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Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Story of Sadako And One Thousand Cranes for Peace

Sadako Sasaki (January 7, 1943 -- October 25, 1955) was a Japanese girl who lived near Misasa Bridge in Hiroshima, Japan. She was only two years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. At the moment of explosion she was at her home, about 1 mile from ground zero. As she grew up, Sadako was a strong, courageous and athletic girl. In 1954, at age eleven, while training for a big race, she became dizzy and fell to the ground. Sadako was diagnosed with leukemia, the "atom bomb disease".

Sadako's best friend told her of an old Japanese legend which said that anyone who folds a thousand origami paper cranes would be granted a wish. Sadako hoped that the gods would grant her a wish to get well so that she could run again. However, it was not just for herself that she wished healing. It is said that what made the girl truly special in her effort was her additional wish to end all such suffering, to bring peace and healing to the victims of the world. She spent fourteen months in the hospital, and she folded over 1,300 paper cranes before dying at the age of twelve. She folded the cranes out of her medicine bottle wrappers and any other paper she could find in hopes of getting better. (A popular version of the story, given in Eleanor Coerr's "Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes", is that she fell short of her goal of folding 1,000 cranes, having folded only 644 before her death, and that her friends completed the remaining 356 cranes and buried all 1,000 cranes with her.)

After her death, her friends and schoolmates published a collection of letters to raise funds to build a memorial to her and all of the children who died from the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. It was also a popular cause for children and others in Japan. In 1958, a statue of Sadako holding a golden crane was unveiled in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. At the foot of the statue is a plaque which reads, "This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace in the world."
There is also a statue of her in the Seattle Peace Park. Sadako has become a leading symbol of the impact of a nuclear war. Sadako is a heroine for many young girls.

Sadako's story became familiar to many schoolchildren around the world through the novel "Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes" by Eleanor Coerr, first published in 1977. Sadako is also briefly mentioned in "Children of the Ashes", Robert Jungk's historical account of the lives of Hiroshima victims and survivors. Her story continues to inspire millions to hope for lasting peace in the world.

The Sadako Story website

The point is that she never gave up. She continued to make paper cranes until she died.
Inspired by her courage and strength, Sadako's friends and classmates put together a book of her letters and published it. They began to dream of building a monument to Sadako and all of the children killed by the atom bomb. Young people all over Japan helped collect money for the project.

In 1958, a statue of Sadako holding a golden crane was unveiled in Hiroshima Peace Park. The children also made a wish which is inscribed at the bottom of the statue and reads:

"This is our cry, This is our prayer, Peace in the world".

Today, people all over the world fold paper cranes and send them to Sadako's monument in Hiroshima.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Going on Vacation

I leave all my readers with one of my favorite all time songs. "The Gulf of Araby" by Natalie Merchant, my muse with her words

The Gulf Of Araby Lyrics
Artist(Band):Natalie Merchant

Words and music by Katell Keineg

If you could fill a veil with shells from Killiney's shore
And sweet talk in a tongue that is no more
And if wishful thoughts could bridge The Gulf of Araby
Between what is, what is, what is
And what can never be

If you could hold the frozen flow of New Hope Creek
And hide out from the one they said you might meet
And if you could unlearn all the words
That you never wanted heard
If you could stall the southern wind
That's whistling in your ears
You could take what is, what is, what is
To what can never be

One man of seventy whispers free at last
Two neighbors who are proud of their massacres
Three tyrants torn away in a winter's month
Four prisoners framed by a dirty judge
Five burned with tyres
Six men still inside
And seven more days to shake at the great divide

(X2) The Gulf, the Gulf of Araby

Well, we would plough and part the earth to bring you home
And harvest every miracle ever known
And if they laid out all the things
That these ten years were to bring
We would gladly give them up
To bring you back to us
O, there is nothing we would not give
To kiss you and to believe we could take what is, what is, what is
To what can never be

One man of seventy whispers not free yet
Two neighbors who make up knee-deep in their dead
Three tyrants grab the reins in the summer's heat
Four prisoners lost in the fallacy
Five, on my life
And six, I'm dead inside
And seven more days to shake at the great divide

(X2) The Gulf, the Gulf of Araby

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Interview with Dr. Mona El-Farra, Stranded at the Rafah Crossing

This morning on KPFK in Los Angeles, Margaret Prescod, "Sojourner Truth", was able to finally reach Dr. Mona El Farra, vice-president of the Palestinian Red Crescent and Director of M.E.C.A.
(Middle East Children's Association) by phone at the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing. Dr. Mona has been stranded there with 6000 others since July 9th. Many of the others have been there since early June, unable to cross the border home. Two days ago, Dr. Mona heard news of her mother's death in Gaza. Dr. Mona plead on her own blog for help to reach her mother. That help did not materialize. Many hearts go out to you in this time of grief Dr. Mona, many hearts.
To listen to the interview with Dr. Mona link here (you will have to fast forward slightly to get to the point at which Dr. Mona speaks. She says that now 50 people have died waiting at this border to return home. The following letter has been written by Karin of Munich and a Little Bit of Everything.


Facititate the OPENING of the boarder!!

Help to STOP the suffering of more than 6000 innocent people who are trapped and forced to live under inhumane conditions to at the Egyptian side of the RAFAH border since close to TWO FULL MONTHS, being injustly deprived of even the very basics!

DO YOUR PART in preventing more pregnant women to be forced to give birth without any medical assistance under inhumane conditions, in helping the sick and elderly to get the help they desperately need, in avoiding even more people to have to go through the same horrors Mona and her mother - and so many other innocent people - are forced to !


The Muslim Swimsuit Issue

The New Swimsuit Issue

Enlarge Photo

Mecca Laa Laa wears a 'Burqini' on her first surf lifesaving patrol at North Cronulla Beach in Sydney, Australia on February 4, 2007.

Move over, Tankini. Since the full-coverage swimsuit dubbed the Burqini (as in burqa plus bikini) hit the international market in January, devout Muslim women have been snapping them up. The polyester suits were designed to accord with Islamic laws that require women to dress modestly and to eliminate the risk of drowning when the yards of fabric used in traditional burqas get soaked. Now, however, non-Muslim beachgoers are getting into the full-covered swim. Whether women are worried about health, weight or the tolls of age, the Burqini offers a comfortable alternative to a skimpy two-piece or clingy maillot.

The demure suits, pioneered by two Muslim women on opposite sides of the globe, are like lightweight, loose, hooded wet suits and hide everything but the face, hands and feet. Australian retailer Aheda Zanetti, 38, says she was inspired to design her Burqini after watching young Muslim girls struggle to play netball in bulky layers. Her competitor, California microbiologist Shereen Sabet, 36, came up with her full-coverage Splashgear suits after searching in vain for Islam-appropriate scuba gear. The UV-resistant, stretchy swimsuits start at $90 and have found upwards of 6,000 buyers--most of them online--in locations as varied as Malaysia, South Africa, Mexico, Ireland and the U.S. "I'm a very small business with a product the whole world wants," says Zanetti.

Conservative Christians, cancer patients, burn victims and senior citizens, among others, have shown surprising interest. Joanne Martinez, 37, of San Clemente, Calif., bought a Hawaiian-print ensemble to stave off chills during late-night dips. Her mother Norma Suarez, 69, got a suit because her medications make her skin sun-sensitive. "We're both hooked," says Martinez. Meanwhile, Kathleen Petroff, 59, of Helendale, Calif., bought her Splashgear suit for a snorkeling trip, after weight gain from multiple-sclerosis treatment made her old suit unappealing. If not for Sabet's design, she says, "I would have missed swimming with the dolphins."

Anne Cole, the designer whose 1997 invention of the tankini was a landmark for conservative swimwear, lauds the reasoning behind the modest suits. "A woman should, above all, find a suit she can feel comfortable and be herself in," she says. But the new swimsuits have drawn criticism from both East and West. "This is like playing a game with Allah," asserted a poster on the website ShiaChat, complaining that the stretchy fabric reveals curves. Zanetti's design has also brought out anti-Muslim sentiment since she's become a high-profile member of the Islamic community. She has been called a terrorist online; she says she has even received a death threat.

