The Happy Arab News Service




Wednesday, August 29, 2007




The Fall of Baghdad

Last updated: August 29, 2007

January 30, 2007


Thousands of US troops are already on the way to Iraq in the wake of the latest George Bush's initiative aimed at getting hold of the situation in Baghdad. It appears that Iraqi PM, Al-Maliki, finally became convinced that an urgent action should be taken against the Mahdi Army unless something really bad happens. Yet there is a catch here.

The Mahdi Army has been massively expelling Sunnis recently not only from Baghdad's mixed neighborhoods but from predominantly Sunni areas too. Moreover, the Mahdi Army is reported to be invading small Sunni towns and villages around Baghdad displacing dozens of thousands of more Sunnis.

Moqtada Al-Sadr, who is officially the leader of the MA and whose faction is part of the ruling coalition, toned down his rhetorics lately despite the clampdown on his baby by the Iraqi forces led by the Americans. It may signal that even the MA's leadership realizes that the things went just too far. In public Al-Sadr professes the same HA-style ideology of a united Sunni Shia front against Western imperialism and Zionism and he clearly cannot give his support to the massive ethnic cleansing campaign carried out by his military wing against the Sunnis in and around Baghdad.

Yet on the ground the things are rather different. Apparently many of Al-Sadr's loyalists in Baghdad are openly disobeying his orders or joined the MA's runaway factions. And whatever anti imperialist ideology Al-Sadr believes in, on the ground his Shia are slaughtered not so much by the hated imperialists and Zionists but by their fellow Sunni brothers.

With the Iraqi forces proving themselves to be of little use and with the American troops spread too thinly to be effective it is the MA's men who man the roadblocks around the Shia neighborhoods. Ethnic cleansing may be a very bad word but it may also be the last option for a population that faces daily deadly attacks. The Sunni insurgents recently perfected their tactics so much that on a good day a hundred of people may easily die in Baghdad in multiple car bomb attacks.

While the US and Iraqi government are planning their huge security operation to try to stabilize the situation in Baghdad area they should have it very clear that any attempt to crash the MA without providing an adequate protection to the Shia will be immediately interpreted as an attempt to disarm the Shia leaving them defenseless in the face of the brutal Sunni insurgency. The Shia nerves in Baghdad are very frayed.

It may be that it's too late and the beast spent too much time in the wild for anybody to be able to get hold of it, but even if the US and Al-Maliki succeed in crashing the MA, to stop the car bomb attacks will be even more difficult. But a failure to do this will not only nullify any possible achievements against the MA, it may cause Baghdad's Shia to rethink their attitudes towards their own government and its hapless army, since for good or for worse in the eyes of too many Shia the Mahdi Army has become their only protector.

Nevertheless any attempt to subdue the MA is worth of trying. This is because if one day Baghdad goes completely Shia and totally lost for the Sunnis the significance of this fact for the Sunni world will be comparable to Baghdad's fall to the Mongol armies centuries ago. When news of Baghad having fallen into the Shia hands hit the Sunni Arab street it may unleash a reaction of a scale and ferociousness that no sane Arab leader would dare to contemplate even as a remote possibility.


PS

Sunni areas in the Baghdad neighborhood of Mansour are now almost empty. The rate of ethnic cleansings is accelerating both in and around Baghdad with Al-Sadr's Mahdi Army invading Sunni strongholds at the perimeter of the city. The photo is from It Has Unraveled So Quickly by The New York Times.


August 13, 2007

By STEVEN R. HURST, Associated Press Writer
Sun Aug 12, 2007


BAGHDAD - Iraq's most senior Sunni politician issued a desperate appeal Sunday for Arab nations to help stop what he called an "unprecedented genocide campaign" by Shiite militias armed, trained and controlled by Iran . . .

Adnan al-Dulaimi said "Persians" and "Safawis," Sunni terms for Iranian Shiites, were on the brink of total control in Baghdad and soon would threaten Sunni Arab regimes which predominate in the Mideast.

"It is a war that has started in Baghdad and they will not stop there but will expand it to all Arab lands," al-Dulaimi wrote in an impassioned e-mail to The Associated Press.

Sunni Arab regimes throughout the Middle East fear the growing influence of Iran's Shiite theocracy with radical groups like Hezbollah and Hamas as well as the Syrian regime. Raising the specter of Iranian power reaching the Arab doorstep, unlikely in the near-term, betrayed al-Dulaimi's desperation

But his fears of a Shiite takeover of Baghdad were not as farfetched. Mahdi Army militiamen have cleansed entire neighborhoods of Sunni residents and seized Sunni mosques. Day by day, hundreds have been killed and thousands have fled their homes, seeking safety in the shrinking number of majority Sunni districts.

. . .

Source

To be fair, I should add that not only the Sunni Shia war is now a reality in Iraq, an all-out Shia Shia war in the South is probably coming too, and the hasty British withdrawal from Basra makes it even more likely.

August 20, 2007

Shia vs Shia

By BUSHRA JUHI, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD - A roadside bomb killed the governor of the southern Muthanna province on Monday, police said, the second assassination of a top provincial official in just over a week.

. . .

The blast struck the SUV carrying Gov. Mohammed Ali al-Hassani about 9 a.m., shortly after his convoy departed from his home in Rumaitha en route to his office in the provincial capital of Samawah, about 230 miles southeast of Baghdad.

Al-Hassani, his driver and a guard were killed, while his office manager and two other guards were seriously wounded, police said.

A curfew was immediately clamped on Samawah and new checkpoints were erected.

On Aug. 11, the governor and police chief of another southern province, Qadasiyah, also were killed in a roadside bombing attack. Gov. Khalil Jalil Hamza and the police chief Maj. Gen. Khalid Hassan were killed as they returned to the provincial capital of Diwaniyah from a funeral for a tribal sheik.

Both governors were members of the influential Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, a group led by Shiite politician Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim whose loyalists have been fighting the Mahdi Army militia for control of the oil-rich south as British-led forces gradually withdraw from the area.

. . .

Police quickly laid blame on the Mahdi Army, which is nominally loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and has been involved in several recent clashes with its rivals.

"There was nothing against the governor inside the province except the confrontations between Mahdi Army and SIIC, which have claimed the lives of dozens of people," an officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he feared retribution.

. . .

Source


Last updated: August 29, 2007

By ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press Writer


BAGHDAD - Sporadic gunfire echoed through the center of Karbala early Wednesday after daylong clashes between rival Shiite militias claimed up to 51 lives and forced officials to abort a Shiite religious festival that had drawn up to 1 million pilgrims from around the world.

. . .

Security officials said Mahdi Army gunmen loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Tuesday fired on guards around two shrines protected by the Badr Brigade, the armed wing of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council.

Residents of Karbala contacted by telephone said snipers were firing on Iraqi security forces from rooftops. Explosions and the rattle of automatic weapons fire could be heard during telephone calls to reporters Tuesday in the city 50 miles south of Baghdad.

Officials reported 51 dead and 247 injured on Tuesday, but the city council member said Wednesday that 38 had been killed and 231 injured.

. . .

Gunfights also broke out Tuesday between Mahdi militiamen and followers of the Supreme Council in at least two Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad and in Kut, about 100 miles southeast of the capital, police said.

Extra police took up positions in the center of another Shiite city, Diwaniyah, after gunmen fired on a mosque associated with the Supreme Council, police said. A curfew was clamped on the Shiite city of Najaf after a mortar round exploded on a major square, causing no casualties, officials said.

. . .

___

Associated Press reporters in Karbala contributed to this report but their names were withheld for their safety.

Source

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Proclaimed Nobody at 7:48 PM

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Monday, August 27, 2007




Linguistic Totalitarianism

Last updated: October 11, 2007

July 13, 2007


The Jerusalem Post

Jul. 11, 2007

One to One: Ruthie Blum vs Joel Fishman, a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) and adjunct fellow at the University of Calgary's Center for Military and Strategic Studies.

. . .

. . .

Yet everyone, from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to the international community, distinguishes between Fatah and Hamas, saying that Fatah should be supported and strengthened.

That comes from a mindset that is very popular in the US of "cultivating the moderates" or seeking a "win-win situation." Kissinger pointed out that the idea of helping the moderates dates from World War II. Franklin Delano Roosevelt's adviser, Harry Hopkins, argued that Stalin was a moderate and therefore had to be helped.

