ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘Gaza

Blogs in June 2011.

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I thought I should see what others are doing:

Flesh is Grass has an important post on how the EDL managed to march, unescorted, from Redbridge to Dagenham.

Yaacov Lozowick has given up blogging. Pity, I didn’t agree with him, much, but he has a thoughtful way and articulates many intelligent ideas.

Johnny Guitar thinks about the Troubles, the Good Friday Agreement and the need for a South Africa-style truth commission, just not at the moment.

Weggis on the case against biofuels. Completely agree, it seems so questionable to use food stuff or related material as fuel for the internal combustion engine.

Harry Barnes on Sorting Out The Labour Party, which I think is very optimistic. In the short term they could ditch Ed Miliband, try to be a bit radical, really, seriously distance themselves from the skeleton of New Labour. Chance would be a fine thing.

In related news, I am not surprised that Ed Miliband is less popular than Iain Duncan Smith or William Hague, when they were in a similar position. Frankly, Miliband’s inarticulate, has the charisma of a saucer and he’s politically useless.

Jams looks at an evil cat, great photos.

Mark Gardner at the CST has a reflective post on the situation at UCU and its wider implications, From UCU to MEMO and “Israel’s British hirelings”.

Ten minutes hate on the ‘miracle villages’.

Chris Dillow considers Miliband’s power blindness.

Nick Lowles provides a photo and details of the EDL thugs racial attack in Dagenham.

Sorrel Moseley-Williams ponders Journalists’ Day in Argentina.

Not a blog, but worthwhile all the same. Searchlight on the BNP’s use of Facebook and Twitter.

Rosie looks at Fact and Fiction.

James Bloodworth has a couple of cracking posts, Will the Defence Secretary’s links with Sri Lanka compromise British calls for an enquiry? and Isn’t it time for an apology, Mr Chomsky?

Rebecca provides an update on the Gaza flotilla. Personally, I think the Israeli Government should allow them into Gaza with minimum fuss or hassle. I think Gazans should get as much as they can, after all living under Hamas must be terrible.

Jack of Kent looks at the arrest of blogger Jacqui Thompson and the many unanswered questions.

Greens Engage on Cynthia and Jello.

At Greater Surbiton, a guest post by David Pettigrew, Justice in Bosnia after Mladic.

Eric Reeves has a piece in the Washington Post, In Sudan, genocide anew?

Engage has an abundance of posts which should be read, just a small selection: Open antisemitism doesn’t harm your reputation, Sally Hunt pretends not to understand the term “institutional racism” and Richard Kuper on the Working Definition of Anti-Semitism (by Eve Garrard)

Enjoy!

Over In Syria, Hamza Ali al-Khateeb.

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The situation in Syria is still very serious, yet in the West comparatively little is heard of Syrian’s dire circumstances or the true level of State organised murder.

In the Western media, the regime’s violent is under reported and not given the prominence that it should have.

This is another example of how the dictatorship in Syria treats people:

“BEIRUT — The boy’s head was swollen, purple and disfigured. His body was a mess of welts, cigarette burns and wounds from bullets fired to injure, not kill. His kneecaps had been smashed, his neck broken, his jaw shattered and his penis cut off.

What finally killed him was not clear, but it appeared painfully, shockingly clear that he had suffered terribly during the month he spent in Syrian custody.

Hamza Ali al-Khateeb was 13 years old.

And since a video portraying the torture inflicted upon him was broadcast on the al-Jazeera television network Friday, he has rapidly emerged as the new symbol of the protest movement in Syria. His childish features have put a face to the largely faceless and leaderless opposition to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime that has roiled the country for nine weeks, reinvigorating a movement that had seemed in danger of drifting.

It is too early to tell whether the boy’s death will trigger the kind of critical mass that brought down the regimes in Egypt and Tunisia earlier this year and that the Syrian protests have lacked. But it would not be the first time that the suffering of an individual had motivated ordinary people who might not otherwise have taken to the streets to rise against their governments. “

Hassan Nasrallah Backs Murders in Syria.

