Tag Archive for guest post

Guest Post: British Strategy and 9/11 Blowback

Ikhras Note: The Muslim Brotherhood is currently the main tool of the US-Saudi led counter-revolution in the Arab world, but the history of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist movements is filled with self-serving collaboration with foreign imperialist powers.  The following guest piece examines that history. Nu’man Abd Al-Wahid, a UK based freelance Yemeni-English writer specialising in the political relationship between the British state and the Arab World. His focus is on how the United Kingdom has historically maintained its interests in the the Middle East. A graduate of the University of Wolverhampton in 1995, one of his last pieces is on how the United Kingdom denied democracy to the Palestinians so they could establish a Jewish majority in Palestine. A collection of his essays are posted at http://numanabdalwahid.wordpress.com/

British Colonial Strategy and the 9/11 Blowback

Osama bin Laden gained his reputation as a militant Islamist during the Western backed
counter-insurgency – so-called “jihad” – against the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in
the 1980’s

The main strategy employed by the West during this campaign to contain and repel the
Soviet invasion was to recruit Islamists from around the world1 in a war against ‘godless
communism’.

Needless to say, this alliance or collusion between the West and Islamist did not originally
arise with the invasion of Afghanistan by Soviet troops. Its provenance can easily be traced
back to the challenges faced by British Imperialism in the earlier part of the twentieth century.

More On Egypt: Mubarak & The U.S. Empire

[Ikhras Note: The Arab American community must remain aware of the continuing revolutionary struggle of the Egyptian people, support their fight for freedom, dignity, and justice, and highlight the role of our own American government in Egypt and the region.  The Egyptian people continue a struggle for freedom, full sovereignty and independence, and social justice.  The outcome is not yet determined, but their victory, in this most geopolitically important Arab state, can break foreign imperialist domination of the region and create a new Egypt and with it a new Arab world.  Arab-Americans should make the success of the Egyptian people and their 2011 uprising a central concern.  Ikhras Friend Roqayah Chamseddine* takes a look at the relationship between the regime of Hosni Mubarak and the United States, and what the ouster of American imperialism’s main ally in the region means for the future of our beloved Egypt and the Arab world.  This article first appeared on The Cynical Arab website on February 13, 2011 under the title Apologies For An Empire.] 

The Middle East is often spoke of by the elite and their apprenticed citizens in a way an overlord would speak of his slave; commanding, repressive and domineering. For far too long the West has remained the dominant, hegemonic entity in the region – that is until recently.

Guest Post: A Yemeniya’s Response to Mona Eltahawy. By Dr.Lamya Almas

[IKHRAS NOTE] As Mona Eltahawy’s scope of representation and expertise continues to expand with each new uprising across much of Asia and Africa, her views continue to be rejected.  The New York-based “revolutionary feminist’s” detractors are not her imaginary group of bearded, misogynistic, religious fanatics she likes to rail against, but rather the same women, feminists, and revolutionaries the American Media darling assigned herself to represent.  In this excellent piece Dr. Lamya Almas rejects Mona’s views and her claim she represents the revolutionary Arab and Muslim women of Yemen.

Yemeni Revolutionaries

By Dr. Lamya Almas  http://yemeniyascorner.wordpress.com/

*For the record, although not a niqabi myself I am tremendously proud of the amazing women of Yemen—all of them, niqabi’s included. I am thus compelled to respond.

As the international media is captivated by images of thousands of veiled women protesters in the cities of Yemen, their ‘visibility’ and ‘participation’ is increasingly obvious. Indeed, they were too visible that politically bankrupt Saleh was compelled to resort to religious sensitivities by criticizing the mingling of sexes at Change Square. In defiance media coverage intensified as thousands of Yemeni women poured out of their homes, most clad in black Islamic dress and full face veils declaring their roles in the protests as religiously sound. They added their voices to raise the volume to a ‘roar’ demanding the ouster of Saleh. Saleh’s fatwa was followed by the kidnapping of four female physicians whose valor in the face of their kidnappers, and insistence on continuing the quest to ouster the regime made headlines. Meanwhile, Egyptian-born writer and lecturer on Arab Muslim issues Mona Eltahawy and the Muslim feminists she speaks for, claims they are “absolutely horrified by the Niqab.” In an appearance on Newsnight to discuss the Niqab ban in France Eltahawy says,