[British MP and Celsius 7/7 author] Michael Gove and [German researcher] Matthias Kuentzel both attribute the weakness of the West to its lack of understanding of ideology as a driving force, particularly in the case of Iran. Generally, Westerners prefer to ignore the ideological dimension and focus on pragmatic problem-solving. They seek the "root causes" of terrorism, as if they were material. This mindset prevents one from understanding the enemy. For example, it fails to take into account the public declarations of [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad such as: "The Zionist regime must disappear from the scene of existence," which is a literal translation from Farsi. Indeed, the essential weakness of Israel and the rest of the West is that we tend to think that every dispute can be settled through some kind of deal.

Another type of faulty reasoning is the assumption that our adversaries are decent people just like you and me. Neville Chamberlain, who had once been the mayor of Birmingham before becoming prime minister of the UK, assumed that Hitler's main objective was to to improve the well-being of the German worker. He thought that he understood this man. And he reasoned that if England gave him what he demanded and the issues of contention could be removed, Hitler would return to the work of building autobahns, spreading employment and raising his people's standard of living.

This approach is called "cognitive egocentrism." It happens when you believe that everybody else is as reasonable as you are. For example, [US Secretary of State] Condoleezza Rice once said that every Palestinian mother wanted to see her children going to university. Now, this might be true of Americans, but it's not necessarily the aspiration of every Palestinian mother. I happen to believe that more and more Palestinian mothers would really like to see their children go on to higher education. But Rice's statement in the context of what was going on shows that she doesn't get it.

Rice is an American diplomat. But what about the Israeli decision-makers? They say similar things.

Look, one cannot always know if they really mean what they say, or if they are saying certain things in order to please others. One thing is clear: Political correctness is a form of linguistic totalitarianism that leads to Orwellian "slavery." When there are certain things you're not allowed to say, it means in most cases that there are certain things you're not allowed to think.

Give an example of things one is not allowed to say or think.

It took a long time before one could call the Oslo Accords a failure. Nor could one say that Arabs were propagating anti-Semitism. What happened during the Oslo era and still persists is a type of a disconnect in our reasoning process. It was generally assumed that if we could cut a deal, we would have real peace and there would be no further need for Israel to project its message. That's why in May 1993 Shimon Peres, when he became foreign minister, shut down the information department of the Foreign Ministry. He confidently proclaimed, "If you have a good policy, you don't need public relations, and if you have a bad policy, public relations will not help."

We still must come to terms with the hopes associated with Oslo and our present reality.

. . .

. . .

Source

July 26, 2007

The French and the Necromongers


Carolle Ziton is making Aliyah to Israel together with her husband and two small children. She is in the first wave of 3,000 French Jews expected to arrive over next few weeks. The immigration from France has peaked this year and reached levels unknown over the last three decades. In an interview to Ynet Carolle said:

We don’t feel at home in France. I bought a house with a private backyard because we have Arab neighbors and I want my children to play in a safe place. We haven’t encountered any expressions of anti-Semitism, but there is a feeling that something is about to happen. The murder of Ilan Halimi only substantiated this feeling.

Source

There are a few problems with this interview.

First of all, Carolle, what does it mean you had to buy a house with a private backyard because you have Arab neighbors? Are you saying, Carolle, that having Arab neighbors is in some way different from having Jewish neighbors or French neighbors?

Let alone what does it mean you want your children to play in a safe place ? Are you implying that having Arab neighbors is dangerous for children? Do you think it's fair to stigmatize a whole community in this way? Carolle, these people are just the same simple human beings like you and me. They spend their lives trying to live them as normally as they can. These people pass their days mostly worrying over how to make the ends meet. The last thing they have on their mind is stalking your children with a view to harming them.

Or maybe you want to say that Arab children can harass Jewish children? Children cannot be Jewish or Arab, Carolle. Children don't have sectarian or religious identities, because they are . . . you know ... they are just children. You are not trying to say that Arab children can be particularly mean to other children just because these other children are Jewish children, are you? What an awful thing to say.

You see, Carolle. It's true that Israel is a country of refugees. But probably you don't know how much we have changed since Israel was created. Some sections of our society have now reached the next level of evolutionary development as they have evolved into a new and vastly more advanced race, the race of necromongers of diversity and political correctness. I should better explain.

The necromonger code of speech and thinking requires total obedience and compliance with certain rules. Petty worries for your personal safety or the safety of your children, Carolle, are not a good enough reason for violating the necromonger code of speech. While the majority of Israelis will certainly excuse your language as some of them or their parents had fled even worse situations, you should bear in mind that in some sections of our society this kind of talk is no longer tolerated.

The Necromonger leader Lord Marshall




August 27, 2007

The Other View

This is what defectors from radical Islam have to say about how political correctness has affected the situation of radical Islam in the West and the West's reaction to it. I made some analysis of the interaction between leftism and radical Islam here.

Khaleej Times Online >> Columnist >> IRFAN HUSAIN
July 12 2007

LAST Saturday, it was two years to the day since suicide bombers attacked the London transport system in 2005, killing over fifty innocent victims. Since then, others have tried to emulate these atrocities, including the botched attempts in London and Glasgow this week. Although thousands of miles separate the ongoing violence in and around Islamabad’s Lal Masjid from the UK attacks, a strong strand connects the incidents.

In both cases, those allegedly responsible were Muslims. Both groups share a worldview where it is incumbent on them to create a world where Islamic law prevails. And to achieve this utopia, both think it is legitimate to use any degree of force necessary. In the process, if innocent men, women and children are killed, so be it. In fact, they usually target civilians because they are easier targets. They have, in effect, declared jihad on the rest of the world.

The theological underpinning of this logic requires a significant departure from orthodox Islamic teachings. For instance, standard commentaries prepared after decades of study by all the major schools of jurisprudence argue that only Islamic states can declare jihad. This is not something individuals can go around doing according to their whim.

However, radical Islamists following the teachings of Syed Qutb and Maudoodi argue that in the absence of a genuine Islamic state and a caliphate, true believers have a duty to bring Islamic rule to the whole world, by the sword if necessary. This line has appealed to two generations of Muslims, and there has been a steady hardening of these beliefs over the last fifty years. The Hizb ut-Tahrir is even more militant and hardline in the politicisation of Islam.

And over the last half century, Muslims in the West have been expanding their religious and political space. Simultaneously, non-Muslims living in Muslim-majority countries have seen their rights circumscribed, and their freedom to practise their faith reduced. Muslims in the West have taken advantage of the climate of tolerance, secularism and democracy to demand greater rights and privileges. Mosques and faith schools have mushroomed. Political correctness and the reluctance to debate religious issues in a post-modern West have seen the steady rise in the demands of Muslims.

‘The Islamist’ is a current bestseller in the UK about Ed Husain’s five-year journey from radicalism to disillusionment. The writer reveals how he was indoctrinated by a Jamat-e-Islami group at a London school, and finally inducted into the Hizb-ut Tahrir. Along the way, he discusses the different extremist groups that have put down roots in Britain: “But though internally divided, they [extremist groups] are all in agreement in their veneration of Mawdudi and Qutb. In different but unquestionable ways, they are affiliated to the Jamat-e-Islami of the subcontinent, the Muslim Brotherhood of the Arab world, or Hamas of Palestine. And in recent years they have united as the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), formed in 1997 at the request of the Tory home secretary Michael Howard. What were isolated, competing, often bitter enemies have come together to present a united front as spokesmen for British Muslims…”

Syed Qutb’s most influential book is Milestones, and one of its chapters is about ‘The Virtues of Killing a Non-Believer’. Among the ideas it discusses is ‘Attacking the non-believers in their territories is a collective and individual duty’. Ed Husain bought a copy (published in Birmingham) from the mosque bookshop of the London Muslim Centre, ‘Europe’s largest Islamist hub’.

Another young British-born Muslim who has recently broken away from extremism publicly is Hassan Butt. He has appeared on TV and radio to denounce the violence that is taking hold in the name of Islam. He also questions the popular liberal notion that Western policies towards the Muslim world are the direct cause of extremist terrorism. In an article in the Observer on 1 July, Butt writes: “…I remember how we used to laugh in celebration whenever people on TV proclaimed that the sole cause for Islamic acts of terror like 9/11, the Madrid bombings and 7/7 was Western foreign policy. By blaming the government for our actions, those who pushed the ‘Blair’s bombs’ line did our propaganda work for us. More important, they also helped to draw away any critical examination from the real engine of our violence: Islamic theology (!!!)…

“…But the main reason why radicals have managed to increase their following is because most Islamic institutions in Britain just don’t want to talk about theology. They refuse to broach the difficult and often complex topic of violence within Islam and instead repeat the mantra that Islam is [a religion of] peace, focus on Islam as personal, and hope that all of this debate will go away...”


