness lead directly to where we are now, in a war in Afghanistan, where everyone in the military knew the Soviets had no chance, what made them think the US would fare better?  Arrogant fools!

How about a cigar?  Not if your name is Fidel Castro and the person handing it to you works for the CIA!!  We all know about the CIA attempts to assassinate Castro with exploding cigars, but how many other leaders have they tried to kill that we don’t know about? Costa Rican President Jose Figueres twice!! Che Guevara? Michael Manley of Jamaica? Ahmed Dlimi? Mohammed Mossadegh of Iran? Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala? Sukarno of Indonesia? Patrice Lumumba of the Congo? General Abdel Karim Qasim of Iraq? The CIA helped establish Saddam Hussein’s bloody regime. It backed his Ba’ath party’s overthrow of General Abdel Karim Qasim’s military government, though it tried to kill Qasim first. He had overthrown the monarchy, exposed CIA ties to the royals and became friendly with communists. When the Ba’ath party initially failed to assassinate Qasim in a gunfight, the CIA’s so-called Health Alteration Committee mailed a monogrammed, poisoned handkerchief to Qasim, as detailed in a 1975 report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Qasim apparently didn’t need to blow his nose, so it took a bloody coup to unseat and kill him.Salvador Allende of Chile? Sadam Hussein? The list continues almost ad infinitum. For a greatest hits list, have a look at this website, which I cannot vouch for the accuracy, but i do believe most of them to be correct.   http://www.trutv.com/conspiracy/assassinations/cia-hits-misses/gallery.all.html

It’s a bloody history that we celebrate today, dear reader, a sad desolate evil arrogant self-righteous demeaning violent racist sexist ruthless way of life, and the worst is that now it has turned on it’s own citizenry in the form of Homeland Security.

Benjamin Franklin wrote that if a people willingly surrender their freedom in the name of security then they deserve neither. Sadly this is what Americans have done. While most of Black America has never been allowed inside the hallowed halls of the American equality, neither have Native Americans, women, gays, transgender, Jews, Islamists, Muslims or almost any other group you might chose to mention if one were inclined to, (and I for one am not, we are either all free or none of us are is my belief)

Having said that, it’s time to bring this rant to a close as I am rapidly approaching the midnight deadline. I suppose what I want to say is that you MUST be aware, it is the price of freedom, you MUST question your leaders, or they will continue to lie and operate behind closed doors and continue to break the laws, you MUST be involved, demand your voice, it IS the birthright of every person on earth.

I will not celebrate the 4th of July with fireworks, but will say a silent prayer for the freedom of us all. I would love to see it in my lifetime.

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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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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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The disaster known as Netanyahu – Opinion – Al Jazeera English.

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So, the Egyptian version of the ”Trial of the century” ha begun.  SCAF has done all they can to stall or cancel it completely but here it is in glorious color.  On the social media websites, of course, it’s all the rage and has fortunately taken people’s minds off of Obama and the debt ceiling. It has also taken the eye of the media off of the fact that in Syria people are still being slaughtered. Today a prison was burned to the ground with the prisoners inside, for example. Gaddafi continues to defy logic and remains in power, Yemen still isn’t free and neither, for that matter is Tibet. South Sudan still needs all the assistance it can get desperately as does Somalia and the Horn of Africa, not to mention Gaza.

But this trial is indeed very important, not only to Egypt but to the rest of  the Mddle East and North Africa, hereafter refered to as MENA, and really to the world as a whole. It’s much more than one man standing, or in his case lying down, in a courtroom. It’s tyranny itself on trial. He has become a symbol of what is wrong in MENA. The others, Gaddafi et al know this and know that if he is found guilty then their days are numbered as it will give the revolutionaries an enormous boost, and if found innocent then the backlash will be equally enormous. They may realize deep inside in parts of themselves they don’t want to see that they can’t stay in power, but will do anything they can do to postpone their inevitable fall.

The ones who have the most to gain, of course are the wonderful brave people of Egypt and the rest of MENA.  I have always been fascinated by their culture. Now I am getting to know them as a people and I am so happy for them as they get closer to freedom. This trial will have a watershed effect, which will be felt for decades.

It is sometimes difficult for me, as an American to be taken seriously by some people from the Middle East when I try to verbalize my strong support for their struggle and acknowledge the sacrifices they are forced to endure. I do understand their reluctance when you consider the track record of my government and it’s continual chase for whatever they believe might be in its best interest at the time. Think back to when we offered support for many of those same dictators they now are renouncing, remember how many times we’ve sold guns to the governments hoping they would use them against someone else we don’t like, only to now have them used against their own people.

They have, in their typical brave spirit chosen to proceed without the intervention of the US government, if need be, and many will say that even if it was offered they’d rather decline than be indebted to such a self serving government. I can’t blame them to be honest. Libya has plenty of oil as does Iran and Iraq, but Syria, which doesn’t, has until very recently received only a token of support from the West.  I am pleased that so many of my new friends do realize that it’s the government and not me personally.

So the stage is set for a showdown, and it will be quite a showdown. Mubarak won’t go down easy in court either, and there will continue to be fighting in the streets between those who do and don’t support him. I certainly will watch and hope for the best. I am convinced that he will be found guilty, but not as certain where it will lead.  That remains for those wise men and women who will form the new government to decide. Let’s hope that this time wisdom and justice win out.

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Visions collide in a sweltering Tahrir Square – Opinion – Al Jazeera English.

A fascinating article about the continuing struggle to form a new democracy, for freedom and coexistence in Egypt.

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