Sunday, February 01, 2009

Gaza Losses = Inciting Hateful Speech

Is the ugly and horrific truth about the War on Gaza too much for some? I believe so.. Some folks just want the truth buried.

I posted a comment on Mona Eltahawy's blog to an article she wrote entitled On Self-Hate and Fence Sitting.

My comment upset and incensed a person who accused me of inciting hateful speech. Mentioning the death toll and destruction in Gaza is hateful speech!!!

Here is the comment and person's responses (followed by mine):


GardensofSand said:
It’s hard to sit on the fence when all the dead bodies and destruction pile up to tower over the fence.

Over 1200 murdered in a little over 2 weeks. Out of those killed, 33% are children, over 20 % are women.

Before the War on Gaza, 75 % of Gazans needed someone to bring food to their table (because of the blockade, movement restructions, etc). The number is up to 100%. 70 % have no access to clean water. With 1.5 million people living in an area only slightly larger than Washington DC, 22000 buildings are destroyed. 56% have no access to medicine. 95 % of children tramautized.
Infrastructure destroyed, sewage systems destroyed so raw sewage is flowing among what remains of people’s homes. Hospitals and schools destroyed. White phosphorus used on civillians. UN buildings where civillians were sheltered bombed using imprecise weapons.
Everything shipping in Gaza must be granted permission by Israel. Banking system shut down for several and only resumed with Israel’s permission. No NGO access into Gaza. No foreign journalists allowed.


International humanitarian laws were violated. The war violated both the distinction principle and proportionalityprinciple.

Noting all the above, all the destruction and loss, the catastrophe of Gaza and suffering of Gazans, is sitting on the fence the conscientious, just stance? Have we reached such a low as self-proclaimed, self-hating Arabs that we cannot even condemn the merciless killing of civillians, the systematic destruction of a people?
January 25th, 2009, 2:02 am

Craig said:
Some pretty high-handed rhetoric there, GardensOfSand. Who do you think you are helping, with all that?
January 31st, 2009, 12:27 pm

GardensofSand said:
Words don’t help Craig. Without actions backing them up, words are empty and meaningless. As for who I thought I was helping with my comment, the answer is no one in particular, I was merely pointing out some facts, the outcome of the attack so to speak. I guess the truth is sometimes ugly and uncomfortable to read.
February 1st, 2009, 2:20 am

Craig said:
Over 1200 murdered in a little over 2 weeks. Out of those killed, 33% are children, over 20 % are women.
Is that truth? Is that fact?
February 1st, 2009, 8:42 am

Craig said:
And also…
Words don’t help Craig.
Words have power. Words sometimes do help. Words also sometimes do a great deal of harm. Which kind were yours?
Without actions backing them up, words are empty and meaningless.
And how would a logical person, reading your words, decide to back them up? Your words incited hate… what is the likely outcome, when people let themselves be incited by hateful speech? So, I ask again… who were you trying to help?
February 1st, 2009, 8:45 am

GardensofSand said:
Craig, I got the stats above from Bill Corcoran,President of ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid), and Mitchell PlitnickDirector of US Office of B’Tselem (Israeli Human Rights Organization). Google the organizations or even war on Gaza to get verification of the facts.
Facts incite hate? I think it is your words that incite hate and negativity. Whether your are for or against the war on Gaza is one issue, but to not even acknowledge the outcome is what I find hateful.


If you with notice in my comments and your answers to them, you are the one who is negative and you are the one attacking. Frankly, I am somewhat surprised and a little bemused. Would you have prefered that the casualties and destruction remain unnoticed and unacknowledged? The facts are there, make of them what you will. As I said, the truth is ugly. It seems some would like it to remain buried.

Attacking someone’s speech and labeling it as hateful, and accusing the person of inciting hateful speech are ways of marginalizing the individual and discrediting what they say. It will not work on me. Why do you want to discredit what I have to say Craig? What in it makes you uncomfortable? Are the numbers too horrific? They can easily be verified.

As to backing the words with actions, there are many ways, the hardest of which is to reexamine your stance in light of the outcome. You can donate your time and effort for the relief efforts, or you can devote it to spread awareness about whatever position you hold. Or you can decide that it is not something that concerns you and move on. Whatever floats your boat.

As to to who I wanted to help, I repeat no one in particular. Maybe at best, posting the facts and outcomes of the war on Gaza would give someone food for thought and cause them to reexamine their own positions whatever they may be.

