Thursday, January 31, 2008
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Metzger also called for Muslims to have the freedom to return to pray in mosques on condition that they do so peaceably: "We will welcome every Palestinian man who wants to pray in his mosque. Every Friday they can come, but with one condition, without violence. We have the same feeling about prayers, we want to give you respect but let us live and believe our land is the Holy Land and Jerusalem belongs to us. You have another place, Mecca and Medina, you don't need a third place."
In the interview Metzger also described Jerusalem as "the capital city forever to the Jewish nation." He argued that Muslims have no connection to Jerusalem commenting that "behind the Kotel we have a mosque. But when they pray even though they are in our holiest place, they face Mecca. Their back is to Jerusalem. So you can see from only one sign that it does not belong to them. They have nothing - no connection." [Read Arabic historiographical manuscripts and books, you idiot. Actually, from experience, if one if praying inside al-Aqsa Mosque, your back is facing the Old City of Jerusalem and East Jerusalem....Wrong again.]
The tenure of Metzger, 54, appointed as chief rabbi in 2003 for a ten-year term, has been marked by controversy. In 2006 Attorney General Menachem Mazuz called on him to resign his post in a report which alleged that he had accepted discounted hospitality at a number of Israeli hotels - a call that Metzger rejected.
Metzger has also proposed the establishment of a "religious United Nations" comprised of religious leaders from around the world, and was named one of the 12 most influential international religious figures in a recent CBS documentary entitled In God's Name.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Just before 4:30 one afternoon last July, calls to prayer echoed from all the mosques in Ayn al Hilweh, a Palestinian refugee camp in the city of Sidon, south of Beirut. First built in 1948 for refugees from northern Palestine, the camp has grown into a ramshackle ghetto. Concrete and cinderblock line tight alleys with cobwebs of low-hung electrical cables. On the walls are layers of faded political posters—some for Hamas, some for Fatah, and still others for Saddam and even Hezbollah leader Seyid Hassan Nasrallah—marking the divisions among Palestinian resistance factions.
At the Shuhada, or martyrs’ mosque, a dozen men stood in paramilitary uniforms with walkie talkies, M4 Carbines, AK-47s, scopes, pistols, combat boots, long beards, and sunglasses. Unlike the hundreds of familiar, unkempt militiamen slinging old weapons in the camp, these men were professionals. They joined about two hundred others on the mosque’s second floor for a special prayer. They were burying Daghagh Rifai, a comrade in Usbat al Ansar, shot that morning by members of their rival faction, Fatah, after a string of attacks and retaliations. The men lined up with the others in orderly rows, placing their weapons on the floor between their legs. Some wore the salwar kameez typical in Pakistan and Afghanistan, a jihadist fashion statement. Following the prayer they gathered to gaze briefly at the corpse, wrapped in the green flag of Islam, not the Palestinian flag.
His comrades carried Daghagh’s body on an olive-colored military gurney; a procession of hundreds followed them around the corner and up an incline as camp residents watched from their doors or windows. When the silent marchers approached Lebanese soldiers at the camp’s gate on the way to the cemetery, the armed men stayed behind. They let relatives carry the body.
[Note: The tendency to label all Sunni militant groups as "al Qai'da" is inaccurate and not particularly useful in my view.]
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Friday, January 25, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
CLICK BLUE HYPERLINK BELOW OR GO TO http://occident.blogspot.com/ TO VIEW THE VIDEO.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Egypt has said it will not use force to send back Palestinians who crossed from the Gaza Strip in large numbers after parts of the border were breached. Foreign ministry spokesman Hosan Zeki said the border would be closed again when all the Palestinians had returned.
Earlier Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said he had let the Gazans in. Tens of thousands have surged in to buy food and other supplies made scarce by an Israeli blockade - aimed at stopping rocket attacks from Gaza. Egyptian police took no action to stop people crossing but Israel urged Egypt to restore security.
The blockade imposed last week eased slightly on Tuesday to allow some fuel and medicines through, but Israel has now reimposed the fuel restrictions. "We want to buy rice and sugar, milk and wheat and some cheese," said Ibrahim Abu Taha, Gaza resident.