Some feminists charge that burqas in any form are offensive to women. "Clearly you're not considered a full human being if you're mandated to cover yourself head to toe in this tent," says Taina Bien-Aimé, executive director of Equality Now, the international women's-rights watchdog. Sabet responds that Muslim men too have a dress code: the Koran forbids them to wear saffron or silk or expose skin from navel to knee. But Imam Mohamed Magid, who heads a moderate mosque in Sterling, Va., calls debate over Islamic clothing misdirected. "I wish there was more talk about women as leaders rather than talk about whether nail polish is acceptable in Islam," he says. "We need to move forward."

Still, in this bare-it-all age of the string bikini, when young girls take wardrobe cues from Paris Hilton and body-image pressure is intense, the Burqini swimsuit is making a statement. And that's the point, the designers say: the suits allow women, Muslim or not, to choose comfort over conformity. "I know it sounds like an oxymoron," says Sabet. "But this is really about freedom.

Source: Time Magazine

Related topic: Slideshow with audio


Multimedia: Looking Beyond the Veil

The styles of Muslim women range from mini-skirts to head-to-toe coverings. Photographer Kate Brooks talks about capturing fashion - on the streets and on the runways - from Iran to Oman

Having lived in the Middle East between 1975-1980, prior to the revolution in Iran when the spread of purely Islamic dress for females was full-scale, we as Westerners simply wore long dresses without the "habaya" or "hijab". There were NO public beaches where women could go freely except if they entered the water in full attire. Personally, I see this as a wonderful invention. I feel NO ONE in the West should condemn or make fun of this. If Muslim women now have the freedom to wear PROPER attire meant for swimming and can go to the beach freely while maintaining their adherence to modesty, I say BRAVO.

The world should NOT have to bend to Western ideas of how women should dress. This "Muslim swimsuit for women" is modest, and quite frankly, personally, I would MUCH rather see this on the beach than women parading around in thong swimsuits with no modesty whatsoever. Now mind you, that is my PERSONAL belief, and everyone is entitled to theirs!

New Group Works for "My Right to Enter/Reenter" Territories

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, July 2007, page 46
Arab-American Activism

New Group Works for “MY Right to Enter/Reenter” Territories
Kathy Bergen describes Israel’s policy of deportation and denial of reentry for Palestinian-Americans and internationals (Staff photo J. Najjab).

KATHY BERGEN, coordinator of the Friends International Center in Ramallah, presented a talk on “Israel’s Exclusion of Palestinian Americans from Palestine: Challenges and Opportunities,” at the Palestine Center in Washington, DC on March 27.
In March of 2006, Bergen told her audience, Israel implemented a policy of deportation of and denial of re-entry to Palestinians with U.S. citizenship, as well as internationals sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinians. Since that time thousands of Palestinians and hundreds of internationals have been denied entry into Palestine, either through the Ben-Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv or the bridges from Jordan. “The issues surrounding this campaign are complex and have not received much attention outside of Palestine, yet are critical to the development of Palestine,” Bergen said. “If the current trends continue, Palestine will soon be a ‘land without a people.’”

In response to the Israeli actions, the MYRTOE (MY Right to Enter/Reenter) Campaign was launched by Palestinian Americans and internationals living in the occupied territories. One of the group’s founders is the well-known Palestinian-American activist and businessman Sam Bahour, whose wife and children are allowed to stay in the region because they have Palestinian IDs, which are issued by the Israeli Ministry of Interior. Sam Bahour only has an American passport, however, and lives with the constant fear that the Israeli Authority may not allow him to return and join his family every time he leaves the country.

MYRTOE’s activities and goals are quite straightforward. They document cases of entry and re-entry denials; call on the world community to speak out against Israeli actions of family separation and denial of internationals to the area; establish an international and political campaign to stop these Israeli policies and practices; persuade the embassies of those affected by these injustices to formally protest to the government of Israel; and, finally, inform international media outlets about these practices.

Due in part to MYRTOE’s efforts, since March of this year many of those living in the occupied territories affected by the Israeli policy have received extensions to their overstayed visas or have been given visas despite the fact that their passports have been stamped “denied entry.” Nevertheless, this action does not ease the suffering of everyone living in the occupied territories. Bergen explained that the new policy “does not solve the problem for the 120,000 families living apart or living ‘illegally’ in the West Bank because they do not have family reunification documents, which Israel stopped giving after the beginning of the second intifada.”
Despite the recent changes, there are still several cases of individuals being denied entry and others still being denied visa extensions. Bergen described the case of a doctor in Bethlehem who has a Canadian passport and is the medical director of Saint John’s Eye Hospital in Hebron. He was refused an extension on his visa and was never told the reason for the denial. If he travels from Bethlehem to the hospital he most certainly will be stopped at a checkpoint and be arrested and deported from the country for having an expired visa. So he spends his day in Bethlehem. Of course, the hospital’s day-to-day operation is hindered by the absence of its competent director.

“Many Palestinian institutions are affected in very serious ways when professionals are denied entry and not allowed to work in the West Bank,” Bergen said. “It’s a tragedy all around—for individuals, for families, for institutions and for Palestinians.”
For more information visit MYRTOE’s Web site at <>.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Saturday July 28 Protest Against the Siege on Gaza, Anaheim, CA

Emergency Protest for PalestineStop the Siege on Gaza! End the Occupation Now!

Saturday, July 28, 1 pmAnaheim (Brookhurst Plaza, 512 S. Brookhurst St, Between Broadway and Orange)

Join members of the Arab community this Saturday, July 28, at 1 pm at an emergency protest against the continuing U.S.-backed Israeli siege on Gaza. The Rafah border checkpoint--the main route for Palestinians in Gaza to access work, food and other basic resources to survive--has been closed by Israel for six weeks straight.

Over six thousand Palestinians are stranded at the border and are unable return to their homes and families. The conditions at the border are deteriorating everyday. These Palestinians, like millions more around the world, want to return to their homes and land. They must wait no longer. The economic and military siege on Gaza must end now!

This Saturday, we will gather on the corner of Brookhurst and Orange in the heart of the Arab American community in Anaheim to make our voices heard.

Many would like to see those who support peace and justice for Palestine divided. But our common struggle should unite us. Let's stand with the people of Gaza who stand steadfast, despite the brutality of this illegal occupation. End the siege on Gaza now! End the occupation now! Free Palestine!Sponsored/Endorsed by: Palestinian American Women’s Association; Al-Awda, San Diego, Los Angeles and Riverside Chapters; Palestine Aid Society; National Council of Arab Americans; Council on American Islamic Relations – Los Angeles; Free Palestine Alliance; Palestine National Initiative (Al-Mubadara); El Bireh Society; American Community Center of the Inland Empire; ANSWER Coalition; Union of Palestinian Women; Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid.

For more info or to endorse, call (949) 290-3486 or (310) 365-0017 or (949) 369-6510 or email at

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Sunday Offering #21: Manataka Celebration


Verna Lee Hinegardner

Poet Laureate of Arkansas

I think that in a former life

this Indian, young and sweet

had to learn the agonies

that come with harsh defeat.

I think I walked the torture trail

while sharp rocks tore my feet;

I think I found boiled rabbit bones

and muscadines to eat.

Remember Manataka, Place of Peace,

with weapons laid aside, how war can cease?

I heard about The Gathering

right here in my home town

and vowed I would attend it all

until the moon went down.

I visited the Longhouse and laid some wampum down

for tickets to attend programs;

then I walked around.

Drink Manataka water to regain

good health; take thermal baths for pain.

Precious children, Sweet Magnolias,

dressed in festive outfits share

hymns they learned back home at Mission.

sang about God's loving care

sang in native tongue and English

sang their hearts out, unaware

the audience tossed dollars in.

they closed with the "Lord's Prayer.