. . .

. . .

Irfan Husain is a Pakistani commentator

Full Source


PS

The current edition of the Jerusalem Post has a review of Ed Husain’s book here.


October 11, 2007

Are You Tolerant of the Intolerance of Other Tolerances ?

. . .

. . .

Radical Islam is what multiculturalism has been waiting for all along. In "The Survival of Culture," I quoted the eminent British barrister Helena Kennedy, Queen's Counsel. Shortly after September 11, Baroness Kennedy argued on a BBC show that it was too easy to disparage "Islamic fundamentalists." "We as Western liberals too often are fundamentalist ourselves," she complained. "We don't look at our own fundamentalisms."

Well, said the interviewer, what exactly would those Western liberal fundamentalisms be? "One of the things that we are too ready to insist upon is that we are the tolerant people and that the intolerance is something that belongs to other countries like Islam. And I'm not sure that's true."

Hmm. Lady Kennedy was arguing that our tolerance of our own tolerance is making us intolerant of other people's intolerance, which is intolerable. And, unlikely as it sounds, this has now become the highest, most rarefied form of multiculturalism. So you're nice to gays and the Inuit? Big deal. Anyone can be tolerant of fellows like that, but tolerance of intolerance gives an even more intense frisson of pleasure to the multiculti masochists . . .

. . .

. . .

Opinion Journal (The Wall Street Journal)
BY MARK STEYN
Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Source


PS

The comments section of another post contains a discussion of political correctness, its origin and application in Communist Russia: Wahhabite Russia

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Proclaimed Nobody at 6:21 PM

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007




The Road to Nowhere

August 22, 2007

The Jerusalem Post
Aug 21, 2007
By YOSEF LAPID

There is a point to the talks between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas only if both parties realize that there is no point to them. There is a point to them because it is a good thing to strive for peace; and in the absence of talks a vacuum is created, drawing in despair, which serves the interests of the extremists.

There is no point to the talks because ultimately they lead nowhere, being an exercise in futility that will never culminate in an agreement. The relationship between Israel and the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria will carry on without the benefit of a formal agreement, as they have until now.

The die was cast when Israel withdrew from Gush Katif. It was a historic step, a sacrifice that shook Israeli society.

The Palestinians' response was not long in coming: They stepped up the Kassam fire and elected Hamas, establishing a regime that does not recognize Israel's right to exist and is unwilling to concede its armed struggle until Israel is completely defeated.

THE ISRAELI public has learned its lesson. It has learned that every Israeli concession boomerangs against us, that the Palestinians prefer suffering and war to prosperity and peace, that there is no one to talk to and nothing that can be trusted: not Oslo, Camp David, Madrid or the withdrawal from Gush Katif. The Israeli peace camp has imploded and the Right is gloating, "We told you so!"

Abbas cannot give up the "right of return" or a single inch of land beyond the 1967 borders because if he does, he will not survive. And Olmert, even if he wanted to, could not close an deal with him because of two ironclad principles: Israel cannot make concession to the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria because Hamas could take over Ramallah at any moment, just as it did in Gaza.

Abbas would be removed from power, Ismail Haniyeh would be declared the president of Free Palestine, women would be ordered to veil their faces, men to grow beards, and the Kassam rockets - and eventually Katyusha rockets too - would land not only on Sderot but on Netanya and Kfar Saba. And on Ben-Gurion airport, cutting off Israel's air connection with the world.

This is a scenario neither Olmert nor Ehud Barak (who has already said so explicitly) can afford.

THE SECOND principle that precludes the possibility of a permanent settlement is that there is no government in Israel, nor will there be one in the foreseeable future, capable of evacuating a quarter of a million, or 100,000, or even 50,000 settlers. Some of them might agree to leave for the sake of peace and others in return for compensation; but the hard core of the settlers, which numbers tens of thousands of religious and secular people, will neither move nor give in, even at the price of civil war.

Hebron is not Gush Katif. For Gush Katif, they weep; for Hebron, they will fight. Last week we all saw how hundreds of police and thousands of soldiers were needed to evacuate just a handful of settlers from a couple of homes. Who would be able to evacuate all the settlers from all the homes, and how could it be done? No government could promise to do so - and if it did, it would never be able to keep that promise.

Giving in to the settlers is a shameful capitulation to the use of force and the deterioration of the rule of law. It is a victory for the zealots that will haunt us for all time. But that is the reality in which we live - a destructive, insane one; but reality nonetheless.

Olmert and Abbas can talk until they're blue in the face. The Beduin say that the dogs bark and the caravan moves on. In this case, the peace caravan isn't going anywhere.

Source

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Proclaimed Nobody at 10:43 AM

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Sunday, August 19, 2007




Have They Not Told You ?

Last updated: August 25, 2007

August 12, 2007


Fatah loyalists celebrating a bachelor's party for one of their own in Beit Hanoun, Gaza, could not satisfy themselves with blaring Fatah songs through loudspeakers. They also had to shoot in the air, a practice very common at Palestinian weddings and one that Hamas found very difficult to stop. In fact, the Executive Force claimed that at some point the guests started shooting towards a nearby police station. The reaction was swift and effective.




PS

Have they not told you not to shoot in the air? Damn it!


August 15, 2007

"We Want Freedom . . ."

The Jerusalem Post
by Associated Press
Aug. 13, 2007


Using clubs and rifle butts, Hamas militiamen sought to stop a protest by political opponents in the Gaza Strip on Monday, but around 300 people defied the ban and rallied in a main square, chanting, "We want freedom."

. . .

After Fatah and other allied groups announced plans to stage a rally Monday, Hamas banned "all demonstrations and public gatherings" that did not have special permission.

Buses arriving at the protest site were halted by Hamas guards who beat protesters, driving them away and confiscating Fatah flags.

. . .

Following the protest, Hamas squads raided Gaza offices of media organizations seeking material from the rally, eyewitnesses said, and staff at Gulf-based satellite broadcaster Al-Arabiyya said the Hamas men seized a camera, videotape and tripod from their premises.

On Friday, rifle-toting Executive Force members roared up to a pre-wedding party where revelers were dancing to Fatah songs. Video showed the Hamas men firing in the air to break up the celebration, clubbing guests, hurling chairs around and leaving one man lying unconscious.

The images were repeatedly broadcast on Palestine TV, and the cameraman, from the local Ramattan news agency, was detained and questioned by Hamas for several hours.

On Monday, the Executive Force was in action again, breaking up the wedding of a Fatah activist and detaining five guests for several hours. One of those arrested, Zaid Salem, said participants were singing Fatah songs but did not break a Hamas ban on celebratory gunfire and were not charged with any wrongdoing.

"We were celebrating the wedding, and we were astonished by this act," he said. "We were released, but we have no explanation for what happened."

Source


Officially Fatah and Hamas leaders still come out with occasional calls for negotiations and reunion of the West Bank and in Gaza. Yet on the ground the hostility is running high. So high in fact that the next round in the West Bank may be not far away (I put my money on Hamas. In my opinion Fatah is finished).

The co-existence between Fatah and Hamas has never been easy. The tensions have been steadily growing ever since Arafat's return to Gaza. When the civil war has finally broke out in Gaza, it probably surprised anybody except the Palestinians themselves who witnessed the animosity between the two reaching new heights after Israel's pullout. As one can easily notice in the following clip, even before clashes erupted in Gaza both sides viewed each other as sworn enemies.

In the opening of the clip Fatah men torture Hamas supporters while keeping asking them: Who is your boss? The captives shout: Samih! Samih! (His full name is Samih al-Madhoun). They are then made to chant anti Hamas slogans and praise Fatah and its leaders such as Muhammad Dahlan. (Nizo, if he feels like doing it, may translate the rest of the clip)



PS

Samih al-Madhoun has met his fate at the last days of Hamas takeover of Gaza, when he was lynched by a crowd of vengeful Hamas supporters, his mutilated body dragged through the streets and trampled on.


August 16, 2007

and Nizo said...

Nizo said...


"(Nizo, if he feels like doing it, may translate the rest of the clip)"

It's what you said plus they chanted the following:


"oh peshmerga (reference to Hamas) hide well, before Samih comes and gets you"


Who's the dog?
Wael
Who's sister is a sharmoota who gets fucked?
Wael


oh beloved abu fadi, destroy destroy tel aviv


Wael shagra, oh coward, oh collaborator with iran


Hamas are Shiites



August 19, 2007

Nizo said...