Peace to you, Craig.
February 1st, 2009, 2:10 pm

Craig said:
GoS,
Craig, I got the stats above from Bill Corcoran,President of ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid), and Mitchell PlitnickDirector of US Office of B’Tselem (Israeli Human Rights Organization). Google the organizations or even war on Gaza to get verification of the facts.
Well, for one thing, you assume stats from those organizations are valid. I do not. For another thing, you clearly said “MURDERED” - not killed. Big difference. And lastly, you gave stats for “children” without noting that many Hamas fighters are technically Children… the average age range for Hamas fighters is 15 to 23, from what I’ve read.

You aren’t arguing facts, when you take stats and and make claims such as that, even if your stats are initially valid.

Facts incite hate? I think it is your words that incite hate and negativity.
Really? And if I were Jewish, and you told me that my country had deliberately murdered 1300 Palestinians, would that make me feel all loving and peaceful? :O

And how would it make Arabs feel, if they believed you that Israel deliberately MURDERED so many Palestinians? They wouldn’t want revenge, right? They’d immediately want to live in peace and harmony, correct?

Whether your are for or against the war on Gaza is one issue, but to not even acknowledge the outcome is what I find hateful.

I’m neither for nor against the war in Gaza. If I had my way there would be peace, and there would have been peace a long time ago. However, I am very much opposed to terrorism, and Hamas is a terrorist group with a long history of MURDERING innocent Israelis. Why do you not use the word “Murder” when it can be used correctly, in reference to hamas suicide bombing against Israeli women, children, elderly, etc who were doing nothing except going about their lives?

If you with notice in my comments and your answers to them, you are the one who is negative and you are the one attacking.
lol. A liar, complaining that somebody is being aggressive when they have the temerity to challenge their lies? How novel.

I won’t reply any further to you on this. And please don’t wish me “peace”. You are a peace advocate in the same way that I’m the Prime Minister of India.
February 1st, 2009, 5:53 pm

GardensofSand said:
Craig, whether you choose to reply or not is your own perogative just as it is my own in wishing you peace, you cleary need it.The Director of B’tselem is Jewish and has Israeli relatives. I have no reason to doubt his statistics. Many Jews do not support the war on Gaza. If you google the war on Gaza you will see similar statistics reported by other agencies, such as UN, Amnesty International,BBC and other news portals.


Just because the facts aren’t to one’s liking doesn’t mean they’re invalid. It seems you would prefer the reality of the death toll and destruction buried.

Here is another fact for you, the death toll reported concerns civillians, the children murdered were not part of Hamas, they were innocent bystanders, children trying to survive this war and live as normal a life as they can.

Murder is the unlawful killing of another human being with intent. When civillians are killed as a result of use of imprecise weapons, or raids, or airstrikes, or indirectly because of an intentional blockade, I view it as murder. You may disagree.

When the civillian death toll is as high as it is, when many organizations state that Israel failed to distinguish between civillians and noncivillians, I would hope that any Israeli would feel indignant and would question his or her government. I would hope that he or she would stress among his Israeli and Palestinian counterparts respect for each other, liberty, and economic viability as the only course for a lasting peace and a decent life in the region.

Seriously Craig, name calling is so immature and only makes you look bad. It really doesn’t phase me, but here’s a piece of advice, it makes you look bad, like someone who lost the argument and can’t keep his cool, a sore loser.

Peace to you Craig and to the Prime Minister of India.
February 1st, 2009, 8:20 pm

Friday, January 23, 2009

Mark Steel: Now we've all seen through the Israeli government's excuses

If the Hamas rockets are so lethal, why doesn't Israel swap an F-16 for some?

The worrying part about whether the ceasefire in Gaza can hold together will be whether the international community can stop the flow of arms to the terrorists. Because Israel's getting their planes and tanks and missiles from somewhere and until this supply is cut off there's every chance it could start up again.

The disregard for life from these terrorists and their supporters is shocking. For example Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist, wrote that the purpose of the Israeli attack must be to "inflict a heavy death toll and heavy pain on the Gaza population".

Replace "Gaza" with "western", and that could have been written by al-Qa'ida. Maybe this is the problem: the Israelis are writing their policies by downloading statements from an Islamic Jihad website and just changing the place names. Also, if the Israelis think the Hamas rockets are as lethal as they say, why don't they swap their F-16 fighters and Apachehelicopters for a few of them?

These things are capable of terrorising a whole nation for years apparently, yet the Israelis have neglected to buy any, wasting their money on gunboats and stuff. Given that their annual arms budget is $7.2bn plus $2.2 bn in "aid", they'd save enough to buy a selection of banks in every country in the world.