"Manataka, land of apple blossoms,

pine,mockingbirds and loving words,

you are mine.

Storyteller, Gayle Ross, Cherokee,

told the story of creation,

how there once was total darkness

no light to see the sun

how they called a council meeting

and solve the situation.

how animals, by vote, made this

a "half dark, half light" nation.

Many hints we learned in tribes can still

solve world problems yet today - and will.

Suddenly the dancing started.

dancers slow as snail's pace

fancy Dancers fast as lighting

twirling, whirling, danced with grace

as Bill Miller shared his hit songs while

a Ghost Dance etched his face.

tribes arrived from Arizona,

Canada and everyplace!

They recalled ancestral stories;

they recount hardships, glories.

Standing Bear in bear attire told how

tribes could visit without fear,

how warriors from all nations

smoked, together, peace pipes here

vowed Manataka must be scared

for all tribes who traveled near

pledged each trail to Manataka

would hold our spirits dear.

Manataka, Place of Peace, hold this day;

may we always, for forever, share The Way.

Yes, I'm sure I once was Indian.

for blood beating in my heart

at this Great Full Circle Meeting

tells me we must never part

from traditions of our fathers

or tom-tom tales that start

when tomahawks and hatchets

show our heartache is art.

Come to Manataka; let your spirit fly;

Indians call it "Place of Peace." So do I.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Welcome Home Agustin Aguayo in Highland Park, CA Sunday June 22

Letter Sent to Western Media Outlets Asking "Why Aren't You Covering the 6,000 Palestinians Stranded at the Rafah Crossing?"

The following letter was sent to CNN as well as other media outlets. If you are reading here, PLEASE write a letter concerning this matter, the 6000 Palestinians stranded at the Rafah crossing, to news agencies and your Representatives and Senators. Thank You!!

And if you have any other contacts you would like me to put here just leave a comment and I will take that info and add it here to the post.

CBS Evening News

60 Minutes;


Dr. Sanjay Gupta

Anderson Cooper (his producer):

Keith Olbermann

Dear Mr. Olberman,

Upon researching MSNB'C's coverage of the Palestinian issue, I am unable to find coverage concerning the 6000 Palestinians stranded at the Rafah border crossing in Egypt attempting to get home. The border has been closed to all crossing since June 9th. Many have been waiting since that time languishing in the desert. Palestinian reports say that 28 have died (many stranded are those who left to seek medical help outside Gaza and are not healthy). Sixteen babies have been born, none are eligible for Egyptian citizenship (unlike US law which grants automatic citizenship to those born here) and they have no birth certificates. Even if the border does open, these new mothers with their newborn babies will not be able to go home to Gaza.

Currently Dr. Mona El-Farra who is the vice president of the Gaza Red Crescent Society as well as Husam El Nounou and Marwan Diab of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program are among those stranded attempting to return home. Dr. Mona was returning from her 45 day, 17 city trip to the US which included an appearance before the UN. You can read her statement here Two days ago, Mohammed Omer, an award winning Gazan journalist who appeared on CSPAN in December gave a live interview to KPFK here in Los Angeles from his vantage point in Gaza. It can be heard here

I do believe that MSNBC has correspondents in Cairo who could travel to the Rafah crossing and cover this story. Mohammed's email is He responds quite quickly to emails sent to him . I am also certain that whoever is in Cairo could reach Dr. Mona through the Egyptian Red Crescent who is FINALLY sending some aid to the crossing. Please, please, I do not understand why MSNBC is not covering this issue. If it were 6000 Americans unable to return home, MSNBC would be there in a heartbeat.

Thank You Sincerely,

Robin ******

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Images for Resistance, Images of Life

A stunning video and photography project in Aida Refugee Camp, Palestine

[Hat tip to Filasteen]

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Dr. Mona El-Farra Speaks

Dr. Mona El-Farra, Vice-President Red Crescent of Gaza, speaking at 3rd Annual Assembly of United for Peace and Justice, Chicago, June 23, 2007.

Produced by Labor Beat. Labor Beat is a CAN TV Community Partner. Labor Beat is affiliated with IBEW 1220. Views expressed are those of Labor Beat, not necessarily of IBEW.,

Ghazi Briegieth to Speak in Pasadena Sunday July 29, 2007

Peace Center @ CAL presents:

From Occupation to Asylum
Ghazi Briegieth talks about life in occupied Palestine
and his journey toward asylum in the U.S.

When: Sunday, July 29, 5:30 for dinner, 6:30 for the program
Where: Vrede House, 557 N. Madison Ave. in Pasadena

RSVP to 626-793-1103 or this email.

This event is free
Donations will be accepted toward Ghazi's support
Come visit the partially completed Urban Village website,

Ghazi Briegieth worked with The Parent's Circle and Christian Peacemaker Teams while in Palestine

The Parents Circle – Families Forum : Introduction
Our mission statement
Our programs
Organizational Information
The Families Forum's Board

The Parents Circle – Families Forum : Introduction

"Peace is possible when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable (…) the members of the Parents Circle have experienced this truth In the depths of their Suffering and loss. They have found that there Is more that unites us than Divides us, that we are All members of one family, the human family (…)" Desmond M. Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus
Letter to The Parents Circle – Families Forum, April 2004

It is, as far as we know, a world precedent that bereaved families, victims from both sides, embark on a joint reconciliation mission while the conflict is still active.
Consisting of several hundreds of bereaved families, half Palestinian and half Israeli, The Families Forum has played a crucial role since its inception in 1995, in spearheading a reconciliation process between Israelis and Palestinians. The Forum members have all lost immediate family members due to the violence in the region.

Our mission statement

• To prevent further bereavement, in the absence of peace
• To influence the public and the policy makers – to prefer the way of peace on the way of war
• To educate for peace and reconciliation
• To promote the cessation of acts of hostility and the achievement of a political agreement
• To prevent the usage of bereavement as a means of expanding enmity between our peoples
• To uphold mutual support between our members

We strive to offer a breakthrough in people's frame of mind, to allow a change of perception, a chance to re-consider one's views and attitudes towards the conflict and the other side.
The Forum activities are a unique phenomenon, in that they continue during all political circumstances and in spite of all tensions and violence in our region.
Our members initiate and lead projects throughout the Israeli and Palestinian communities.

Look Homeward Gaza

Thomas Wolfe wrote in "Look Homeward Angel"

“If I had known. If I had known,” said Eliza. And then: “I’m sorry.” But he knew that her sorrow at that moment was not for him or for herself, or even for the boy whom idiot chance had thrust in the way of pestilence, but that, with a sudden inner flaming of her clairvoyant Scotch soul, she had looked cleanly, without pretense for the first time, upon the inexorable tides of Necessity, and that she was sorry for all who had lived, were living, or would live, fanning with their prayers the useless altar flames, suppliant with their hopes to an unwitting spirit, casting the tiny rockets of their belief against remote eternity, and hoping for grace, guidance, and delivery upon the spinning and forgotten cinder of this earth. O lost."

As you are reading here, at this very moment, some 6000 Palestinians are stranded, languishing in the heat of the desert, waiting, some since June 9th, to return to Gaza via the Rafah crossing which has been closed completely since that time. To add insult to injury, each party involved in the control of the crossing is blaming the other for the catastrophe. The EU which did man the crossing has withdrawn their men because they say their contract was with the Security Forces which at the time of the signing of the agreement were under the control of Fateh. Israel, who holds ultimate control, refuses to deal with Hamas who is now in control of the Security Forces.

Letters written to the EU have resulted in ambiguous answers to the dilemma, stating that the problem is being worked on. Twenty-eight people have died on the Egyptian side waiting to cross back into Gaza from Egypt and NOTHING has been accomplished towards a solution to allow these thousands of people to return home.

At this time, Husam El Nounou and Marwan Diab of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program as well as Dr. Mona El-Farra, vice president of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Gaza as well as director of M.E.C.A. (Middle East Children's Alliance) which operates several children's centers in Gaza are among the many stranded at the Rafah crossing.