Walak, you have to post this!!!

August 17, 2007 2:44 AM


This



I would say in general lions seem to have a hard time in Gaza


Angry Dhimmies Fight Back

BBC World Service
Wednesday, 15 August 2007


A US-based animal rights group says it will protest to a Hamas-run TV channel over a programme, showing animals being abused at a zoo in the Gaza Strip.

. . .

The episode about the Gaza zoo featured in the al-Aqsa TV children's programme - Tomorrow's Pioneers - last week.

. . .

The episode was reportedly aimed at teaching children not to abuse animals.

But it drew strong criticism from Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) after it was posted on YouTube video-sharing website by Palestinian Media Watch group.

"It's shocking and sickening," Peta's Martin Mersereau told Reuters news agency.

"Any lessons meant to be contained in this segment are almost certainly lost on most children, who are more likely to imitate people they see treating animals cruelly rather than understand this behaviour is wrong," he said.

Source

I think it's one of those rare occasions that I have to agree with fundamentalists: Some 'dhimmies' are just too dumb and annoying, 'nudnikim' as we say in Hebrew :D :D

:D :D


August 25, 2007

Nizo said...


The Lion King

August 25, 2007 7:34 AM


Warning !!! Unrecommended to people with cardiovascular problems and animal rights activists !!!


The Lion King !!!

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Proclaimed Nobody at 3:52 PM

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In Cold Blood

The Jerusalem Post
Aug. 16, 2007


A school in the West Bank town of Tulkarm this week organized a soccer tournament named after Ziyad Da'as, a Fatah terrorist, Palestinian Media Watch reported on Thursday.

Da'as planned a 2002 attack in Hadera in which a gunman opened fire with an M-16 rifle at a bat mitzva, killing six and wounding 30.

He was also behind the kidnapping and murder of two Israelis in Tulkarm in 2001.

Da'as was killed in an IDF operation in August 2002.

Reporting on the tournament, Al Hayat hailed Da'as as "one of the brave people of the Palestinian resistance, whom the Israeli occupation forces assassinated in cold blood."

. . .

Source


Ynet News
Roee Nahmias
Published: 08.18.07


Those who oppose Israel's policy on Jerusalem are "in danger of being murdered in cold blood," asserted Sheikh Ra'ad Salah (leader of the Islamic Movement's northern branch) on Saturday at a conference at the Hind el-Huesseini school in East Jerusalem under the banner of '40-years since the occupation of the al-Aqsa Mosque.'

. . .

Salah was alluding to last week's incident, during which Kfar Manda resident Ahmad Khatib stole a gun from a Jewish security guard and was killed when one of the guards gave chase. During the incident, ten bystanders were injured, most of them from the shooter's gun.

Several of Khatib's associates, including his father and Sheikh Salah, claimed that the police's account of the incident was fabricated and used as an excuse to justify the cold-blooded murder of Khatib by the security guard.

. . .

Source

I think they are exaggerating :D :D

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Proclaimed Nobody at 2:19 AM

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Monday, August 13, 2007




Peaceful Co-existence

Last updated: August 14, 2007

December 17, 2006


The Jerusalem Post
Dec. 17, 2006


Police, in cooperation with the Shin Bet, arrested a 17-year-old Israeli Arab on suspicion of planning to carry out a suicide attack on Nazareth Illit's "Plaza" hotel, it was released for publication on Sunday.

. . .

An investigation of the affair revealed that the accused, a former resident of the Palestinian territories currently living with his mother in Nazareth, was supposed to receive a bomb belt from Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades operatives; however, the Amakim sub-district CIU and security forces arrested him two days before the transaction was to take place.

During his interrogation, the youth said he had originally lived with his father in the northern Samaria village of Daan, but he claimed that whenever he would visit the territories, Islamic Jihad and Hamas operatives would deride him for cooperating with Israel.

Endeavoring to prove the opposite (!!! NB), the boy agreed to carry out a suicide attack on the Nazareth hotel.

Police and the IDF have foiled dozens of terror attacks in the last several months.

Source


PS

Good. At least they are still trying to prove something. I hate to think about the day when they start blowing themselves up just for fun.


Mar 23, 2007

Some Relief . . . At Last

Avigdor Lieberman has found some relief in the opening clause of 'The Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel' published by the National Committee of Israeli Arabs:

We, the Palestinian Arabs who live in Israel, natives of this land and citizens of this country… found ourselves within the borders of the Jewish state, detached from the rest of our Palestinian nation and the Arab world, were coerced to carry an Israeli citizenship and turned into a minority within our historic homeland.

On his blog in 'My Truth: Straight from the horse's mouth' Lieberman is writing:

I am, to some extent, relieved that the truth is finally out there, straight from the horse's mouth, and this document is not the sole example.

The document indeed provides abundantly for relief of any Israeli, left or right:

There are two fundamental facts that should be taken into account when developing the legal status of the Palestinian-Arabs in Israel:

1. The Palestinian-Arabs being the original owners of the land…
2. Their being a living and inseparable part of the Arab-Palestinian nation

Apart from the 'Future Vision' Lieberman was also relieved by the findings of a recent poll that established that 76 percent of Israeli Arabs equate Zionism with racism. The poll carried out by a sociologist from the Haifa University brings even more relief when examined in details.

Asked about the war with Hizbullah guerrillas in Lebanon last summer, nearly half of the Israeli Arabs polled - 48 percent - said they believed that Hizbullah's rocket attacks on northern Israel during that war were justified, even though numerous Arabs were killed and wounded in those attacks.

89 percent of the Arab respondents considered IDF's bombing of Lebanon as a war crime though.

Half of Israeli Arab respondents said Hizbullah's capture of IDF reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev in a cross-border raid was justified. (This is not so bad by the way. I would expect more. NB)

Yet the most intriguing findings of the poll were that 28 percent of Israeli Arabs do not believe that the Holocaust happened at all, while among high school and college graduates the figure reached even 33 percent. It goes without saying that the poll did not include questions such as: "Do you think that the official number of the Holocaust victims has been exaggerated?", or: "Do you think that the Holocaust was an act of self defense on the part of the German nation against the Jewish global domination conspiracy?"

That the Holocaust denial is practiced more widely by the more educated among Israeli Arabs may surprise some people, but these findings actually fit well in the general impression that it's the spread of literacy, education and mass media that is fueling the massive slide of the world of Islam into political extremism and religious fanaticism.

In a press release accompanying the poll's publication, Smoocha expressed surprise at the results.

"One would have expected more pro-Israeli results among Israeli Arabs due to the uniqueness of the most recent war: a war with no involvement of the Palestinians, a war in which the lives and belongings of Israelis were endangered, a war against an Islamic fundamentalist group that most of them don't support," Smoocha said.

Of course, the surprise is entirely misplaced. The Future Vision itself states that Israeli Arabs see themselves as part of the Arab world and so, whether the Palestinians are involved or not, they feel more affinity with the Lebanese than with the Israelis. The idea that most Israeli Arabs don't support Hezbollah seems to be preposterous. Many Israeli Arabs clearly sympathize with resistance movements and many of them were more than enthusiastic about Hezbollah's divine victory. As to the endangered lives and belongings of Israelis, if Smoocha means Israeli Jews, then the Israeli Arabs plainly don't care for them as much as they care for the Lebanese. If Smoocha means Israeli Arabs, then anybody, who watched the father of the two boys killed by Katyushas on Al-Jazeera, could get the idea. It's the same talk we are used to hear from Palestinian suicide bombers and their relatives.

It may be unreasonable to expect that much from somebody who is held to be a prominent Israeli sociologist. Unlike prominent sociologists, ordinary Israelis are starting to get the idea as 68 percent of them acknowledged fearing the possibility of civil unrest among Israeli Arabs. 63 percent said they avoid entering Arab towns and cities. No reason is given, but both findings combined may indicate that many Israelis avoid Arab places for safety reasons, which means that not only the demographic bomb is ticking but the Israelis have already started losing control over parts of the country.

Israeli Arabs seem to have their own worries:

The poll also found that Israeli Arabs had fears about their future in Israel: 62 percent worry that Israel could transfer their communities to the jurisdiction of a future Palestinian state (Just when Lieberman was thinking about 'reattaching you back to the rest of the Palestinian nation and the Arab world'. NB) . . . Sixty percent said they are concerned about a possible mass expulsion. (Come on, guys. We are not that bad . . . yet. NB)

In short, the last war left Israelis and Israeli Arabs as far apart from each other as they have always been. Or maybe even more.

