Saturday, January 15, 2011
"من تونس جاءت الرسالة واضحة كل الوضوح. من هنا تبدأ مسيرة الإطاحة بالطغاة. رسالة عنوانها أن حالة الصمت التي استمرت خلال العقدين الأخيرين ليس معناها الرضا، وأن لعبة الديمقراطية المفرغة من المضمون، وإن تمكنت من تهدئة نيران الغضب لبعض الوقت، فهي لم تتمكن من إطفائها، ولعلها كانت تساهم في تأجيجها على نحو تدريجي بسبب ما ترتب عليها من ممارسات وتداعيات
خلال العقدين الأخيرين تكاثرت الانتخابات، وانشغلت قوى المعارضة (بخاصة الإسلامية التي تمثل الثقل الأكبر في الشارع) بالمشاركة فيها، لكن ذلك لم ينعكس إيجابا على حياة المواطن، لا على صعيد الحريات، ولا على صعيد الوضع المعيشي، بينما استفادت قوى السلطة بالحصول على مزيد من الشرعية
والحال أن ما أخر ترجمة الغضب الشعبي في مواجهة ذلك كله إلى حراك في الشارع، إنما يتعلق بعسكرة المجتمع والسطوة الاستثنائية لأجهزة الأمن التي صرف عليها من دم الشعوب لكي تبقى تابعا لمن يعطيها الأوامر، بدليل ردها المفرط في القوة على الاحتجاجات، أما الذي لا يقل أهمية فيتمثل في الديمقراطية المزيفة التي أشغلت قوى المعارضة، لاسيما الإسلامية منها في عملية لم تسمن ولم تغن من جوع، بل نجحت في استيعاب تلك القوى والكثير من رموزها في سياق لا صلة له بهموم الناس، الأمر الذي أخذت بعض تلك القوى تدركه بهذا القدر أو ذاك، فيما بقي بعضها الآخر يجادل في صحة مساره رغم كل ما جرى ويجري.
في ضوء ذلك كله، يمكن القول إنه آن للقوى الحية في العالم العربي، وفي مقدمتها الإسلامية، أن تتحرك لقيادة الشارع من أجل التغيير الحقيقي الذي يمنح الحرية للناس في تحديد مصيرهم، ويضع حدا لعبثية المشهد القائم، أما الإصلاح بمعناه الترقيعي فلم يعد مقبولا بأي حال.
ليس أمام هذه القوى سوى تمثيل الشارع وغضبه، بل وتدريبه على النضال السلمي القادر على مواجهة عسف الأنظمة وشراسة أجهزتها الأمنية، مع العلم أنه كلما كانت ردود تلك الأجهزة أكثر عنفا اقترب فجر التغيير، لأن الدماء التي تسيل في نضال سلمي تختلف عن تلك التي تسيل في مواجهة عبثية بين تنظيم محدود وأجهزة أمنية مدججة بأدوات القوة. وعموما ليس ثمة تغيير من دون دماء وتضحيات، وهذه الأنظمة لن تستسلم بسهولة، لكنها ستفعل عندما تدرك أن لا مناص من ذلك.
الأهم من ذلك أن يتم ذلك من خلال تحالفات واسعة بين قوى المجتمع الحية، وذلك من خلال عنوان عريض يجمع سائر القوى يتمثل في أولوية الحرية، وحين يستعيد المجتمع حريته المسلوبة، سيكون بوسعه أن يحقق الإجماع على الأفكار ومسار الحكم،
"Lebanon's year-old national unity government has collapsed after 11 opposition ministers resigned over the UN tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister and father of Saad al-Hariri, the current prime minister. The Special Tribunal for Lebanon is reportedly close to indicting senior members of Hezbollah for the murder. Will this rekindle violence in the country? Will it lead to another period of political deadlock? Is the tribunal likely to cause more harm than good to the country? And what does the future hold for Lebanon? Inside Story investigates."
"All the work I do and I will do against the reactionary government of Saudi Arabia is dwarfed by the work that Saudi Arabia does sometimes on behalf of all those of us who campaign against it. I mean, the hosting of Bin `Ali confirms the status of House of Saud as the haven for all dethroned dictators around the world. Western media are not appreciating the extent to which there are Arab popular celebrations around the world regarding Tunisia: and here comes Saudi government to offer a slap on the face of Arab popular opinion. This is significant. There are calls for demonstrations against Saudi embassy in all Arab countries although it is doubtful that the Arab governments will allow it. House of Saud decided to fly against the enthusiasm of Arab public opinion. What do you expect: ousted dictators since the days of Hamid Ad-Din, Sanusis, Idi Amin, Numayri, and many others always find home in the Kingdom of Horror. Yesterday, when the president of Bin `Ali was flying, Saudi media were hoping and praying that it was going to Qatar, just to embarrass Aljazeera and the Qatari government. In fact, for the record, the private station of King Fahd's brother-in-law actually announced that the plane was going to Qatar. And when the news came and an official statement from the House of Saud was issued in which Bin `Ali was officially welcomed "with his family" to Saudi Arabia, Saudi media tried to ignore the news altogether. "
"CAIRO, Jan 14, 2011 (IPS) - These are scenes Western powers would have loved to see in Iran - thousands of young people braving live bullets and forcing an autocratic ruler out of the country. But it is in the North African nation Tunisia where an uprising forced the Western-backed autocratic President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali to flee the country.
