Saturday, June 28, 2003

Fear and loathing in the blogosphere..

Salam Pax announced today that an Iraqi woman called Zainab has started her own blog, and by his endorsement instantly propelled her to fame and misfortune. I say misfortune because Zainab's first post started with the probably heartfelt, yet rather inflammatory words:
"I know that one day there will be a great revolution against the Americans and now we have the first seeds of that revolution"
I'm sure Zainab had no idea just how hateful people can be, no idea how much purely racist nastiness is to be found out there. I'm sure that when she wrote those words she didn't realise she would be subject to trolling comments by dozens of slimebags who have nothing to do but jump at any opportunity to spout racism and demagoguery. Zainab is an Iraqi, who probably witnessed untold horrors during the American invasion. Her country is now under American military occupation. If anyone in the world has the right to criticise the American invasion and occupation of Iraq, she does!

A note to those who mindlessly attacked Zainab for her honesty: We don't care if you don't approve of our command of English, or if you think that only white neo-conservative Americans ought to be allowed to express their opinions. We won't allow you to tell us what we should or shouldn't write. We don't care if you are so enslaved by your media that you can't fathom someone not toeing your party line.

The funniest comments of all were those suggesting that Zainab keep away from politics and follow Salam Pax's lead of "just telling us what you see". Excuse me you BLITHERING IDIOTS, but Zainab will write whatever the hell she pleases. And if today she has a hankering for a little ranting rhetoric against American imperialism, then I say Bravo!

How stupid does someone have to be to insist that the Americans are in Iraq for the sole noble purpose of helping the Iraqis become "free", while in the same breath make demands about what an Iraqi should or shouldn't write in his or her blog?

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Hamas seeks "recognition"

Stratfor, June 25

Volte-Face for Hamas?

The Jerusalem Post reported June 25 that Hamas has indicated a willingness to accept Israel's right to exist. However, Hamas sources speaking to Stratfor have categorically denied any such statement, while also rejecting the notion that Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad has struck a cease-fire deal with Israel. These contradictory statements either could be a case of erroneous reporting or indicate cracks within Hamas, where core officials may be making deals without clear communication with the group's periphery. Hamas could be floating a balloon in attempts to ease pressure over the U.S. proposed peace plan. If there is any truth to the report of recognition for Israel, however, it would represent a major shift in Hamas' ideology and politics.

Well, the Israelis couldn't have it better. They've gotten rid of Arafat, the new "Palestinian government" is a lame-duck puppet regime, and now we have Hamas, like a clumsy, ham-fisted oaf, trying to play smartypants and fill the power vacuum. And as I said before, Hamas can always be relied upon to blow something up and ruin any agreement. Just what the Likudniks want.

Friday, June 20, 2003

Salam gets taxi ride from Hell..

Baghdad is still very far from being a safe place to be. Read Salam's story of how he thought a later-than-usual taxi ride might have easily ended in firy death:
I think I was in a car with a loony-suicide-fucker last night. I wanted to ask why he wanted to hide a hand grenade in his car but I was really really scared. He just might decide to stick the hand grenade down my throat, because it is Halal to kill those who are agents of the infidel occupier.
What do you do when you are in a car with someone who asks you about the best place to hide a hand grenade?
Salam also has some reports of various acts of armed resistance against American forces in Baghdad and elsewhere, go check it out.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Guerrilla war in Iraq

Can you recognise the enemy's face?Let's not beat around the bush. The United States is involved in a guerilla war in the Sunni areas of Iraq. Since May 1, American soldiers have fallen to guerilla attacks on almost a daily basis, and more than 50 have been killed. A large proportion of these deaths have been the result of sniper attacks, especially in Baghdad. Even kevlar chest plates and helmets haven't saved American soldiers from Iraqi sharpshooters.