If you speak to all the Muslim feminists I know, they will say that they are absolutely horrified by the Niqab. The Niqab is not empowering. The Niqab is dehumanizing. . . In 1923 in Egypt, the Egyptian feminist Huda Sha’rawi removed the face veil and said this is a thing of the past. [Newsnight]

Who is Huda Sha’rawi? And seriously, when 1923? Mona Eltahawy is referring to an event in May of 1923, when Huda Sha’rawi and her protégée Saiza Nabarawi who were delegates from the Egyptian Feminist Union [EFU] to the International Women’s Alliance in Rome, removed their veils as they stepped off the train in Cairo. It was a symbolic act of ‘emancipation’ that was influenced by Sha’rawi’s readings of her friend and mentor, the Frenchwomen Eugenie Le Brun. Le Brun conveyed to her the belief that “the veil stood in the way of their [i.e. Egyptian women’s] advancement.”[1] Henceforth, Sha’rawi acted as the liaison between Western feminists and “Arab” feminists of the upper and upper-middle class. She imported western feminist ideas valorizing the western, in this case the European, as more advanced and “civilized” over the native who had to abandon its religion, customs, and dress; and if unwilling then at least reform its religion and habits according to the recommended imported guidelines. This was justified by a genuine concern to civilize Arab societies, and save women from a horrendous culture and religion they had been born into. Huda Sha’rawi’s version of Arab feminism isolated indigenous women who believed they possessed both the mental faculties and background that endowed them with a sense of their right to autonomy, and the right to follow their own sense of what was morally correct.

Eltahawy, I would argue, is a cross between Huda Sha’rawi and Turkey’s Kemal Ataturk and Reza Shah. Ataturk denounced the veil because it made Turkish men appear uncivilized as he explicitly says in one of his speeches,

In some places I have seen women who put a piece of cloth of towel or something like that over their heads to hide their faces, and who turn their backs or huddle themselves on the ground when a man passes by. What are the meaning and sense of this behavior? Gentleman, can the mothers and daughters of a civilized nation adopt this strange manner, this barbarous posture? It is a spectacle that makes the nation an object of ridicule. It must be remedied at once. [2]

Reza Shah issued a proclamation in the 1920’s banning the veil in attempts to adopt western reform by ridding the country of the “symbol of backwardness” [3].  Likewise, Eltahawy claims she wants to extend the Niqab ban across the world. Her goal takes me back to an attempt in 2002 by the French School in Sana’a to prohibit Yemeni girls from wearing the headscarf to school. Yemenis were enraged. Yemeni officials pointed out that the application of French law violated the terms of the French school’s license as obtained from the Ministry of Education of Yemen that required that the school operate within Yemeni territory and its laws and not outside thereof. Yemen’s National Organization accused the school administration and the French Cultural Attaché in Yemen of erroneous application of the Education Act, which ruled that the French and the French heads of educational institutions reconcile the demands of pluralism, which takes into account the nature of the societies in which there are freedom of religious belief. So, in my mind it is not strange that some of her critics accuse her of having a neo-colonial agenda for post-revolution Arab and Muslim feminism.

Furthermore, if one were to conduct a simple survey among young Muslim veiled women today, whether in Yemen or around the world, and ask them about Huda Sha’rawi and her legacy the most likely answer will be, “Who? Ask my mother, or grandmother.” If anything, Eltahwy’s response shows just how distant and removed she is from the reality of the Muslim women whom she claims she represents and speaks for. Certainly her theory of the prevalence of the niqab among the new generation of Muslims may exist, but definitely not the only and prevalent one she makes it out to be. Take Yemen for instance, where women wear it for a variety of reasons the most popular being: religious conviction, cultural habit, family pressure, and personal choice. Actually, Yemeni women have been veiled before Yemen was synonymous with Al Qaeda, or before it became as Mona El Tahawy says in her article in the Toronto Star “Revolutionary Woman vs. Burqa Woman” “the poorest country in the Arab world where Al Qaeda does have a presence.” With over a billion Muslims in the world from Europe, North and South America, Indonesia through South Asia to the Arab World, it would be naïve and unscholarly for any generalization about the current status of Muslim women to be applied to such diverse cultural situations. Hence, Newsnight host Kirsty Wark politely points to the inadequacy of Eltahawy summoning up the ghosts of Sha’rawi’s feminism in an attempt to bring the debate back to reality:

But the question, surely, is not whether there are feminist reasons for wearing the veil or not. It is ‘why is wearing the veil becoming more prevalent rather than less prevalent’? [Newsnight ]

In response, Eltahawy spins her conspiracy theory

I think it has become more prevalent because the space has been left completely uncontested to the Muslim right wing which does not respect anyone’s rights whatsoever except for this one right to cover a woman’s face. [Newsnight]

I noticed these early symptoms of Eltahawy’s tug-o-war with the Muslim right wing, and nostalgic obsession with women unveiling in public in her article “Revolutionary Woman vs. Burqa Woman”. She proceeds to tell us to,

Look no further than Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab world where Al Qaeda does have a presence. The truly “Majestic Woman” is Tawakul Karaman. Dubbed one of Time magazine’s “16 of History’s Most Rebellious Women,” she was the first Yemeni female journalist to remove her face veil on the job. As chair of Women Journalists without Chains, she defends human rights and freedom of expression and has been protesting outside of Sanaa University every Tuesday since 2007. [“Revolutionary Woman vs. Burqa Woman”]

Mona Eltahawy

Tawakul Karaman was not the “first Yemeni female journalist to remove her face veil on the job”? Yes, we Yemenis are tremendously proud and overjoyed about Tawakul’s international recognition, but facts ought to be sorted out from fiction. This is another instance in which we lament the fact that Eltahawy has self-instated herself as the unquestionable face and voice for every Arab and Middle East issue. Unfortunately the western media has bought into it. She appears too often nowadays on all topics: the Israeli-Palestine conflict; the ongoing uprising against existing regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and Syria; Muslims in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and USA; and Arab and Islamic feminism. Her expertise and credibility on topics goes unquestioned. As you can see here, she is confusing Tawakul Karaman with Amatalrauf al-Sharki, popularly known in Yemen and abroad as Raufa Hassan. Her name is one that is closely bound to Yemen media—radio, TV or journalism. Raufa Hassan in her “An Unveiled Voice” (1988) speaks about taking the veil off on the job:

But, there was a secret in this. I was working and I was veiled. At the radio I took off the veil to record because a voice through the veil would be muffled. [4]

Furthermore, the only other woman Eltahawy celebrates in the same article is an anonymous veiled Egyptian revolutionary woman worth mentioning because she is, “. . . hugging a Coptic priest in Cairo during the Egyptian revolution that ended Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.” The rest are to her “Al Qaeda’s out-of-sight ‘Majestic Woman.’”

It’s unfortunate that Eltahawy the self-instated face and voice of the ongoing revolutions does not get the point of the revolutions in the first place. The uprisings are due to the people’s deprivation of their freedoms for decades under oppressive regimes backed by the west, so naturally this is an attempt to regain their freedoms and identities. In the process they are overcoming personal differences that may divide or marginalize any citizen and instead focus on universal and national issues that unite them. Even Newsweek in their article The Feminists in the Middle of Tahrir Square gets it:

In the euphoric, even utopian, atmosphere of Tahrir, everyone talked of the Egyptians’ psychological breakthrough. Walls of fear, class, and even gender were broken. There was no feminism or ideology. Women were simply demanding the same pragmatic constitutional changes that every Egyptian wants. Everything is up for debate, including the Islamic laws that remain within the Constitution. [Newsweek]

Even feminist Nawal El Saadawi acknowledges feeling a sense of solidarity with all Egyptians as they did with her. She says,

The young men hugged and kissed me,” she said. “They tell me, ‘You were our inspiration to do this revolution.’ Even young men in the Muslim Brothers said, ‘Thank you for your books—we respect you.’ I was crying.” [Newsweek]

We are witnessing today worlds linked by affection and respect in the Arab world and, may I add, for the first time I can remember. In 2011, the world is amazed at the fact that there are so many young veiled women in Yemen. They watch closely as these women transition with such ease into political activism in defiance of a world telling them they are invisible and of the past. Yemeni women—in veils, scarves, and neither– have taken to the streets side by side with one objective: the end of a regime that has drowned their country in poverty, illiteracy, government corruption, backwards misogynistic mentalities that they recognize as un-Islamic.