Western powers remain incredulous. France, the real power broker in the Franco North African nation, was giving Ben Ali tacit support until an hour before he fled Friday.
The French Foreign Ministry said it "backs" the measures announced by Ben Ali by way of overtures to the protestors, but asked for more freedoms. In effect France ignored the movement’s demand for Ben Ali to go, and addressed Ben Ali as the legitimate leader.
The United States was clearly far more busy with the collapse of the government in Lebanon, a country critical to the main U.S. ally in the region, Israel, after the Lebanese opposition withdrew their minister from the coalition government.....
On Friday afternoon, Ben Ali dissolved the cabinet and parliament, and ordered early elections within six months. A couple of hours later, he imposed emergency law in the country. But another two hours later, Arab TV stations reported he had fled the country. "
by John Pilger, January 15, 2011
"The attacks on WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, are a response to an information revolution that threatens old power orders, in politics and journalism. The incitement to murder trumpeted by public figures in the United States, together with attempts by the Obama administration to corrupt the law and send Assange to a hell hole prison for the rest of his life, are the reactions of a rapacious system exposed as never before.
In recent weeks, the US Justice Department has established a secret grand jury just across the river from Washington in the eastern district of the state of Virginia. The object is to indict Julian Assange under a discredited espionage act used to arrest peace activists during the first world war, or one of the "war on terror" conspiracy statutes that have degraded American justice. Judicial experts describe the jury as a "deliberate set up," pointing out that this corner of Virginia is home to the employees and families of the Pentagon, CIA, Department of Homeland Security, and other pillars of American power.....
The great American playwright Arthur Miller wrote: "The thought that the state … is punishing so many innocent people is intolerable. And so the evidence has to be internally denied." What WikiLeaks has given us is truth, including rare and precious insight into how and why so many innocent people have suffered in reigns of terror disguised as wars, and executed in our name; and how the United States has secretly and wantonly intervened in democratic governments from Latin America to its most loyal ally in Britain.
Javier Moreno, the editor of El Pais, which published the WikiLeaks logs in Spain, wrote, "I believe that the global interest sparked by the WikiLeaks papers is mainly due to the simple fact that they conclusively reveal the extent to which politicians in the West have been lying to their citizens."
Crushing individuals like Julian Assange and Bradley Manning is not difficult for a great power, however craven. The point is, we should not allow it to happen, which means those of us meant to keep the record straight should not collaborate in any way. Transparency and information, to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, are the "currency" of democratic freedom. "Every news organization," a leading American constitutional lawyer told me, "should recognize that Julian Assange is one of them, and that his prosecution will have a huge and chilling effect on journalism."
My favorite secret document — leaked by WikiLeaks, of course – is from the Ministry of Defense in London. It describes journalists who serve the public without fear or favor as "subversive" and "threats." Such a badge of honor."
"Is it a real revolution in Tunisia or will another member of the ruling elite succeed in replacing President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali who took flight yesterday? It is a crucial question for the rest of the Arab world where other corrupt police states face the same political, social and economic problems as Tunisia.
A striking feature of the whole Middle East for more than 30 years has been the unpopularity of the regimes combined with their depressing ability to stay in power....
But the revolution that is brewing across the Middle East is of a traditional model springing from high unemployment, particularly among better educated young men, and a ruling class unable to resolve any of their countries' economic problems.
The most obvious parallel with Tunisia is Egypt where the sclerotic regime of President Hosni Mubarak clings to power.
Will the present so-called "soft coup" work whereby Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi takes power and calms down protesters by promises of reform and elections? It does not look very likely. The declared State of Emergency is not working. There is not reason to suppose that a political leader so closely associated with the old regime will have any credibility with people in the streets.
Conditions vary across the Arab world but there is plenty in common between the situation in Tunisia and that in Algeria, Jordan and Egypt. Economic and political stagnation is decades old.....
Yet all these regimes that are now in trouble had a carefully cultivated image in the west of being "moderate" and anti-fundamentalist....
The Middle East still has a reputation for coups but a striking feature of the region since the early 1970s is how few of the regimes have changed. The forces behind the Tunisian events are not radically new but they are all the more potent for being so long suppressed....."
"More than 5,000 people staged protests across Jordan in "a day of rage" to protest against escalating food prices and unemployment on the same day as, in another part of the Arab world, Tunisia's president fled the north African state after weeks of violent demonstrations.
Amman, Jordan's capital is 1,500 miles (2,500km) from Tunis, but the reason for the protesters' anger was the same, and so too were the calls for the leader to resign.
Jordanian University students and Ba'athist party supporters also held rallies in Irbid, Karak, Salt and Maan, demanding that the prime minister, Samir Rifai, step down......
Ammon added that the Muslim Brotherhood and the country's 14 trade unions say they will hold a sit-down protest outside parliament on Sunday to "denounce government economic policies"."
AN EXCELLENT PIECE
"Conventional wisdom has it that 'terror' in the Arab world is monopolised by al-Qaeda in its various incarnations. There may be some truth in this.
However, this is a limited viewpoint. Regimes in countries like Tunisia and Algeria have been arming and training security apparatuses to fight Osama bin Laden. But they were caught unawares by the 'bin Laden within': the terror of marginalisation for the millions of educated youth who make up a large portion of the region's population.