When the war was raging, everyone here was glued to their TVs, and nobody wanted to talk about anything other than the war. The sovereignty of an Arab state was at stake, and everyone was rooting for the Iraqi people to repel the foreign invaders, Saddam or no Saddam. When it suddenly became apparent that some sort of treason had occured and Baghdad fell without a fight, it was like somebody in the family had committed suicide, and any discussion of the subject became taboo. Seriously, within 24 hours nobody wanted to hear about Iraq. Kind of like a collective shame or guilt.

With these daily reports of American casualties at the hands of the Iraqi resistance, there is renewed interest in the news, and people are talking. Just as during the war, opinions differ wildly, with some folks predicting a swift American victory at one end, and others saying that the Americans will run from Iraq in a Vietnam-style defeat. I am still wating to see what will happen, after all it's still not clear whether these guerillas are following a strategy laid out by Saddam's government before the war, or if they appeared independantly from among an angry population, or if they are under a central command (as opposed to being a disorganised network of resistance cells).

If the US Command is going to fight the Iraqi resistance, it's going to have to identify its command and control structure, figure out how it supplies and how it connects to the population. With none of this information at hand, the Americans will be swinging in the dark, while taking fire.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Censorship, bah!

As an unofficial but nevertheless loudmouthed representative of the "Arab Street", I demand that the Egyptian censorship board immediately revoke its unjust banning of the film "The Matrix Reloaded". It's pointless anyway, since everyone will find a way to watch the movie somehow, and the banning has probably generated more public interest now.

In olden times, when our all-wise, all-seeing censor-nanny-idiots, in their infinite and unquestionable wisdom, banned a movie or musical group, we had to grin and bear it till a friend brought over a tape from the USA or Europe. But in the year 2003, we unjustly deprived citizens have a useful (and obvious) weapon against the tyranny of Mubarak's culture-repressing stooges: broadband Internet. Of course not everyone has a fast connection, but there are enough people with DSL and satellite connections to produce more than enough high-res DVD-rips to go round. Yep, I admit it, we Egyptians are all insufferable pirates. I did it, I did it ya hear me, an' I'm glad!

Note to Censor: I hope that you don't sleep, I hope you lose your appetite at the unthinkable prospect of Egyptians in their millions downloading "The Matrix Reloaded" off the net. We will watch it, oh yes, we will. And like the photocopier and printing press helped revolutionaries of old, we will use Kazaa and other file-sharing software to obtain the cultural freedom that is our birthright. Viva la revolucion!

Related link: Commentary on MuslimWakeup

Rachel Corrie memorial in San Francisco

When this girl was killed by an Israeli bulldozer I was amazed at how certain over-zealous Israel-supporters rushed to defame her as much as possible. She certainly wasn't as historic a figure as Che, but as a person who was martyred for her beliefs it was fitting that she be so honored in death.

Rachel Corrie Spotted with Che and Mumia on Muslim Wakeup

Egyptian-Israeli conspiracy to... huh?

Here we have a motley crew of negotiators involved in complicated shenanigans with unfathomable motives: The head of Egyptian intelligence went to Israel, supposedly to make the Israelis talk with Hamas. Today it surfaces that he took along a radical Egyptian preacher (Qaradawi), known in Egypt for his anti-government stance and for his firy performances on Al-Jazeera (One of the reasons Al-Jazeera is so unpopular with Egyptian officials), and somehow got him to convince Hamas leaders to agree to a truce with the Zionists, which will supposedly be announced next week in Cairo, after a partial Israeli troop redeployment. In the meantime Ariel Sharon made a statement in the Knesset promising dedication to the "peace process" while also pledging an all-out offensive against "terror". How does one pledge peace and promise war simultaeneously? Understandably, the Knesset was also confused, and hence divided in its vote, 57 in favor, 42 against.

