Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I'm away for a little while right now, so just sit back and enjoy the test pattern.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

An event of modest importance

Dear Citizens of the United States of America,

I would like to congratulate you on the inauguration of your new president. Seeing the crowds in Washington on my TV set, and knowing that so many of you intend to continue celebrating late into the night, I can understand and empathize with your hope and desire for a new beginning, given the turmoil that you have seen and are currently seeing over the last 8 years.

Listening, however, to your television reporters drone on, filling air time with incrementally increasing inanity (seriously, they are running down the medical complaints of the other VIPs on CNN right now), I am dismayed to find that so many of you actually believe that the rest of the world is somehow counting on you, or that we are for some reason impressed at your accomplishment.

Not to say that it isn't a great accomplishment. For those of you whose families have been in the country long enough, your grandmother's grandmother would have lived through a time when one half of your people fought a war against the other half for the right to own black people as slaves. Land of freedom indeed.

Still, "Look world, our leader isn't an old white man anymore," is a bit unimpressive. The most backwards amongst us are far past that milestone already. Even Pakistan had a woman running the government decades ago.

Not to be a downer, but we aren't actually holding our breath, for two reasons. Firstly, your President, if he does the job you elected him to do, is supposed to look after your interests. Sometimes, if not most of the time, those interests run exactly opposite to ours. And sometimes, you don't know what's good for you. Hence, the very intelligent Mr. Obama knew that many of you wouldn't vote for him unless he a) promised to kill a sufficiently large number of people overseas, and b) cozied up to the most fashionable pro-apartheid movement in the Western world.

No, we are happy for you today, but our hopes must lie elsewhere. From Canada to Cambodia, the people who will help us are ourselves. As Shakespeares's Cassius said "The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings."

Not that we are intent on slaying Caesar. We are, however, certain that sometimes "doing the right thing" in the world is not going to sit well with you or your new President. In the end, it doesn't matter to us who he is, but what he does. That is what we will remember him for, and what we will respond to.

As he himself famously said, "We are the ones we have been waiting for."

So enjoy your milestone, America. For you, it is of tremendous value and symbolism. Just don't delude yourself into thinking that it is of the same importance for the rest of us.

The Proud Islamist

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Still No Surrender

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Since a whopping 7% of my "readership" is from the UK, I'd like to encourage any of you with UK citizenship to sign this petition, with an aim to stop the arms trade that enables the current carnage in Gaza.

Petition to 10 Downing for an arms embargo.

as for my Canadian readers, please call your MP (especially Liberal MPs) or Michael Ignatieff, to decry the Liberal party's anti-Palestinian stance.


I have no idea if any of this will get results, but since the options are there, it can't hurt to use them.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Child's Play in Gaza

I have never been to Gaza. Neither, however, have the legions of spokesmen and commentators in North America who are lauding the current slaughter. Even the newsmen and newswomen who claim to be balanced do so at the expense of the truth - to give a "balanced" view of the conflict when the facts are clearly unbalanced is to play neutral between the rapist and the victim. "Yes, he kidnapped and assaulted you, but you did try to slap him . . . " It is infuriating.

Only a few reporters have been allowed into Gaza, and the ones who are there now are under fire. As usual, the IDF will target anyone or anything and then later claim that "Hamas was firing from the building."

When this is over, and Zionists are again confronted with the indefatigable Palestinian refusal to bow down, a few Israeli journalists will stand alone, being able to say grimly, "I told you so."

Gideon Levy is one of them, and he has been to Gaza.

From Ha'aretz:

The IDF has no mercy for the children in Gaza nursery schools

The fighting in Gaza is "war deluxe." Compared with previous wars, it is child's play - pilots bombing unimpeded as if on practice runs, tank and artillery soldiers shelling houses and civilians from their armored vehicles, combat engineering troops destroying entire streets in their ominous protected vehicles without facing serious opposition. A large, broad army is fighting against a helpless population and a weak, ragged organization that has fled the conflict zones and is barely putting up a fight. All this must be said openly, before we begin exulting in our heroism and victory.

This war is also child's play because of its victims. About a third of those killed in Gaza have been children - 311, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, 270 according to the B'Tselem human rights group - out of the 1,000 total killed as of Wednesday. Around 1,550 of the 4,500 wounded have also been children according to figures from the UN, which says the number of children killed has tripled since the ground operation began.

This is too large a proportion by any humanitarian or ethical standard.

It is enough to look at the pictures coming from Shifa Hospital to see how many burned, bleeding and dying children now lie there. History has seen innumerable brutal wars take countless lives.

But the horrifying proportion of this war, a third of the dead being children, has not been seen in recent memory.

God does not show mercy on the children at Gaza's nursery schools, and neither does the Israel Defense Forces. That's how it goes when war is waged in such a densely populated area with a population so blessed with children. About half of Gaza's residents are under 15.