Israel and the US have expressed concern about the events at the Egyptian border, and Israel fears weapons could be smuggled into Gaza. Mr Zeki said Egypt was trying to contain the situation but had "great understanding" of the people of Gaza and their need for basic supplies. People had packed into cars and donkey carts or crossed the border on foot when it was breached.
President Mubarak said he had told his troops to "let them come to eat and buy food and go back, as long as they are not carrying weapons". Palestinians have broken through the border before, in 2005, and it was quickly resealed with barbed wire, but reports say that on this occasion two-thirds of the border wall was destroyed.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniya has called for urgent talks with Egypt and his Palestinian rival, President Mahmoud Abbas, on border crossings. "We do not want to control everything, we are part of the Palestinian people," Mr Haniya said, apparently in response to an offer from Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayad to control Gaza's borders - so far rejected by Israel. Hamas has controlled Gaza since last June. In recent months the border has been mostly sealed, in an understanding between Israel and Egypt.
[Source: Al Jazeera English]
Monday, January 21, 2008
The current leader of the group, Ahmad Hassan al-Yamani, reportedly claims to be a deputy (na'ib) of the Twelfth Imam, a messianic religious leader who Twelver Shi'a believe to be in a mystical "occultation" from which he will return at an appointed time.
The following essay, written by a top-notch Norwegian Middle Eastern and Iraq specialist, provides an excellent, succinct analysis of the present state of Iraq's Shi'a today: http://www.historiae.org/Ashura.asp
For an excellent article on the AMS, see: http://www.merip.org/mer/mer237/meijer.html
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Banshee Coulter: Most U.S. Military Bases Named after 'Confederate' Officers, Like 'Eisenhower, Nimitz'
Conservative pundit and banshee Ann Coulter claims in this "debate" broadcast on Fox News' Hannity & Colmes that most U.S. military bases are named after "Confederate officers." She uses two examples, President/General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. Both were born after the end of the American Civil War and served in World War II, not the Civil War. This statement occurs around the 4:50 mark.
Around the 1:30 mark she claims that the "brilliant" thing about our Civil War was that "it ended," unlike civil wars in the Balkans and Iraq. Although sectarian tensions still exist in the Balkans, the last time I checked the wars had ended in the 1990s. As for Iraq, its civil war has been fully waged since February 2006. The American Civil War lasted from 1861-1865 and ended after the deaths of 620,000-700,000 soldiers on both sides.
CLICK BLUE HYPERLINK BELOW OR GO TO: HTTP://OCCIDENT.BLOGSPOT.COM TO VIEW THE VIDEO CLIP
Friday, January 18, 2008
Thursday, January 17, 2008
[An interesting piece by Dana Boyd, a doctoral student in the School of Information at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society on class differences between Facebook and MySpace users.]
I want to take a moment to make a meta point here. I have been traipsing through the country talking to teens and I've been seeing this transition for the past 6-9 months but I'm having a hard time putting into words. Americans aren't so good at talking about class and I'm definitely feeling that discomfort. It's sticky, it's uncomfortable, and to top it off, we don't have the language for marking class in a meaningful way. So this piece is intentionally descriptive, but in being so, it's also hugely problematic. I don't have the language to get at what I want to say, but I decided it needed to be said anyhow. I wish I could just put numbers in front of it all and be done with it, but instead, I'm going to face the stickiness and see if I can get my thoughts across. Hopefully it works.
For the academics reading this, I want to highlight that this is not an academic article. It is not trying to be. It is based on my observations in the field, but I'm not trying to situate or theorize what is going on. I've chosen terms meant to convey impressions, but I know that they are not precise uses of these terms. Hopefully, one day, I can get the words together to actually write an academic article about this topic, but I felt as though this is too important of an issue to sit on while I find the words. So I wrote it knowing that it would piss many off. The academic side of me feels extremely guilty about this; the activist side of me finds it too critical to go unacknowledged.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Born In 1982 – Tehran, YAS first began to listen to rap music at the age of 16, when his father would return from his business trips in Germany and bring him the latest Tupac CD and other hip hop music. After the sudden and untimely death of his father, YAS was faced with the responsibility of becoming the primary care taker of his household. With his father's debts mounting and hardly being able to make ends meet, YAS at the age of 18 was forced to leave his college ambitions behind and begin to work and support his entire family (his mother, younger brother and triplet sisters). It was at this time that he began to write poetry which soon turned into text lyrics for his music. It was also his way of staying close to his father's memory.