The winds of uncertainty blowing in the Arab west - the Maghreb - threaten to blow eastwards towards the Levant as the marginalised issue the fatalistic scream of despair to be given freedom and bread or death......
The 'bread compact'
For Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan and Egypt, the impoverished Arab states, in need of the liquidity of Euro-American and International Misery Fund aid, infitah (open-door policy) was the only blueprint of forward economic management. Within its bosom are bred greed, land grab, corruption, monopoly and the new entrepreneurial classes who exchange loyalty and patronage with the political masters as well as the banknotes and concessions with which both fund flash lifestyles.
Thus the map of distribution was gerrymandered at the expense of the have-nots who are placated with insufficient micro credits or ill-managed national development funds. The crumbs - whatever subsidies are allowed by the new economic order built on the pillars of privatisation, the absence of social safety nets and economic protectionism - delay disaffection but never eliminate it.
Below the surface the pent-up anger of the marginals simmers.
'Tis the season of 'bread intifadas'
The 'khobzistes' have returned. At home they are marginals; abroad, they are largely persona non grata for being born in the wrong geography, inheriting the perfect genes for 'profiling' and being too culturally challenged for some European assimilationists. Their only added value is as objects of social dumping in capitalism's sweat shops.
Potentially, they are the fodder of chaos in the absence of social justice....
The 'geography of hunger'
In Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth one finds resonance with the misery engulfing Tunisia and Algeria today, where the have-nots, or the mahrumin, and the khobzistes strike back at the state and target its symbols. They fight back and thus "struggle ... and with their shrunken bellies [and humiliated egos] outline of the geography of hunger".
In this geography of hunger and marginalisation, the ruling native becomes the new coloniser. By contrast to the have-nots, the ruling natives and the economic 'mafias' are sheltered not only in mansions and villas, but also within 'a hard shell' that immures them from the "poverty that surrounds" them.
In The Wretched of the Earth one reads about the "poor, underdeveloped countries, where the rule is that the greatest wealth is surrounded by the greatest poverty".
To map out the "geography of hunger" is not complete without marking out the geography of authoritarianism. In both Algeria and Tunisia, the big interests and profiteers supporting Bouteflika and Ben Ali seem to fulfill Fanon's prophecy about corruption "sooner or later" making leaders "men of straw in the hands of the army ... immobilising and terrorising". It is the security forces and the army that run the show in both countries.
Fanon, the ideologue of the Algerian revolution, is probably turning in his grave at the thought that a country of "one million martyrs" sacrificed for independence is today battling for new freedoms from housing shortages, rising food prices, autocracy and overall marginalisation.
The figures construct on paper stories of growth and stability that are not matched by the reality of marginalisation.
For how long republics of paper and men of straw can withstand the hell-fire of the Algerian and Tunisian eruptions fuelled by marginalisation remains to be seen. What is certain, however, is that the beginnings of a 'Tunisian democratic spring' are in the offing."
"....Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera's senior political analyst, comments on three crucial issues.
The recent dramatic change in Tunisia has come as a surprise to most. How do you explain its success, timing and speed?
The simplest and perhaps the most accurate answer was "provided" almost a century ago by Tunisian poet Abu Al-Qasem Al-Shabi (Schebbi), in his Defenders of the Homeland which became the most popular verse in Arab poetry, and used in the Tunisian national anthem: "When people decide to live, destiny shall obey, and one day ... the slavery chains must be broken.".....
How does such an unpopular oppressive regime stay off the radar of the international community?
The so-called international community has been traditionally silent about totalitarian practices and abuses within its member states, except in cases where certain Western countries or powers have invoked questions of regime oppression either as a tool of foreign policy or championing the cause of human rights for public consumption.
So that when those regimes, as in Tunisia, co-operated with their Western counterparts on economic or strategic issues, their abuses of power have been generally ignored.
Much of which explains Western leaders' silence or confusion regarding the Tunisian "uprising", but their rush to support the "uprising" of the Iranian opposition following the elections last year. Call it hypocrisy.
But what does Tunisia have to offer?
For US and European leaders, Tunisia's deposed president had been considered a staunch ally in the war on terrorism and against Islamist extremism.
As it is well known and reported by international human rights groups, he exploited this Western support to crack down on peaceful dissent.
During a 2004 visit by Ben Ali to the White House, in advance of Tunisia's hosting of an Arab League summit, George Bush, the then US president, praised his guest as an ally in the war on terrorism, and praised Tunisia's reforms in "press freedom" and the holding of "free and competitive elections".
The same was repeated in 2008 by Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, who praised the improved "sphere of liberties" when human rights abuses were rampant in Tunisia. In once instance, at least 200 people were prosecuted against the backdrop of socio-economic protests in one southern mining town, Redhayef.
When certain European officials criticised Tunisia's human rights record, they generally praised its economic performance.
France is Tunisia's leading trade partner and its fourth largest foreign investor, while 80 per cent of the country's trade is with the European Union.
Arguably, the neoliberal economic opening to Western investments has played no small part in the deterioration of the economic situation in Tunisia and other Arab countries."
The downfall of Tunisia’s President Ben Ali and his flight from the wrath of the street, may signal the opening act of an awakening of the poor and oppressed of North African and the Arab world. The rulers of these police states are traditionally propped up by the finance and support of either the United States or European allies.
