By CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS
Monday, July 31, 2006
By CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS
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Friday, July 28, 2006
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Thursday, July 27, 2006
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Wednesday, July 26, 2006
'Highway Bloggers' or 'Freeway Bloggers' are in the news again, this time in the Boston Globe
Israelis, Lebanese Blog To Each Other
That Dennis Kucinich is at it again, asking to put peace on the agenda...Little dreamer...
Sanayeh Relief Center has developed a map of Israeli strikes on Lebanon...Have a look, it is staggering..
Please give to UNICEF Lebanon
And to Sanayeh
"both Democrats and Republicans are now on record that, in the name of “fighting terrorism,” U.S. allies – and, by extension, the United States as well – can essentially ignore international law and inflict unlimited damage on the civilian infrastructure of a small and largely defenseless country, even a pro-Western democracy like Lebanon." continue reading about resolutions in the House and Senate that approve of Israel's behaviour..
and in related news:
"tacit support for Israeli military strikes on Lebanon may have increased the danger of militant retaliation against the United States"Wash. post
According to Human Rights Watch:
“the targeting and capture of enemy soldiers is allowed under international humanitarian law.”
And we all know what isn't allowed, but let's just go over it:
Targeting civilian infrastrusture, like airports, roads, homes, villages, towns, bridges and ports...targeting civilians of course goes without saying, and no amount of calling it retaliation or self-defence will wipe the blood off anyone's hands...targeting ambulances ..not to mention the unethical use cluster munitions in populated areas, as well as the suspected use of chemical weapons...and to top it off, why not add killing UN observers...
But yeah, keep saying Hezbollah started it..it will help you sleep better at night.
From the Israeli Human Rights group, B'Tselem
Israeli Soldiers Used Palestinians as Human Shields in Gaza
Killing of 9 family members in Gaza bombing: Grave suspicion of a war crime
New B’Tselem Report: Take No Prisoners - Grave suspicion of assassinations under the guise of arrests
One Big Prison: New Report Warns Against Continued Strangulation of Gaza Strip after Disengagement
Statistics from B'Tselem:
Fatalities-Demolition of Houses as Punishment-Water Crisis
From The ICJ (Int. Court of Justice)
143. The Court having concluded that, by the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and by adopting its associated régime, Israel has violated various international obligations incumbent upon it
and lets not forget:
Suicide bombing: Wrong and illegal
...but we've heard that enough times to know it for sure..
And the use of captured combatants as hostages...War crime.
Jon Stewart, again...
at 5:00 PM
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
For commentary out of Beirut that comes with a satisfying blend of lucid prose and biting humour pay a visit to Anecdotes from a Banana Republic
مركز الإغاثة – الصنائع
SAMIDOUN Relief Center – Sanayeh
CLIENT NAME: GREENLINE ASSOCIATION
ACCOUNT NMBR: 6189003
BANK: BANK OF KUWAIT AND THE ARAB WORLD
For more information, please contact: +961 3 647 605, +961 3 670 783, email@example.com
They are helping refugees, many of whome are children and babies...look at their site to learn more.
63% of the British public agree that Blair has been poodle too long..
The same poll showed that "only 22% of voters believe Israel has reacted proportionately"..
It seems that democracy means that the rulers side with the minority views in their country..
Here is Jon Stewart on whether or not Israel's actions were disproportionate..
"The ambulance headlamps were on, the blue light overhead was flashing, and another light illuminated the Red Cross flag when the first Israeli missile hit, shearing off the right leg of the man on the stretcher inside. As he lay screaming beneath fire and smoke, patients and ambulance workers scrambled for safety, crawling over glass in the dark. Then another missile hit the second ambulance." Suzanne Goldenberg in Tyre
Scale of the human crisis emerges
Brian Whitaker in Beirut
UNICEF's Aid appeal for children in Lebanon
Click and give..it's the least any of us can do..
And more news of how the world is a better place since the Empire Struck Back in the name of freedom and democracy:
Pakistan launches huge nuclear arms drive
Violence In Afghanistan Spreads
Women back under wraps with Taliban vice squad
Civilian Death Toll Mounts in Iraq
Iraq's civilian toll: Over 100 a day
North Korea calls the US "the worst gangsters in the world" and calls Condoleeza Rice "a political imbecile."
at 12:11 PM
Monday, July 24, 2006
On Thursday, the wild dogs gnawed at the charred remains of a family bombed as they were trying to escape the village."
Hassan Fattah, New York Times
While all this is happening
Blair's government is competeing with his best buddy Bush's administration for title of 'most scandal-ridden administration' ...