The military advantages would be enormous because the Israelis' complaint about Hamas is the use of tunnels to smuggle arms. But if Israel gave Hamas a few planes and tanks and helicopters, they could probably be persuaded to shut down those tunnels that seem to be the cause of such bad feeling.

Whatever you say about Israel, at least it moves its weapons about legally – except for when it secretly built a nuclear arsenal against an array of international agreements. But they did it above ground and not in a tunnel and that's the main thing.

Watching the reports from Gaza, another reason why the ceasefire may break down becomes apparent. The Israelis might claim that their satellite pictures now show Palestinians in possession of huge mounds of rubble – lethal if thrown over the border. Luckily these weapons are easy to spot. Most of them are next to women howling, "Look what they've done to my house," but perhaps the airforce should bomb them again – just in case. The Israelis say they fear Hamas will once again break the ceasefire by sending over those rockets. But the whole point of the operation was to make that impossible. Because they must have asked themselves the question, "If we slaughter 1,300 people, including 300 children, is that likely to make people: A. less cross or B. more cross?" And presumably they concluded it will make them much less likely to grow up full of hatred and determination to retaliate. Perhaps they saw medical research that shows when someone is suffering from anxiety and bouts of irascible ill-tempered behaviour, the best treatment is to pen them in with no food or medicine and then kill some of them, and that calms them down a treat.

Another way to allay their worries about Hamas breaking the ceasefire is to read the report from their government's own Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre. This states that during the ceasefire "Hamas did not take part in any rocket fire and sometimes prevented other organisations from attacking." Still, with all that's been going on I suppose they haven't had time for reading.

Despite all this there might be one cheery sign, which is that never before have so many people seen through the Israeli government's excuses for handing out mass destruction. The demonstrations in support of Palestinians have been bigger than ever before, and even the United Nations and the Wall Street Journal have suggestedIsrael has committed war crimes. One poll in America suggested that 60 per cent of people opposed the bombardment, and the change of opinion reached the point that an Israeli diplomat has admitted that "The harm to civilians in Gaza is causing us huge damage."

Maybe, best of all, was genetics expert Steven Rose who appeared on Radio 4's Today programme to talk about a new study that's located "morality spots", the part of the brain that deals with our morality. Asked how we could know whether this was true, he said in a marvellously posh academic Radio 4 voice "Well we could test the brains of the Israeli cabinet and see if they've got no morality spots whatsoever."

And the most immoral part of all is the perfectly cynical timing, as if three weeks ago Bush shouted: "Last orders please. Any last bombing, before time's up? Come along now, haven't you got homes to demolish?"

Copyright 2008 Independent News and Media Limited

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

1033

Since Israel started its heinous attack on Ghaza, 1033 Palestinians are killed, 322 children & 100 women, and 4850 injured.

The world lives on while the lives of 1033 came to an abrupt end, cut short by rockets, chemical weapons and Israel's rage.

People plan their weddings, children's birthdays, shkeer camping trips while 1033 Palestinians lay dead.

Girls and boys party, dance, celebrate while families mourn the loss of 1033 Palestinians.

People hope, dream, and strive to make those dreams come true while 1033 Palestinians will never see their dream of a peaceful life materialize.

1033 sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, fathers, and sisters, gone, stolen from the warmth of their families while the world goes on living.

While the world watches, horrors are perpetuated, reasoned, and endorsed. The reactions or lack there of amaze and anger me. The justifications unnerve and sadden me.

Is Israel Using Chemical Weapens?

Israel denies banned weapons use

Medics in Gaza say latest casualties include at least 60 people affected by suspected phosphorus shells fired illegally near civilian areas.

An Israeli army spokeswoman strongly denied the report, saying all its munitions complied with the law.

An Israeli spokesman also denied Human Rights Watch allegations of multiple use of white phosphorus in the bombing.

Phosphorus shells are allowed to make smoke in battlefields. Their use where civilians may be harmed is prohibited.

Palestinian medics in Khan Younis said the Israelis fired phosphorus shells at Khouza, east of the southern city, killing a woman and causing at least 60 people to suffer gas inhalation and burns.

"These people were burned over their bodies in a way that can only be caused by white phosphorus," said Dr Yousef Abu Rish.

Human Rights Watch said its researches observed multiple shell-bursts of white phosphorus on 9 and 10 January near Gaza City and Jabaliya refugee camp.