After the Bam earthquake in Iran, YAS was devastated at the number of lives lost (nearly 50,000 people) in the disaster, it was then, that he wrote his first song "Bam". This was the beginning of his singing career. He realized that through rap music he had the ability to reach people by telling full stories that he thought was not easy to do through other forms of music which only consisted of a few versus and a chorus. Realizing that through his music, he had the ability to inspire people and reach millions of other young people in Iran, he decided to present his songs to the government and request a permission to release an album. Many years of hearing "NO!" from the officials, and being ridiculed countless times for his singing style (rap) resembling that of "reading a newspaper", his efforts, finally paid off. To date, in an unprecedented move, six of his ten songs have been granted permission to be released, and soon, YAS will be the first rapper in Iran to legally release an album. "I don't use fowl language in my music or sing about sex and violence. I want to be able to proudly sing my music in front of my family. My music usually begins with a complaint -- but it ends with hope. It's important to inspire the younger generations to be their best potential." Indeed, in a short amount of time, YAS went from singing in front of small groups to now being one of Iran's most popular rap artists. His music is now being listened to and downloaded by hundreds of thousands across the world through various websites and Persian blogs.
YAS' latest song, "Hoviate Man" (My Identity) sings of his pride in his Persian heritage and a mention of the controversial movie "300". The song has become sort of a national anthem for the younger generations especially the Iranian Diaspora that are eager to connect to their rich culture and history. His music has set a new standard for Persian rap and has inspired many up and coming rappers to follow his lead and sing of more meaningful and positive messages in their own music and when he is not recording himself, you will find him collaborating with other musicians to help "introduce Persian rap to the world".
YAS is currently in the studio finishing his latest highly anticipated album -- covering social topics as he takes the listener through a journey of his personal life. His proudest moment was being able to enroll his triplet sisters (all honor students) through college -- a privilege he wasn't able to fulfill for himself.
[Source: Musician's MySpace Artist Page]
Monday, January 14, 2008
Sarkozy is currently on a tour of Gulf countries as he attempts to consolidate French political and economic ties in the region.Distribution deal"It would be giving credit to the current Iranian regime if civilian nuclear energy is only used by western democracies," he said. "France tells Iran 'give up your race for a nuclear weapon - it's a risk and you don't really need it'. And, if you [Iran] stop the race for a nuclear weapon, you would have access to civilian nuclear power." Sarkozy's latest comments came as officials revealed Areva, the French nuclear reactor manufacturer, has signed a $700 million electricity distribution and transmission deal with Qatar. French power firm EDF also signed a memorandum with Qatar "to engage discussions on co-operations in the areas of nuclear power production and renewable energy generation," the Reuters news agency reported.
Sarkozy is also due to sign a nuclear co-operation deal with the UAE, the next stop of his tour, on Tuesday. France generates the majority of its own energy from nuclear reactors and has been actively seeking deals with Arab countries such as Libya and Egypt. Several Gulf countries are exploring the option of nuclear energy despite having large oil and gas reserves.
In another possible sign of France expanding its presence in the Gulf, the French newspaper Le Monde reported that Sarkozy may also sign an agreement that would allow the French navy to station vessels in the Arab emirate across the Gulf from Iran. A source familiar with the issue told Reuters that France and Abu Dhabi would sign an agreement on "the possibility of stationing several naval units in Abu Dhabi" as part of a deal on "improved military co-operation".
The French president also used his visit in Qatar to urge for progress in the peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians. "The only way to put an end to their [the Palestinians'] suffering is to create - right now - the conditions for a viable Palestinian state," he told Al Jazeera."As you can see, it is possible to be the friend of Israel and the friend of the Palestinians. And let me say this: both peoples are condemned to live together, side by side. "We must put an end to hatred and division. We need to talk more about love, friendship and reconciliation."
[Source: Al Jazeera English]
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Friday, January 11, 2008
The bullets and bombs that caused his mother's death as she left her Rawalpindi election rally created an instant new reality for him.
In her will, she anointed him eventual heir to the Bhutto political dynasty. As part of the post assassination re-ordering, he became co-chair with his father of her dynastic Pakistan People's Party.
