Monday, November 28, 2005

Michael Jackson building mosque in Bahrain

The Khaleej Times (Dubai, UAE) of November 24 reports that Michael Jackson, who recently settled in Manama, Bahrain's capital, is donating large sums of money (amount undisclosed) to build a state-of-the-art mosque near his luxury palace in the city. "Jackson did so," says the report, "as a token of appreciation to the Bahraini people, who welcomed him and treated him as if he was one of the citizens of their country." Michael's brother Jermaine, formerly of the Jackson Five, converted to Islam in 1989.

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Mass gay marriage busted in UAE

An AP report states that 22 Emirati men were arrested at what police called a "mass homosexual wedding" earlier this month at a hotel chalet in Ghantout, on the Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway. Four others were arrested, including an Indian DJ and three men from "neighboring Arab states." An Interior Ministry spokesman said that the men are likely to be charged with prostitution and adultery. Below are some interesting quotes:

Outward homosexual behavior is banned in the United Arab Emirates, and the gay group wedding has alarmed leaders of this once-isolated Muslim country as it grapples with a sweeping influx of Western residents and culture.

The Arabian peninsula, nevertheless, has a long tradition of openly homosexual wedding singers and dancers...

[Interior Ministry spokesman Issam] Azouri said the Interior Ministry's department of social support would try to direct the men away from homosexual behavior -- using methods including male hormone treatments, if the men are found to be deficient...

Azouri said government psychologists were grappling to learn the causes behind an apparent increase in homosexual behavior in the Emirates. The booming economy has lured hundreds of thousands of Western residents and millions of tourists. Azouri said authorities want to be seen to be taking action at a time when complaints of gay behavior were emerging from the country's schools and myriad shopping malls.

No time to comment now but, inshallah, in the future.

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Friday, November 25, 2005

PM de Villepin: rap not responsible for riots

According to a BBC News report, French PM Dominique de Villepin (UMP) has weighed in on the claim by many colleagues in his ruling party that French rappers incited the recent banlieue riots. "Is rap responsible for the crisis in the suburbs? My answer is no," says Villepin. "But he said that the courts should deal with lyrics that overstepped the mark."

Monsieur R, chief target of the attacks, has reponded: "Hip hop is a crude art, so we use crude words. It is not a call to violence."

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Thursday, November 24, 2005

French lawmakers accuse rappers of inciting riots

If it’s not the Muslim extremists, it must be the rappers....

An article by Nolan Strong on cites an AFP report (“Lawmakers accuse French rappers of inciting riots,” Wednesday, November 23) that 201 French lawmakers (152 Deputies, 49 Senators) have signed a petition accusing seven rap outfits of helping provoke the country’s recent riots through their rap lyrics. The petition is addressed to Justice Minister Pascal Clement. François Grosdidier, of the ruling center-right UMP (Union pour un mouvement populaire), the deputy who initiated the petition, charges the rappers’ lyrics with “sexism, racism and anti-Semitism.” The petition singles out Monsieur R and his song, “FranSSe” (from the album Politikment Incorrekt) which describes France as a "bitch" to be "screwed until she drops". (Here are the lyrics: “La France est une salope, n’oublie pas de la baiser jusqu’à l’épuiser. Comme une salope il faut la traiter, mec!”) The petition also targets singers Smala, Fabe and Salif and the rap groups Lunatic, 113, and Ministère Amer.

Grosdidier had already, prior to the riots, filed a complaint against Monsieur R. On August 12, Grosdidier requested that Justice Minister Clement forbid the dissemination of Monsieur R’s “FranSSe” (both the recording and the video), charging that it was an incitement to “racism and hate” and that its message could, when received by “destructured (destructuré)” and “lost (paumé)” urban youth, legitimate “at best incivility and at worst terrorism” among them. Grosdidier cited lyrics describing France as a “bitch” (garce, salope) and attacked the state and the police. He describes the video as containing a scene where two nude women rub themselves with the French tricolor (flag), and states that the clip’s “amalgames” liken France to the Third Reich. The clip also shows Chirac shaking the hands of the late Zairean dictator Joseph Mobutu. (Monsieur R is originally from Zaire/Congo.) (And here’s another line frequently criticized: "Moi, je pisse sur Napoléon et le général de Gaulle.")

