Sunday, April 8, 2007
By Jan Baumgartner
Progressive website Al-Jazeerah.info was "knocked-off" this weekend; yet another casualty of the erosion of our First Amendment rights and Freedom of Speech.
This morning, as I set aside time to scan other progressive websites, I pulled up the Al-Jazeerah.info site to find something rather unexpected.
If any of you are familiar with this forum, you will more than likely recognize many of the writer's who contribute to Al-Jazeerah as they are familiar names to Op Ed News - many are frequent writers for this site.
You can imagine my horror when I saw the following statement issued by the founder and editor, Dr. Hassan A. El-Najjir:
From the Al-Jazeerah.info Editor to Readers
Al-Jazeerah.info has been a US independent forum promoting peace between the US and the Arab and Muslim worlds and between Israelis and Palestinians, for the last five years.
Some people apparently neither like peace nor tolerate the First Amendment to the US Constitution. They have not stopped attacks on Al-Jazeerah, its editor, its contributors and authors.
What's new this time is that those who oppose Al-Jazeerah.info have been orchestrating a campaign against Al-Jazeerah.info Editor, personally.
A letter writing campaign has been going on since March 22, 2007 targeting officials of the institution I work with in addition to a continuous smearing internet and media campaign against me, personally.
I have concluded that it's not safe for me any more to continue editing Al-Jazeerah.info in this atmosphere of intimidation, which abridges freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
I promise to resume publication as soon as conditions change to a more peaceful and tolerant discourse.
Hassan El-Najjir, Al-Jazeerah Editor
About Al-Jazeerah: This is an educational publication that promotes peace in the world, between Palestinians and Israelis and between the US and the Arab and Muslim worlds. Ending wars and occupation is the first step.
Al-Jazeerah Peace Information Center is an independent U.S. news and world research publication. It is not related to any other identity or government in the world. In particular, it is not related to the Saudi, UAE, or the Qatari websites with similar names.
This website, Al-Jazeerah.info is not related by any means to Aljazeera t.v. station of Qatar.
It does not aim for profit. All donations and proceeds are used to run the website.
Many of the past contributors to Al-Jazeerah.info are also contributors for like sites such as Op Ed News, Common Dreams, Truthout, Counterpunch, etc., and the content of the articles published on Al-Jazeerah were of similar nature and content as those published on these other progressive sites.
I cannot help but wonder if the very name of the forum, as well as that of its founder/editor, had anything to do with the attacks, intimidations and its ultimate demise.
How tragic that individuals who provide an open forum for peace and peaceful dialogue must fear for their "safety." And yet, in an atmosphere which has driven this country to its knees using nothing more than the fear-factor with its own "terror tactics," I suppose I shouldn't be all that surprised.
Question is, who's next? "