Obviously everyone knows that neither Hamas nor Sharon will hold true to their word, either or both sides will inevitably blow something up and kill some innocent bystanders in the name of their respective holy causes, and all this is one big spectacular farce... But for which audience? It seems to me that for some reason, both the Israeli and the Egyptian governments are equally disinterested in peace, but are nevertheless doing their best to impress the Americans with their pretend pro-peace efforts. Since Hamas can be always be relied on to blow something up and spoil any truce, and Israel will always find ways to play provocateur in the occupied territories and force the Hamas terror hand, nobody should worry about any unwanted changes to the status quo or adherence to any troublesome truces.

I fully understand Israel's dastardly motives in derailing any peace initiatives, and I even recognise the even dastardlier motives of Hamas to do the same. However I'm having trouble understanding what is driving the Egyptian government to partake in this kind of evil opera. And what on earth is Qaradawi doing there, playing diplomat for the government?? Damn all of their mustaches to hell.
Note: This post has been edited to remove inaccuracies.

Monday, June 16, 2003

More Palestine peace processing...

(Stratfor) 1145 GMT - Hamas could agree to a cease-fire as early as June 17, Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath says. The announcement came after Egyptian officials met June 16 with Palestinian officials, including Minister for Security Affairs Mohammed Dahlan. The Egyptian delegation met with Hamas leaders on June 15. Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said that Israel would reject any temporary cease-fire, claiming that Hamas would use the time to regroup for more attacks. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told his Cabinet on June 16 that Israel could agree to a cease-fire, but reserved the right to strike against anyone who attacks Israel first. In addition, Hamas leaders living abroad -- such as Khaled Meshal -- said they would consider a cease-fire as long as Israel agrees to stop assassinations, incursions and other military activities, Haaretz reported, citing sources close to the talks.

WHATEVER.... What strikes me is that now that Arafat has been sidelined, and the new Palestinian "leadership" is nothing but a paper tiger (a "chicken with no feathers" is how Sharon called it), none other than Hamas is becoming the main authority for the Palestinians. Of course Hamas is unpredictable, unreliable, and too much of a loose cannon to be expected to adhere to any sort of agreement. Which, of course, is exactly what the Israelis want, so they can continue maintinaining the status-quo! How wonderful for the Palestinians.

Lectures from the Elders

Last night, in Mecca of all places, members of a terrorist cell evaded a police checkpoint, got into a high-speed, guns-blazing car chase, and finally had an all-night shootout with the police from their hideout. When the smoke settled, at least 10 people were dead from both sides, and the surviving militants had been captured. The fact that this happened in Mecca was the subject of some discussion at the cafe today. That is, until some senile old farts got into the conversation.

I personally think (and said as much to my peers) that it is a good thing that Al-Qaeda should strike in places like Saudi, since the retarded people there who sit around heaping praise on the heroic Al-Qaeda freedom fighters can actually get a first-hand look at what charming boys the fanatics really are.

At this point I got subjected to one of those rambling, long, inconclusive tirades that my dad likes to give, first ranting about how those terrorists should never have stepped into Mecca, but then going on and on about how muslims are opressed everywhere, how one can't lump all groups into one basket, how some of those so-called terrorists are actually freedom fighters, blah blah blah. Somewhere during my respectful attendance of this ad-hoc lecture, I tuned out completely and started hatching plans to make this blog, so I don't remember much more, other than by the time I got up to leave the discussion had digressed to Egyptian history, and what little I heard showed me that our education system wasn't any better in the fifties and sixties than it is now..

Welcome to the Arab Street Files

I can hear the sirens already. I can envision the mukhabarat officers knocking on my door at any moment to take me away to wherever it is they take anti-government suspects.

I haven't even written anything yet, but nevertheless they could probably knock together a solid case for prosecution against me in a military tribunal, on the basis of thought-crime, which would be publicised in the state-controlled newspapers and have countless sheesha-heads in cafes across the country discussing the horrible injustice done to a misguided young man who dared to speak the unspeakable. They would probably be very concerned about it, for a few minutes anyway...