Since neither of these two governments and their third musketeer Israel can stop saying "Iran, Iran, Iran, Syria", like they have some incurable tic...are we all going to be surprised when they finally bait a response from either Syria or Iran with the savage attacks on Lebanon?..Or are they the ones being baited? Either way, the Israel/US alliance, that knows nothing but military options, has been planning an attack on Iran and Syria for too long for any of us to bat an eye if, and when, it finally happens...and Iran is really enjoying the role of local mafia Don with it's Syrian sidekick...while it lasts..
But what a price? A wildfire of hatred racing across the world, Lebanese , Palestinian, Israeli civilians shredded to pieces... Lebanon burning, Haifa burning, Gaza burning (as always)... Israelis no safer now and not going to be any safer when the dust has settled, despite their current fantasy that slaughtering people in front of the whole world is somehow a logical solution.
And what is buried beneath the rubble and arrogance of these ugly and savage muscles being flexed all across the region is the fact that all victims are united by their suffering, united by their desire to end the suffering and always forced to forget what unites them in the name of some illusionary greater cause...the Palestinians, who have been existing in a state of continuous loss and terror for the past 60 years (pawns in the Arab game of distracting their populations and pawns beneath the Israeli military boot, that distracts its own population) are being told that they are the heroic front line, while they are born and die as refugees, as strangers in everyone else's land including their own...the Israeli civilians have to live in the terrorizing knowledge that the grudges of the dispossessed will always haunt their cafes and streets and homes as long as the criminal leaders of each side refuse to reach out with an honorable peace..and, the Lebanese are constantly been dragged back to death and destruction by the power games of those around them...
Each side is told they are fighting the good fight..Whether it's paradise or the promised land, it means the same thing...suffer now for the reward you'll never get...Children on each side born into a world of hatred and fear and distrust...Each side convinced that the other is the one planning, conspiring, hating without cause, driving into the sea, or planning to take over the whole world...while the people on each side are just trying to survive.
And the military machine, being fed on both ends by the big guys who are far enough away to still be laughing...Iran and Syria arm the Hizb and they are guilty of punishable crimes in everyone's eyes, but the US and its little shop of horrors feeding frenzy of weapons to Israel is not? Even though it violates US law to supply weapons to a country that uses it to attack civilians and to subjugate another occupied people..but wait, all we have to do is call it self defense, no matter how savage and no matter how cynical, and suddenly it's ok.
Every time someone says the word Lebanon now, I can actually feel something in my chest begin to tear..but I also have to feel it for Gaza, and for Haifa, and for all the people caught in the jaws of the reckless war machine.
Death is supposed to be the great equalizer, but we know that saying wasn't meant for the Middle East...Or for any war...because it seems that my enemy's life is always cheap..and mine is always sacred...A dead Israeli civilian will probably not be mourned in Lebanon...A Palestinian child's life is worth a fine of 12 to 25 Pounds Sterling for the Israeli soldier who aimed, shot and killed him...A Lebanese woman cowering in her shelled village while missiles play Russian roulette with her house is not quite as tragic as the Israelis in bomb shelters...and an Israeli saying he is afraid to go out for fear of being killed in the street is ridiculed by Palestinians who say thay are living in constant fear for their own lives...what savage irony, that we have constructed minefields and barbed wire even around the words we use to describe similar events...
One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter goes one idiotic saying..and one man's dead child is another man's collateral damage..etc...etc...But what does this mangling of meaning really provide us with besides new ways to keep from giving a damn about each other?
I have forgotten how to laugh, these past two weeks, and have been feeling guilty that I didn't forget earlier...when Gaza was blasted and when Iraqi bodies piled up by the hundreds every day..and when Darfur wept and wailed and when people on a train in Mumbai ceased to exist and when we killed our oceans and our sky and our earth and when...and when...and when...
How many things do we have to screw up before we decide to do the right thing?
'Enough' is the word being splashed all across the Lebanese television channels..aren't they right? Isn't it time? Or was Yehuda Amichai right when he said:
אני, שהבאתי גוויות מן הגבעות,
יודע לספר שהעולם ריק מרחמים
"I, who have brought the corpses down from the hills,
Know to tell you that the world is empty of mercy."
This is the song in my head today.
at 1:00 AM
Saturday, July 22, 2006
One of LBC's stations has been hit..the one that transmits the local channels, and they are now transmitting via LBC Europe...LBC is a major Lebanese local and satellite channel...They have also hit Mobile phone networks, which means people are without even phone contact...according to Al-Arabiya.
LBC is now reporting that at around 2:30 Lebanese time Israeli tanks invaded the south.
Is this part of the preparation for a ground offensive..start taking out the local stations, leave everyone in the dark..without news and without mobile phone service?