Tunisia was a French colony from 1881 until decolonization in 1956; France retains considerable interest in Tunisia through 1174 French companies. Independence did not bring the Tunisian people a say in their own destiny. The country was plagued by a police state run by a handful of ruling families living in obscene luxury. These families plundered their country with impunity under the protection of a repressive security apparatus, that the United States so kindly helped to establish.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Protests have taken place in Algeria and Jordan - and it's my sincere hope that the Panda King (it's a fact that Abdallah looks like a panda) goes next. I'm in Cairo at the moment and things are calm here. The street housing the Tunisian embassy was bookended by checkpoints earlier in the day and Mubarak's mukhabarat were stopping cars and checking IDs. Is there fear? Is Mubarak's mouth dry with it?"
Muhammad Bouazizi: a street Tunisian vendor is now the most famous Arab. All Twitter and Facebook in Arabic is dedicated to you. You sparked a revolution. You shall not be forgotten, and you mother (if I can speak for her) shall forgive you (Bouazizi was concerned about his mother's reaction).
President Ben Ali has fled the country amid violent protests, and the Tunisian people have achieved a fantastic success. But until the economic system that condemns Tunisians to poverty and unemployment has been overthrown, the revolution is incomplete.
Maltese air traffic controllers have said that Ben Ali is bound for Paris. Mohamed Ghannouchi, now the interim president, declared that since the president is temporarily unable to exercise his duties, it has been decided that the prime minister will exercise the presidential duties. The state of emergency announced by the president this afternoon is still on, enforced throughout the country, with curfews from 5pm to 7am. Emergency measures mean that gatherings of more than 3 people during the day are banned, and the police have the right to shoot anyone who fails to comply.
It is clear that the regime wants to use the abdication of Ben Ali to crack down. They want to preserve the structure of the regime even though its most unpopular figure has gone. The revolution is now faced with a series of choices: will it press forward and get rid of the whole regime and force a democratic solution? Will it go beyond a full democratic revolution and begin a social revolution that will be able to tackle the economic issues which began the revolution in the first place: unemployment, inflation and poverty?
|Mohammed Bouazizi's attempted self-immolation set off protests by Tunisians [AFP]|
Al Jazeera English
Mohamed Bou'aziz, the young Tunisian who set fire to himself on December 17, is emerging as a symbol of the wider plight of the millions of young Arabs who are struggling to improve their living conditions.
Like many across the Arab world, Bou'aziz, who is now being treated for severe burns, discovered that a university degree was insufficient to secure decent employment. He turned to selling fruit for a living, but when the security forces confiscated his vending cart he torched himself - igniting a series of protests across Tunisia.
The roots of this Tunisian 'uprising' are to be found in a lethal combination of poverty, unemployment and political repression: three characteristics of most Arab societies.
تاريخ النشر: 14/01/2011 - ساعة النشر: 17:40
أفادت وكالات الانباء، أنّ الرئيس التونسيّ، زين العابدين بن عليّ، غادر البلاد، وأنّ رئيس البرلمان التونسيّ، محمّد الغنّوشي، تولّى مهام الرّئاسة في تونس، وذلك استجابة لرغبة الشعب التونسي، وتعذّر الرئيس التونسي عن مواصلة مهامه كرئيس للبلاد "بصورة وقتيّة".
وسبق هذه الانباء، إغلاق ببمجلب الجويّ في تونس، وسيطرة الجيش على مطار تونس العاصمة الدوليّ، إضافة غلى إعلان حالة الطّوارئ في كافّة البلاد، ونشوب صدامات عنيفة في العاصمة بين المحتجين وقوى الأمن، وإصابة مصوّر أجنبيّ بجروح.
وكان الرئيس التونسيّ، زين العابدين بن علي، قد أقال حكومته في وقت سابق، ودعا لإقامة انتخابات تشريعيّة مبكرة في غضون ستّة شهور، وذلك على خلفيّة الاحداث التي تعيشها البلاد.
على الشعب التونسي ان يحذر: الولايات المتحدة تسعى على الأرجح لإنقاذ النظام عبر التضحية ببن علي
The End of Bin Ali May Be Near! His Relatives Were Arrested trying to Flee the Country...The Army Acting on its Own...
Things are Happening so fast!
The Latest: Bin Ali Has Left the Country! The Army in Charge!
"أعلن التلفزيون التونسي عن فرض حالة الطوارئ في كافة أنحاء البلاد، وذلك بعد إعلان الرئيس التونسي زين العابدين بن علي عن حل الحكومة وإجراء انتخابات برلمانية خلال ستة أشهر، وسط أنباء عن تمركز الجيش بضاحية المرسى غير بعيد من قصر الرئاسة بتونس.
وأوردت وكالة الأنباء الفرنسية أن الجيش يسيطر على المطار ويغلق المجال الجوي التونسي، بعد أنباء عن محاولة شخصيات هامة، يرجح أنها من عائلة الرئيس، الخروج من البلاد.
وقال الكاتب الصحفي صالح عطية إن قرار الطوارئ مصدره الجيش وليس الرئيس، مما يعني أن الجيش -حسب قوله- يريد حماية البلاد والمنشآت الوطنية.