There is no way independently to explain the contradiction between the Israeli military's denial and claims by Dr Abu Rish as well as other Palestinian doctors and HRW.

Israel has prevented international journalists from entering the Gaza Strip during its bombardment.

HRW cited numerous photos and video of the Israeli bombardment appearing to show the characteristic outline of white phosphorus shells.

It acknowledged the weapons appeared to have been used legally to make smoke screens to hide troop movements, but warned of the risk to Palestinian civilians.

"White phosphorus can burn down houses and cause horrific burns when it touches the skin," said Human Rights Watch analyst Marc Garlasco.

The Israeli army said operational secrecy prevented disclosure of its weaponry, but emphasised it "only employs weapons permitted by international law".

White phosphorus sticks to human skin and will burn right through to the bone, causing death or leaving survivors with painful wounds which are slow to heal.

The international convention on the use of incendiary weapons says it should not be used where civilians are concentrated.

Controversial use
The US military in Iraq admitted using white phosphorus as a weapon in the assault on Falluja in 2004 - after initial denials, although it insisted the use was legal.

Afterwards, officials for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons stressed white phosphorus use was permissible only if it was to produce smoke.

However, if its "toxic or caustic properties" are specifically intended to be used as a weapon, it would be considered a chemical rather than incendiary weapon and therefore would be banned.

The Israeli military has used phosphorus shells in the past, during its bombardment of Lebanon in 2006.

Minister Jacob Edery told the Israeli parliament after the 2006 war: "The [Israeli Defence Forces] holds phosphorus munitions in different forms... [and] made use of phosphorus shells during the war against Hezbollah in attacks against military targets in open ground."

The Israeli military was strongly criticised for some of its tactics in 2006, including the widespread use of cluster munitions in the final hours before a ceasefire came into effect.

Story from BBC NEWS:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/middle_east/7823078.stm

Bushisms



The 'misunderestimated' president?

All politicians are prone to make slips of the tongue in the heat of the moment - and President George W Bush has made more than most. The word "Bushism" has been coined to label his occasional verbal lapses during eight years in office, which come to an end on 20 January.

Here are some of his most memorable pronouncements.

ON HIMSELF

"They misunderestimated me." Bentonville, Arkansas, 6 November, 2000

"There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee - that says, fool me once, shame on... shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again." Nashville, Tennessee, 17 September, 2002

"There's no question that the minute I got elected, the storm clouds on the horizon were getting nearly directly overhead." Washington DC, 11 May, 2001

"I want to thank my friend, Senator Bill Frist, for joining us today. He married a Texas girl, I want you to know. Karyn is with us. A West Texas girl, just like me." Nashville, Tennessee, 27 May, 2004

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

"For a century and a half now, America and Japan have formed one of the great and enduring alliances of modern times." Tokyo, 18 February, 2002

"The war on terror involves Saddam Hussein because of the nature of Saddam Hussein, the history of Saddam Hussein, and his willingness to terrorise himself." Grand Rapids, Michigan, 29 January, 2003

"I think war is a dangerous place." Washington DC, 7 May, 2003

"The ambassador and the general were briefing me on the - the vast majority of Iraqis want to live in a peaceful, free world. And we will find these people and we will bring them to justice." Washington DC, 27 October, 2003

"Free societies are hopeful societies. And free societies will be allies against these hateful few who have no conscience, who kill at the whim of a hat." Washington DC, 17 September, 2004

"You know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror." CBS News, Washington DC, 6 September, 2006

EDUCATION
"Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?" Florence, South Carolina, 11 January, 2000
"Reading is the basics for all learning." Reston, Virginia, 28 March, 2000

"As governor of Texas, I have set high standards for our public schools, and I have met those standards." CNN, 30 August, 2000

"You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test.'' Townsend, Tennessee, 21 February, 2001

ECONOMICS

"I understand small business growth. I was one." New York Daily News, 19 February, 2000
"It's clearly a budget. It's got a lot of numbers in it." Reuters, 5 May, 2000

"I do remain confident in Linda. She'll make a fine Labour Secretary. From what I've read in the press accounts, she's perfectly qualified." Austin, Texas, 8 January, 2001

"First, let me make it very clear, poor people aren't necessarily killers. Just because you happen to be not rich doesn't mean you're willing to kill." Washington DC, 19 May, 2003

HEALTHCARE

"I don't think we need to be subliminable about the differences between our views on prescription drugs." Orlando, Florida, 12 September, 2000

"Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB/GYN's aren't able to practice their love with women all across the country." Poplar Bluff, Missouri, 6 September, 2004
TECHNOLOGY

"Will the highways on the internet become more few?" Concord, New Hampshire, 29 January, 2000

"It would be a mistake for the United States Senate to allow any kind of human cloning to come out of that chamber." Washington DC, 10 April, 2002

"Information is moving. You know, nightly news is one way, of course, but it's also moving through the blogosphere and through the Internets." Washington DC, 2 May, 2007

OUT OF LEFT FIELD

"I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully." Saginaw, Michigan, 29 September, 2000

"Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream." LaCrosse, Wisconsin, 18 October, 2000
"Those who enter the country illegally violate the law." Tucson, Arizona, 28 November, 2005

"That's George Washington, the first president, of course. The interesting thing about him is that I read three - three or four books about him last year. Isn't that interesting?" Speaking to reporter Kai Diekmann, Washington DC, 5 May, 2006

ON GOVERNING
"I have a different vision of leadership. A leadership is someone who brings people together." Bartlett, Tennessee, 18 August, 2000

"I'm the decider, and I decide what is best." Washington DC, 18 April, 2006

"And truth of the matter is, a lot of reports in Washington are never read by anybody. To show you how important this one is, I read it, and [Tony Blair] read it." On the publication of the Baker-Hamilton Report, Washington DC, 7 December, 2006

"All I can tell you is when the governor calls, I answer his phone." San Diego, California, 25 October, 2007

"I'll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office." Washington DC, 12 May, 2008



Thursday, November 20, 2008

Desperate Housewives of Disney

As someone who looks forward to the Desperate Housewives shinanegans every Sunday, this forward gave me a good laugh:

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Democracy and Liberty

I heard something yesterday that I couldn't stop thinking about, a statement I found so profound: if you have a democracy without [the presumption of] liberty, then you are screwed; you end up in a place controlled by thugs.

Democracy without liberty leads to tyranny. The worst kind of tyranny, where people are oppressed and subjucated under the guise of freedom.

I believe it is why all the democracies out side of the West (by West I mean Western Europe and North America) are failing or have already failed. The presumption of liberty is missing.

It is this presumption of liberty that is lacking in Bahrain. With the new reforms, all 'societies' are scrambling to secure their right to co-rule (through the parliament of course), to exercise their rights and let the people's voice be heard, only to subjugate their own people once they are in the positions of power.

People don't fear the leader that rises from among them, they look up to him. This leader cannot oppress you, because he is you, came from within you, to champion your causes and further your future. He is where he is today because you believed in him, choose to follow him. So clearly he has your best interest at heart. This belief in the righteousness of the leader is maginified when the leader is shrouded by a holy cloth. The leader is a man of the people and more importantly, a man of God. God is on his side and as such he can do no wrong. Slighting this leader, is an offensive to God, akin to blasphemy. This line of reasoning is a dangerous fallacy, a trap that most people fall into.

Why is it that the very group that fought for your voice to be heard are now attempting to squash it? Whether through the law or from the pulpits they are now twisting people's arms to accept their way. Objectors are tarnished as traitors or appostates, and they are marginalized by the very people who in reality are victims too of the politicians and religious leaders oppression.

Why? Because liberty is missing from the equation.

People often take liberty for granted and assume that it is part of the democracy equation. It is, only if you deliberatey make it to be. For liberty restrains democracy and democracy is a threat to liberty.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Bahraini Women Don't Work!

Have you heard the latest news? We, Bahraini women do not work! Nops not a single one of us. Not only do we not want to, we surely don't need to. Why? Because we are all sitting on oil fields. Where the luckier ones of the world have blue circles in the back yards, we in Bahrain have black circles, brimming full of oil instead of the aqua blue.

So I was told today by a coworker who apparently heard the above from the mouth of an Arab coworker. One who was amazed, that I, Gardens in all my riches and glory, would stoop so low as to work a 9 to 5 job. It is simply not done! Beneath me!

Yup, I work because my job is my hobby; I am a glutton for punishment. I can't get enough of the snobbery, incompetence, buffonery, medicoreness, and laziness that I deal with everyday at work.

Or maybe I work so I can look down my Bahraini nose at those working to feed mouths and clothe bodies, while I choose to work on a whim.

Whatever my frivilous reasons to work, I apparently broke the rule as we Bahraini women simply don't work. It's just not done!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Ramadan Kareem


مبارك عليكم الشهر، تقبل الله منا و منكم صالح الأعمال

Have a blessed ramadan!