Monsieur R responded to the charges in an interview with Libération (August 12, p. 11), saying “when I speak of France, I’m not talking about the French people (les Français) but about the leaders of a state who, from slavery to colonization, exploit us.”

Meanwhile, Daniel Mach, another UMP deputy, has brought a procedure against Monsieur R at the correctionnal court of Melun, where Monsieur R was to appear yesterday (Wednesday November 23).

The line, “La France est une salope” reminds me of the great song, “Inglan is a Bitch,” by England’s brilliant leftwing anti-racist dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson. It’s on his album Bass Culture (1980). Here’s a sample:

Inglan is a bitch
Dere’s no escapin it
Inglan is a bitch
Y´u haffi know how fi survive in it

Well mi do day wok an´ mi do night wok
Mi do clean wok an´ mi do dutty wok
Dem seh dat black man is very lazy
But if y´u si how mi wok y´u woulda sey mi crazy

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Other Occupation

Occasionally, we are permitted a view of the everyday reality of the Israeli occupation in the West Bank, now in its THIRTY-NINTH year. This AP photo appeared today on the front page of our local paper, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, with the caption, "Israeli soldiers stop Palestinian schoolgirls during a scuffle Tuesday in the West Bank town of Hebron before tear gas was fired to disperse the crowd." The message of the photo itself, of course, is much more powerful than the caption.

This photo also reminds me of summer 1993 which I spent in Ramallah with my family. I remember walking with my wife and son, who at the time was five years old, from downtown Ramallah (the Manarah), where we did our shopping, to the Batn al-Hawa district, where we were staying in a friend's apartment. On our way we always passed by the Ramallah bus station. On the roof of a tall apartment building that overlooked the bus station there was an Israeli military post from which soldiers kept watch on the goings-on below. I recall, on more than one occasion, spotting an Israeli sniper, beading his gun on my five year old son.

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Monday, November 21, 2005

Kufiyaspotting #6: Josephine Meckseper at Galerie Reinhard Hauff

Here's another piece by Josephine Meckseper, from an exhibit entitled, "IG-Metall und die künstlichen Paradiese des Politischen," at Galerie Reinhard Hauff, Stuttgart, April 24-June 5, 2004. Again, the kufiya, red this time, appears twice. On the left are two figures who appear to be doing the Muslim prayers, using the kufiya as a prayer rug. A strip of red kufiya material separates the praying figures from the lower half of the body of a glamorous model, clad in fashionable slacks and red high heels. On both sides of the kufiya strip, the figures are depicted in prostrated and worshipful positions.


Sunday, November 20, 2005

Kufiyaspotting #5: Josephine Meckseper's "Untitled," Lyon Biennial 2005

It's weird: yesterday I finally got around to scanning and writing about 3 of the kufiyas I've spotted over the last few months. Today, while thumbing through the New York Times T Style Magazine: Travel I find this! The reproduction of a piece by Josephine Meckseper called "Untitled," featured at the Lyon Biennial of Contemporary Art that runs through December 31.

Two of the three parts of this work feature the kufiya. First, there is the manikin, wearing the kufiya as a scarf that partially obscures her breasts. She also sports a kind of hoody vest, which covers her head and hints (vaguely) at an Islamic headscarf. Her gold pendant is an iconic marijuana plant. Second, above and to the right is a painting, whose style is remiscent of Russian Futurism. The straight line which looks like it might be part of a question mark is a piece of kufiya fabric. Next to the manikin is the cover of a book, entitled The Angry Brigade, 1967-1984: Documents and Chronology. The Angry Brigade were a left-wing, anarchist-inspired urban guerilla organization in Britain that conducted a series of bomb attacks on "establishment" targets between 1970 and 1972. (The Angry Brigrade could be compared, loosely, to the US Weather Underground.)