We, the women of Yemen will define the needs of Yemeni women and address them within the context of a Saleh-free Yemen, with full realization that there may be universal issues pertaining to all women. In the process, we will not forget the native Yemeni woman who forms the majority and will represent and address her needs. We will learn to criticize our critics such as Eltahawy and others with respect, and not expect them to fit our standards but would simultaneously appreciate such consideration in return.

References:

[1]Huda Sha’rawi and Margot Badran, Harem Years pages 7, 80.

[2] Bernard Lewis, The Emergence of Modern Turkey, page 165.

[3] Guity Nashat “Women in Pre-revolutionary Iran: A Historical Overview” in Women and Revolution in Iran, ed. Nashat (Boulder, Co.: Westview Press, 1982), 27.

[4] Margot Badran and Miriam Cooke, “An Unveiled Voice” page 376.

The ‘Salam’ Witch Trials: Main Characters, Opening Scene

By Ikhras Friend Roqayah Chamseddine.  This article first appeared on Roqayah’s blog The Cynical Arab where you can find more of her articles and follow all the writings of this radical Lebanese-American journalist, and powerful Anti-Imperialist voice.*

The play is set in Washington, District of Columbia. The year is 2011; growing controversy over the loyalty of Muslims in the United States of America has created a rift within the political and social arena of mainstream American society. In December 2010, US Congressman Pete King announces that upon becoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee he would hold hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims. On Thursday, March 10, 2011, the Committee on Homeland Security will hold a hearing entitled “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response.”

Character Panel I:
Honorary members of the US Congress; all besides Rep. Pete King will be testifying during the “radicalization” hearings which begin on the 10th of March, 2011.

Sensationalizing Orientalism: The Media’s Hummus and Kebab Analysts

By Ikhras Friend Roqayah Chamseddine.  This article first appeared on Roqayah’s blog The Cynical Arab where you can find more of her articles and follow all the writings of this radical Lebanese-American journalist, and powerful Anti-Imperialist voice.*

 

“It is quiet common to hear high officials in Washington and elsewhere speak of changing the map of the Middle East, as if ancient societies and myriad peoples can be shaken up like so many peanuts in a jar.”

— Edward W. Said

The word ‘analyst’, routinely fatigued by the mainstream media (MSM), has become comparable to the sound of nails against a chalk-board.

When the media finally caught on to the explosive uprisings in the Middle East they seemingly had  ’experts’ on Tunisia, Egypt, Libya etc. waiting in queue; in this context the term “expert”  being any individual who has convienently waltzed through the most westernized boroughs or whose ventures are pock-marked with xenophobic back-wash outlining categorical divisions between “The West” and “The Arab World”. Evidently, any correspondent who has spent a number of days in Cairo, Beirut et al. on a network tab while downing a falafel sandwich and a bottle of Pepsi was being described as a qualified professional – being able to spit out a number of Arabic words, in the harshest accent mind you, solidified said ‘experts’ proficiency on the subject.

Israel Normalizer Mona Eltahawy

Thanks to sister Leila for sending this in. Posted with her permission:

Thanks for your post about Mona Eltahawy–such a relief! Her recent piece (Jan 29) in the Guardian really hits some new lows. A few gems stand out, such as,

“Meanwhile, the uprisings are curing the Arab world of an opiate, the obsession with Israel,” and “Enough with dictators hijacking sympathy for Palestinians and enough with putting our lives on hold for that conflict.”

Certainly no one will deny that Arab dictators use the cause for their own gain, but for Eltahawy to write about Palestine as an “opiate” and a burden (from her comfy perch at Borders in NYC according to Twitter) is not only offensive, but remarkably out of touch.  She must be upset because the burden of Palestine prevents her from getting published in more zionist rags like JPost. The average falafel ball has a better understanding of “that conflict” and its direct causal relationship to 30+ years of Egyptian repression than Mona Eltahawy. She needs to ikhras.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jan/29/egypt-mubarak-tunisia-palestine

Guest Post: The ‘British Fox’ and the Limits of Liberal Dissent

By: Nu’man Abd al-Wahid*

“…Whereas we played the card, ‘We very humbly beg you to accept the service we offer to your grand movement’…all the while conspiring like crazy. Very British.” Tony Blair (1).