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One time radical and firebrand, Hassan Nasrallah, has gone with the money.

He is backing the murderous President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad. Not too surprising, because if he didn’t, he would lose the support of the Iranian regime and their money.

Since the uprising against the Syrian dictators some 1100 people have been killed by the regime and their thugs, according to Sawasiah, ABC News reports:

“Human rights activists in Syria say the two-month crackdown by security forces on anti-government protesters has cost the lives of at least 1,100 people.

The Syrian human rights organisation Sawasiah says it has the names of 1,100 people reportedly killed during the unrest that broke out in mid-March.

Most were from southern areas in Hauran Plain – including the city of Deraa where the protests first began two months ago.

The human rights group says it in fact has heard reports of another 200 civilian deaths but has no names to base the figures on.

The death toll in Syria rose sharply after the protests spread from Deraa to other parts of the country.”

Yahoo News has more on Nasrallah’s speech:

” “We call on all Syrians to preserve their country as well as the ruling regime, a regime of resistance, and to give their leaders a chance to cooperate with all Syria’s communities in order to implement the necessary reforms,” he said in the speech broadcast by his party’s Al-Manar television.

The speech, marking the 11th anniversary of Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon after a 22-year occupation, was broadcast on a giant screen to thousands of Hezbollah supporters in the village of Nabi Sheet, a Shiite stronghold in the eastern Bekaa Valley.

It was the first time the reclusive Hezbollah chief commented on the protests in Syria, which along with Iran is a major backer of his Shiite militant party.

“The difference between the Arab uprisings and Syria… is that President Assad is convinced that reforms are necessary, unlike Bahrain and other Arab countries,” said Nasrallah, who has not appeared in public since 2008.

The Lobbies, Rounding Up Before The Weekend.

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I shall be away for a good few days and thought that rounding up news worthy bits and my random thoughts might be easier.

I admit I can’t stand the NewStatesman, but if you have to read it then Kevin Maguire’s column is good and sharp on domestic British politics.

A pessimistic Yaacov Lozowick says Peace Impossible; Progress Needed:

“Compared to long periods of Jewish history, deligitimization is a reasonable problem to have. For that matter, deligitimization compounded with a low level of violence isn’t an existential threat, either. Yet Jews haven’t become one of history’s oldest living nations by passively suffering circumstances. They have always tried to improve their lot, often with surprising success; Zionism is merely one of the more spectacular improvements. The Zionist tradition of activism requires we confront the present threat, rather than wait. The way forward is to disable the weapons of our enemies. Since the single most potent weapon in their arsenal is our occupation of the Palestinians, we must do as much as we reasonably can to end it.

Ending the occupation as a maneuver in an ongoing conflict is not the same as making peace. Making peace requires that all side to the conflict accept mutually agreed terms. There’s a reason this hasn’t yet happened, namely that the two sides cannot agree; even if they could, however, no Palestinian government could reconcile all Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims to Jewish sovereignty, nor convince the western supporters of ongoing violence to desist from aiding and abetting it. The aim of ending the occupation is to severely weaken the enemies of Jewish sovereignty by reducing the wind which currently blows in their sails.”

I don’t agree with him on much but he too is worth a read.

Meanwhile in Bahrain:

“Bahraini opposition groups and rights organizations say hundreds of public employees were dismissed on the grounds that they took part in protests. Bahrain says it had taken steps only against those who committed crimes during the protests.”

The yearly Orwell Prize is upon us, and bloggers haven’t been forgotten. I do find the self-promotional nature of this event somewhat disappointing, you have to submit your own work, rather than someone proposing you. It seems that the Orwell Prize has become another major happening, where the middle classes slap each other on the back and say what jolly good chaps/chappettes they are. Is this what Eric Blair really wanted? The Metropolitan elites congratulating each other? Probably not.

Interested in the Middle East? Use Google’s Chrome and check out the BBC’s Arabic page, which Chrome will automatically translate into any appropriate language. It’s a good read and has a slightly different perspective than the English language one.