Recently Dr. Mona completed a 17-city tour of the United States as well as appearing before the UN. (her statement there). Her last appearance before attempting to return home to Gaza with her teenaged daughter was in Los Angeles. I had the extreme honor of hearing Dr. Mona speak that day, June 8th, at All Saint's Church in Pasadena. An audience member asked her if she was fearful that she might not be able to return home due to the Rafah crossing situation.

Dr. Mona replied, "I am not afraid for me, Mona, I am afraid for ALL the others who cannot return home also."

Dr. Mona has spent years dedicating her life and works to her sisters and brothers in Palestine, yet there she is, stranded like thousands of others in the Egyptian desert, unable to return home.

Tonight, on KPFK Los Angeles, Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer was interviewed live from Gaza. In the half hour in which he spoke he gave the human side of what is happening to his fellow Palestinians, whom as he said, were only four minutes away from where he was standing in Gaza. He told all who were listening that in the past 36 days since the crossing has been closed, sixteen babies have been born to Palestinian mothers in Egypt. These children were not born in hospitals and have no rights to Egyptian citizenship, yet their births were not recorded nor were they born in Palestine, so at this point, they are not elegible for Palestinian citizenship. In other words, without documents, these babies cannot return home. There are many sick people who had traveled abroad for medical treatment who are not receiving care at the border. The conditions are HORRENDOUS and people are running out of the little money they may have had. There are no public facilties set up for them and many are depending on the locals for help.

To listen to Mohammed Omer's interview, you can hear the podcast here on the Progressive Independent website

(the first portion is an EXCELLENT interview with Rania Masri concerning Nahr al-Barad Camp in Lebanon, the entire hour is WELL worth listening to)

Mohammed Omer's website is Rafah Today


Dr. Mona wrote on her blog, From Gaza with Love, this last Sunday

Sunday, July 15, 2007

My mother is in her last moments and I cannot cross the borders.

My mother is in the hospital at the moment. She is severely ill. She was admitted to hospital 3 days ago.

I cannot reach her.I finished my 45 day speaking tour in the USA. All across the USA and in every lecture I told the audience about our suffering, living in this big prison called Gaza. I told them about the borders closure and about the patients who passed away while waiting to cross the borders.

The borders have been closed for more than 5 weeks, 28 patients died while waiting to cross the Rafah crossing, the only crossing between Gaza and Egypt. All other exits are completely sealed by the Israeli army. The border was opened 70 times in one year.

Now it is my personal story, like the daily stories of 1.4 million people in GAZA under siege and occupation, poverty, lack of resources, killing, shooting, violence etc....

I cannot cross the borders, I cannot cross the Rafah crossing. I badly need to be next to my mother. I badly need to be there with her to help her, to do whatever I can for her. To say good bye mum.

I was always there for my patients and many people, to help and try to alleviate their suffering. In her last hours I cannot be there, my hands are tied. I am helpless, I can do nothing, I just have to wait and wait and wait. My throat is dry, my eyes are full of tears.

This is unjust, inhuman. It is the occupation. How can it come to be just and fair, when it is mainly based on injustice, aggression and cruelty?

Can somebody help me to go home? I badly need to be at home next to my mother in her last moments.

Good bye mum, I hope you rest in peace, a peace we do not enjoy in Gaza.

with love and solidarity

Mona ElFarraSunday

15 July 2007

Dr. Mona is but one of the MANY stranded in this human catastrophe. She has not had the time to write more because she is so busy at the crossing. Thousands, EACH with their own story, their own family in Gaza, languishing in the hot sun, and Israel is refusing to allow them in.

I urge everyone reading here, if you are American, to contact your Representatives and Senators concerning this matter. I also urge you to contact local, statewide and nationwide news outlets to tell them what is occuring and to ask them WHY this is not being covered in the mainstream media. All the major news outlets have sources in Egypt that can go to Rafah to cover this tragedy. Only with more interest raised by the media will the powers who have control over this feel pressured to resolve this matter. If you live elsewhere, PLEASE contact your news outlets to alert them about this.

This video from Al-Jazeera is the latest I can find on youtube. It is from July 2nd. Notice in the beginning, the spokesman says, "Where is the Red Crescent?" Dr. Mona is the Vice-President of the Red Crescent and she is STRANDED and desperate along with thousands of her brothers and sisters.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

"The Illegalities of the Iraq War"

America Leads the Way

The Illegalities of the Iraq War

In the four years since the United States and its so-called 'Coalition of the Willing' invaded the sovereign nation of Iraq, only one stated goal has been accomplished: the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Peace and democracy are simply pipe dreams, the continued fantasies of a deluded U.S. president and his gaggle of yes-men who all choose to remain oblivious to Iraq's bloody civil war.

In its perpetration of unspeakable terror upon the people of Iraq, the United States and its willing and/or coerced cohorts have violated international law at almost every turn. A few shocking examples are instructive.

In March of 2003, British Attorney General Lord Goldsmith responded to then Prime Minister Tony Blair's request for input on the legality of the 'coalition's' pending invasion. The U.S. had said that Iraq was in violation of Security Council Resolution 687, passed in 1991. The United Kingdom, Mr. Goldsmith said, believed that this determination could only be made by the U.N Security Council. He commented: "The US have a rather different view: they maintain that the fact of whether Iraq is in breach is a matter of objective fact which may therefore be assessed by individual Member States. I am not aware of any other state which supports this view."
One can readily deduce from this brief statement that Mr. Blair joined President Bush in his frenzied rush to war despite serious reservations that Mr. Goldsmith had about its legality, and which were made known to Mr. Blair prior to the invasion. Yet the then British Prime Minister, not called the Yankee Poodle for nothing, was willing to ignore the counsel of his own Attorney General and put his reputation, and the lives of thousands of young Britons, on the line as he happily jumped through the hoops Mr. Bush held for him.

Slowly, as the war dragged on, the name Abu Ghraib became familiar to the world. In this city's prison, once a center for torture of Iraqis by Saddam Hussein, American soldiers continued this disgraceful tradition. The world was horrified as photographs were released of the torture and humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at the hands of American soldiers. But as has been the case throughout U.S. military history, only low-ranking military personnel have been held accountable.

That torture is part of U.S. military procedures cannot be surprising when one recalls the words of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in reference to 'questioning' techniques used on prisoners: "In my judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions." With the U.S.'s top law enforcement officer deciding arbitrarily that any provisions of the Geneva Conventions are 'quaint' (archaic, outdated), the use of savagely-cruel, inhumane treatment of civilians and soldiers cannot be surprising.

America's unending arrogance is once again manifest in Mr. Gonzales' statement. The Geneva Conventions, developed over a period of more than one hundred years and ratified by one hundred and ninety-four countries, clearly cover the topics of treatment of prisoners of war and of aggressive war, and mandate serious consequences for nations in violation. Yet the U.S. Attorney General is able to dismiss them with a wave of his bloody hand, with hardly a ripple of protest from the mainstream press. That such negligence makes the press complicit in Mr. Gonzales' crimes is only obvious.

For many years the United States was quite cozy with Mr. Hussein and his nation. The U.S. provided him with weapons and other aid when it was convenient for it to do so. This may cause one to wonder about the commonalities between the two nations, or at least the most recent leaders of both. One cannot legitimately refer to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as the leader of Iraq, since a nation in the midst of a catastrophic civil war cannot be thought of as having a leader. The words of Benjamin Ferencz, a chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, are worth noting. Now in his eighty-seventh year he said: "Nuremberg declared that aggressive war is the supreme international crime." Knowing what he does about aggressive war, Mr. Ferencz compared Mr. Bush to Mr. Hussein and said that both should be tried for their aggressive wars: Mr. Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and Mr. Bush's invasion of Iraq thirteen years later.