Anyone who has ever been influenced or inspired by the radical African-American tradition will not fail to come across warnings or vituperations about mainstream liberals. This warning has never been better articulated than by Malcolm X. He often referred to them as foxes disguised as sheep wanting to make you his meal or as tricksters who want to pull the wool over gullible eyes.

Source: worldphoto360.com

In effect what this insight highlights with this observation are not only the limits of the liberal approach to socio-political issues but also a hidden and far from honest political agenda.

But does this socio-political insight apply to those us, ‘people of colour’, and/or those of us who wish to challenge injustice and imperialist war in England? And if it does, how does this trickery manifest itself in this so-called green and pleasant land?

Will Hezbollah Defeat Israel (again!) In The Coming War? By Dr. Franklin Lamb Part 1of2

[Ikhras Note] The Zionist narrative continues to dominate public discourse on the Arab-Israeli conflict in the United States.  US officials, mainstream corporate-media outlets, an entrenched Pro-Israel lobby, and a well-honed Israeli Hasbara machine overlap and interact so effectively that the framing of the conflict and the shaping of public perception is based on an almost entirely fictional, pro-Israel account.   Arab and Muslim organizations and self-appointed spokespersons fail to challenge the dominant narrative and the US role in the conflict for fear of being labeled “terrorist” sympathizers or risk their comfortable, air-conditioned careers as members of an equally fictional Arab or Muslim “Lobby” in Washington.

American journalist Dr. Franklin Lamb does not hesitate to challenge dominant narratives and prevailing assumptions about the Arab-Israeli conflict, or the US role in the region. Dr. Lamb provides an expert’s insight and a journalistic integrity rarely found in American corporate media coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict.  Ikhras is very pleased to receive and reprint for our readers this two-part series in which Dr. Lamb takes a look at past Israeli wars on Lebanon, the  development of the Lebanese resistance in response to recurring Israeli invasions, and what a possible future conflict with a Hezbollah-led Lebanese National Resistance might look like.

Part 1 of 2

“ Know thy enemy”…. Sun Tzu

Maron al Ras village
on the Lebanon/Occupied Palestine border:
On a clear day you can see Akka, Palestine from my favorite Lebanese
village, Maron al Ras, where more than a few analysts here conjecture that
the next and 6th aggression by Israel against Lebanon will begin.

Imperialist Barbie: The Case Against Rimah Fakih

Unlike Rima Fakih, Abeer Will Never Be Forgotten

By Guest Writer & Ikhras Friend Roqayah Chamseddine*

Rimah Fakih, a native of my very own Southern Lebanon, was recently photographed crowd surfing atop a slew of American soldiers – flaunting a set of prim and polished nails in the ironic shape of a peace sign. This perverse display during the first half of an NCAA college football game between the Virginia Military Institute and Army in West Point, N.Y. was a public relations stunt; an Arab woman being carried by a profusion of United States occupation soldiers, wearing a smile filled with sheer delight. On Ms.Fakih’s personal twitter account she goes onto proclaim her excitement at being invited to “…flip the coin at the Army Football game… GOArmy.”

US Elections: A Meaningless Ritual

Ikhras Guest Writer Roqayah Chamseddine is a Lebanese-American humanitarian activist. She is an undergraduate student majoring in Political Science/Pre-Law and Journalism. She was a member of the Gaza Freedom March last December in Cairo. Check out her tweets at http://twitter.com/iRevolt.

Ah, election day – the endless controversy, petulant midterm adverts, and sheer bureaucratic distortion of reality; you can almost feel yourself tethered that much more to the corrupt political machine.

ABC’s 20/20 Broadcast On Islam Delivered Blurred Vision Of Reality

Ms. Roqayah Chamseddine is a Lebanese-American humanitarian activist. She is an undergraduate student majoring in Political Science/Pre-Law and Journalism. She was a member of the Gaza Freedom March last December in Cairo. Check out her thoughtful tweets at http://twitter.com/iRevolt. This article demonstrates that not all Arabs and Muslims in this country are enamored with the mainstream media, and consider a media appearance a badge of honor, or a validation of being a good Muslim and Arab. This Lebanese-American takes to task ABC, its anchors and Muslim-Americans who try to appeal to them.