Donald Trump and the Birther idiocy has compelled President Obama to release his birth certificate, view as a PDF. Gary Younge was good on the issue about 2 years ago, not much has changed since then. This is the White House blog on it, and I didn’t know it existed!

Gulf leaders are worried about Egypt.

Searchlight on the BNP’s Young, angry and on the rise.

Howard Jacobson on Ofcom and The Promise, sharp as ever:

“In a morally intelligent world – that’s to say one in which, for starters, Jews are not judged more harshly than their fellows for having been despatched to concentration camps – The Promise would be seen for the ludicrous piece of brainwashed prejudice it is. Ofcom’s rejection of complaints about the drama’s partiality and inaccuracy was to be expected. You can’t expect a body as intellectually unsophisticated as Ofcom to adjudicate between claims of dramatic truth and truth of any other sort. And for that reason it should never have been appealed to. That said, its finding that The Promise was “serious television drama, not presented as a historical and faithful re-creation”, is a poor shot at making sense of anything. You can’t brush aside historical re-creation in a work of historical re-creation, nor can you assert a thing is “serious television” when its seriousness is what’s in question. A work isn’t serious by virtue of its thinking it is. Wherein lies the seriousness, one is entitled to ask, when the drama creaks with the bad faith of a made-up mind.

I’m an art man, myself. Aesthetics trump the lot. And “seriousness” is an aesthetic quality or it’s nothing. But you will usually find that bad intentions makes bad art, and bad art, while it might be solemn and self-righteous, forfeits the right to be called serious. From start to finish, The Promise was art with its trousers round its ankles. Yes, it looked expensive, took its time, was beautifully shot and well acted. But these are merely the superficies of art, and the more dangerously seductive for that. “Gosh, I never knew such and such had happened,” I heard people say after one or other simplifying episode, as though high production values guarantee veracity.”

The Obama administration and Syria, conflicting policies?

When people start shouting about Mosques, remember what company you’re in, BNP man arrested at mosque protest.

In Bahrain Tweeters get a warning from the State:

““Think twice before posting, forwarding, or reTweeting messages. Are they mere propaganda or could they be libelous? Think Twice before posting, forwarding or reTweeting images. Are they appropriate in their content? Are they likely to cause offense? Could they cause harm?” “

British Foreign secretaries are normally not that naive, but William Hague seems to think Bashar al-Assad is a reformer, even after 400+ Syrians were killed by the state security apparatus, police and army. Chronically stupid doesn’t even sum up Hague in this matter.

Remember 9/11? Imagine that you were one of the first people on the scene, that you risked your life to help people. How would you be treated by Congress? Pretty damn poorly, Medialite has more:

“Jon Stewart tonight tackled the absurdity of a provision in the recently passed 9/11 first responders bill that requires any potential beneficiaries to first have their name run through the FBI’s terrorism watch list before they could collect any money. Some commentators described it as “adding insult to injury,” but Stewart more bluntly called it Congress’ “final kick to the nuts” of the first responders.

This issue is somewhat personal to Stewart given that many credited him with helping to get public support for the bill’s passage. Yet Stewart went to town, lampooning anyone who could possibly think a terrorist’s grand scheme after all of these years was to trick the U.S. government into handing over money to now pay for their cancer treatment.”

HRW seems to think that Hamas will investigate itself concerning the death of Adel Razeq. Great idea, but it ain’t going to happen:

“(Jerusalem) – Hamas authorities in Gaza should order a criminal investigation into the death of a man whose body was returned to his family five days after Hamas security officials arrested him, Human Rights Watch said today.

