Posts Tagged ‘war’

Collateral Murder: Two Points


The lately leaked videotape by Wikileaks that showed a war crime executed by soldiers of the US army in Iraq back in 2007 will generate lots of discussion and point fingering to the US Army and before that foreign policies and practices. I will not doubt that it is worth to highlight the cold blood execution everyone saw in the tape and I personally believe that it is not that only incident when innocent Iraqis, and in other places innocents human beings, were killed in a similar brutal manner. However, what strikes me is that many around the world and more specifically in the Arab and Islamic countries receive such tapes with shock and strong condemnation of what happened, while such attitude is not strongly shown when the criminals are either Arabs, Muslims or not Westerns.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, many innocent people died because of attacks carried out by either Al-Qaeda or Taliban or any other “Islamic” group. Always there are voices that condemn such unjustified killings but such voices are neither widely heard nor well accepted.  I do not doubt the right of Iraqis and Afghans to defend their country against the American occupation but I clearly see a difference between liberating a country and killing innocent people in the markets, buses and around religious shrines. Killing an innocent person is a crime regardless of who is behind it.

In Saudi Arabia, Al-Qaeda attacks caused many causalities yet I can claim that the tone of condemnation is rarely as strong as when the media leaks some of the wrong doings of the US either army or investigators. I personally hate the unjust practiced by the US in many places around the globe, yet I do find it unfair to look to the mistakes of others while we are not dealing with our own mistakes.

On the other hand, I was listening last night to the BBC program “Have your say” and one of the guests was an American journalist who kept saying “it is war, what do you expect?”. Honestly what I heard him saying was “They are damn Arabs, why shall we care!”. Why? Because I cannot imagine the same attitude and unemotional tone if the victims were Americans. Overall, the tape shows a real disrespect to human life represented by: 1)Firing on unarmed individuals who were trying to help an injured person who cannot be a source of any threat, 2)The eagerness to fire at the van and 3)the laugh. It is war but even then I don’t think human should turn to be inhuman.

Such incident shows how the importance of media and its role in exposing things that many would like to keep under the carpet. In my country, I wish we can clean up so many things and keep nothing under the carpet.


Israeli Apartheid Week


Saudi Blogger Qusay suggested publishing his latest post “Israeli Apartheid Week” in Alternative Saudi Voices blog. I am delighted to have this post in the blog since it touches in an important subject for many around the globe.

I’ve been meaning to write a post about this for a while now, and what better time to actually write it and publish it than during the Israeli Apartheid Week.

Let me be clear, I do not hate Jews. I’ve had Jewish friends, we talked, we ate , we celebrated, we got into heated debates about this and that, we helped each other on homework and projects and I have some good memories of some of them, and bad memories of others. I have never subscribed to the idea of grouping people into one category, and I was never comfortable with generalizing a whole community and demonizing or exemplifying them.

Now that I have that out of the way, Israel is an apartheid, just like South Africa was, and worse in my opinion.

Many years ago, when I was not even in high school, I read about Israel not accepting the African Jews of Ethiopia into the Israeli society and imposing restrictions not imposed on Jews of other nationalities who get almost free admission into the settlements, and let’s not forget that they push the people who’ve lived on the land for hundreds of years off the land to build the settlements and call upon Jews from all over the world to come and get the Jewish aliya (literally “ascent”).

One of the reason I’ve loved blogging is because it gave a voice to people, those who I’ve never heard of, saying it like it is. Israel hates Arabs so much that they not only attack Arabs and treat them bad, but they also treat their Jewish people with disdain for looking like Arabs, this is a post by an Iraqi-Jewish-Israeli scholar, Ella Shohat telling it like he lives it. “The discrimination Mizrahi Jews face, like their Palestinian brethren, is a testament to the racist nature of the state of Israel.”

I saw a 60 minutes report a few months ago, some good Jewish people who work for the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem in a remarkable project called Shooting Back. They live on the land gave some poor Palestinians video cameras so they can video the attacks (watch this), and then they take the footage from them and upload the videos for the world to see. I have to say that I am proud of them, I hate discrimination, I even wrote a post about it, and these people stood up against it, thank you.

I really do not care who governs the land, but what Israel is trying to do is copy what has been done to the Native Americans and the Aboriginals and the Africans, but they were a few hundred years late, plus the area was not living in the stone age so they can not just push the natives off the land (which somehow humans intend to do even to inhabitants of distant planets if they have the chance, seen the movie Avatar?).

I write this post, to include my voice in a global movement that I hope will change the situation for an uncountable number of people to the better, and raise awareness.

In a previous post I said I hope I have the courage to speak up against any discrimination I see, and I could not resist to speak up on this one.

The Arab stance was once that as written in a letter by Prince Faisal Hussaini King of Syria and Iraq to Felix Frankfurter in 1919, which I quote here “We Arabs, especially the educated among us look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. Our deputation here in Paris is fully acquainted with the proposals submitted yesterday by the Zionist Organisation to Peace Conference, and we regard them as moderate proper. We will do our best, in so far as we are concerned, to help them through: we will wish the Jews a most hearty welcome home.” (full letter and correspondence)

It started with a welcome, and went through many genocides, I hope it ends soon.

Haile Selassie in his eternal 1963 Speech delivered to the United Nations and popularized in a song called War by Bob Marley said it well “That until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned: That until there are no longer first-class and second-class citizens of any nation; That until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes; That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race; That until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained”

The Israeli minister was grilled on apartheid issues that “he made a confounding claim that Israeli Arabs may have “full citizenship,” even if they do not enjoy “full rights.”

There is no excuse for this type of discrimination to keep going on at all.