Diane Sawyer, Bill Weir and Lama Hasan attempted to answer a variety of dynamic questions about Islam during an ABC broadcast on Friday called“Islam – Questions & Answers.” The programme aspired to respond to five questions American viewers submitted via comments, email and video submissions: What is Islam? Why Do Radicals Feel Violence is Justified? Is Western Culture at Odds with Islam? Where is the Moderate Muslim Voice? How Can We All Get Along?

The premise of the broadcast, to explain away misconceptions in respect to Islam and Muslims in America, sounds plausible – commendable even; ABC is touted as ‘America’s News Service’ and their tagline heralds that “…more Americans get their news from ABC News than from any other source“. The delivery of the ABC ‘Islam’ special solidified many contentions, one of the most pivotal being that of the anatomy of American ignorance.

Diane Sawyer’s voice lulled viewers through a barrage of images and videos, including that of Osama Bin Laden and Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. It is a simple technique used by even the most liberal of media orthodoxy; them and us, extremists verses moderates, radicals against pacifists. The clip of Osama Bin Laden was inaudible but Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s was not, a few seconds were played wherein he was heard saying ‘Al Mawt La Amreeka’ – ‘Death to America’ and then, of course, there was nothing more given. The video ABC stripped was from a speech by Hezb’Allah Secretary General, in it we can see that his statement was blatantly taken out of context. The video of his speech can be found here:

One Word: Why They Should Ikhras!

An Ikhras.com Exclusive
By Guest Writer Khaled Barakat*

The great masses mobilized by the ATFP

English Follows Arabic

كلمة واحدة
!لماذا يجب ان يخرس هؤلاء
خالد بركات
خاص لموقع ” إخرس”

ربما لا يعرف الكثيرون ان كلمة ” اخرس ” هي الكلمة الاكثر رواجاً وشعبية في مؤسسة القمع العربية ، داخل سجون النظام العربي الرسمي ومؤسساته ، والامر ذاته ، في سجون الاحتلال الاسرائيلي ، فهذه كلمة رائجة هناك.

يتعلم الجلاد الصهيوني هذه الكلمة مبكراً ، وباللغة العربية ، ومع بداية الفصول الاولى لوظيفته كجلاد وقاتل ، يمارس دوره ومهنته العنصرية اليومية في السجون ، يتلذذ بتعذيب الفلسطينيين والعرب وامتهان كرامتهم. والقول لهم : أخرس ، إخرسي، اخرسوا

في الوطن العربي ، كما في فلسطين المحتلة ، كلما إحتج المواطن العربي على واقعه الردئ، يقال له : إخرس.

كلما قالت إمراة عربية حرة انني لست حرة وانني منتهكة : يقال لها اخرسي.

كلما صرخ طفلا في قطاع غزة ضد الحصار والجوع ، ومن اجل مقعد مدرسي ودفتر نظيف ، يقول له ابو مازن: إخرس

كلما بكى طفل عربي على حاجز صهيوني يقول له كل ” المجتع الدولي” وبصوت واحد: لماذا تبكي؟ إخرس!

لكن موقع ” إخرس ” ياتي على النقيض من هؤلاء. وهذا واضح  ولا يحتاج للكثير من البحث والعناء، وهو ليس موقعا الكترونيا خارج سياق إحترام ” الراي الاخر ” ومفهوم ” الديموقراطية “.

لا يحق للانظمة السياسية التي تغتصب السلطة في الوطن العربي ان تتحدث باسم شعوبها او باسم الامة العربية . ولا يحق لسلطة فلسطينية عاجزة وتخون شعبها علنا ان تتحدث باسم الفلسطينيين او تدعي تمثيلهم، لهؤلاء جميعا  يوجد ممثلون وشخوص وهياكل شبيه ،  في الولايات المتحدة ، التي بدورها تقبلهم وتحتضنهم في مؤسستها السياسية والمالية وحتى الامنيه

عصابة عربية في الواقع ، في العاصمة واشنطن ، يقف على راسها : سفراء دول الخليج وممثلي السلطة الفلسطينية ومؤسسة مشبوهة تدعى ( شبكة العمل من اجل فلسطين ) ويتراسها موظف صغير قزم اسمه زياد العسلي. وهذه شخصية غامضة ، اذ لا تعرف على وجه التحديد ان كان عضوا في حزب الليكود او في كاديما، وقد تحتار في امره..