Relatives of ‘Adel Razeq, a 52-year-old father of nine, told Human Rights Watch that when security officials arrested him on April 14, 2011, they did not present a warrant and took him away under false pretenses. Security officials would not tell his family where he was being held. When his brother examined the body, it was badly bruised and appeared to have broken bones, he told Human Rights Watch. That, if true, would cast doubt on a Hamas Interior Ministry statement that Razeq died of an unspecified illness. “

Finally to a Lobby, but not one that you’d expect, the Syrian Lobby, extracted from the WSJ:

“How does a small, energy-poor and serially misbehaving Middle Eastern regime always seem to get a Beltway pass? Conspiracy nuts and other tenured faculty would have us believe that country is Israel, though the Jewish state shares America’s enemies and our democratic values. But the question really applies to Syria, where the Assad regime is now showing its true nature.

Washington’s Syria Lobby is a bipartisan mindset. “The road to Damascus is a road to peace,” said Nancy Pelosi on a 2007 visit to Syria as House Speaker. Former Secretary of State James Baker is a longtime advocate of engagement with the House of Assad. So is Republican Chuck Hagel, who in 2008 co-wrote an op-ed with fellow Senator John Kerry in these pages titled “It’s Time to Talk to Syria.” The Massachusetts Democrat has visited Damascus five times in the past two years alone.

The argument made by the Syria Lobby runs briefly as follows: The Assad family is occasionally ruthless, especially when its survival is at stake, but it’s also secular and pragmatic. Though the regime is Iran’s closest ally in the Middle East, hosts terrorists in Damascus, champions Hezbollah in Lebanon and has funneled al Qaeda terrorists into Iraq, it will forgo those connections for the right price. Above all, it yearns for better treatment from Washington and the return of the Golan Heights, the strategic plateau held by Israel since 1967.

The Syria Lobby also claims that whoever succeeds Assad would probably be worse. The country is divided by sect and ethnicity, and the fall of the House of Assad could lead to bloodletting previously seen in Lebanon or Iraq. Some members of the Lobby go so far as to say that the regime remains broadly popular. “I think that President Assad is going to count on . . . majoritarian support within the country to support him in doing what he needs to do to restore order,” Flynt Leverett of the New America Foundation said recently on PBS’s NewsHour.

Now we are seeing what Mr. Leverett puts down merely to the business of “doing what he needs to do”: Video clips on YouTube of tanks rolling into Syrian cities and unarmed demonstrators being gunned down in the streets; reports of hundreds killed and widespread “disappearances.” Even the Obama Administration has belatedly criticized Assad, though so far President Obama has done no more than condemn his “outrageous human rights abuses.” “

It is something to see, how tanks, snipers and the slaughter of civilians doesn’t to rile policy makers in DC, or political activists in Britain as witnessed by the non-existence demonstrations outside the Syrian embassy by the usual suspects! And that something that has struck me over the pass few weeks coverage of events in the Middle East, how little real indignation they invoked in the West.

Vittorio Arrigoni And The Need For The Geneva Accords.

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No one should sneer or joke about the death of Vittorio Arrigoni, rather our humanity should make us think of why it happened and what the alternatives are.

The continued violence in the Middle East only brutalises people, it desensitises them and makes any settlement harder to achieve.

The on-going conflict in the Middle East is a political problem and requires political solutions, not military gung-honess, attacks on buses or the murder of Vittorio Arrigoni.

Such a political solution is the Geneva Accords.

These accords try to balance the wants and desires of all parties, and endeavour to find reasonable compromises to these seemingly intractable problems.

For peace in the Middle East a degree of realism is needed on all sides, no one is going to vanish or go away, so a modus vivendi must be found.

The Geneva Accords offer an outline of a settlement and should be given greater prominence in light of Vittorio Arrigoni’s death, lest nihilism and the status quo linger on, leading to further killings and the brutalisation of so many more.

Written by modernityblog

16/04/2011 at 01:30

Kidnapping In Gaza.

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In a bizarre twist, an ISM activist has been kidnapped by a group even more extreme than Hamas, AFP reports:

“GAZA CITY — A Salafist group of radical Islamists kidnapped an Italian activist in Gaza on Thursday and threatened to kill him, the group and aid workers said.