In the sweaty heat of Sindh province, he acquired the name Bhutto and became Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. The heir to the Bhutto name who hurried through the torrential rain of west London to the basement of a modest boutique hotel within sight of Kensington Gardens was technically en route from the family home in Larkana to his rooms at Christ Church College, Oxford.
But such is the media pressure for insight and access to understand more about Bilawal that his mother's London-based political advisers urged that he start understanding the realities of public life - like it or not.
Note: Beyond the ignorance, idiocy, and overall shallowness of most American media coverage of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in which the slain was described as "democratic" and in some cases an individual just short of the Second Coming, few news outlets (save for a handful such as NPR) thoroughly examined her past. How democratic was she when prime minister of Pakistan? Not very. What is her record in regards to the Taliban? Ties between Pakistan and the Taliban were strong during her tenure.
CIA: We said back in 1974 that Israel had nuclear weapons
By Amir Oren, Haaretz Correspondent
The Central Intelligence Agency, backed by bodies including the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research and the Defense Intelligence Agency, determined in August 1974 that Israel had nuclear "weapons in being," a "small number" of which it "produced and stockpiled." Israel was also suspected of providing nuclear materials, equipment or technology to Iran [ironic since the Pahlavi nuclear project, which was discontinued on the orders of Grand Ayatullah Sayyid Ruhollah Khumayni who considered them religiously prohibited, is the basis of the program which was restarted after his death in 1989], South Africa [Israel did not observe the largely world-wide trade embargo on apartheid South Africa] and other then-friendly countries.
Note: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert remarked in 2006 that Iran wanted wanted nuclear weapons because many of its neighbors, such as Pakistan and Israel, did, clumsily breaking the state's long-standing ambiguity on the issue of whether Israel possessed nuclear weapons.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Matthew Wagner , THE JERUSALEM POST
Jan. 10, 2008
In a related story, Metzger was chosen as one of the 12 most influential religious figures in the world for a CBS documentary called In God's Name that appeared at the end of December.
Newsweek also devoted a story to the documentary complete with pictures of Metzger and the other religious leaders. Metzger was chosen along with figures such as the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams and heads of the Sikh and Muslim religions.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Monday, January 07, 2008
The Religious Authority, Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah, issued a jurisprudential communiqué on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, in which he said:
Despite all the progress that the human view towards women has witnessed, and despite all the honouring that women have gained in comparison with their previous states in most eastern and western countries, and although women have climbed the social and political ladder reaching the highest governmental posts, and taking part in the struggle movements side by side with men and even outdoing them, women still suffer from the violence against them that takes several forms.
Moreover, violence against women is not restricted to the east alone, but it is rather universal, although its forms and degrees may vary between one place and another.
Women, whether sisters, daughters or wives, are still subjected to men's domination whether brothers, fathers or husbands, whose violence takes several forms: We have firstly the physical violence in which women are beaten. This form represents the most degrading human practice, since it shows that men are incapable of resorting to reason and logic to prove their viewpoint. It also does not prove that men are strong. On the contrary, it proves that they are weak, for only the weak are in need of unjust violence. This violence could reach its most severe and harsh form when women are subjected to rape which sometimes might lead to death.
Physical violence in which women are beaten, proves that men are weak, for only the weak are in need of unjust violence. It also shows that they are incapable of restoring to reason and logic power to prove their viewpoint.
Then we have the social violence or the so-called "crimes of honour", whereby the community relies on circumstantial appearances to issue a sentence of death or exile. In addition to this, the society does not have the right to issue such sentences or executing them, except through the proper judicially institutions and through the legitimate mechanisms. Another form of social violence would be to impose on women husbands they do not want.
Another kind of violence is the psychological violence which occurs when husbands threaten their wives with divorce, or when they do not treat their wives as such, or when the divorce is used as an element of intimidation and extortion, which makes women live a state of instability in their marriages and hurt their psychological and even physical wellbeing.
Then there is the economic violence, which occurs when fathers or husbands do not shoulder their economic responsibilities towards their husbands and children, or when they pressurize their wives to forgo their dowry which represents – according to Islam a symbolic gift and a token of love and not a commercial exchange.