هؤلاء يجب ان يخرسوا، لانهم لا وجهة نظر لهم ، ولا اختلاف طبيعي في الرؤية والموقف ، لو كان الامر كذلك فانه يبقى في اطاره وحدوده العادية وفي اطار تعددية سياسية وفكرية في الجالية العربية ، لكن هؤلاء خارج هذا المعنى ، انهم موظفون وماجورون صغار ويتاجروا في قضية انسانية كبرى. ليخرسوا اذن..

* كاتب عربي من فلسطين

Let the Arabs sleep

We’re excited to receive another article by Ikhras’ friend, the eloquent Ms. Roqayah Chamseddine. Roqayah is a Lebanese-American humanitarian activist. She is an undergraduate student majoring in Political Science/Pre-Law and Journalism. She was a member of the Gaza Freedom March last December in Cairo.

Ikhras Comment: If , as Roqayah points out in this article, the Arab people’s excuse for not rebelling against tyranny is the “emergency laws” of oppressive police states, what’s the excuse for Arab-Americans?  Why are Arab-Americans busy preparing galas at which illegitimate rulers, princes, kings, and oil-sheiks are featured guests and keynote speakers? The Arab Mukhabarat don’t dare operate in the banquet rooms of of Washington DC hotels, and they are too busy keeping an eye on their domestic opposition. More Arab-Americans are increasingly willing to speak out against those whom the ADC and ATFP “honor” at their galas, banquets, and festivals, and Ikhras.com pledges to be their platform.

Ah the Arabs; the inventors of hummus, the culinary architects of falafil, the loud and seemingly obnoxious lovers of football. When they aren’t watching Star Academy, listening to a concord of deluded music by vapid artists or brushing up on their français they are sound asleep – dreaming of shopping in Beirut Mall, dancing in taste-less clubs or uploading a mountain of photos onto Facebook. Très chic, no?

What else is there to fret about? What more is there to care for?

We have our Haifa’s, Nancy’s and Hosni’s. We don’t care for your Barghouti’s, Salah’s and Corrie’s.

Let the Arabs sleep as the rest of us wipe the tears from our cheeks in the middle of the night, laying restless and shaken. Let the Arabs sleep and snore through the screaming of our mothers and the wailing of our fathers. After-all, they are helpless and cannot act – at least that is their excuse.

– You see we are living under ‘Emergency Law’!

Bl rooh,bl dam nafdeek ya shu? Ya Falasteen?

– Don’t you know, we cannot speak one ill word against our King or Queen! Don’t you know the reprecussion?

– Sure, there are millions of us, but what can we do? We are just people after-all!

The Arabs are full of excuses,unlike, for example, the Turks. The people of Turkey have shown more courage than the useless body of Arabs preoccupied with their iPod and iPads and iDiocy.

The activists aboard the Flotilla’s to Gaza some months ago did what no Arab community has done for over 60 years,since the illegal creation of the Zionist entity known as “Israel”.

Bl rooh, bl dam nafdeek ya shu? Ya Falasteen? No. Nafdeeki ya Queen Rania, Nafdeek ya King Abdallah, Nafdeek ya Obama.

Those are the ‘leaders’ our people turn to in times of great trials and tribulations.

The Arabs, in their unwavering apathy – are aiding Israel.

How much longer can Palestine be strangled while the Arabs of the world watch and wait for a “chance to act”. Another massacre? More bodies?

Must the Mediterranean sea turn red for the Arabs to act?

No, I doubt even then they will muster the courage to abide by the empty phrases they throw around at rallies and protests – the general populace are simply reactionaries. They are more than willing to shout out that they will die for Palestine during a moment where they are most secure, away from death.

So, as you head out the door do not slam it – do not shout – do not scream. After-all, we don’t wish to wake the Arabs.

Rima Fakih: The Beauty Pageant Scholar and The Arabs

Arabs were elated a short time ago; 24 year old Rima Fakih – the first Lebanese American, the first Arab American, the first Muslim, and the first immigrant to win the Miss USA title – Fakih seemingly established the foundation for ‘victory’ according to the acclimatized Arab community.