The Jerusalem Post ends on an optimistic note:

But more than two thirds (of Israeli Arabs) said they would be content to live in the Jewish state, if it existed alongside a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Source

Some like Smoocha may see this as a light in the end of the tunnel. Yet those, who are not prominent sociologists, will probably persist with their skepticism. Many Israeli Arabs have it very clear that none of the Arab countries around, sure not the Palestinian Authority, can offer them in terms of civil rights and prosperity even a fraction of what they have in Israel. Despite the huge gap between them and the rest of the country, Israel has advanced so much over the last years, that even being a failure in this country is a lot. Yet the practical realism of many Israeli Arabs does not conflict with their perception of themselves as a discriminated minority that culturally and ethnically belongs to the world across the border.

But there may be one more reason why some Israeli Arabs may be willing to contend themselves with living in a Jewish state. Since a few months ago the author of this blog has spotted the demographic issue being increasingly brought forward in peace roundtables and political debates between Israeli and Arab bloggers. The demography is mentioned by no other than Arabs themselves. It appears that in some quarters of the Arab world there is a growing perception of the demographic factor as an ultimate weapon that will eventually determine the outcome of the Israeli Arab conflict. Where the Arab weapons failed, the Arab vagina is now expected to bring the long awaited victory.

Probably Smoocha could have produced an even more fascinating study by polling the Arab participants on what they think about the future of the Jewish state in this regard. But then this poll has already produced more than enough relief.


August 13, 2007

The Jerusalem Post
Aug. 13, 2007

The Galilee Liberation Group, an Israeli-Arab terror organization, took responsibility on Monday for Friday's shooting attack in Jerusalem's Old City, claiming it was meant to avenge the 2004 death of the group's leader.

. . .

"This isn't the first act of its kind," the group's spokesman said. "The act comes as revenge for the assassination of shahid [martyr] Muhammad Khatib, who was also a resident of Kafr Manda, on April 18, 2004."

Muhammad Khatib, who was responsible for the kidnapping and murder of IDF soldier Cpl. Oleg Shaikhet, was shot and killed by IDF troops in an operation that same year.

On Sunday, police released video footage of the Old City shooting, following controversy over whether the guard who shot Khatib had "confirmed the kill" by continuing to shoot the attacker after he was already down.

Source





August 14, 2007

Roman Kalik said...

I keep fairly up to date with the news via my mobile, mostly by reading Ynet articles now that the Jerusalem Post decided that they're not giving Orange access to their mobile website anymore (no idea why).

After reading the following articles at the time (I'm including their English versions, so for all I know some of the bits I remember from the Hebrew ones could be missing), I had a complete and utter feeling of disgust.

Jerusalem: Security guard kills shooter

First we have Tibi, diverting the matter to a possible kill-confirmation (and quite frankly, when facing a man intent on dying, kill-confirmations become a must. Mercy is for those who want to live, and won't try to kill you in their last breath), rather than denouncing the event in itself. Israeli-Arab public image becomes worse, worse even than it would have been simply due to this terror attack.

Then we have a bystander, Abu Shamshia, who starts throwing paranoia into it. Nevermind the fact that the security guard was risking his own life, and that had he started shooting around carelessly he might have hit a bystander or two himself. Basic training: Wait for a goddamn clear shot. Nevermind where you are. And yes, it would have ended quicker in a mall. Malls don't have twisting alleys.

Then we have this: J'lem shooter: Israeli Arab from Galilee

More conspiracy crap. I can understand friends and family refusing to believe that Khatib was a terrorist, but why would the security guards murder him? Just for the thrill of it? Nevermind that the security guard who had his gun snatched was himself the first to be shot...

Now we have the video, and the prestige-garnering terrorist groups:

Surveillance video of J'lem shooting

Israeli Arab group claims responsibility for J'lem shooting

In the Hebrew article, I remember it saying that the claim of the "Free People of Galilee" wasn't taken seriously by the police and security forces. For all we know, the group doesn't exist anymore beyond this claim of responsibility. This doesn't change the fact that this is a homegrown terrorist, though.

Regardless, the video is clear enough. Or should have been clear enough. Apparently... it wasn't.

Shooter's father says video fabricated

The father seems to have totally fallen off his rocker. I don't judge grieving people, but from his words it seems someone has been talking with him extensively about the matter. Planting ideas, if you will. It could even be our friendly Ra'ad Salah, who by the way gave a wonderful speech at the funeral. It was really a pleasure to read it, he managed to turn the tables completely around with a few simple words. All a conspiracy... all a conspiracy... An attack on us... A message from the Evil Zionists... Keep repeating that, folks.

And the funeral seemed big. Big enough to send a very clear message, one of doublethink. Saying "We believe this is all a conspiracy, and we support the attack, too."

And then... we reach what could have been the bright spot. Only it wasn't.

Kfar Manda residents: Don't defame all of us

After reading the article, all I saw was people who believed the conspiracy rubbish, but tried to make it sound in a good way so as to salvage their livelihood.

Yeah, sure, just a thousand people at the funeral, doesn't signify a thing. Nothing at all.

No matter how big the family was, a thousand people is still a huge funeral.


Nizo, I think Israeli Arabs would do best if they don't give out interviews, or let reporters record them. They have this... gift, of making a bad situation so much worse.

Individuals did comment on the Hebrew articles saying that they denounce the attack, that this guy doesn't represent them... The thing is, those who *do* represent them in public sing a very different tune. It's either a negative one or a silent one.

Now, me lives in a democracy, so me expects protests to signify public opinion if and when the public reps speak otherwise than the public thinks. This did not happen.

Conclusion: This shit's fucked-up.

August 14, 2007 4:12 PM

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Proclaimed Nobody at 8:07 PM

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Sunday, August 12, 2007




No Luck

Last updated: August 12, 2007

August 2, 2007


Warning !!! Very Racist !!!

Our peace camp just misses one opportunity after another. Barely Israel made up its mind about supporting moderates against extremists in Gaza as the extremists kicked all so called moderates out of Gaza. Now it appears that a great opportunity has presented itself for our peace campers to finally reach to and shake hands with Egyptian soldiers across the border but here Sudanese refugees have arrived and spoiled the party. This is what i call bad luck.

The Jerusalem Post
Aug. 2, 2007
By JPOST.COM STAFF


Egyptian soldiers executed four Sudanese refugees near the Egypt-Israel border overnight Wednesday in full view of IDF troops, a shaken-sounding IDF soldier said in an interview with Channel 10, Thursday evening.

According to the soldier, female IDF troops operating night vision devices identified several refugees approaching the border in an attempt to infiltrate Israel and alerted other soldiers who arrived after a few minutes in an army jeep.

However, Egyptian troops who also discovered the refugees, fired upon them, immediately killing two and wounding a third. A fourth refugee ran towards the fence and an IDF soldier stretched out his hands, trying to help him cross.

At that point, the soldier recalled, two Egyptian soldiers arrived and started pulling at the refugee's legs.

"It was literally like we were playing 'tug of war' with this man," the soldier said. The soldier eventually loosened his grip on the man, fearing the Egyptians would shoot him.

"They were aiming loaded weapons straight at us, I was afraid they were going to shoot us," he said.

The Egyptians then carried the man several meters away from the border fence, and proceeded to beat him and another wounded refugee to death with stones and clubs.

"What happened there yesterday was a lynch. These are not men, they're animals. They killed him without even using firearms," the soldier said. "We just heard screams of pain and the sounds of beatings. Then the screams stopped."

The entire event was caught on IDF tapes, but, the soldier said, his commanders, who were not at the site, would not dare watch them.

A Channel 10 commentator said the channel preferred not to show the tape, so as not to cause a diplomatic row with Egypt.

Egyptian authorities said that they would investigate the incident.

Source

Technically speaking Egyptians soldiers should be interested in letting these Sudanese to cross the border to add upon Israel's mounting refugee crisis, never mind Israel's uncertain demographic situation. Yet the mere thought that a Muslim would flee two Muslim Arab countries: first Sudan, then Egypt, to look for a shelter among Jews insults the very senses of these people. Israelis should be grateful that the Arab brain is shaped this way, it gives the Arabs that extra motivation to guard our border.


August 12, 2007

I Salute You

This is my improvization on Jean's Salut post

The representative for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Israel has admitted that the UN representatives struggle to cope with the influx of African refugees into Israel:

"We cannot cope with the speed at which they are entering the country, and the backlog continues to grow," said Bavli.