Foreign aid workers in the enclave named the man as Vittorio Arrigoni and said he was an activist with a pro-Palestinian group called the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), who was also working as a journalist and writer.
In a video posted on YouTube, the Salafist group said it had taken him hostage in order to secure the release of an unspecified number of their members who had been arrested by the security forces in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

It said it would execute him if their demands were not met by 5:00 pm (1400 GMT) on Friday.

“We kidnapped the Italian prisoner Vittorio and we call on the Haniya government … to release all our prisoners,” it said, referring to Hamas premier Ismail Haniya and naming an imprisoned jihadi leader called Sheikh Hisham al-Suedani.

“If you don’t respond quickly to our demands, within 30 hours from 11:00 am (0800 GMT) on April 14, we will execute this prisoner,” it said.
The interior ministry of the Islamist Hamas movement which controls Gaza said it was checking the reports of the kidnapping.

The West Bank-based Palestinian leadership called for the “immediate and unconditional release of this foreign activist who is working in support of the Palestinian cause and people.”

“This action does not help the just cause of the Palestinian people. On the contrary, it harms it,” a statement said.

The kidnappers identified themselves in the video as belonging to a previously unknown group called The Brigade of the Gallant Companion of the Prophet Mohammed bin Muslima.

The group described Arrigoni as a “journalist who came to our country for nothing but to corrupt people — from Italy, the state of infidelity, whose armies are still in the Muslim countries.” “

I hope they release Vittorio Arrigoni unharmed, and at the same time, that Hamas make an effort to free their own captive, the kidnapped Israeli, Gilad Shalit.

Gilad Shalit has been held without any external contact or competent, independent, medical supervision (which contravenes the Geneva Convention) for 4 years, 9 months and 20 days.

Written by modernityblog

15/04/2011 at 01:16

Unrealistic Goldstone

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Getting away is lovely but it means you have to do a lot of reading on your return and one piece that I saw was Engage’s Richard Goldstone now says Israel was not guilty of targetting civilians in Gaza.

I thought Operation Cast Lead was a BIG mistake, and the Netanyahu government culpable by neglect and mismanagement, but the article shows a certain degree of naivete, if not stupidity, that Richard Goldstone still holds onto:

“Some have charged that the process we followed did not live up to judicial standards. To be clear: Our mission was in no way a judicial or even quasi-judicial proceeding. We did not investigate criminal conduct on the part of any individual in Israel, Gaza or the West Bank. We made our recommendations based on the record before us, which unfortunately did not include any evidence provided by the Israeli government. Indeed, our main recommendation was for each party to investigate, transparently and in good faith, the incidents referred to in our report. McGowan Davis has found that Israel has done this to a significant degree; Hamas has done nothing.

Some have suggested that it was absurd to expect Hamas, an organization that has a policy to destroy the state of Israel, to investigate what we said were serious war crimes. It was my hope, even if unrealistic, that Hamas would do so, especially if Israel conducted its own investigations. At minimum I hoped that in the face of a clear finding that its members were committing serious war crimes, Hamas would curtail its attacks. Sadly, that has not been the case. Hundreds more rockets and mortar rounds have been directed at civilian targets in southern Israel. That comparatively few Israelis have been killed by the unlawful rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza in no way minimizes the criminality. The U.N. Human Rights Council should condemn these heinous acts in the strongest terms.

In the end, asking Hamas to investigate may have been a mistaken enterprise. So, too, the Human Rights Council should condemn the inexcusable and cold-blooded recent slaughter of a young Israeli couple and three of their small children in their beds.”

Written by modernityblog

05/04/2011 at 18:25

The Fate of Dictators?

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Over in Egypt events are moving on a pace, with the removal of the symbols of the Mubarak period, the New York Times reports:

““Egyptians have adopted this habit for centuries — since the time of the pharaohs, when the image of pharaoh was everywhere,” said Mr. Sabry, doing a little walk-like-an-Egyptian maneuver with his hands and head. “Corrupt people should not be honored. I do not want to delete 30 years of Egyptian history, but I want to remove that name.”