The educational violence is also another form of violence against women. This form takes place when women are deprived of their right of education reaching to post graduate levels, thus, depriving them of raising their cultural and scientific levels and keeping them in the circle of backwardness and ignorance. To add insult to injury, they would then be responsible for the mistakes they commit as a result of the inexperience that is imposed by violence.
We also have the violence in work, which is represented by not giving women equal pay for equal work. This kind of discriminating violence is practised by the entire society when the laws it sets do not take into consideration maternity or similar rights. Then there are the various kinds of exploitation of the employers to their employees.
The violence against women in work, is represented by not giving women equal pay for equal work. There are also the various kinds of exploitation of the employers to their employees.
Faced by all these forms of violence, we would like to highlight and stress on the following points.
Firstly: In Islam, lenience is the norm that takes priority over violence which should only be resorted to in exceptional cases, as in self-defence or the need for educational punishment. The Messenger of God has said: Whenever leniency has been put on something it would improve it, while it would discredit anything it is removed form. This rule is universal and includes all human relations, with no difference between men and women, old or young.
Secondly: The fact that men maintain women does not mean that they have the authority over them. It merely means that they run their families but not in a tyrannical way, they have to confer with their wives in all the things they both have in common.
Thirdly: The fact that women perform the household work which Islam did not commission them to, but even proposed a salary for such a work, should lead men to appreciate the sacrifices women offer in taking care of their families, and refrain from any act of violence against them.
The fact that men maintain women does not mean that they have the authority over them
Fourthly: Islam has laid a fixed rule for the relations between husbands and wives, as well as the families in general; the rule of equity and kindness. He says in the Glorious Qur'an and treat them kindly, and then keep (them) in good fellowship or let (them) go with kindness. This rule could well serve as a guide for the religious authorities to end marriages if they violate the rule of kindness.
Fifthly: Islam considers that married women are lawfully independent financial entities. Husbands are not allowed to control their wives’ wealth, or to interfere in their private business and financial interests that are not related to them as husbands or the families they run.
Sixthly: Islam did not allow men to practice any violence against women, whether regarding their lawful rights attained through the marriage contract, kicking them out of the house or even using harsh words or cursing, which is sin that God will hold men responsible for and the Islamic law defined certain punishments for such actions.
Islam considers that married women are lawfully independent financial entities. Husbands are not allowed to control their wives’ wealth, or to interfere in their private business and financial interests that are not related to them as husbands or the families they run
Seventhly: If men practice physical violence against women, and the latter have no means to defend themselves except through exchanging violence. This would be permissible as an act of self-defence. It is also permissible for women who are denied of their legal rights such as providing for them or fulfilling their sexual needs, to deny their husbands the rights that the marriage contract stipulates for them.
Eighthly: Islam emphasises that there is no guardianship over physically and mentally mature women who are independent in running their own affairs.
If men practice physical violence against women, and the latter have no means to defend themselves except through exchanging violence. This would be permissible as an act of self-defence. It is also permissible for women who are denied of their legal rights such as providing for them or fulfilling their sexual needs, to deny their husbands the rights that the marriage contract stipulates for them.
No one can impose on these women any husbands they do not want. And any contract convened without their consent is considered null and void.
Ninthly: In the framework of our concern to preserve the family, we maintain that the law that governs women's work should coordinate between women's jobs and the family needs. Any neglect of such a responsibility could destabilize the family, which means that the society would be practicing multiple violence against its own social structures and values.
Tenthly: Islam has emphasized that the women's position goes side by side to men, whether in being human or being rational or in holding responsibility. It instituted familial life on the basis of love and mercy, giving the family a humane dimension in which its members interact away from the legal terms that are emotionally and spiritually dry.
No one can impose on these women any husbands they do not want. And any contract convened without their consent is considered null and void.
Thus giving man as a whole spiritual richness, psychological stability and intellectual progress, be he a man or a woman, an individual or a community.
More information at:
Saturday, January 05, 2008
The perfect blend of music and vocals.....Even though I don't know one word of the language, I still find it inspiring...The new post-USSR national anthem kept the music and changed the lyrics.
TO VIEW VIDEO, CLICK THE BLUE HYPERLINK BELOW IN THE E-MAIL