This is because the rate of infiltration was steadily rising over past weeks.

The flow of refugees has swelled from several hundred for all of 2006 to the current 50-60 a day. Sheetrit (Interior Minister) attributed the increase to refugees in Israel reporting back to family members about the jobs and living conditions available in the Jewish state.

Source

At this rate between 18,000 to 20,000 African refugees should be expected to enter a country within a year, though it's not sure that the infiltration rate has already peaked out and it's probably not. There are between several hundreds thousands to a few millions of Sudanese in Egypt and thousands of people who have been refused refugee status by UN representatives in Egypt. The possibility of getting a second change in Israel has apparently set in motion hundreds and thousands of these people (and probably thousands of others who decided to try it for the first time :D :D ). Never mind that Sudanese are only part of all refugees trying to enter Israel.

Meanwhile Egypt, infuriated by accusations of Egyptian soldiers mistreating and killing infiltrators circulated by the Israeli media, issued a statement to prevent any possible misunderstanding on Israel's part.

"Egypt has informed Israel - officially - that it is not obligated to receive any non-Egyptian citizen who illegally crosses the border into Israel," the statement said.

The statement appeared to contradict an announcement by the Israeli government following a July 1 meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, which said that an agreement had been reached to hand back illegal migrants to the Egyptians.

Source

The timing of this announcement could not be better and Israel should better start worrying in serious about finding itself stuck with thousands of African Muslims within its borders (should I mention that African Muslims tend to have African high birth rates? :D :D ) and with reduced options of deporting the refugees or finding them another host country.

In the worst case the current situation may even undo the modest achievements Israel's government had in recent years in containing the population growth in its Muslim Arab sector. In a country in which every one out of four births right now is to Arab parents this is no small achievement.

Though I feel like it really too much work to start elaborating on all consequences and possible future scenarios of the current situation, I just cannot help making the following observation:

Last summer Israel has surprised itself by failing to stop a few thousands of Hezbollah guerrillas from raining rockets on North Israel after a whole month of unprecedented bombing campaign and a massive ground invasion.

Yet this year this country is going to vastly surpass its last year achievement, as this summer Israel is poised to become a loser in a war that Muslims fight hundreds kilometers away in Africa :D :D

:D :D

A part of the big 'thank you' for this certainly belongs to the Israeli blogsphere that largely supported the senseless campaign around this issue waged by the mainstream media. During the campaign the image of Holocaust was evoked as frequently as any serious and facts based discussion of the situation was avoided. Many Israeli bloggers assisted the mainstream media by replicating this nonsense on their blogs further confusing and misinforming the public.

For this and your other achievements I salute you, you idiots :D :D

:D :D

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Friday, August 10, 2007




National Identity

Last updated: September 26, 2007

May 29, 2007


For the lack of time to post something real I repost here my comment on the Kishkushim blog with a minimal polishing.


Nobody, is this why people happily went without nations and nation-states for many centuries?

Nations, nationalism, and states based on them are relatively recent inventions; this does not mean that they are somehow less legitimate than other cultural practices or state forms. Nor does it mean that they are not perceived as "natural" today.


You mix two notions together - nations and nation states. There was not one single day in human history when people happily went without nations. This is for one simple reason that humans always prioritize their relationships with other human beings at several levels. And it is for this reason that people will never become cosmopolitan citizens of the world and they will never love equally all other human beings with the same love.

In the same way that you don't expect any normal person to care more for strangers than he cares for his family and his immediate friends you cannot expect from people to drop national identities or whatever may come in their place and become universal citizens of the world. The need to establish shared identities at this level is a deeply ingrained human instinct and need. The scope at which such a group identity is established may be influenced by the technology and the way of living but there will always be one and maybe several identity levels separating individual and the whole of mankind. And the degree of empathy and solidarity people experience towards each other is diminishing progressively as these identities are passed through from bottom up.

To insist on the opposite is to defy the very human nature itself since this prioritization of relationships between themselves is what makes humans and some other mammals different from herd animals. In this sense nation states are an expression of a timeless thing that was present in the world from the moment the first humans appeared and will persist as long as humankind exists.

And it's not the nations as such that are the problem. Israel offered the Palestinians a deal that could perfectly satisfy all their national aspirations expect for destruction of Israel itself. The fact that they opted instead for a few more decades of armed struggle is a result of fanaticism, lunacy and plain stupidity. But the fact that Israelis and Palestinians are two different nations does not mean in theory that they cannot peacefully partition the land and co-exist as two sovereign states side by side.

People should respect national identities and take demographic issues seriously without resorting to blaming others in racism. This way it's possible to achieve and maintain stability just as Czechoslovakia has done. Where it's possible to establish new borders, where it's possible to avoid pushing nations at the throats of each other and you can reorganize even such a region as this in a way that will reduce chances for more wars and violence. Most problems are created because the relationships between nations are mismanaged, but not because the nations as such exist.

In fact it's not for nothing that so much of the former Yugoslavia and Soviet Union has later descended into bloody chaos. It's a result of all these lunacies that held themselves to be above nations and national identities. Fantasizing about a world without nations, pushing people into 'two nations one state' or 'three nations one state' solutions is a sure way to create more Yugoslavias.

All these speculations about what nations are for are a waste of time. And whatever the enthusiasts for transcending national identities may be thinking is absolutely impractical, as people are not going to listen to and live by their wisdom anyway. And basically if one cannot figure out what function nations serve, then one can safely assume that he is lacking in real understanding. If one sees something so persistent such as nationalities that defies one's understanding and common sense, it's a safe bet that this is because life is smarter than this person, but not because this person is smarter than life itself.

Source



July 4, 2007

Another my comment on the same thread:


To elaborate more on the nation states... It's an easily observable fact that a state which is a national home elicits in its citizens and even diaspora emotional attachment and a degree of commitment as no other form of state. Nation states obviously invoke in people a feeling of some sort of collective ownership. This feeling may be vague and difficult to define with precision but it certainly exists. When it comes to nation states people often take this approach that you don't choose your family. That's why such a state can be completely screwed up, yet you will always have people trying to change it, refusing to leave... You will rarely see such a commitment in a society that transcended nationality.

One of the contributors to my blog is an illustration to this idea. He is Israeli who lived for a decade in the far east and is married to a Japanese woman. He and his wife live in a big cosmopolitan place called Shanghai. He has a sort of lost his attachment to Israel. I would call him a true global citizen of the world. He is a nice guy who would like to make the world the better place. In one of our recent conversations we discussed education as a means to end poverty in Africa (he is an educator). I think he is even writing a thesis on this at university. It goes without saying though, that the very moment some form of shit hits Shanghai, like terror attacks or an economic crisis, he will just pack his stuff and leave the place in no time. This is what transcending nationality is usually about.

In a way it's no different than universal love and similar stuff. After transcending the particular and the individual and going universal it's suddenly revealed that there is very little left, apart from some abstract concept.

This is the reason why nation states are so common. They are so predominant by the simple law of Darwinian evolution. They are the fittest. You can also notice that most economic tigers and nations that did into the ranks of the first world after the WW2 are nation states like Japan or South Korea. This is because such states are more resilient to pressures of rapid modernization and painful economic reforms. They are more stable and much more difficult to knock out.

So when it comes to nation states there is no reason to invest so much thinking and emotions in trying to outsmart the reality. Just because life is smart enough.


August 10, 2007

The Downside of Diversity

The Boston Globe

A Harvard political scientist finds that diversity hurts civic life. What happens when a liberal scholar unearths an inconvenient truth?

By Michael Jonas | August 5, 2007

IT HAS BECOME increasingly popular to speak of racial and ethnic diversity as a civic strength. From multicultural festivals to pronouncements from political leaders, the message is the same: our differences make us stronger.

But a massive new study, based on detailed interviews of nearly 30,000 people across America, has concluded just the opposite. Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam -- famous for "Bowling Alone," his 2000 book on declining civic engagement -- has found that the greater the diversity in a community, the fewer people vote and the less they volunteer, the less they give to charity and work on community projects. In the most diverse communities, neighbors trust one another about half as much as they do in the most homogenous settings. The study, the largest ever on civic engagement in America, found that virtually all measures of civic health are lower in more diverse settings.

"The extent of the effect is shocking," says Scott Page, a University of Michigan political scientist.

