By Saree Makdisi
The leaked papers published by Al Jazeera show how craven Palestinian leaders are and how willing they were to sell out their people's rights. Yet all they had to offer wasn't enough for Israel.
A massive archive of documents leaked to Al Jazeera and Britain's Guardian newspaper offers irrefutable proof that years of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians have been an empty sham. The papers make clear that the time has come for Palestinians and anyone interested in the cause of justice to abandon the charade of official diplomacy and pursue other, more creative and nonviolent paths toward the realization of a genuine, just peace.
It was the worst of times, it was the most apathetic of times. A crazed gunman with an itchy trigger finger eagerly fired on unarmed and innocent civilians. Many died as a result and even children were shot at. How should we respond? What do we want our government to do?
How would we feel if the authorities let Jared Loughner go free? How betrayed would we feel? Would we be so incensed that we would take matters into our own hands? Would we feel that we are now being forced to live by the rule of the jungle?
Fortunately our government is taking action to ensure that Loughner never shoots another person. And our leaders have been addressing issues in order to prevent similar massacres in the future. What our government is doing regarding Loughner is fortunate for us; but how it handles other like situations is not fortunate for all. Our government is not treating all mass murders as being equal. But lets first talk about what happened in Tucson.
Some guy named Percy Shelley once said poets were the "unacknowledged legislators of the world." So, I'm thinking maybe Percy's been hanging out in Canton, Ohio with Andrew Rihn, author of the inventive new poetry collection, America Plops and Fizzes from sunnyoutside press.
#8 Sometimes the best things in life are broken.
Rihn's no Ivory Tower purist or coffeehouse boor. Sure, he's the got the English degree from Kent State and six chapbooks to his name but as he told me, "My politics are reflected in my writing. Much of my writing deals with working class issues." Putting his values into practice, Rihn has run creative writing workshops in a domestic violence shelter and currently volunteers reading manuscripts for a non-profit (Reentry Bridge Network) that connects prisoners with the performing arts. (Reentry Bridge Network publishes four books per year of prisoner's writing.)
by Stephen Lendman
Democratic Middle East birth pangs may have legs enough to spread regionally, including in Occupied Palestine.
Officially launched in Cairo in 1959, the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) offers hope, driven by a commitment for Palestinian liberation. With more than 100 chapters and over 100,000 members, it's organized rallies, political debates, cultural programs, and other initiatives to spread truths about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
Perhaps inspired by events across the region, on January 27, its press release headlined, "Palestinian students claim right to participate in shaping our destiny," saying:
"....(I)n order to reassert our inalienable rights, (we) claim our right to democratically participate in the shaping of our destiny. We begin a national initiative to campaign for direct elections to the Palestinian National Council (the PLO's legislative body) on the clear understanding that only a reformed national representative institution, that includes all Palestinians, those struggling in the homeland and those struggling in exile, can create a representative Palestinian platform, and restore the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people."
Burning rage ... protester stands on blazing Cairo streetIn his latest Newsweek article Stephen Kinzer wonders who America is betting on to counter the popular rising forces in the Middle East : “The same friends it has been betting on for decades” he answers. “Mubarak’s pharaonic regime in Egypt, Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority, the Saudi monarchy, and increasingly radical politicians in Israel. It is no wonder that Iran’s power is rising as the American-imposed order begins to crumble,” he concludes.
Kinzer explains America's stance succinctly and accurately : “The U.S. keeps Mubarak in power - it gave his regime $1.5 billion in aid last year -mainly because he supports America’s pro-Israel policies, especially by helping Israel maintain its stranglehold on Gaza. It supports Abbas for the same reason; Abbas is seen as willing to compromise with Israel and is, therefore, a desirable negotiating partner….. American support for Mubarak and Abbas continues, although neither man is in power with any figment of legality; Mubarak brazenly stage-manages elections, and Abbas has ruled by decree since his term of office expired in 2009.”
Not if a state owes you money!
Jeb Bush and Newt Gingrich just published an OpEd in the Los Angeles Times arguing that states would be wise to consider filing bankruptcy to relieve their financial troubles. They cite three states, California, Illinois and New York, while failing to mention the angry elephant in the living room with similar problems, Texas.
Texas faces a $25 billion shortfall for a $95 billion two-year budget. That equals California's 18-month deficit inherited by the recently inaugurated Governor Jerry Brown.
"So why haven't we heard more about Texas, one of the most important economy's in America? Well, it's because it doesn't fit the script. It's a pro-business, lean-spending, no-union state. You can't fit it into a nice storyline, so it's ignored," said Business Insider
Mention Richard Falk and you think of an honourable man who cares deeply about injustice, particularly the trampled rights of Palestinians under the evil jackboot.
Mention Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the United Nations, and what comes to mind?
The BBC reported in December 2008: “During her stint in the Clinton White House, she was described as ‘brilliant’ but also ‘authoritarian’ and ‘brash’. According to the New York Times, she acknowledges ‘a certain impatience at times’.”
She is also said to be "unwilling to consider opinions that differ from her own".
Ambassador Rice has just demanded that Falk, the UN Human Rights Council's special rapporteur in the Palestinian territories, step down from his UN position. “In my view, Mr. Falk’s latest commentary [an entry in his blog about the media and 9/11] is so noxious that it should finally be plain to all that he should no longer continue in his position on behalf of the UN.”
I have for many years lived with the knowledge that we, the masses, the working class, the poor, the white, the black, the brown, the immigrants, the Christians, the Muslims, the atheists, the soldiers/ex-soldiers, the peaceniks, the communists, the anarchists, the students, the people, across the spectrum, we all have a common cause. And yet, we have so tragically allowed ourselves to be duped, to be pitted against each other, fighting each other, finding a million ways to divide ourselves, or simply to be indifferent to each other. In this the tyrant’s smile, they laugh and they joke, about how complete their control over us is. They have been laughing for far too long.
Mahboob A. Khawaja, Ph.D.
“What one misses in Arab and Palestinian culture is a moral and intellectual standard by which truth and falsehood can be distinguished and according to which intellectuals act regardless of profit or patronage.”
This observer tends to get a haircut about every four months whether I need it or not. But this morning I got more than a trim from my Hezbollah friend and barber, Abass, named after Abass ibn Ali, the brother of Hussein, both martyrs and heroes of the epic 680 a.d. internecine Muslim battle at Karbala in present day Iraq. The Battle of Karbala, for Hezbollah members and Shia Muslims generally, symbolizes the triumph of good over evil and the willingness to sacrifice one’s life for justice and the greater good of one’s family, community or “Ummah.” The reason for mentioning this is that my barber was ecstatic and claims his party has just experienced a “Karbala moment!”
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