LBC is showing footage of the artillery fire in the southern village of Maroun il-Ras.
It is 2pm GMT now.
"It was, our journalists told us, to be the greatest evacuation since Dunkirk. There it was again, the Second World War. And it was another cruel lie which the Lebanese spotted at once. For these mighty craft had not arrived to save Lebanon, to protect a nation now being destroyed by America's ally, Israel, Lebanon whose newly flourishing democracy was hailed by our leaders last year as a rose amid the dictatorships of the Arab world. No, they were creeping through the dawn after asking Israel's permission to help their citizens to flee. These great warships had been sent here by Western leaders (Jacques Chirac excepted) too craven, too gutless, too immoral, to utter a single word of compassion for Lebanon's suffering."
Israel told the Lebanese in the South to leave, and is planning to invade the south , and reports coming in say that they have already captured locations in South Lebanon...
They will probably blast it to even tinier smithereens.
Thanks for the 'humanitarian' warning, it's great when you tell people to run for their lives before you bomb their homes, their schools, their workplaces and their towns and their memories and everything they own... Also, it's pretty great to do that after you have already bombed all the roads, bridges and exits out of the area.
The Lebanese are increasingly terrified that once the foreigners have left the country there will be nothing to restrain Israel from going all out and turning Lebanon to dust and ashes..
A British woman being evacuated yesterday said that everyone she knows thinks that there will be a bloodbath once the American and European citizens have left.
Israel calls up 3,000 reservists to prepare for ground invasion
Israeli troops mass on Lebanon border
U.S. Speeds Up Bomb Delivery for the Israelis
at 2:50 PM
Friday, July 21, 2006
Clancy Chassay outside Srifa
Thursday July 20, 2006
Photo of Abbas Khalil, a Srifa victim from Al-Nahar July 21st Front page
“Indiscriminate shelling of cities constitutes a foreseeable and unacceptable targeting of civilians,” Loiuse Arbour the high commissioner for human rights.
To see what is happening to the Lebanese see here-
"Two countries, the US and Britain, defiantly refused to back the international clamour for an immediate ceasfire between Israel and Hizbollah guerrillas. Their ambivalence about civilian deaths in Lebanon has given Israel a powerful signal that it can continue its attacks with impunity" Independent
"it's not even a war. What you have are hostilities, at this point, between Israel and Hezbollah. I would not characterize it as a war. "
Tony Snow, the White House spokesperson.
Y'know what, you're right Snowy, why call this a war?
Ya Libnan Photo
Watch Jon Stewart's take on the media not calling what is happening a war.
"does anybody still believe this is about saving three Israeli soldiers - a piece of Hollywood schmaltz called "Saving Corporal Shalit" and its two sequels? Are Beirut, Haifa and Gaza City burning for them?
Only a dwindling band of people now believe this, the official pretext for the twin-set of wars Israel is fighting on its northern and southern fronts. If it had been true, there was an obvious solution - swapping prisoners. Israel is currently holding 8,200 Palestinian fighters, as well as at least three Lebanese fighters who were seized in Lebanon itself during the long 18 years when Israel was occupying its entire southern region. Both Hamas and Hizbollah have said the Israeli soldiers will head home as soon as there is a fair swap" Continue Johann Hari's Article
Thousands flock to hills, parks and schools, but no place safe from bombs
"In small pockets of misery and distress tucked away across Beirut, thousands of Lebanese refugees are sheltering from Israel's relentless bombing."
Misery rules in tomb of living dead
"What kind of life is being offered to us now?"
"I will tell you what kind: a life of destruction, despair, displacement, dispossession, and death."
"We the Lebanese want life, we have chosen life. We refuse to die. ...I sincerely hope that you will not let us down"
The Lebanese PM addressing the deaf, blind and mute international community...
Save the Children's Emergency appeal
for Lebanon, Palestine and other Middle Eastern tragedies.
And thank you Mr. Annan for mentioning Gaza, the land of 1.4 million humans invisible to the rest of the world.
A woman being evacuated from her home in South Lebanon wept on Sky News saying "we are humans"...
Because she knows she actually has to remind the world of that fact...
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Thursday, July 20, 2006
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
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Tuesday, July 18, 2006
"Bush: You see, the ... thing is what they need to do is to get Syria, to get Hizbollah to stop doing this shit and it's over. " Independent
Bush tells Blair in the middle of stuffing his face with food at the G8, when they had no idea the microphone was on...