The evidence against Mr. Bush is overwhelming; casual students of U.S. politics will scratch their heads in wonder that Congress overlooks these crimes without even a cursory investigation. When Iraq, in 1990, invaded Kuwait, Mr. Bush's father did not hesitate to summon the U.N and take aggressive action. Whether this was due to his righteous indignation at this clear violation of the Geneva Conventions, or because he had a close eye on Kuwait's oil riches and his own future (present?) finger in that particularly lucrative pie, cannot be known. But the world saw that one nation could not with impunity arbitrarily invade another sovereign nation. In the decade and a half that have since passed, the U.S. Congress has apparently turned a blind eye to such flagrant violations of the Geneva Conventions as 'pre-emptive' war and torture of prisoners.

Prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, millions of people the world over protested the possibility of this obscene 'pre-emptive' strike; Mr. Bush compared them to a task force. Members of Congress from both parties seemed to fall all over each other to grab the microphone and utter jingoistic phrases that could have been considered nonsensical if their consequences were no so dire. Some of those, whether due to a genuine study of the situation in Iraq or to accommodate the prevailing winds of daily polls, have now changed their view and ostensibly oppose the war. Yet when placed in a position of following through on their spoken convictions, many of them fell back onto the old, over-used, totally false and completely bizarre cliché of continuing the war to support the troops.

Millions of people marching in the U.S. and European streets cannot end the Iraq war. American soldiers fighting in the streets of Baghdad and other Iraqi cities cannot end the war. The Iraqi Parliament cannot end the war. This civil war will only end once the Iraqi people are left to determine their own course of action. At present they are united only in their hatred of the United States; removing U.S. participation in the war will eliminate one major roadblock to peace.

The U.S. Congress can bring the end of the war closer; in November of 2006 its members were elected to do just that. That they have failed to uphold their duties to the Constitution, the nation, the citizens that elected them and the world that looks to them to end the war cannot be disputed. Although in ever-decreasing numbers, they look upon the situation in Iraq with rose-colored glasses, unaware that the reddish hue they see is the blood of Americans and Iraqis that they have caused to be spilled. Until the members of Congress fully recognize both the futility and tragedy of the Iraq war, and show the backbone necessary to end it, the unspeakable horror will continue.

Robert Fantina is author of 'Desertion and the American Soldier: 1776--2006.'

Further reading on the illegality of the Iraq war, Marjory Cohn's speech, "The War is Illegal per the Nuremburg Principles"

[Hat tip for the Fantina article goes to Chet]

God Bless This Child Sang The Lady With The Blues

Billie HolidayBillie Holiday

Born Eleanora Fagan Gough April 7, 1915 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Known to all as Billy Holiday, the most soulful blues singer of all time.


Official Website

July 17, 1959 Jazz singer Billie Holiday dies. She posthumously receives a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987 and three of her recordings receive Grammy Hall of Fame Awards: "Strange Fruit" (this one sung by Nina Simone, the song is about lynchings of Blacks in the South) (1939), "God Bless the Child" (1941) and "Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be?)" (1945). The 1972 film "Lady Sings the Blues" (Diana Ross) is based on her life. "Good Morning Heartache" "Aint Nobody's Business", and many others sung by Billy Holiday still speak to us 48 years after her death.

"God Bless This Child" God bless this child, God bless all children

Them thats got shall get
Them thats not shall lose
So the Bible said and it still is news
Mama may have, papa may have
But God bless the child thats got his own
Thats got his own

Yes, the strong gets more
While the weak ones fade
Empty pockets dont ever make the grade
Mama may have, papa may have
But God bless the child thats got his own
Thats got his own

Money, youve got lots of friends
Crowding round the door
When youre gone, spending ends
They dont come no more
Rich relations give
Crust of bread and such
You can help yourself
But dont take too much
Mama may have, papa may have
But God bless the child thats got his own
Thats got his own

Mama may have, papa may have
But God bless the child thats got his own
Thats got his own
He just worry bout nothin
Cause hes got his own

Rest in peace Billy, you sang the blues like no other.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Wiping Whom Off The Map???

[Hat-tip to Clo]

Wiping whom off the Map???
By Dr. Elias Akleh July 16, 2007

Since the establishment of their terrorist state on usurped Palestinian land Israelis keep regurgitating their phobic mantra "Arabs want to wipe Israel off the map" in order to draw international sympathy, and to cover up their war crimes throughout the Arab World. To build their divinely racist "God's promised Jewish only" state from Nile to Euphrates Israeli government is conducting the policy of graduated wiping Palestinians off their own existence. Israel had, so far, successfully wiped Palestine off the map. Palestine had become to be known as occupied territories, disputed territories, and finally West Bank and Gaza Strip. Palestine, a name used for the last three thousand years, to describe the land between Mediterranean shores west to Jordan River east, and from Lebanon north to Egypt south, can no longer be found on any modern map. PALESTINE HAS BEEN WIPED OFF THE MAP!!!

Israel was established and built on Zionism, a colonialist expansionist political movement based on religiously elitist ideology (God's chosen people), and a complete denial of the other. Its ultimate goal is to build a super power state, which they hope would eventually exceed the US in controlling the globe, within the heart of the Arab World to control their resource-rich region. Its first step was to establish Israel in place of Palestine and to win (force) its international legitimacy through imperial power (unfortunately might is still right in our age). Thus Palestinians became the primary target of Zionist terror and occupation to evacuate the land, since an independent viable Palestinian state would negate the essence of Israel's right to exist on occupied land, and would put an end to the Zionist's expansionist dreams. The birth of the Zionist entity is based not only on wiping Palestine off the map, but also wiping all Palestinians, their history and their culture off existence. Zionist Israel, thus, had adopted a graduated genocidal policy against Palestinians in specific and against Arabs in general.

Zionists perceived seeds of conflict among Arabs due to the variety of their culture, ethnicity, and religious backgrounds. To build their divinely racist Jewish-only Greater Israel from Nile to Euphrates through the division of Arabs, Zionist Israel developed its own expansionist geopolitical policy inspired from and akin to the German Nazi geopolitical policy of 1890 to 1933 of dividing Europe into smaller states to be swallowed up by strong Germany. Where Nazi Germans prescribed to a biological elitist ideology of the superior pure Arian blood (the Superman), Zionist Israelis prescribed to a divine elitist ideology of the superior pure Jewish
blood (God's chosen people).

In occupied Palestine Israel differentiates between Christian and Muslim Palestinians, between Fatah and Hamas, between West Bank and Gaza Strip, and between citizens of one town and the other. Within the neighboring Arab states (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq) Israel is inciting conflict and hatred between the citizens of those countries and Palestinian refugees, between Christians and Muslims, between Shiites and Sunni Muslims, between Kurds and Arabs, and between different political parties.

On the Palestinian front Israeli government had adopted a three-dimensional graduated genocidal policy. First comes uprooting Palestinians from their land and towns and transferring them to neighboring countries. Second is perpetrating massacres and ethnic cleansing through military incursions, shelling, and air raids against Palestinian communities to coerce the rest of them to immigrate. Third is the distortion and destruction of all physical, cultural, and historical evidence tying Palestinians to the land. Palestinian villages have been completely demolished (wiped off existence), Palestinian culture was hijacked and many had been claimed to be Jewish, and history was distorted to reflect Palestinians as invader terrorist Muslim tribes from the Saudi Desert that never had any right in God's Promised Land. Israel has sought to negate, falsify, demonize and wipe off every aspect of Palestinian life to a point where ex Israeli PM Golda Meier stated in 1969: "There is no such thing as Palestinians, they never existed."

The policy of wiping Palestine off the map and wiping Palestinians off existence had been adopted early since the founding of Zionism. Here follows quotes of only few of noted Zionist leaders. Theodor Herzl, father of political Zionism, had written in his diaries in 1898, "The Palestinians would be spirited across the border." Israel Zangwill, a British Zionist Jew, is known for his slogan "A land without a people for a people without a land" describing Zionist dream of Israeli state in Palestine. This slogan, though, was invented by a Zionist British Member of Parliament Lord Shaftsbury, who in 1853 wrote to Foreign Minister Aberdeen that Greater Syria was "a country without a nation in need of a nation without a country… the ancient and rightful lords of the soil, the Jews".