Printed Matter's press release for its book launch for The Josephine Meckseper Catalogue describes what the artist is up to as follows:

Meckseper's work reveals the ways in which counterculture becomes codified through surface concerns such as style and packaging. Hippie accessories such as used Birkenstock shoes, orgy rugs, Palestinian head scarves, and psychedelic wallpaper rub shoulders with conservative political parties' campaign posters, German union logos, and installations of retail windows. Her filmic, photographic, sculptural and performance-based investigations into the aesthetics of political protest are ironically at home in a (mock) publication dedicated to style.

Kufiyaspottings #2-#4 below illustrate well the kufiya's role in the phenomena that Meckspeper is investigating: how countercultural and leftwing politics are closely connected to style, "cool," and commodification.

Meckseper is German born and now a resident of New York City.


Saturday, November 19, 2005

Kufiyaspotting #4: The Libertines, 2004

This photo is from the back cover of The Libertines' second, self-titled, album. The band member wearing the kufiya is guitarist-vocalist Carl Barat (if you click on the photo you can see a larger and clearer image). Next to Barat, in the hat, is Pete Doherty, The Libertines' legendary bad boy: confessed heroine and crack addict, in and out of rehab and court, boyfriend to Kate Moss. By the time this album appeared, Doherty was out of the band. The Libertines are a somewhat mainstream, Top 40 rock band, often compared to The Strokes, The Hives and the like. It's worthy of note, therefore, that Barat chose to wear a kufiya in this photo. But also important to remember that The Libertines are English. Meaning that: (a) solidarity with the Palestinians is much more acceptable there than in the US and (b) public opposition to the Iraq war has been much more sustained and vocal than here.


Kufiyaspotting #3: Defunkt, 1988

The photo is from the jacket (not the cover) of Defunkt's 1988 release In America. Defunkt was a great and eminently danceable New York jazz-funk fusion band led by trombonist Joseph Bowie. (Bowie's picture is on the cover, the photo here shows the band members.) I think the guy wearing the kufiya is Ronnie Drayton, who along with Bill Bickford plays guitar on the album. (Drayton has also recorded with Nona Hendryx, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Bill Laswell, and James Blood Ulmer.)

It's notable that Defunkt's In America was released in 1988. Kufiyas had been worn for a number of years by US progressives expressing solidarity with the Palestinians, as well as by urban hipsters who considered kufiyas not only cool-looking but also, perhaps, slightly "dangerous." It was only in 1988 that kufiyas were noticed by the mass media. Several reports appeared that remarked upon and tried to make sense of the kufiyas that were spotted, especially in urban centers. What made them suddenly worthy of commentary? The first Palestinian intifada, which erupted in 1987. For a time, the intifada was massively covered on nightly TV news, and so one regularly saw Palestinian youths, sporting kufiyas and throwing stones at heavily armed Israeli soldiers. (For more, see my article "Seeing Double: Palestinian-American Histories of the Kufiya," Michigan Quarterly Review 31(4), 1992.)


Kufiyaspotting, #2: Designer fashion, fall 2004

This is a short notice I clipped out of Complex magazine a year or so ago. Here is the text:

At first glance, Jeff Griffin's new clothing collection seems like it was made for guards at the Abu Ghraib prison: it's menacing, yet whimsical. But the U.K. designer's fall/winter message is all about nonviolence--and not violating the Geneva Convention. Griffin skews urban-assault attire and injects it with joie de vivre, adding splashes of bright pink, orange and purple to camouflage army jackets and guerilla blaclavas. Griffin subverts military style, taking it off the battlefields and into the streets. (L-R) "A-Hood" hooded sweater, $320; "Shut Sellafield" bomber jacket, $380; "Eco Skull" T-shirt, $85;

(This is the fall/winter collection from last year and so it is unfortunately no longer up on the Griffin website. Unfortunately, too, the scarves that are wrapped like kufiyas around the faces of the two models on the right are not described and not priced. And I don't really agree that this photo projects "nonviolence," given that the models' faces are wrapped so you can't recognize them, in the style of the anarchists' Black Bloc, and that the model on the right is showing a clenched fist, a sign of militancy and black power. Kufiyaspotting #1: here.)