وعلق الناشط الحقوقي محمد القوماني للجزيرة على إعلان الرئيس التونسي حل الحكومة بالقول إنه "لم يعد هناك إلا أن يتنحى الرئيس"، مشيرا إلى أن الأوضاع أصبحت مخيفة، وأن هناك أنباء عن هروب أفراد من عائلة الرئيس.
When Hamas does the same, it is "imposing calm!"
To hell WITH BOTH OF THEM....
THEY HAVE ONLY BROUGHT US DISASTERS.
WILL THE PALESTINIANS EVER LEARN?....
I VERY MUCH DOUBT IT.
"Prime Minister of the dissolved Hamas-led government in Gaza, Ismail Haniyya, instructed the Interior Ministry and the heads of the security forces to ensure calm with Israel, and to prevent any actions that could lead to renewed violence...."
"....Although a compromise appeared at hand, one that would satisfy both coalitions and guarantee the nation’s well-being, Hariri was unwilling to overcome U.S. pressure. He allowed Secretary of State Clinton to veto overnight a plan that was months in the making.
What Clinton ’s action did make clear is that any outside solution will always be subject to such interference. It only reinforced calls for the Lebanese to assume control of their own affairs and reach an agreement a third party cannot abrogate.
After meeting with Hariri, Clinton embarked on a tour of Persian Gulf countries, continuing the mission to promote division between Arab and Iranian, Sunni and Shia. When asked on Al-Arabiya television to comment on the situation in Lebanon , she said “stability requires justice.”
Ironically, a concept she tried to subvert and one Hariri never understood. "
"......Six years after his death, Arafat's ghost still haunts the Palestinian national movement. From the cult of personality he constructed to the institutions he established and the agreements he signed, Arafat's influence was not only profound but enduring. Indeed, the politics of divide and rule, and governance through intimidation, wasteful duplication and destructive rivalries that Ghanem describes have been adopted by Arafat's children -- his former supporters and associates who are ubiquitous inside and outside of government and who have chosen to mimic his style of leadership. Thus, Arafat's specter is likely to hang over yet another generation of Palestinians.
by Justin Raimondo, January 14, 2011
"........Reality has finally caught up with the conservative movement, however, much to the neocons’ intense annoyance. Let Boot have hysterics:, and let the Huffington Post liberals throw their mudballs. As Chris Middleton, of the Ohio Liberty Council, a leading tea party group, put it the other day: it’s all about the math, and the numbers don’t lie. With military spending accounting for 56 percent of discretionary spending, and the US about to lose it’s triple-A credit rating, the inexorable logic of the budget-cutters leads to one and only one conclusion: it’s time to rein in the War Party, and abandon our foreign policy of imperialism — because empires are a luxury that no modern nation can afford any longer."
The New Statesman
"In this week's New Statesman, the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange talks to John Pilger about Bradley Manning, his "insurance" files on Rupert Murdoch and News Corp – and which country is the real enemy of WikiLeaks.
To read the entire feature, pick up a copy of this week's New Statesman, available on news-stands from tomorrow. Some highlights of the piece are below:
The "technological enemy" of WikiLeaks is not the United States, but China, according to Assange.....
The attempts by Washington to indict him should worry the mainstream press, he adds.
"I think what's emerging in the mainstream media is the awareness that if I can be indicted, other journalists can, too," Assange says. "Even the New York Times is worried. This used not to be the case. If a whistleblower was prosecuted, publishers and reporters were protected by the First Amendment, which journalists took for granted. That's being lost.""
By Robert Fisk
"Soldiers, soldiers everywhere. In the valleys, on the mountains, in the streets of Beirut. I have never seen so many soldiers. Are they going to "liberate" Jerusalem? Or are they going to destroy all the Arab dictatorships?
They are supposed to stop the country of Lebanon from sliding into a civil war, I suppose. Hezbollah, we are told, has destroyed the government – which is true up to a point. For on Monday, so we are told, the Hague tribunal of the United Nations will tell us that members of Hezbollah killed the former prime minister, Rafiq Hariri..... "
"In a bleak but beautiful landscape of undulating stony hills I watched a group of Palestinian schoolchildren take their lessons yesterday in the open air next to a heap of rubble that, until this week, was their classroom.
This is the village of Dkaika, about as far south in the West Bank as you can get. It's a community of around 300 people, without electricity or running water, whose days are spent tending their herds of goats and sheep and trying not to attract the attention of nearby Jewish settlers.
On Wednesday, at about 7.30am, a convoy of military vehicles and bulldozers arrived to tear down 16 homes, an animal pen, a store and one of the village school's classrooms. All were subject to demolition orders, granted because the structures were built without permission, which is almost impossible for Palestinians to get around here. Dkaika is in Area C, under full Israeli military and civil control, which accounts for 60% of the West Bank......"
"Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen has predicted a rise in violence in Afghanistan this year that would topple 2010 as the deadliest year for US-led forces since the 2001 invasion.
Press TV interviewed investigative journalist Gareth Porter regarding the US occupation and the how the White House might demand a negotiation which would be against the interests of the military.....
Porter: The military has to acknowledge that there will be a political settlement. They have been acknowledging that all along. This is not new by any means. The question really is whether they are prepared to support a political settlement anytime in the foreseeable future before the military has been able to establish clearly any claim to be successful in Afghanistan.
I think the answer to that question is clearly, “No they are not”. Again this is an issue in which there is enormous tension between the White House on one hand and the military on the other. The White House certainly knows that the only way the United States is going to be able to get out of this war is to negotiate a settlement.