Chaim Weitzman, the first president of Israel, saw no room for Palestinians in Palestine. In his autobiography, "Trial and Error", he wrote "Palestine will become as Jewish as England is English."

In chapter four of his book, "Birth of Palestinian Refugee Problem", Israeli historian Benny Morris wrote about Yousef Weitz, the director of the Jewish National Fund's Land Department, a man noted for his strong Zionist convictions. Weitz wrote in his diary on December 20th 1940: "It must be clear that there is no room in the country for both people (Palestinians and Jews) … the only solution is a Land of Israel, at least a western Land of Israel without Arabs. There is no room here for compromise … There is no way but to transfer the Arabs from here to the neighboring countries … Not one village must be left, nor one Bedouin tribe." In 1948 Weitz was given the task of creating the "Transfer Committee", which supervised the destruction of evacuated Arab villages, and repopulating others with recent Jewish immigrants in order to make any return of Palestinian refugees to their villages impossible.

Many Palestinian villages, which survived destruction during 1948 war, were later erased (wiped off) after the war. Records of the Association of Archeological Survey, housed in the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem, show that a plan to wipe off Palestinian villages was implemented jointly by the Israeli Lands Administration and the Jewish National Fund in 1965, and was carried on for several years. The plan intended to wipe off all traces of Palestinian villages in order to destroy any hope for the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.

The Israeli Association of Archaeological Survey was established in 1964 to issue permits for the destruction of Palestinian villages. By 1967 this association had approved the wiping off of about 100 villages inside 1948-occupied Palestine (Israel). After 1967 the Association turned its attention to destroy Palestinian villages in West Bank and Golan heights. On December 2006 Roni Bar-On, Israeli Interior Minister declared his ministry's approval on a plan to demolish more than 42,000 homes of Palestinian Bedouins in Negev Desert. This plan will wipe off 45 Palestinian villages housing more than 86,000 Palestinian Bedouins, who in 1958 were evacuated out of their land and confined to a piece of land in the desert known as the Triangle. Although paying taxes to Israeli government like any other town, these 45 villages were not recognized by the Israeli government, and received no civil services at all.

The destruction of Palestinian history and culture, and the wiping off Palestinian names of towns and replacing them with Jewish names was accelerated to a point where Moshe Dyan, a previous Israeli Defense Minister, bragged about it in a lecture he gave at the Technion University in Haifa in March 19th 1969. He stated: "we came here to a country that was populated by Arabs, and we are building here a Hebrew, a Jewish state; instead of the Arab villages, Jewish villages were established. You even do not know the names of those villages, and I do not blame you because these villages no longer exist. There is no single Jewish settlement that was not established in the place of a former Arab Village. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not here either. Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul, Kibbutz Gv'at in the place of Jibta, Kibbutz Sared in the place of Huneifis, and Yehushua in the place of Tel al-Shuman. There is not a single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population." (Haaratz, April 4th, 1969).

The policy of wiping off Palestinian names and replacing them with Jewish names was adopted by first Israeli PM David Ben Gurion since the establishment of Israel in 1948 when he established a special committee from historians, geographers, geologists and Torah experts, whose task was to wipe off the Canaanite and Palestinian Arabic names and substitute them with Jewish names. So Tel Rabi' became Tel Aviv, Al-Quds became Urushalaim, Um Rashrash became Eilat, Shu'fat became Nevi Yachob, Beit Jala became Gilo, Za'tara became Tabbuch, Beisan became Beit Shean, Qualandia became Atarot, Beit Mahseer became Beit Me'er, Artof became Hartuv, and so on.

Israeli government came up with a set of despotic laws to justify its robbery of Palestinian property. For example the "Expulsion of Invaders" amendment to land laws was designed to allow Israel to expel Palestinians from their land under the excuse that Palestinians are invaders. Palestinian refugees, who tried to return to their land, are considered invaders by Israel. The law of "Abandoned Properties" is designed to make it "legal" for Israeli government to seize any land belongs to absent (evacuated, transferred) owners. This law "legalized" the general confiscation of almost 450 Palestinian villages and associated farm land that were later either wiped off or Judaised. According to a report drawn up in 1952 Israel had succeeded in expropriating all Palestinian quarters in mixed towns, 73,000 rooms in abandoned houses, 7800 Palestinian shops, workshops and warehouses, 5 million Palestinian pounds in bank accounts, and most importantly 300 thousand hectares of land (see Simha Flapan's "The Birth of Israel; Myths and Realities" p. 107)

Israel is intent on destroying all Palestinian and Islamic cultural city landmarks. Religious places and buildings, especially Muslim mosques, were claimed as Jewish, destroyed, neglected to collapse, and turned into museums, art galleries, whore houses, clubs, senior citizens shelters, and stables for farm animals. Muslim Palestinians were not allowed to renovate or build new mosques. Renovation and strengthening the bases of Al-Aqsa mosque was hindered by Jerusalem municipality. Building permits were withheld, and building materials were not allowed to pass through old gates to the mosque. The ancient Islamic Council building and its adjacent Islamic "Ma'man Allah" cemetery in West Jerusalem are important historic and cultural Palestinian landmarks. The Israeli government is destroying the internals of the Islamic Council building to build western-style apartments, and digging up the cemetery to build a
Jewish Museum of Tolerance on its place. What hypocrisy!!!

Israel had always rejected, obstructed, or violated all peace treaties with Arabs since 1948 for fear of establishing permanent borders and repatriating Palestinian refugees, as explained explicitly by their first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion in his "The War Diary 1948/9". For Zionists peace means the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes (a demographic threat to the pure exclusive Jewish state), and specifying permanent borders putting an end to Zionist expansionist dreams. In December 1948 the UN established a Palestine Conciliation Commission (PCC) with representatives from US, France and Turkey to mediate between Arabs and Israel. Peace negotiation held in Lausanne, Switzerland on April 26th 1948. Israel was forced to attend negotiation after US threatened to prevent Israel's admission to the UN. In the negotiation Arabs offered Israel peace and recognition providing Israel implements UN resolution 194 of returning Palestinian refugees to their homes. Israel rejected the offer.

Oslo Agreement was forced on Israel by Bush, the father, to appease Arab Gulf states, which joined his first Gulf War against Iraq, knowing very well that Israelis will eventually circumvent the Agreement somehow, and they did.

Benjamin Netanyahu, in June 1996, gave his famous three "NO"s to peace process: no withdrawal, no Palestinian State, and no refugee's return. Dov Weisglass, Sharon's senior adviser and one of the initiator of Sharon's disengagement plan, stated "The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process. And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda." (Ha'aretz, October 6th 2004)

Israel has also rejected the generous peace offer of March 2003 by the Arab League, which promised recognition, putting an end to all resistance, and full diplomatic relations with ALL Arab states. This offer would have fulfilled Israelis' dreams and aspirations for the peace they claim to always have called for. Yet Israeli PM Ariel Sharon, at the time, responded by driving his tanks into all major Palestinian cities. Israel also rejected all Syrian peace offers, and violated all agreements with the Palestinian Authority.

Zionist Israeli settlers are worse than their government in their terrorist genocidal attacks against Palestinians. Zionist settlers have their own underground terrorist militias allegedly formed to protect their settlements. Given implicit permission by their government, and under the protection of the Israeli army, terrorist militias routinely attack Palestinian farmers, burn their crops, cut and uproot their trees, burn their shacks, poison their water wells, shoot and poison their farm animals, terrorize and assault members of International Solidarity Movement, who travel to Palestine to protect farmers in their fields and students on their way to schools. Some of these extremist militias (Shlomo Dvir, Yarden Morag and Ofer Gamliel) planted car bombs near Palestinian high schools in Jerusalem's suburbs in April 2002. Others (Chahr Zliger, Naom Federman, and undisclosed other terrorists) arrested in September 2003, planned to bomb many Islamic mosques, including al-Aqsa mosque, across West Bank at the same day.