"Parisien du nord" reprise

A few days ago I mentioned Marco Werman's report on the Cheb Mami/K-Mel duet "Parisien du Nord." Thanks to Nabil Boudraa and David McMurray of Oregon State, I can now provide a translation (below, in caps) of Mami's contribution to the song.

Comme ça vous m'avez trahi, comme ça
Ou hakada dertouha lia, hakada
Comme ça vous m'avez trahi, comme ça
Ou hakada laabtouha lia, hakada

Ala oujhi enkartouni, ou goltou étranger
Kont haseb fi bledi, ou hnaya enmout


Choftkom wellit ghrib la wal ou le hbib
Pourtant zeïd hna ou hadha echchay hram

Here's K-Mel's lyrics (I hope to provide a translation, eventually)

Parisien du Nord, clando d'abord
Un kiffe dans la musique sans passeport, c'est le talent d'abord
C'est comme le pa-ré qui a taffé, ramé pendant des années
Les exploitants que j'me ferais un véritable plaisir de canner
J'suis pas violent, mais tant d'années
À 5000 francs par mois, c'est fanner
Et pour les jeunes c'est la tanné, non il fallait
Pas faire l'erreur d'assimiler face à ces professions
Ce ne sont que des bassesses de vocation
La leçon à en tirer, c'est quoi que tu dises, quoi que tu fasses
T'es embauché tant que l'on n'a pas vu ta face
Souvent les jeunes PDG dans leurs bureaux
Gérant leurs entreprises comme on gère des Kilos (Oh shit)
C'est pas dur je veux voir des sup bouffer aux murs
Je veux voir des soeurs comme chefs ou secrétaires, quitte à
Pour leurs compétences et non pour leurs derrières
Je veux, enfin, que les jeunes pèsent à vrai dire

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More on Rap & Riots

Finally I've found a couple articles that examine the--to me--rather obvious point that French rappers have for years been exposing the troubling realities of the banlieues of France, which recently exploded in riots & car-torching throughout the country. Hugh Schofield, in an article for BBC News entitled "French rappers' prophecies come true," cites a number of prescient rap lyrics. Here's a sample:

"What is it, what is it you're waiting for to start the fire? / The years go by, but everything is still the same / Which makes me ask, how much longer can it last?" (Joey Starr of Supreme NTM, "They Don't Understand," Qu'est-ce qu'on attend?, 1995)

"There had better not be a police blunder, or the town will go up / The city's a time-bomb / From the police chief to the guy on the street - they're all hated." (113, "In Front Of The Police," Les princes de la ville, 2000)

"The state is screwing us / Well you know, we are going to defend ourselves / Don't try to understand." (Fonky Family, "Don't Try To Understand," Si Dieu veut, 1999)

"Clichy-sous-Bois, it's gangsta gangsta / And Aulnay-sous-Bois, it's gangsta gangsta." (Ghetto Fabulous Gang, "Gangsta Gangsta", Gangsters avec des grands boubous, 2005)

(Clichy-sous-Bois is the Paris banlieue where the teenagers Bouna Traore and Zyed Benna were electrocuted at an electricity substation on October 27; Aulnay-sous-Bois is another Paris "suburb" and one of the centers of the rioting.)

A couple days before Schofield's piece, Stéphanie Binet wrote a similar piece in Libération entitled, "Les rappeurs l'avaient bien dit," which features prophetic lyrics, and commentary, by a number of French rappers.

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Monday, November 14, 2005

Hillary supports apartheid wall; moderator of Church of Scotland sees it and is "gobsmacked"

Senator Hillary has just visited Israel and toured a section of the apartheid wall, which the Israeli government calls the "separation barrier." Hillary reaffirmed her support for the wall, which the International Court of Justice ruled in 2004 was in violation of international law. The photo above shows her in front of the "separation barrier" at Gilo. The US press insists on calling Gilo a "Jerusalem neighborhood," but in fact, it is in fact an illegal Israeli settlement on West Bank land.