Politically what the military wants which is for this war to go on indefinitely. It's simply not politically feasible for any sitting President. Therefore, the White House logically is going to be thinking much more seriously about starting a negotiation process much earlier than the military would like.
So again I think that it's inevitable that there will be continuing tensions over that issue. I don't know how it's going to turn out because the White House has proven to be very responsive to the demands of the military. It may well be in the end the President will break down and concede for another year or two to the military on this issue....."
"....But these are strange times...
When the head of the South African Zionist Federation, David Hersch, initiates an online petition against “The Arch”, demanding he be removed as patron of the Holocaust memorial centres in Cape Town and Johannesburg for his “anti-Israel behaviour” and labels his criticism of the policies, (yes, policies) of the state of Israel “morally repugnant” based on “horrific and grotesquely false accusation against the Jewish people”, it’s pertinent to provide a brief reminder to Hersch, and anyone who might be swayed, of the man’s credentials.
Tour de force
South Africa’s first black Anglican archbishop, Tutu was a tour de force against the Apartheid leviathan.
After years battling white supremacist foes, and gaining freedom, his was a voice of unity, refusing to allow post-Apartheid South Africa to fragment along racial lines.....
“Israel will never get true security and safety through oppressing another people. A true peace can ultimately be built only on justice. We condemn the violence of suicide bombers, and we condemn the corruption of young minds taught hatred; but we also condemn the violence of military incursions in the occupied lands, and the inhumanity that won't let ambulances reach the injured.”
The words of a raging anti-Semite? Or good wisdom for those politicians spinning on their own axis on that carousel called “The Peace Process” to listen to?
These are strange times. When thousands of birds fall mysteriously from the sky; Sarah Palin cries “blood libel” and one of the great moral sages of our time is called an anti-Semite, there probably isn’t any hope for the rest of us. Strange times indeed......"
بن علي يا جبان شعب تونس لا يهان..........
Thousands gather in front of interior ministry day after president's speech offered sweeping concessions.
"Thousands of demonstrators have marched through the capital of Tunisia and gathered in front of the interior ministry, shouting chants and demanding the resignation of the president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, even after he delivered a speech offering major concessions to the opposition.
Protesters sang the national anthem and shouted slogans such as "Ben Ali, leave!" and "Ben Ali, thank you but that's enough!" according to the Reuters news agency.
By midday, local time, the government had made no response, and Tunisians on the scene writing about the demonstration on Twitter said that police had so far not taken any violent action.....
But even as Ben Ali spoke on Thursday, the AFP news agency reported that two more protesters had been killed in central Tunisia. Dozens have died since December 17, when a 26-year-old unemployed university graduate set himself on fire in protest in the town of Sidi Bouzid....."
Thursday, January 13, 2011
(CNN) -- The protests that have gripped Tunisia in recent weeks are, to say the least, unusual. Organized dissent in the streets is rarely tolerated in Arab states, and human rights groups say the Tunisian government has had a short fuse when dealing with opponents. But what's going on in Tunisia is all the more unusual because the protests are being organized and supported through online networks centered on Twitter and Facebook.
So prolific are the educated members of the northern African nation's younger generation online that it has become a top priority of the Tunisian government to block and disrupt bloggers and others perceived as opponents."
«عروس عروبتـنا» الخضراء تدفـن عصـر الخضوع: انتفاضة الكرامة التونسية تحاصر «جيمس» بن علي
ويضيف «النقطة الثانية هي أنه ذهب بوعزيزي ليرفع شكوى لأن عناصر الشرطة أبرحته ضربا عندما أتوا ليصادروا بضاعته»، وهو بائع خضار متجول، مشيرا إلى أن «امرأة من الشرطة صفعته فيما انهال عليه شرطيون آخرون بالركلات. وعند المرة الثالثة ذهب يصرخ أمام مقر الولاية وأشعل النار في نفسه».
«رسالته كرامة المواطن، دعوة إلى العدالة، لم يكن يطلب عملا بشكل مباشر. وانطلق الأمر من أعمال فردية. أشخاص يشبهون بوعزيزي وانبهروا بشجاعته وتضحيته»، يقول يوسف. ويضيف «لم تدفع أية نقابة أو حزب معارض الناس إلى الاحتجاج، كان الأمر عفويا. لاحقا بالطبع، تم تسييس الامر، لكن المعارضة لم تع ولا تدرك إلى الآن، أن ما تحاول القيام به منذ 23 عاما، تحقق بطريقة غير متوقعة وعفوية».
وتعزّز الناشطة التونسية من باريس رنا معتوق، التي تقدّم نفسها على أنها «مواطنة تونسية تؤدي دورها على هذا الأساس»، الصورة التي ينقلها يوسف، مؤكدة لـ«السفير» أن «الشعارات التي ترفع في الاحتجاجات تحولت تدريجيا، من التنديد بالبطالة المنتشرة إلى: تونس تونس حرّة حرّة، طرابلسية على برّة»، في إشارة إلى عائلة زوجة بن علي، ليلى الطرابلسي، التي «كانت تبثّ الذعر في قلوب التونسيين لسطوتها، والمعروف ارتباطها بأنشطة غير قانونية».
Tunisian interior minister fired.