The extremist settlers encourage such terrorist acts against Palestinians and consider them religious duty. This could be seen in the way the settlers of Keryat Arba' had sanctified the terrorist Baruch Goldstein by building a shrine for him and calling him a saint. Goldstein had shot 29 Muslim prayers in the back and injured 129 others while praying in the Ibrahimi
Mosque in Hebron in February 1994

Settlers' terror increased up to a point where, in April 27, 2005, Amnesty International (AI) urged the Israeli occupation authorities to launch immediate probes into the Jewish settlers' poisoning of Palestinian agrarian fields. The Israeli government ignored such a request.

Despite all the media cover up, and the Zionist propaganda, the international community, on the civic level, understands and sympathizes with the Palestinian just cause. Many civil walks and protests demanding justice for Palestinians take place in major cities all over the world. People from all over the world join International Solidarity Movement to travel to Palestine to protect Palestinians from Israeli terror, and to protest Israeli imprisoning wall designed to choke Palestinian towns. Polls, especially in Europe, had shown that Israel is considered the most dangerous threat to world peace even before Iran.

Unfortunately the blackmail of World Zionist Organization and the pressure of the pro-Zionist neoconservative American administration and that of AIPAC made criticizing Israel a "political suicide" as described by previous American President Jimmy Carter. World leaders and politicians had ignored the plight of Palestinian people. They had ignored the illegal establishment of the terrorist state of Israel on usurped Palestine, ignored Israeli massacres against Palestinian civilians, the destruction of their villages, and the expulsion of almost 750 thousand Palestinian out of their homes, ignored the right of return for the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees and the implementation of UN resolution 194 of 1948 demanding their return to their land, ignored the suffering of Palestinians under Israeli terrorist occupation for the last 60 years, denied the Palestinians' right of self-defense and resisting occupation, as guaranteed by UN charters, and called this right terrorism, ignored Israeli terrorism, on the other hand, and called it self-defense, ignored and turned against the UN democratic principles when they rejected the Palestinian government that was elected by the most democratic election as witnessed and testified by UN and international well known monitors, and imposed financial and economic siege to starve Palestinians for their democratic process.

As the international political community, alas including some Arab leaders, had shown sympathy for the capture, as a war prisoner, of the Israeli soldier (Shalit), who was sent to Gaza Strip to shell and destroy the homes of Palestinian civilians and to kill their women and children, and expressed their understanding of the Israeli terrorist war against Lebanon (July 2006) in response to the capture of two Israeli soldiers sent across Lebanese borders to incite anticipated trouble, this international "civilized" community expressed no sympathy towards the 12 thousand Palestinian civilians, including women and children, rotting in miserable Israeli jails after being snatched out of their families in the middle of the night from their homes, nor did they express any understanding for the Palestinian attacks against Israeli settlers, who usurped Palestinian land.

The international community knows that Israel is perpetrating ethnic cleansing against Palestinians, yet none of its governments is doing anything about it or objecting it, giving Israel the wrong message that it is OK to kill Palestinians. That is why wiping Palestinians off existence is still going on until today. Palestinians have long joined native Australians and Native American Indians in the category of "endangered species". Today it is Palestinians; tomorrow it is the rest of Arab nations.

The Most Unholy Trinity

This day in history, July 16, 1945, the United States detonated the first atomic bomb in a test at Almogordo, New Mexico. The code-name was Project Trinity and the test bomb fired was code-named "Gadget" Twenty one days later, on August 6th, the nuclear weapon "Little Boy" was dropped on Hiroshima and three days later, on August 9th, the nuclear weapon "Fat Man" was dropped on Nagasaki. These were the only two times in the history of mankind that nuclear weapons of this magnitude were dropped. And it was by the United States.

Today the Bush administration is attempting to build a national park on this site.

Today America and over fifteen other countries are using depleted uranium in their weapons

Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Mairead Corrigan writes on the website, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

"On nuclear weapons, I believe people of the world have chosen abolishment, but the governments are ignoring the wishes of their people. So, we have entered the second nuclear arms race, led by current US Administration and being followed by many other countries. If our governments don’t, at this point in our history, take seriously their international obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to start decommissioning all nuclear weapons, there will be a serious proliferation within the next few years and we will truly be unable to abolish nuclear weapons. We will pass a frightful legacy to our children and grandchildren, a legacy of nuclear weapons and nuclear debt that will endanger them and their world. It is not only the next generation we will burden, but the cost of nuclear weapons in the past and today has robbed the materially poor of their rightful inheritance to be nurtured with basic rights of food, education and health care."

Sixty-two years ago today, the most UNHOLY Trinity was achieved.

It is now time for us all to work towards peace and a nuclear weapons free world.

Atomic Bomb: the effects
This footage is from the movie "Trinity and Beyond"!
The music is: "run", by snow patrol, from the album "final straw"

From the Great Law of PeaceSource: Nuclear Free News

Sunday, July 15, 2007

His Beatitude Patriarch Gregorius III Speaks on the Mideast Conflict

Head of Melkite faith speaks on Middle East conflict

The Patriarchal Head of the Greek Melkite Catholic Church

Patriarch of the cities of Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem, of Cilicia, Syria, Iberia, Arabia Mesopotamia, Pentapolis, Ethiopia, of all of Egypt and the entire East, Father of Fathers, Pastor of Pastors, Bishop of Bishops, the Thirteenth of the Holy Apostles

"I Love you when you bow in your bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are the sons of one religion, the spirit"

Kahlil Gibran

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

July 12, 2007
MORE -->
Original South Florida Sun-Sentinel article: Head of Melkite faith speaks on Middle East conflict

For many Jewish and Christian Americans, Middle Eastern Muslims are enemies, or at least strangers. But for the patriarch of Syrian Catholics, they are neighbors - even 'brothers in milk.'
His Beatitude Patriarch Gregorius III explained during a recent visit to Boca Raton.
'I grew up with Muslim neighbors,' said the leader of 1.5 million Melkites in the Middle East and elsewhere. 'And when a neighbor didn't have enough milk, my mother would take their children to her own breast. We are brothers in milk!'
The warm sentiments may sound strange to American ears, he agreed at the national convention that drew 1,000 Melkites to the Boca Raton Resort last weekend. Especially with the wave of violence by Islamic fundamentalists in the last two years - in Gaza and Lebanon as well as Iraq.
'With the rise of fundamentalism, you're tempted to avoid other people, to criticize and judge them,' the patriarch said. 'But they're the people I've lived with for many years. If some are under the influence of fundamentalism, I have to help free them with my values.'
Harmony between Christians and Muslims is a theme Gregorius, 73, has often sounded.
In 1962 he founded Al-Wahdah - Unity in the Faith , the first ecumenical magazine published in Arabic. He has also promoted dialogue with the Antiochian Orthodox Church, based in Damascus like his own.
The patriarch acknowledged that Christians have dwindled drastically in the Middle East - from a quarter of the population in 1900 to less than 6 percent. The main exception is Lebanon, still nearly 40 percent Christian.
But he disagreed vigorously with reports of systematic persecution against Christians in the region. He said instead that believers are caught up in fighting between Israel and its Palestinian foes.
One example was the recent looting and desecration of a Christian school after the takeover of Gaza by Hamas. Gregorius insisted the incident was 'a reaction of hatred at anyone thought to be associated with Americans. We're victims of bigger differences, swept along like a tsunami.'
He said politics, not religion, is the aim of terrorists. 'There is an exploitation of Muslims for politics. Most [fundamentalists] know little of Islam. They're simply brainwashed.
'And I beg my dear brothers and sisters in the West not to believe it when you hear that it's all about persecution.'
To counteract extremists, he said Muslims and Christians must proclaim common values like justice, charity and monotheism. He said interfaith dialogue groups have begun, and more are needed.
Even after the battle in Lebanon last year between Israel and Hezbollah, Christians and Muslims joined to help refugees, he said. 'We built a bridge of help.'
Europe and the United States should also invest more in peace than war, Gregorius said. He even recommended that the United States, Europe and Russia jointly impose an end to the conflict.
'If they all got together and declared peace in Israel and Palestine, there would be no war. There has been enough death in Iraq and Palestine and Lebanon.
'We pray for peace in America, and for peace to come from America.'