The name and face have been scraped away piecemeal since Mr. Mubarak was overthrown Feb. 11 after three decades as president. Mr. Sabry’s lawsuit, filed in Cairo Expediency Court on March 1, seeks a court order to mandate “deMubarakization” in one fell swoop.

The idea draws widespread, but not universal, approval. A brief legal hearing on the issue on Thursday ignited a heated skirmish outside the downtown Cairo courthouse between those seeking to preserve the Mubarak name and those wanting it expunged.

Given that the once universal billboards bearing Mr. Mubarak’s portrait have largely come down, the sudden profusion of his picture held aloft by more than 100 supporters seemed alien. “

Over In Syria And More.

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Khaled Abu Toameh has had some thoughts on Syria:

“Just as Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s son, Seif ul Islam, was once praised as the new, liberal and democratic hope of Libya, so Bashar was projected eleven years ago as representing a new generation of Arab leaders willing to break away from a dark and dictatorial past.

But the events of the last few days in Syria, which have seen unarmed demonstrators gunned down by government forces, prove conclusively that when push comes to shove, Bashar is actually not all that different from his late father. As some of his critic comment, “The apple does not fall far from the tree.”

His handling of pro-democracy protests that have erupted in several Syrian cities since March 15 is a reminder that Bashar is a dictator who, like Colonel Gaddafi and Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh, will not surrender power gracefully.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal several weeks ago, Bashar boasted that the Tunisian and Egyptian models did not apply to his country and that there was no fear for the survival of his regime. He was right in the first part of his analysis: both neither the Egyptian nor Tunisian presidents chose to fight their people to the last drop of their blood.

But the second part of his analysis is faulty: Syria is far from immune from the political tsunami of popular uprisings currently sweeping through the Arab world.

Syrian human rights organizations have expressed deep concern over the Syrian authorities’ ruthless and brutal crackdown. They note how in many instances children under the ages of 15 were arrested by the notorious “mukhabarat” secret service for allegedly painting anti-government graffiti on city walls.

In another incident that took place in the southern Syrian city of Daraa, Bashar unleashed his commandos against peaceful worshippers who were staging a sit-in strike in a mosque; he killed dozens and wounded many others.

Syrians are asking: Will the son go as far as his father in stamping down on all protests? The public has not forgotten the terrible events of 20 years ago in the city of Hama, when government forces using artillery and air power killed an estimated 20,000 civilians. “

Reuters’ live coverage on the Middle East is useful.

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Protests, Hamas And Torture

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Human Rights Watch has news of Hamas torturing Palestinians.

This is not new, but a recurring theme with the group that gained power in a coup d’etat of 2007, HRW says:

“Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that Hamas police and plainclothes security officials prevented a demonstration at the Unknown Soldier square in Gaza City on February 28, 2011, without giving any reason, and detained and tortured one of the organizers, Ahmad Arar. Arar, 31, gave Human Rights Watch a detailed accounted of the abuse he said he suffered, an attempt, he said, to make him confess to being a Palestinian Authority agent. Since late February, Hamas internal security officials have threatened, confiscated equipment from, and repeatedly questioned young activists trying to organize similar protests for March 15, the activists said.

“The Hamas government has shown time and again that it cares little about the rights of Palestinians who peacefully challenge its policies,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Hamas says it’s fighting for liberation from occupation but is repressing people living under its control.

Other witnesses to the February 28 events told Human Rights Watch said that Hamas security officials threatened to assault journalists who tried to cover the protest and that they had assaulted a journalist trying to cover a similar demonstration on February 11. ”

Within Gaza, Hamas place serious restrictions on books, newspapers and other media according to HRW:

“On January 23, 2011, Hamas police officers entered three bookstores in Gaza City and confiscated copies of two books, saying they were allegedly “against Shari’a” without providing any basis for their actions in written law or court order.

Dr. Talaat al-Safadi, the owner of the Ibn Khaldun bookstore near Al Azhar University in Gaza City, told Human Rights Watch that two police officers in street clothes and another in uniform came to his bookstore and confiscated seven copies of A Banquet for Seaweed, a novel by Haidar Haidar, and one copy of Chicago, a novel by Alaa’ al-Aswany.