The tight-knit hamlet of Arabs, stemming from Egypt to England, were grinning from ear to ear and it is all thanks to what they called a “historic victory” in the curvaceous shape of an Arab woman.

Fakih, in keeping with the indiscretion of the inane online polity, paved the way for the Arabs – with her crown came the breaking of a new dawn, the coming of change. You can almost hear the animated sound of ululations once more.

In light of such an aberrant occasion Ms. Fakih once stated that her acquisition, embodied in the form of a beauty pageant, would exhibit that “…there are Arabs that are caring, that are good people, and who love the country they live in. I think it would make the Arab image a more positive one.” The mainstream view of the Arab people would be castrated, made void and questionable due to this bold achievement; Rima was evidently our one-way-ticket to adulation.

Arabs have certainly come a long way. From strategic achievements against the Roman Byzantine forces to creating the largest bowl of Hummus we now have Rima to add to our ever expanding list of ‘victories’.

Victory no longer means the redemption of our lands in spite of brutal foreign occupation, no, we are instead making it permissible to capture the soul of the Western military machine one high-heel at a time.

Recently Ms. Fakih has used her fundamentally nefarious platform to stigmatize Muslims; yes, who would have seen this coming?

In an interview with Inside Edition Fakih was asked about the “Ground Zero” Mosque – She stated that “…it shouldn’t be so close to the World Trade Center. We should be more concerned with the tragedy than religion.”

I assume Rima, who is now busy practicing for the ‘Miss Universe Pageant’, is not at all concerned about the thousands upon thousands of 9/11’s conducted, promoted and orchestrated by the United States of America; Her crown seems to be on a bit too tight.

And of course, the masses applaud her for not only being “beautiful” but for having an “…intelligent opinion about the Ground Zero Mosque.”, one comment reads.

Her beauty somehow makes it permissible to hold an opinion contrary to US Law and common sense.

But this is the overwhelming fulfillment praised by the Arabs; Rima Fakih’s vacuous accomplishment , which comes in the form of a misogynistic ‘beauty contest’, and the acclaim which the Arab populace has laced with the empty ‘victory’ has made me realize how far we have fallen as a people.

Victory is when we take back Al Aqsa. Victory is when we free our Iraqi mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters of Western occupation. Victory is when we redeem every tear shed by those made orphans under Western imperialism.

Qais Nawwaf said it best:

In light of the US occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, I believe the main political objective of Arabs living in the west generally and the US specifically ought to be disruption of, and eventually putting a halt to, the war machine that has devastated and exhausted the lives of innocent millions. Arab-Americans are in an ideal position to demand this. They live in the belly of the beast, and they are in no need to be educated on the fundamentals of the realities of war and occupation, at least in comparison to the general American public the majority of which is frequently found unable to find Afghanistan and Iraq on a map. Arab and Muslim-Americans’ perpetual quest for acceptance, pursued with disregard for the responsibility of seriously opposing the wars and occupations, brings to mind Malcolm X’s statement addressing African-American involvement in opposing war on Congolese: “they’re able to take these hired killers, put them in American planes, with American bombs, and drop them on African villages, blowing to bits Black men, Black women, Black children, Black babies, and you Black people sitting over here cool like it doesn’t even involve you. You’re a fool. They’ll do it to them today, and do it to you tomorrow. Because you and I and they are all the same.”

Rima Fakih, regardless of her origin and her religious ties, is someone to be vehemently admonished. Muslims and nonMuslims should be rebuking all those who align themselves with xenophobia, Islamophobia and any individual who blatantly disregards religious/irreligious freedom.

Fakih may be a ‘beauty queen’ but her subjective ‘beauty’ only goes so far and it certainly does not make up for her other shortcoming, especially in terms of intellect and logic; she is using her platform to further promote the mainstream mantra – that Muslims are not to be accepted into society.

Fakih in Arabic means “scholar”, ironically; There is a phrase in my native Arabic – “Laysa Kul’i Fakih b Fakih” which translates as “Not every scholar is a scholar”. This rings most true, especially when applying it to Rima Fakih.

This is a special contribution to Ikhras by Ms. Roqayah Chamseddine, a Lebanese-American humanitarian activist. She is a an undergraduate student majoring in Political Science/Pre-Law and Journalism. She was a member of the Gaza Freedom March last December in Cairo.