Furthermore, in December 2005:

Jordan Times
Thursday, December 1, 2005

Patriarch Gregorios III calls for peace and religious unity

By Rula Samain

AMMAN — His Beatitude Gregorios III, Patriarch of Antioch, of all Egypt and the entire East, headed the Roman Catholic Cathedral Mass here Tuesday evening, condemning the Nov. 9 suicide attacks as “criminal and inhuman acts.”

The patriarch, who is in the Kingdom to take part in the Eastern Catholic Patriarch annual meeting scheduled for Friday, started his sermon by praising the Kingdom as a country where Christians and Muslims have always enjoyed peaceful coexistence.

“We take pride in this religious country that we all worship one God, “ he said, while warning against those who seek to sow sedition and hatred.

He said the bombings in three Amman hotels were “criminal and inhuman” and against “all cultural and religious values,” while voicing his solidarity with the Kingdom.

The attacks left 60 people dead and around a hundred injured.

During his sermon, the patriarch paid tribute to the “Amman Message,” describing it as a message of tolerance and humanity and a herald of a new future for a developed and prosperous Jordan. “It [Amman Message] is an exemplary one for the entire Arab world,” he said.

The Amman Message, issued in November 2004 and translated into several world languages, spells out Jordan's understanding of Islam as a religion that rejects violence and promotes dialogue and constructive interaction with other cultures.

The patriarch said followers of Islam and Christianity should demonstrate the values of their religions, promote religious understanding, tolerance and freedom.

“Our belief in Christ the Lord calls for the unity of not only Christians but also Muslims to face the new challenges,” he said.

“We should oppose this conspiracy by standing together,” he added.

The patriarch also urged for a final solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and for peace in Iraq.

Gregorios III, who is the head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, finished his sermon by praying to God to bestow peace on His people and the world.

The Eastern Catholic patriarchs, Chief of the Royal Court Salem Turk, Muslim scholars, and other officials attended the mass.

The Amman Message: (official website of the Amman Message)

The Amman Message


The Amman Message started as a detailed statement released the eve of the 27th of Ramadan 1425 AH / 9th November 2004 CE by H.M. King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein in Amman, Jordan. It sought to declare what Islam is and what it is not, and what actions represent it and what actions do not. Its goal was to clarify to the modern world the true nature of Islam and the nature of true Islam.

In order to give this statement more religious authority, H.M. King Abdullah II then sent the following three questions to 24 of the most senior religious scholars from all around the world representing all the branches and schools of Islam: (1) Who is a Muslim? (2) Is it permissible to declare someone an apostate (takfir)? (3) Who has the right to undertake issuing fatwas (legal rulings)?

Based on the fatwas provided by these great scholars (who included the Shaykh Al-Azhar; Ayatollah Sistani and Sheikh Qaradawi), in July 2005 CE, H.M. King Abdullah II convened an international Islamic conference of 200 of the world's leading Islamic scholars 'Ulama) from 50 countries. In Amman, the scholars unanimously issued a ruling on three fundamental issues (which became known as the 'Three Points of the Amman Message'):

  1. They specifically recognized the validity of all 8 Mathhabs (legal schools) of Sunni, Shi'a and Ibadhi Islam; of traditional Islamic Theology (Ash'arism); of Islamic Mysticism (Sufism), and of true Salafi thought, and came to a precise definition of who is a Muslim.

  2. Based upon this definition they forbade takfir (declarations of apostasy) between Muslims.

  3. Based upon the Mathahib they set forth the subjective and objective preconditions for the issuing of fatwas, thereby exposing ignorant and illegitimate edicts in the name of Islam.

These Three Points were then unanimously adopted by the Islamic World's political and temporal leaderships at the Organization of the Islamic Conference summit at Mecca in December 2005. And over a period of one year from July 2005 to July 2006, the Three Points were also unanimously adopted by six other international Islamic scholarly assemblies, culminating with the International Islamic Fiqh Academy of Jeddah, in July 2006. In total, over 500 leading Muslim scholars worldwide—as can be seen on this website [click here to see the entire list]—unanimously endorsed the Amman Message and its Three Points.

This amounts to a historical, universal and unanimous religious and political consensus (ijma') of the Ummah (nation) of Islam in our day, and a consolidation of traditional, orthodox Islam. The significance of this is: (1) that it is the first time in over a thousand years that the Ummah has formally and specifically come to such a pluralistic mutual inter-recognition; and (2) that such a recognition is religiously legally binding on Muslims since the Prophet (may peace and blessings be upon him) said: My Ummah will not agree upon an error (Ibn Majah, Sunan, Kitab al-Fitan, Hadith no.4085).

This is good news not only for Muslims, for whom it provides a basis for unity and a solution to infighting, but also for non-Muslims. For the safeguarding of the legal methodologies of Islam (the Mathahib) necessarily means inherently preserving traditional Islam's internal 'checks and balances'. It thus assures balanced Islamic solutions for essential issues like human rights; women's rights; freedom of religion; legitimate jihad; good citizenship of Muslims in non-Muslim countries, and just and democratic government. It also exposes the illegitimate opinions of radical fundamentalists and terrorists from the point of view of true Islam. As George Yeo, the Foreign Minister of Singapore, declared in the 60th Session of the U.N. General Assembly (about the Amman Message): "Without this clarification, the war against terrorism would be much harder to fight."

Finally, whilst this by the Grace of God is a historical achievement, it will clearly remain only principial unless it is put into practice everywhere. For this reason, H.M. King Abdullah II is now seeking to implement it, God willing, through various pragmatic measures, including (1) inter-Islamic treaties; (2) national and international legislation using the Three Points of the Amman Message to define Islam and forbid takfir; (3) the use of publishing and the multi-media in all their aspects to spread the Amman Message; (4) instituting the teaching of the Amman Message in school curricula and university courses worldwide; and (5) making it part of the training of mosque Imams and making it included in their sermons.

God says in the Holy Qur'an says:

There is no good in much of their secret conferences save (in) whosoever enjoineth charity and fairness and peace-making among the people and whoso doeth that, seeking the good pleasure of God, We shall bestow on him a vast reward. (Al-Nisa, 4:114).

"Truths Jews, Christians and Muslims Hold in Common"

Sunday Offering #20: "If You Tell A Lie"

If you tell a lie again and again
It does not become the truth in the end
If your voice is loud and your lies are well heard
Still it does not mean transformation has occurred

Water isn't wine
Brass isn't gold
One day you'll account for all the lies that you told

If you take the forest, if you steal it tree by tree
If you blacken the river if you desecrate the sea
You can wave your arms, you can shout out from on high
But the truth is still the truth and a lie is still a lie

Water isn't wine
Brass isn't gold
One day you'll account for all the priceless things you sold

You can speak of God while you lead your Holy War
As if your hands weren’t stained by the oil you adore
More innocents will die and more soldiers will fall
You name your church for God but it was greed that built those walls

Water isn’t wine
Brass isn’t gold
One day you’ll account for all the lives that you stole

Two faced yes fool
Pin striped suit ghoul

You can make a promise and some people might believe
That you are not beholden to the power, to the greed
But if they should fall ill, or their schools should fall down
Should they fall on hard times well I doubt you'll be around

Water isn't wine, brass isn't gold
And it's wrong that we should pay for that crown that you stole
Water isn't wine, brass isn't gold
One day you'll account for all the lies that you told

"If You Tell a Lie" by Monica Pasqual, Blame Sally