The study comes at a time when the future of the American melting pot is the focus of intense political debate, from immigration to race-based admissions to schools, and it poses challenges to advocates on all sides of the issues. The study is already being cited by some conservatives as proof of the harm large-scale immigration causes to the nation's social fabric. But with demographic trends already pushing the nation inexorably toward greater diversity, the real question may yet lie ahead: how to handle the unsettling social changes that Putnam's research predicts.

"We can't ignore the findings," says Ali Noorani, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. "The big question we have to ask ourselves is, what do we do about it; what are the next steps?"

. . .

In his findings, Putnam writes that those in more diverse communities tend to "distrust their neighbors, regardless of the color of their skin, to withdraw even from close friends, to expect the worst from their community and its leaders, to volunteer less, give less to charity and work on community projects less often, to register to vote less, to agitate for social reform more but have less faith that they can actually make a difference, and to huddle unhappily in front of the television."

"People living in ethnically diverse settings appear to 'hunker down' -- that is, to pull in like a turtle," Putnam writes.

In documenting that hunkering down, Putnam challenged the two dominant schools of thought on ethnic and racial diversity, the "contact" theory and the "conflict" theory. Under the contact theory, more time spent with those of other backgrounds leads to greater understanding and harmony between groups. Under the conflict theory, that proximity produces tension and discord.

Putnam's findings reject both theories. In more diverse communities, he says, there were neither great bonds formed across group lines nor heightened ethnic tensions, but a general civic malaise. And in perhaps the most surprising result of all, levels of trust were not only lower between groups in more diverse settings, but even among members of the same group.

. . .

Source

Probably another my comment on the same Kishkushim thread makes this point even more clear. This comment is a part of my reply to Lebanese blogger Jeha. The part of Jeha's comment I reply to is put in bold.

. . .

2 - I see our problems as related to the ideas of nation-states; Europe went through it since the French Revolution, and it gave us much bloodshed, suffering, and at least 2 World Wars.

Nation states are the most stable and resilient form of a state. I can confirm this from my own experience as one who witnessed the demise of one multi national state. You can find confirmation to this in the experience of your own country. A nation state can withstand pressures and crisis that will cause any other form of state to collapse on the spot.

Your utopia sounds good only on paper. In practice it's very similar to the communist idea of abolishing private property. The idea was of a collective ownership of the means of production. In practice everything became no one's property. People were stealing and had no incentive to care for and maintain equipment.

A state not based on some form of national identity (not necessarily ethnic, but at least cultural in the sense of a shared language or religion) is just another form of that thing. Dubai should be very close to what you are looking for: a multicultural paradise that is not based on any form of national identity. Indeed, it's not a nation but it will exist as long as no serious economic trouble or a war hits the place. At that point most people there will simply pack their stuff and go away. This is because another word for multicultural paradise is no man's land.


PS

You can find some additional background for this idea in some of my comments on this post: Wahhabite Russia.


September 22, 2007

The Return of Patriarchy

In "The Return to Patriarchy" published by "Foreign Policy" Phillip Longman makes a few points demonstrating the inherent strength of the nation state or maybe rather the weakness of its opponents.


Across the globe, people are choosing to have fewer children or none at all. Governments are desperate to halt the trend, but their influence seems to stop at the bedroom door. Are some societies destined to become extinct? Hardly. It's more likely that conservatives will inherit the Earth. Like it or not, a growing proportion of the next generation will be born into families who believe that father knows best.

. . .

. . . for more than a generation now, well-fed, healthy, peaceful populations around the world have been producing too few children to avoid population decline. That is true even though dramatic improvements in infant and child mortality mean that far fewer children are needed today (only about 2.1 per woman in modern societies) to avoid population loss. Birthrates are falling far below replacement levels in one country after the next—from China, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea, to Canada, the Caribbean, all of Europe, Russia, and even parts of the Middle East.

. . .

The conservative baby boom

. . .

Falling fertility is also responsible for many financial and economic problems that dominate today's headlines. The long-term financing of social security schemes, private pension plans, and healthcare systems has little to do with people living longer. Gains in life expectancy at older ages have actually been quite modest, and the rate of improvement in the United States has diminished for each of the last three decades. Instead, the falling ratio of workers to retirees is overwhelmingly caused by workers who were never born. As governments raise taxes on a dwindling working-age population to cover the growing burdens of supporting the elderly, young couples may conclude they are even less able to afford children than their parents were, thereby setting off a new cycle of population aging and decline.

Declining birthrates also change national temperament. In the United States, for example, the percentage of women born in the late 1930s who remained childless was near 10 percent. By comparison, nearly 20 percent of women born in the late 1950s are reaching the end of their reproductive lives without having had children. The greatly expanded childless segment of contemporary society, whose members are drawn disproportionately from the feminist and countercultural movements of the 1960s and 70s, will leave no genetic legacy. Nor will their emotional or psychological influence on the next generation compare with that of their parents.

Meanwhile, single-child families are prone to extinction. A single child replaces one of his or her parents, but not both. Nor do single-child families contribute much to future population. The 17.4 percent of baby boomer women who had only one child account for a mere 7.8 percent of children born in the next generation. By contrast, nearly a quarter of the children of baby boomers descend from the mere 11 percent of baby boomer women who had four or more children. These circumstances are leading to the emergence of a new society whose members will disproportionately be descended from parents who rejected the social tendencies that once made childlessness and small families the norm. These values include an adherence to traditional, patriarchal religion, and a strong identification with one's own folk or nation.

This dynamic helps explain, for example, the gradual drift of American culture away from secular individualism and toward religious fundamentalism. Among states that voted for President George W. Bush in 2004, fertility rates are 12 percent higher than in states that voted for Sen. John Kerry. It may also help to explain the increasing popular resistance among rank-and-file Europeans to such crown jewels of secular liberalism as the European Union. It turns out that Europeans who are most likely to identify themselves as “world citizens” are also those least likely to have children (!!! NB).

. . .

The Return of Patriarchy

Yet that turning point does not necessarily mean the death of a civilization, only its transformation. Eventually, for example, the sterile, secular, noble families of imperial Rome died off, and with them, their ancestors' idea of Rome. But what was once the Roman Empire remained populated. Only the composition of the population changed. Nearly by default, it became composed of new, highly patriarchal family units, hostile to the secular world and enjoined by faith either to go forth and multiply or join a monastery. With these changes came a feudal Europe, but not the end of Europe, nor the end of Western Civilization.

We may witness a similar transformation during this century. In Europe today, for example, how many children different people have, and under what circumstances, correlates strongly with their beliefs on a wide range of political and cultural attitudes. For instance, do you distrust the army? Then, according to polling data assembled by demographers Ronny Lesthaeghe and Johan Surkyn, you are less likely to be married and have kids—or ever to get married and have kids—than those who say they have no objection to the military. Or again, do you find soft drugs, homosexuality, and euthanasia acceptable? Do you seldom, if ever, attend church? For whatever reason, people answering affirmatively to such questions are far more likely to live alone, or in childless, cohabitating unions, than those who answer negatively.

. . .

Societies that are today the most secular and the most generous with their underfunded welfare states will be the most prone to religious revivals and a rebirth of the patriarchal family. The absolute population of Europe and Japan may fall dramatically, but the remaining population will, by a process similar to survival of the fittest, be adapted to a new environment in which no one can rely on government to replace the family, and in which a patriarchal God commands family members to suppress their individualism and submit to father.

Source

The point of this section of the post is not about the virtues of patriarchy as I am an absolutely secular person with no traditionalist inclinations. But I would like to point out to the great similarity between Communist ideology and modern liberalism based on the ideology of political correctness. In fact political correctness operates with the same set of ideas and code of speech adopted by former Communist countries.

The similarity I am talking about is between the economic practices of former Communist regimes and the modern political correctness attempts to reform the most fundamental aspects of human society. Communism made an attempt to overcome private property in favor of the universalistic shared property. The modern liberalism made a very similar attempt to overcome nationalism and other "anachronisms" in favor of the universalistic and cosmopolitan milti-culturalism.

The Communist economic practices have eventually led to a total economic meltdown that destroyed the Soviet block. The Western liberal secularism may think that it got very enlightened and rational attitudes, yet it's becoming increasingly clear that like the Soviets it has been messing all along with something very fundamental, even though its exact mechanism and function in the life of societies is not sufficiently understood. Like the Soviets the present day politically correct liberalism will meet its end in a total, though not economic but demographic, meltdown (it will become an economic one later) and it will do it soon.