“The police didn’t tell me why they were taking the books and I didn’t ask them, but I insisted that they prove they had the right to take them, and eventually they showed me a note from the Ministry of Interior,” al-Safadi said. The police refused to give him a receipt for the books, he said, telling him to go to the al-Abbas police station, which he refused to do.

“A Banquet for Seaweed was written and translated into many languages 20 years ago, and people these days can download novels anyway,” al-Safadi said. “There’s no point in confiscating them.”

Also on January 23, members of the General Investigation Bureau confiscated copies of Chicago and A Banquet for Seaweed from the al-Shurouq bookstore in Gaza City, and Internal Security Service officers ordered employees at the Samir Mansour bookstore, near Gaza City’s Islamic University, not to sell any copies of the novels, said the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, a nongovernmental rights group based in Gaza. “

It is just a matter of time before Hamas start burning books.

(H/T: Adam Holland)

Update 1: Meanwhile in Bahrain, HRW reports:

“We were at the anti-government demonstration in Rifaa, south of Manama, where King Hamad’s palace is located. It turned violent. Several pro-government protesters or Rifaa residents broke through the police line and began chanting and hurling rocks toward the anti-government demonstrators. Some in the latter group reacted and did the same. After a minute or two of these exchanges the police began shooting tear gas in the direction of the protesters and hundreds began running away. I saw lots of teargas, and dozens of people fell on the ground due to inhalation, being struck by canisters, or simply falling over. The firing of tear gas canisters stopped after about a minute, and some protesters went back to the front line again. But after half an hour or so the crowd began to disperse. Ambulances on the scene took some of the injured to the hospital.”

Weapons For Gaza.

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News is just filtering out from Nigeria that some 13 containers of weapons, more than likely destined for Gaza, have just been intercepted.

Update 1: Now some pearls of wisdom from the ‘moderate’ Hamas leader, Mahmoud Al-Zahar.

Mr. Al-Zahar gives Reuters his views:

“”We have the right to control our life according to our religion, not according to your religion. You have no religion, You are secular,” said Zahar, who is one of the group’s most influential and respected voices.

“You do not live like human beings. You do not (even) live like animals. You accept homosexuality. And now you criticise us?” he said earlier this week, speaking from his apartment building in the densely populated, Mediterranean city.”

Written by modernityblog

28/10/2010 at 13:44

Hamas and Holocaust Denial.

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Engage highlights Hamas’s Holocaust denial:

“Hamas said it believed UNRWA was about to start using a text for 13-year-olds that included a chapter on the Holocaust.

In an open letter to local UNRWA chief John Ging, the movement’s Popular Committees for Refugees said: “We refuse to let our children study a lie invented by the Zionists.”

UNRWA spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna said: “There is no mention of the Holocaust in the current syllabus.” Asked if UNRWA planned to change that, he declined to comment.”

I wonder what Western sympathisers of Hamas will say to that?

My bet is that they’ll probably cough and change the subject rather quickly.

Written by modernityblog

15/08/2010 at 19:32

The Flotilla And Fascists

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We are often told that those on the Flotilla to Gaza were humanitarians and peace activists, and it is conceivable that some of them were, but news is coming out of a slightly less savoury group of passengers on the Mavi Marmara, fascists.

Well, more accurately neofascists from the Turkish, Büyük Birlik Partisi (BBP)

The BBP is renowned for its connections with the Grey Wolves movement, older readers will remember the activities of those neofascist terrorists in the 1970s and their murderous campaign of bombings and killings.

Not the sort of people that you would immediately associate with humanitarian aid? It doesn’t make much sense, until you remember that they are also renowned for their anti-Jewish racism.