Meanwhile, the moderator of the Church of Scotland's General Assembly, David Lacy, has just spent two weeks in Israel and the Palestinian territories. After viewing the same wall that the Senator saw, he remarked,"when you actually see where it is, you see that it's not for security, it's for making political statements. It's theft of land and I don't know how you can justify it on the grounds of anti-terrorism." Lacy went on to say the barrier is "a huge, horrible, oppressive sign of distrust and hatred in the birthplace of the son of God"

David Lacy is, of course, much more in tune with reality, and with world opinion. As for Hillary, she is running for re-election (and of course has her eyes on the White House). This appears to require stating one's unqualified support for the state of Israel. As a UPI report put it, "U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is in Israel on a visit intended to put to rest any lingering doubts about her support for Israel."

Who had lingering doubts?

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Saturday, November 12, 2005

Ann Wright, Arkansan hero

Interview from TomDispatch with Ann Wright, a native of Bentonville (home of Walmart). Ann is one of three Foreign Service officers who publicly resigned immediately before the launching of the invasion of Iraq, in protest of US foreign policy. In August, she helped run Camp Casey for Cindy Sheehan in Crawford Texas, and more recently, she was escorted out of chambers for protesting against Condoleeza Rice's testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

(My one quibble with the interview concerns what she says regarding her recent speech at Fayetteville High School. She describes "Fayetteville, Arkansas," as "a very Republican part of the United States." Although Northwest Arkansas is indeed very Republican, Fayetteville is very Democratic.)

Leaving that aside, the U of A should definitely give this woman an honorary doctorate!

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"We Do Not Torture" (Bush)--But we claim and the reserve the right to do so (Cheney)

A very important article on the US torture debate by Michael Ratner from the Center for Constitutional Rights and one of the leading defenders of the tortured over the last few decades. A couple juicy quotes:
The idea that torture could be so publicly defensible -- and the news that the United States is maintaining secret facilities in former Soviet-era prisons for torturing nameless and disappeared people -- fills me with shame and horror.

All the fictions that sustained the war on terror -- that abuses were one-time mistakes by low-level grunts; that the rules about human rights weren't clear; that soldiers didn't understand the parameters when they beat and humiliated and tortured prisoners -- have been replaced by a clear declaration: The United States is going to torture people as it sees fit, to subject them to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment wherever and whenever it decides to.

Typically, this article appears in Spiegel and not the US media.

Meanwhile, another very important article, from Ken Silverstein in the LA Times, entitled "U.S., Jordan Forge Closer Ties in Covert War on Terrorism." (Amazingly, it showed up today on the front page of our local paper, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.) It tells us, among other things, that "Jordan has emerged as a hub for 'extraordinary renditions,' the controversial, covert transfer of suspected extremists from U.S. custody to foreign intelligence agencies." Since we still have some qualms about torture and especially extreme torture, we routinely "render" suspects to countries like Jordan or Syria or Egypt for the really heavy duty stuff.
Although the Israeli Mossad is commonly considered the CIA's closest ally in the region, [ex-CIA officer Michael] Scheuer and others interviewed said that the GID [Jordan's General Intelligence Directorate] is as capable and professional as the Mossad — and as an Arab nation, Jordan is more effective combating predominantly Arab militant organizations.