September 26, 2007

United to Split

The political crisis in Belgium has by now reached such proportions that it became impossible to ignore. Among others the New York Times and Washington Post both commented on the latest mess. Belgium spent last years in a semi disintegrated state but the recent calls for break-up have become too many and they are coming from many quarters. Flemish separatism on all its flavors scored impressive gains during the last elections. For the last three months the country was without a government and the parliament in Flanders was openly discussing the proposal to declare independence.

This is not the first crisis of this kind hitting the country but this one looks particularly severe and while most analysts doubt that the split is imminent, they do seem to share an attitude well put by a Belgian political analyst interviewed by the New York Times:

“There are two extremes, some screaming that Belgium will last forever and others saying that we are standing at the edge of a ravine,” said Caroline Sägesser, a Belgian political analyst at Crisp, a socio-political research organization in Brussels. “I don’t believe Belgium is about to split up right now. But in my lifetime? I’d be surprised if I were to die in Belgium.”

Source

Apart from the obvious embarrassment for the EU (Belgium is hosting the EU capital after all), in some European circles doubts and confusion in the face of the resurgence of nationalism in Europe are all too evident, in particular, given the enormous progress Europe has achieved in economic integration of the continent.

The surprise is misplaced. Economic integration can do little to force a common national identity. Migration flows and mixing up populations can do much more in this sense (provided they don't end in a civil war). The nationalist trend is also in line with the demographic trends recently observed in the West that favor sectors with strong religious and national identities.

Moreover, there can be more to the interplay between economic integration and nationalism than meets the eye. Usually the splitting parties have to worry about separately renegotiating previous trade agreements held with third party countries, as well as about the consequences of economic disintegration with other parts of the former country triggered by establishing new borders and tariffs control. Here lies a certain paradox. The EU with its common market, transparent borders and collective trade agreements has actually removed one of the more serious obstacles that used to stand on the way of separatism in Europe. As long as the splitting part remains part of the European common market it has little to worry about in this sense.

The common European market seems to have unleashed separatist movements in some places precisely because it allowed the separatists to switch the debate from possible adverse consequences of economic disintegration to the rails on which the separatists feel more comfortable such as discussing regional subsidies that in the case of Belgium keep the Walloons on their feet but are paid by the Flemish.

There can be even more to the EU and separatism. There is a tendency to explain away national conflicts as socio economical ones masquerading under the disguise of nationalism. Probably in many cases, it would be more correct to say that these are national conflicts spurred by a particular economic or social crisis that exposed the lack of a clear common identity and the sense of solidarity within the society. What in a normal nation state would be accepted as necessary and correct measures to support economically weak regions and parts of the society, creates resentment and discontent in a multi-national one. The idea of the central government siphoning off resources from productive regions to faltering and wasteful ones is fueling separatist sentiments in various parts of Europe such as the same Flanders, North Italy or Catalonia and Basque Country in Spain.

The liberal and cosmopolitan thinking that's behind the integration may have indeed undermined national identities in some places. But instead of turning cosmopolitan (or maybe because of this) some polities in Europe started disintegrating into regionalism. In the same way the secular liberal culture led to atomization and individualization of the society at the expense of community, at the national level its universalism caused some societies to start losing the glue that has been holding them together until now.

One thing is sure. If some people were thinking that a common market and a hefty doze of economic integration are a guarantee against separatism and nationalism, they are plainly in for more surprises.

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Proclaimed Nobody at 11:12 PM

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Monday, August 6, 2007




Shalom, Farfur

Last updated: September 1, 2009

June 30, 2007


Another one in my Shalom series. The series has began with Azmi Bishara, continued with Jesus and Mullah Dadullah and now hopefully ends here. The Al Aksa TV channel has broadcast the last episode of the famous weekly children's show "Tomorrow's Pioneers".


In the final skit, Farfour was beaten to death by an actor posing as an Israeli official trying to buy Farfour's land. At one point, Farfour called the Israeli a "terrorist."

"Farfour was martyred while defending his land," said Sara, the teen presenter. He was killed "by the killers of children," she added.

Source


Obituary: Farfur

It was a very special privilege for the audience of Tomorrow's Pioneers in Gaza and elsewhere to be allowed to follow the amazing process of personal growth and maturing of Farfur the Mouse, that culminated in an ordinary rodent (Mus Musculus) having been transformed into a full fledged predator of Middle Eastern deserts. At the beginning a shy and unsure of itself creature, that cheated on exams and occasionally tried to impress the young audience with its broken English, Farfur had eventually matured into a true Muslim, a freedom fighter full of deep appreciation for the Islamic values and the cultural and linguistic heritage of the great Arab nation. In Farfur the Middle East and its fauna have lost one of its most distinguished species, endemic to the region and unknown in other parts of the world. The great predator of forests is no longer with us.

Shalom, Farfur !!!


יהיה זכרו ברוך


PS

One of the last known recordings of the awesome rodent performing live on the al-Aksa channel:



A new tag introduced to commemorate this tragic event: Farfur the Mouse.



July 1, 2007

And This is How They Did It . . .

Roman Kalik said...

NOOOOO! Our Martyr Mouse is gone from us...

Yes, Roman. Farfur is no longer with us. And this is how they have robbed us of our beloved Martyr Mouse !!!





PS



Shit !!! I think I actually live in that Tel al-Rabi !!! Anyway, now you know where the key to Tel Aviv is.


July 5, 2007

Farfur Generation

Some Palestinian parents in the Gaza Strip are up in arms over Hamas summer camps which are being used to train children on the use of weapons and other military equipment.

The families on Tuesday also accused Hamas of inciting their children against Israel and Fatah. Some of the families decided to pull their children out of the camps after discovering the goals of the camp. Most of the children who are participating in the current Hamas summer camps are between the ages of eight and 17.

. . .

"The military training is taking place in the early hours; children are being taught how to use Kalashnikov assault rifles and other weapons," said one eyewitness.

Source



July 21, 2007

Part II: FarfuR RELOADED

I decided that I need to upgrade this post with that clip too. Just for the sake of .. you know ... completeness.

And so: One predator is out, another one is already in !!!




July 25, 2007

Part III: FarfuR Revolutions

My Farfur Trilogy is now almost complete as we are at the beginning of the third part.

The first revolutionary generation is graduating from a Hamas kindergarten





Nice childhood indeed :D :D

A commenter, nicknamed Make Love Not War, who decorated his YouTube personal page with clips of German converts to Islam, writes in the comments section:

01MakeLoveNotWar said:

what a beautiful video. thank you so much for this! it's incredible to see such youth will bravery, courage, strength, and the will to fight against injustice. long live palestine. and may God help the non-zionist jews to win their fight against zionism.

I would say that Make Love Not War in the interpretation of this person is as close as Islam can get to being a religion of peace

:D :D


July 26, 2007

Farfur Revolutions come to America :D :D

:D :D

Thanks, Ander


August 5, 2007

Before Farfur and Nahoul

Inspired by a post of Nizo with the same title I decided the time is ripe to revisit one of my old posts in search for the truly authentic and original. And so . . . At the beginning of all beginnings, before Farfur and Nahoul, there were . . . . Tom and Jerry !!!

October 3, 2006

Tom and Jerry are Arabs


My debate with Djuha and its surprising conclusion about an Arab origin of Tom and Jerry: Pinocchio the Muslim

It's time to put to rest a dubious theory advanced by Iranian clerics that Tom and Jerry were invented by the Zionist propaganda machine to enhance the image of rats usually associated with Jews (this is what the clerics say). Yet Tom and Jerry are no Zionists. Tom and Jerry are Arabs!


Last updated: September 1, 2009

Yankees Go Home!


Aug 31, 2009
Israel joins Mickey Mouse club
By DAVID BRINN

In a festive press conference featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse in the flesh, executives from the Disney Channel announced the September 9th launch of the network in Israel on both YES and HOT. The channel, which debuted in 1983 and currently screens in almost 140 countries worldwide - with 231 million viewers - will feature blockbuster favorites like Hannah Montana with megastar Miley Cyrus, Jonas with the equally mega Jonas Brothers, cartoon favorites Phineas and Ferb, the Mickey Mouse Playhouse with the muchloved Disney cartoon favorites Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck. It will also air such Disney movies as the High School Musical series, Camp Rock and The Princess Protection Program, with teen sensation Demi Lovato.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

What a waste of time! It's since years that we have our own Mickey Mouse channel featuring Farfur the Mouse, Nahoul the Bee, Assud the Rabbit and many others. Go home you useless Yankees!

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Proclaimed Nobody at 5:11 PM

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