You can watch the whole thing here
Bush and Blair's Less Than Excellent Conversation
"For the second time in 48 hours western governments declined to intervene as Israeli forces, on the sixth day of aerial attacks, killed 47 people and wounded at least 53. Hizbullah, the Iranian-backed militia, also stepped up its attacks, launching 50 rockets against Israel, the highest number in a single day. The death toll since Israel began its attack has risen to 210 in Lebanon and 29 in Israel."Guardian
Getty Photo Ya Libnan Photo
"US Ambassador John Bolton said there was no moral equivalence between the civilian casualties from the Israeli raids in Lebanon and those killed in
Israel from "malicious terrorist acts". Yahoo News
Michael Lerner, Gila Svirsky, Uri Avnery and Gideon Levy discuss the political and moral significance of this summer's violence.
End the Suffering in the Middle East
By Rabbi Michael Lerner
Understanding Israel in Gaza and Lebanon
We present a view on how to end these crises, along with analyses by Tanya Reinhart, Yitzhak Frankenthal, Michael Rubin, David Horowitz, Arik Diamont (of Courage to Refuse,) Robert Fisk, and others.
Cartoon from Al-Nahar, a lebanese daily paper:
The cheering ineffective cowards
Covering up Gaza
The state of Israel, fearful of the truth, continues to control media coverage of its brutal occupation
"Israel launched a furious assault on the entire population of Gaza, destroying its only energy plant, which left 700,000 people without power, and seizing more than two dozen Hamas elected officials. Israel's leading liberal daily, Ha'aretz, warned that "the government is losing its reason...arresting people to use as bargaining chips is the act of a gang, not of a state." Amnesty International condemned the attacks against civilian infrastructure as a war crime, and the UN's Relief and Works Agency warned that Gaza is "on the brink of a public health disaster." The Nation
The rest of the world:
More than 300 died in Java Tsunami
More than 50 killed in Iraq shrine attack
Gunmen kill 56 in sectarian attack on Iraqi market town
-More than a million people demand election recount in Mexico City
Mexico: A Yellow revolution brewing?
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Sunday, July 16, 2006
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Friday, July 14, 2006
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Thursday, July 13, 2006
يسحبُ الخنجرَ من رقبتنا..
انتظرنا هاشمياً واحداً..
انتظرنا قُرشياًَ واحداً..
قبضاياً واحداً لم يقطعوا شاربهُ..
انتظرنا خالداً أو طارقاً أو عنتره..
فأكلنا ثرثره... وشربنا ثرثره
كلّما تزدادُ إسرائيلُ إرهاباً وقتلاً
نحنُ نزدادُ ارتخاءً.. وبرودا
at 4:24 PM
"Israel threatened to bomb Lebanon "back 20 years"
When soldiers, who are a military target, are kidnapped...the response is attacks on civilian targets? In this upside down world, yes.
Halt the slide to war
"Ehud Olmert lost no time in describing the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Lebanese guerrillas as an "act of war". ....
"Palestinian fighters kidnapped an Israeli soldier from a position just across the border from Gaza. For weeks before that dozens of home-made rockets were fired into Israel. Mr Olmert's response was to emulate what his mentor, Ariel Sharon, would have done: he bombed a power station, depriving hundreds of thousands of civilians of electricity and water in the summer heat. Israeli aircraft have been breaking the sound barrier in a campaign of psychological warfare against 1.4m people. That has all been rightly condemned as collective punishment, which is banned by the Geneva conventions.
Since the abduction more than 70 Palestinians, many of them civilians, have been killed by Israeli forces."
And South in Gaza:
"Rescue workers pulled a four-year-old child out of the rubble. He had on a red T-shirt but his body was cut in two. Palestinian doctors said the owner of the house, Nabil Abu Salmiyeh, a lecturer at the Islamic University and a Hamas activist, had been killed along with his wife and seven of his nine children.
Rami Samour, 25, who lives near by, said the blast blew the mutilated body of a woman into a neighbouring house. A neighbour, Safwan Amamour, 39, said he and his wife were hit by flying rubble. He said: "No words can describe this destruction, this hellish damage, which I will remember of the rest of my life."
"There is an axis of terror and hate, created by Iran, Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas that wants to end any hope for peace"
These are the words of the Israeli foreign minister...it's the map for what they plan too do.
And their eternal echo:
"The White House said it held Iran and Syria responsible for the abduction" Guardian
Here is an interactive guide to the escalations
The world is watching, and we are all made complicit by the failure of our governments to end Palestinian anguish
I officially apologise to my little niece for the world that she will have to live in.
at 9:48 AM
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
After hearing everyone repeat the pledge so many times you would think that the duties of being an MP would have sunk in, especially for those that have had to do this before...but I guess it's in one ear and out everywhere else...