Troops deployed across the country
Protesters vow more manifestation
Tunisian PM: All people arrested in riots will be freed
Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali will be overthrown if the present crisis in his country over escalating unemployment and high costs of living continues, an analyst says.
محللون سياسيون يبشرون بنهاية نظام الديكتاتور بن علي ادا استمرت الانتفاضة
المباركة من اجل الاستقلال الحقيقي
By FRANKLIN LAMB
What next for Hezbollah?
The Hezbollah led opposition, as a result of the last election, has a majority in the 128-member Parliament, which enables it to name a candidate of its own for prime minister during the president’s soon to be announced binding parliamentary consultations. At noon on 1/13/10, Hezbollah voting bloc leader MP Mohammed Raad, announced that the opposition will name “a personality with a history of national resistance to head the new government.” Some are speculating that Hezbollah might propose the longtime Sunni leader Omar Karami, a moderate self effacing fellow with strong Syrian, progressive, and popular support.
Whatever it decides to do, Hezbollah may well take its time as its ponders major responsibilities that would envelop the resistance movement should it decide to govern Lebanon. Some of its supporters are urging Hezbollah to accept the daunting challenge and implement its 2009 Manifesto and its recent election platforms and end the mafia-like corruption among some Lebanon’s political leaders. Several Lebanese civil society NGO’s are urging Hezbollah to do more for Lebanon’s increasingly fragile environment, fix once and for all Lebanon’s serious water, electricity and infrastructure problems, and let the Lebanese public decide if Hezbollah is true to their cause and warrants its future electoral support.
Others continue to also lobby the party to immediately end Lebanon’s and the Arabs’ shame and grant Palestinian refugees the internationally mandated basic civil rights to work and to own a home. If Hezbollah heads the government, Palestinian prospects for achieving these elementary rights will look a lot brighter. "
Icelandic Parliamentarian Calls U.S. Subpoena of Her Twitter Account Over WikiLeaks Involvement "Disturbing"
With Amy Goodman
"The U.S. Department of Justice has subpoenaed the Internet company Twitter for personal information from several people linked to the online whisteblower website WikiLeaks. The subpoena asks Twitter for all records and correspondence relating to their accounts. Icelandic parliament member Birgitta Jónsdóttir, who has collaborated with WikiLeaks, is one of the five people targeted by the subpoenas. "I think it opens up a whole can of worms when it comes to parliamentary immunity worldwide," Jónsdóttir says. "Icelandic authorities are taking this very seriously."...."
A GOOD COMMENT
By Paul Jay
"......In early January forty-one (versus sixteen) Knesset members voted in favor of a proposal to establish a parliamentary inquiry commission into the funding of Israeli human rights organizations. MK Fania Kirshenbaum, who submitted the proposal, accused human rights groups of providing material to the Goldstone commission, which investigated Israel’s 2008-09 Gaza offensive.
Considering that the funding of all human rights organizations in Israel is made public each year and scrutinized by the state auditor, the idea of creating a parliamentary commission to inspect their income is merely a smokescreen. The parliamentary commission’s actual goal is to intimidate Israeli rights groups and their donors and, as a result, stifle free speech.
MK Kirshenbaum said as much when she accused the rights organizations of being “behind the indictments lodged against Israeli officers and officials around the world.” The majority of Knesset members supporting Kirshenbaum’s proposal wish to deter human rights organizations from making use of international human rights law and universal jurisdiction. They thus want to deprive Israeli rights groups of their most basic tools, the tools deployed to criticize rights-abusive policies. They might not oppose human rights groups, but they certainly do not want human rights work. In their myopic minds, the problem is not Israel’s unethical practices, but the organizations that reveal them.
The ongoing delegitimization of those watchdogs of democracy—human rights NGOs, the press and public intellectuals—is leading Israel down a steep and slippery slope. The next time someone travels through Ben-Gurion airport, he or she might not be able to access the websites of Israeli rights groups like Physicians for Human Rights and B’Tselem, not because they have been blocked, but because the organizations have been shut down.
The question Kirshenbaum and her supporters need to ask themselves is what kind of countries attack their own human rights organizations? The answer is straightforward."
by Philip Giraldi, January 13, 2011
"I have been hearing about the National Geographic documentary Restrepo for some time, though I only had a chance to view it last week. The ninety-minute film and a book based on the documentary describe the experiences of a platoon of US Army soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Infantry in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan from May 2007 until July 2008.....
Ironically, Forward Operating Base Restrepo was abandoned in the spring of 2010, together with other exposed outposts similar in nature, demonstrating perhaps that it should not have been there in the first place and also making it clear that the US Army, with all its resources, cannot successfully occupy Afghanistan. Fifty American soldiers had died in trying to hold the Korengal Valley. The number of dead Afghans is not known, or at least is not reported by the filmmakers. Clearly, the presence of American soldiers might have made logistical problems for the Taliban but it also turned more Afghans into enemies as a result of the complete cultural insensitivity and ignorance of the US troops. This is what I took away from the film and this is why I think that Restrepo, by virtue of its dispassionate presentation of a terrible reality, demonstrates that the United States will never succeed at anything in Afghanistan and that continued presence there will only guarantee more killing and instability. That makes it one of the best antiwar films that I have ever seen, a complete indictment of a failed and ruinous policy without having to hammer the pulpit to get its message across. One wonders if Barack Obama has seen it and, if so, what he thought of it."