No pilot or soldier went to war to kill children. Not one among them intended to kill children, but it also seems neither did they intend not to kill them. They went to war after the IDF had already killed 952 Palestinian children and adolescents since May 2000.

The public's shocking indifference to these figures is incomprehensible. A thousand propagandists and apologists cannot excuse this criminal killing. One can blame Hamas for the death of children, but no reasonable person in the world will buy these ludicrous, flawed propagandistic goods in light of the pictures and statistics coming from Gaza.

One can say Hamas hides among the civilian population, as if the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv is not located in the heart of a civilian population, as if there are places in Gaza that are not in the heart of a civilian population. One can also claim that Hamas uses children as human shields, as if in the past our own organizations fighting to establish a country did not recruit children.

A significant majority of the children killed in Gaza did not die because they were used as human shields or because they worked for Hamas. They were killed because the IDF bombed, shelled or fired at them, their families or their apartment buildings. That is why the blood of Gaza's children is on our hands, not on Hamas' hands, and we will never be able to escape that responsibility.

The children of Gaza who survive this war will remember it. It is enough to watch Nazareth-born Juliano Mer Khamis' wonderful movie "Arna's Children" to understand what thrives amid the blood and ruin we are leaving behind. The film shows the children of Jenin - who have seen less horror than those of Gaza - growing up to be fighters and suicide bombers.

A child who has seen his house destroyed, his brother killed and his father humiliated will not forgive.

The last time I was allowed to visit Gaza, in November 2006, I went to the Indira Gandhi nursery school in Beit Lahia. The schoolchildren drew what they had seen the previous day: an IDF missile striking their school bus, killing their teacher, Najwa Halif, in front of their eyes. They were in shock. It is possible some of them have now been killed or wounded themselves.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Spam of the Elders of Zion*

Wow. Now they're getting desperate.

Meanwhile, Ha'aretz's Gideon Lichfield explains why Zionists are losing the PR war in Europe against people who seem to "barely even know what a spokesman is, let alone be able to provide one who is available when he needs to be and knows anything about what is actually going on."

And so when the question the world is asking is not "who's right?" but "what works?" the consistent impression Israel leaves is that it kills people because, at best, it simply doesn't have any better ideas, and at worst, because some Israeli leader is trying to get the upper hand on one of his or her rivals. And no amount of hasbara can make that look good.

*For all those of you inhaling deeply in preparation for screaming "anti-semiiiiiiiiiiite" at me: yes, I know that the Protocols were a work of fiction.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Monday, January 12, 2009

Pawn Shops

In the town where I live, there is a main road that passes right through the heard of downtown, and which goes (or comes) from the eastern edge of the city to a bridge somewhere in the middle. Just east of the downtown core there is a stretch of eight or nine blocks that represents one edge of the city's low-rent district.

Boarded up businesses and strip-mall "churches" (the kind with words like "fire" and "power" on the sign) are easy to find.

I hadn't been there in a while, but had to go down that street this week. Some of the boarded-up business spaces had been re-inhabited.

By pawn shops.

On one block alone, on both sides of the street, I counted five pawn shops. At least two of them on that block were brand new. There were others further down, along with the "payday loan" companies that flourish in such environments.

There must be a lot of people out there desperate for cash. I don't know if it's related to the impending recession, but whatever it is, it has been building for a while.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Saturday, January 3, 2009


From Lebanese-American poet Khalil Gibran:

Then said a rich man, "Speak to us of Giving."

And he answered:

You give but little when you give of your possessions.

It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.

For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?

And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the overprudent dog burying bones in the trackless sand as he follows the pilgrims to the holy city?

And what is fear of need but need itself?

Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, thirst that is unquenchable?

There are those who give little of the much which they have - and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome.

And there are those who have little and give it all.

These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.

There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.

And there are those who give with pain, and that pain is their baptism.

And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue;

They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space.

Though the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth.

It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding;

And to the open-handed the search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving

And is there aught you would withhold?

All you have shall some day be given;

Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors'.

You often say, "I would give, but only to the deserving."

The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture.

They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.

Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights is worthy of all else from you.

And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.

And what desert greater shall there be than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity, of receiving?

And who are you that men should rend their bosom and unveil their pride, that you may see their worth naked and their pride unabashed?

See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving.

For in truth it is life that gives unto life - while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.

And you receivers - and you are all receivers - assume no weight of gratitude, lest you lay a yoke upon yourself and upon him who gives.

Rather rise together with the giver on his gifts as on wings;

For to be overmindful of your debt, is to doubt his generosity who has the free-hearted earth for mother, and God for father.

-- From The Prophet

Stumble Upon Toolbar