Money talks..and walks and sits down with you to eat and and whispers promises that make you break the ones you made..and that's been the story of our little dot on the planet...
Words like, when you're older, must appease him
And promises of someday make his dreams
And the seasons they go round and round...
...There'll be new dreams maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through
at 10:49 AM
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Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Save the internet....or else bloggers and others will be forced to use a slow lane on the internet unless they shell out large sums of money...you have AT&T and its friends to thank for the greed..
Net Neutrality ensures that all users can access the content or run the applications and devices of their choice. With Net Neutrality, the network's only job is to move data — not choose which data to privilege with higher quality service. Net Neutrality prevents the companies that control the wires from discriminating against content based on its source or ownership."
at 11:42 AM
Sunday, July 9, 2006
"The Evil One has left, the evil ones remain".
Violent Islamic radicals know they are heretical
"During the 20th century, a militant piety erupted in almost every major world faith: in Buddhism, Sikhism, Hinduism and Confucianism, as well as in Judaism, Christianity and Islam It is often called "fundamentalism". Its aim is to bring God and/or religion from the sidelines back to centre stage... fundamentalists are rebels who have separated themselves irrevocably and on principle from the main body of the faithful."
I'm guided by a signal in the heavens
I'm guided by this birthmark on my skin
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin
Next We Take Tehran
"President Bush may or may not order a massive aerial bombardment of Iran later this year. Or he may wait until 2007. Or he may simply escalate a risky confrontation with Iran through covert action and economic sanctions. But whatever the next act in the crisis, don’t be fooled by the assertion that the problem is Iran’s pursuit of nuclear arms."
And in Poland:
Identical twins are now the President and the prime minister...and they intend to fire up a 'moral revolution'
"Pretensions to moral superiority are devastatingly destructive."
(Jon Stewart fans, heads up)
Labyrinths: Borges haunts the pages of new books from three Latin American maestros
(Martínez, Bolaño and Galeano)
The Village Voice
And for people who like history that is written with ease, who are interested in the history of religion and philosophy and who like to trace the origins of things..
It's an easy read, and it plays a game of "six degrees of separation" between religions, philosophers and historical moments that we all know, but don't often link (even though we should)
at 3:00 PM
Saturday, July 8, 2006
Members of Mexico's losing leftist party are invoking America's recent electoral scandals to convince the world that last Sunday's presidential election was fixed.
at 12:25 PM
Friday, July 7, 2006
About 2.5 million ballots left out of the initial count
Mexican Election in Limbo
"But if history is any lesson, Lopez Obrador is no Al Gore. He won't walk away from a stolen election without a protest. His political rise has been characterized by having to respond to dirty tricks"
"In 1988, Lopez Obrador was a leading organizer in the presidential campaign of leftist candidate Cuauhtemoc Cardenas. Early on election night, Mexico's own electoral system showed Cardenas with a substantial lead over PRI candidate Carlos Salinas. Then there was a mysterious computer crash, and the country woke up the next morning to an announcement that Salinas was the victor"
Conservative scrapes victory in Mexico amid claims of fraud
Speaking of stolen elections up North:
Was the 2004 Election Stolen?
Republicans prevented more than 350,000 voters in Ohio from casting ballots or having their votes counted -- enough to have put John Kerry in the White House.
BY ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR.
That was just to make us feel more at home, among the other countries with shady elections.
And in the also creepy section of the news:
Documents reveal hidden fears over Britain's nuclear plants
Unexplained cracks in reactor cores increase likelihood of accident
Big "never a right move" Energy, the people who bought you pollution, smog, car exhaust, smoke stacks and now nukuler disaters waiting to happen.
Palestine weeps again..
Collective punishment is banned by the Geneva Conventions..but everyone knows that...it's just that you aren't supposed to mention it. When will either side learn how to end this with justice?
Want to see what Florida will look like after global warming has made it's point? How 'bout the world? You check the boxes and then refresh the map.
at 10:26 AM
Tuesday, July 4, 2006
I have been in a funk...the elections, even though they got some people that fall under the label of 'reformists' into the parliament left others, who's walk actually matches their talk, un-elected. More than that, I have been disillusioned all over again by ever-present realities of politics. The anti-corruption preachers didn't refrain from shuffling people into their districts... the money that exchanged hands was not just between the obvious shameful bunch..the regular crooks were blatant, some seeming innocents were just a bit more subtle..And I hope that the Faustian deal progressives might have made with some chameleon regressive elements in politics does not bite them in the rear.
All this said...The clouds parted for me today, and the sun made its way to the sky like it always does..with its Shurouq, right out of Jabriya and all over the country. The future doesn't look as bad anymore, all lit up like that.
at 3:32 PM