Jean-Yves Camus in an article on the European Extreme Right and Religious Extremism describes the Turkish Extreme Right:

“There are two political parties form the Extreme Right in Turkey: the Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi (MHP) and its youth wing, Bozkurtlar (Grey Wolves), and the Büyük Birlik Partisi (BBP), led by Muhsin Yazicioglu. The former, which is very active in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, and to a lesser extent in France, is secular and mostly concerned about the ethnic essence of the Turkish Nation, although some experts within the German Verfassungschutz believe that there is one “Turkish nationalist” and one “Turkish-Islamist” wing within MHP.[27] The latter split from MHP in 1993 precisely because it felt the party’s Islamist credentials were “weak”. It received 1.02 % in the 2003 general election and did not contest the 2007 election. It operates in Europe under the name of Avrupa Tûrk Birligi, or Verband der Turkischen Kulturvereine E.V. in Europa, and promotes a mix between the Atatürk tradition of nationalism and the Koran. Although BBP seems to have failed politically, while its rival MHP has become Turkey’s third political force with 14.29 % of the vote, the movement is worth monitoring, because of its extreme anti-Kurdish and anti-Armenian propaganda, and also because of its alleged involvement in violent activities.”

Not exactly natural bedfellows for humanitarians or peace activists, but violence would be second nature to these neo-fascists and might explain some of the activities on the deck of the Mavi Marmara?

From the IHH page, applauding the visit offered the BBP leader, Yalcin Topcu:

“Topcu handed over a letter to Bulent Yildirim, General President of IHH, which he wrote to Palestinian President Ismail Haniye, following his speech. After receiving the letter, Bulent Yildirim has offered his thanks to Yalcin Topcu and accompanying members of BBP who do not hesitate to give their support to the campaign. He also mentioned Muhsin Yazicioglu in his speech, deceased former leader of BBP, put great importance into the Palestinian cause and it would be a great honor to deliver the letter written by Yazicioglu’s followers to Palestine and to Ismail Haniye. “

The Z Word blog has more.

The Weapons on the Mavi Marmara.

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Does the term, peace activist, aptly describe those on the deck of the Mavi Marmara, when the IDF soldiers tried to land?

Did they deliberately decide to attack the IDF soldiers?

Did their own reckless conduct bring about these unnecessary deaths?

Was the attack premeditated ?

More information is coming out from the ship’s crew which sheds light on the activities of these supposed peace activists:

“According to the clip, released by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, the ship’s captain Mehmut Tuval had attempted to prevent a violent altercation by disposing of metal bars and chains IHH activists had cut ahead of the IDF takeover.

Mehmut said that “once we see that the boats [were] around us…actually not us, but around the total ships…about two hours [before the takeover]… I see they were cutting the steels…chains. And I said to the chief officer, he collected all of them and also we put it in the radio room in the bridge.”

The captain also indicated that he had thrown some of the bars and chains into the sea, while adding that he also asked IHH activists to pass over the bars and chains that had collected later on.

Tuval said he sent his chief officer to ask for the bars, “saying …he cannot take directly from the guys..he spoke with the IHH to collect the [steel bars and chains]…we asked them to drop them, drop in the sea, because if they take it from the bridge that’s when we have a problem…and [after that] we didn’t see any in their hands.”

The Mavi Marmara captain said he was indeed worried that the presence of the makeshift weapons would worsen the situations, adding he thought that nothing would eventually happen since the IHH commanders were at hand to prevent any violence.

“I was worried but if their [leader] on the ship that there would be no effect, nobody will fight… I said many of times because I know the end,” Tuval told investigators, adding that he thought that nothing would happen since there were civilians on the ship/

“I worried [that's] why I collected the things to the bridge and I take how many I see in their hands and I drop them in the sea.”

Asked whether or not he knew if the IHH activists were preparing a violent welcome to the IDF takeover, Tuval said that “they were preparing to violence against the soldiers: Yeah from what I was informed.” “</blockquotes?

Written by modernityblog

12/06/2010 at 00:41

Flotilla Round Up.

with one comment

Bob’s got more on the flotilla, a good round up of the issues and people’s often conflicting views.

Written by modernityblog

10/06/2010 at 15:06

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