Over the years, several of my friends and acquaintances have suffered torture at the hands of various states in the Middle East (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Egypt), and in most cases it was due to non-violent political activity. (The other cases involved those caught with illegal drugs.) So I have never been a big fan of the practice. And now, with our own increasingly rampant and blatant practice of torture, I am not only ashamed and horrified, like Ratner, but also fearful of the deeply corrupting and immoral effects it will have on our own society. The practice will, no doubt, spread and grow and mutate like a virus from Abu Ghraib and the secret holding cells in Rumania and Gitmo into our own heartland.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Rai Rap Riots

Check out Marco Werman's short piece on the Cheb Mami (above left) and K-Mel duet "Parisien du Nord" (on Mami's Meli Meli). Werman is the first US journalist I've come across to suggest that anyone paying attention to Arab popular culture in France would not particularly be surprised by the current rioting by youth in the banlieues. The signs (alienation, hatred for the police, complaints about racism, etc.) have all been there for some time: in novels like Mehdi Cherif's Le thé au harem d'Archimède (Tea in the Harem) from 1983 or Matthieu Kassovitz's 1995 film La Haine or all the great French hip-hop of the last 15 years.

And let me put in a plug for the best US ethnography on the subject, by my friend Paul Silverstein: Algeria in France: Transpolitics, Race and Nation (Indiana UP, 2004).

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We Don't Torture, We're A Civilized Nation

George Bush's recent claim that "We do not torture," reminded me of the Au Pairs' great punk song, "Armagh," off their 1981 album Playing with a Different Sex. The song needs to be revived or covered by Steve Earle or someone needs to write a new song called "Gitmo" or "Abu G." (The Au Pairs song was about British torture of suspected IRA members in Northern Ireland.) Here are "Armagh"'s lyrics:

We don't torture, we're a civilized nation
We're avoiding any confontation
We don't torture, we don't torture
American hostages in Iran
Heard daily on the news
Forget about Vietnam
You can ignore the 32
There are 32 women in Armagh jail
Political prisoners here at home
The British state's got nothing to lose
It's a subject better left alone
We don't torture
We're a civilized nation
We're avoiding any confrontation
We don't torture
Alleged crimes withheld information
She gets no sanitation
Dries her shit on her cell wall
Feeling cold and sick
She gets a couple of valium
Now she's relaxed for the next interrogation
Naked spreadeagled on her back
It's a better position for internal examination
It's a better position for giving information
An armed guard squad she gets a beating
bleeding and wounded she's stopped eating
Has a baby gets nothing for pain
They came and took her baby away

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Saturday, November 05, 2005

Danger De Mort: Sarkozy

Bouna Traore, 15, born in Mauritania, and Zyed Benna, 17, of Tunisian background: accidentally electrocuted on October 27 at an electricity sub-station in Clichy-sous-Bois, one of Paris' banlieues (suburbs), after reportedly fleeing from police.

Nicolas Sarkozy, France's Interior Minister:

Declares a "war without mercy" on violence in the working-class suburbs/banlieues.

Calls rioters racailles (rabble, scum, riffraff, lowlifes).

Friday, November 04, 2005

Eno, Rachid Taha, Nitin Sawhney: Stop the War

The legendary Brian Eno, French-Algerian Arabo-punkrocker Rachid Taha, Nitin Sawhney (major figure in the Asian Underground movement) and Imogen Heap (Euro-electronica-pop) are joining forces on November 27 in a concert to benefit England's Stop the War coalition. (The concert is at the Astoria in London.)

Eno plays on Taha's latest album, Tékitoi, and has appeared with him in concert earlier this year. The concert marks Eno's first stage appearance in England since 1979. Interviewed in The Independent on Tuesday, Eno had this to say:
It's up to us few who haven't surrendered to television to say, 'Hold on, there's a world out here and it's going badly wrong. Do we want to continue to be proud little partners of a bunch of medieval rednecks [he means Bush & Co.] or are we going to choose to do something about it?'

Although Taha's great song, "Barra Barra," famously appears in the soundtrack of Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down, Rachid is a longtime and vocal opponent of US interventionism in the Middle East. (He gave permission to Scott to use the song based on Scott's earlier movies, but he considers Black Hawk Down "Orientalist.") In the film, "Barra Barra" comes on as Rangers and Delta Force soldiers are gearing up to go into battle in Mogadishu. It is such a kick-ass song that it serves the function of making them look very cool, ready to "rock'n'roll." I later met someone who served in the US military in Afghanistan who said that guys in his unit used to play Rachid Taha's "Barra Barra" to get pumped up before they went out on patrol. (I should add that the young man who told me this story is now a Middle East Studies student and is not uncritical of US policies in the Middle East.)