(Sam is the pen name of a young Tunisian)
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 13 January 2011
".....We all know that Leila [the dictator's wife] has tried to sell a Tunisian island, that she wants to close the American school in Tunis to promote her own school – as I said, stories are circulating. Over the internet and under the desks, we exchange "La régente de Carthage" [a controversial book about the role of Leila Trabelsi and her family in Tunisia]. We love our country and we want things to change, but there is no organised movement: the tribe is willing, but the leader is missing.
The corruption, the bribes – we simply want to leave. We begin to apply to study in France, or Canada. It is cowardice, and we know it. Leaving the country to "the rest of them". We go to France and forget, then come back for the holidays. Tunisia? It is the beaches of Sousse and Hammamet, the nightclubs and restaurants. A giant ClubMed.
And then, WikiLeaks reveals what everyone was whispering. And then, a young man immolates himself. And then, 20 Tunisians are killed in one day.
And for the first time, we see the opportunity to rebel, to take revenge on the "royal" family who has taken everything, to overturn the established order that has accompanied our youth. An educated youth, which is tired and ready to sacrifice all the symbols of the former autocratic Tunisia with a new revolution: the Jasmin Revolution – the true one."
• This article was originally published in French on nawaat.org
Ian Black, Middle East editor
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 12 January 2011
"....."It has been revealed that the emperor has no clothes - meaning that the Syrian-Saudi initiative will not deliver what the opposition in Lebanon was expecting it to deliver," said Nadim Shehadi of the Chatham House thinktank in London. "This crisis reaches into the foundations of the Lebanese system. It is a leap into the unknown."
Hezbollah had hoped Hariri would be forced to withdraw state funding for the tribunal, pressure its Lebanese judges to resign and declare the agreement with the UN mandating the court null and void. But supporters argued that the government's fall was a better outcome.
"It's good news that Hariri wasn't humiliated by being forced to back down and commit political suicide," said one. "And it's good that Assad didn't get his way. But it does mean that Lebanon is now in crisis."
Hezbollah has sharpened its tone by openly attacking the US for "sabotaging" the deal it had wanted. Nabih Berri, the Shia speaker of parliament, delivered the same message. "The game played by superpowers is greater than Abdullah's and Assad's sincere willpower," he said.
Again, Lebanese have been reminded that foreigners are often the most influential in their complicated country......."
I will promptly post any and all material you supply. I am constantly scouring major sites on the internet to get the latest.
The Tunisian Intifada is the biggest story today in the Arab world. We are all watching and trying to do what we can.
After the fall of Bin Ali, the rest of the Arab menagerie of impotence will fall.
BIN ALI = Nicolae Ceauşescu
"That's the question a group of frustrated young Gazans asked the world as 2010 drew to a close. In a bold declaration titled the "Gazan youth's manifesto for change" released on Facebook and quickly circulated globally via the Internet, the young Palestinians bluntly attacked not just Israel but Hamas and the entire structure of authority inside Gaza and Palestine/Israel more broadly.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
بن علي يا جبان شعب تونس لا يهان..........
"أصبح الوضع الأمني في تونس خارجا عن السيطرة بعدما توسعت الاشتباكات العنيفة لتطال أكثر الأحياء الشعبية فقرا بتونس العاصمة، وهو ما قاد الحكومة للإعلان عن حظر التجوّل للمرة الأولى منذ وصول الرئيس زين العابدين بن علي إلى سدة الحكم عام 1987.
وتجولت الجزيرة نت بحي التضامن -أكثر الأماكن خطورة في العاصمة والذي تفجرت فيه الاحتجاجات- وعاينت الاشتباكات العنيفة، وسط دوي إطلاق الرصاص والقنابل المسيلة للدموع ودخانها الكثيف.
كما لاحظت حالة من الغضب العارم لدى المتظاهرين الذين رشقوا الشرطة بالحجارة والقنابل المدمعة التي تطلقها عليهم الشرطة التي استخدمت الرصاص لإجبار المتظاهرين على التراجع، لكن لم يسفر إطلاق النار عن قتلى.
وقالت سيدة تعرض منزلها إلى إطلاق قنابل الغاز للجزيرة نت "صوروا هذه القنابل.. هؤلاء الشرطة المجرمون يريدون خنقنا في عقر دارنا"، بينما قالت ابنتها وهي تحمل أختها الرضيعة التي تصرخ وتبكي "ما يحصل هنا شيء مرعب.. إنهم يطلقون قنابل الغاز عشوائيا".
وقال أحد الشبان –رفض الكشف عن اسمه- للجزيرة نت إن "الشرطة أفرطت في استخدام القوة ضد الشعب.. هذا غير معقول.. إنهم يعاملوننا كأنهم إسرائيليون".
وقد أشعل المتظاهرون النيران في عديد الأماكن وداخل أزقة حي التضامن ذي الكثافة السكانية المرتفعة، وأشعلوا العديد من قوارير الغاز وسط الشارع الرئيسي، مجبرين الشرطة على عدم التقدم.
وأصبح الوضع خطيرا في حي التضامن والأحياء المجاورة كحي الانطلاق والمنيهلة. ويسيطر المتظاهرون حاليا على شوارع حي التضامن، وسط حذر كبير من الشرطة التي بدت متخوفة من اقتحامها