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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Entertainment Weekly Grades 'Paradise Now': A-

Lisa Schwarzbaum reviews Hany Abu-Assad's film Paradise Now in the latest Entertainment Weekly and gives it an A-! She writes: "Of all the shocks in the riveting and timely political thriller Paradise Now, the most unsettling may be the dignity bestowed on a pair of prospective Palestinian suicide bombers..."

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Mossad Killed Kanafani

Eitan Haber, former spokesperson and speechwriter for the late Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin, has confirmed in an article published by Yediot Ahranot (read translation here) that Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, assassinated noted Palestinian writer and PFLP spokesperson Ghassan Kanafani. Kanafani and his niece Lamis (pictured above) were killed by a car bomb in Beirut in July 1972. Kanafani, born in Acre in 1936, is one of Palestine’s most famous writers, best known for his novellas Men in the Sun (adapted for a film, al-Makhdu’un [The Dupes], by Egyptian director Tswfiq Salim) and Return to Haifa. (I found this on The Angry Arab blog)

Eitan Haber, by the way, co-authored (with Michael Bar-Zohar) the sensationalist book The Quest for the Red Prince: Israel's Relentless Manhunt for One of the World's Deadliest Terrorists, about Mossad's ultimately successful effort to assassinate Arafat's lieutenant Ali Hassan Salameh, who was said to have been the head of Black September and to have been responsible for the 1972 Munich Olympics operation, in which 11 Israeli athletes and 5 Palestinian hostage-takers lost their lives. Haber says, in the Yediot Ahranot article, that "two years after the incident took place it was revealed that all of the killed were by German snipers in spite of the fact that everyone believed that the Palestinians killed them". (Whenever Munich is discussed by the US media, it is invariably claimed that the Palestinian hostage-takers killed the Israeli athletes, although it has been known for years that this was not the case.) Although German snipers were responsible for the deaths, Israeli PM Golda Meir, according to Haber,"issued an order to form a ministerial committee in order to assassinate Palestinian figures,and take revenge." A wave of assassinations ensued.

Ali Hassan Salameh, who Mossad eventually managed to take out in 1979, was married to Georgina Rizk, the Lebanese Miss Universe (1971), shown above in hotpants.

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Hillary Clinton: Lovin' the Apartheid Wall

Sen. Hillary, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is off to visit Israel next week, to meet with PM Sharon and deputy PM Peres. The purpose, says the New York Times, is "to discuss American-Israeli relations, in a trip that may help her strengthen her support among Jews in New York as she faces re-election next year." As a taxpayer, I'm glad that I can help out with this important project. Hillary will "reiterate her condemnation of remarks made by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran calling for the destruction of Israel." Isn't that brave of her? And she will visit a portion of the "security fence" (a.k.a. separation barrier, a.k.a. apartheid wall) Israel is constructing in the West Bank, a move that she supports.

Meanwhile, an art exhibition in protest of the separation barrier, called Three Cities Against the Wall, opens this month simultaneously in three cities: Ramallah, Tel Aviv, and New York. The photo above is a painting by Suleiman Mansour, one of the Palestinian organizers of the exhibit. Maybe when Hillary's in Israel she could drop by the Beit Ha'omanim gallery in Tel Aviv, or after her visit to the wall she could check out the Al-Hallaj Gallery in Ramallah. And when she's back in NYC, she could drop by ABC No Rio at 638 East 6th Street.

The press release for the exhibit reminds us:

The Separation Wall was found to be illegal by an advisory opinion given by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague on July 9, 2004. In its ruling, the ICJ stated: "The construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and its associated regime, [is] contrary to international law."

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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Free Palestine

I found this at the Queer Arabs blog. I presume it's the Halloween parade in San Francisco, but not sure.