Taken awhile back at a demonstration.
THANK YOU! This is so fantastic.
Secular Westerners who spend any time in rural Afghanistan are struck by the continuing power of religion there. Islam still permeates all aspects of everyday social relations in rural society; nothing is separate from it. Its influence is ever present in people’s ordinary conversations, business transactions, dispute resolutions, and moral judgments. There is no relationship, whether political, economic, or social, that is not validated by Islam. In such a society it is impossible to separate religion from politics. Rural Afghans cannot even conceive of the separation of religion and government because in their minds, the two are so intrinsically linked. The declaration of Afghanistan as an “Islamic Republic” upon the fall of the Taliban provoked neither domestic discussion nor concern. Any regime in Kabul that does not seize the Islamic banner for itself is vulnerable to being branded as illegitimate by its enemies, as the Soviet-backed communist government learned during the 1980s.
Read more at the AfPak Channel
1. Israel has only released a small portion of the video recordings it made during the attack. Only about 15 seconds of video only has been released.
2. Israel has returned the passengers’ cameras and memory cards with all the data wiped off them. In many cases, it has not returned such items at all. This includes cameras from news networks also (three from Al Jazeera alone).
3. Israel has rejected demands for an independent, international investigation.
The prosecution rests.
I have, of course, been outraged at armed men boarding ships in international waters, killing passengers on board who attempt to resist and then forcing their ship to the hijackers’ home port. I am, of course, talking about the Somali pirates who are preying on Western ships in the Indian Ocean. How dare those terrorists dare to touch our unarmed vessels on the high seas? And how right we are to have our warships there to prevent such terrorist acts.
But whoops! At least the Israelis have not demanded ransom. They just want to get journalists to win the propaganda war for them. Scarcely had the week begun when Israel’s warrior “commandos” stormed a Turkish boat bringing aid to Gaza and shot nine of the passengers dead. Yet by week’s end, the protesters had become “armed peace activists”, vicious anti-Semites “professing pacifism, seething with hate, pounding away at another human being with a metal pole”. I liked the last bit. The fact that the person being beaten was apparently shooting another human being with a rifle didn’t quite get into this weird version of reality.
- Robert Fisk
Over time, fabrications have a way of unraveling themselves.
[A]ccording to The Times (UK), one commando killed six civilian activists; he is now in line to receive a “medal of valor” for his supposed bravery in shooting in the head multiple civilians. This spotlight on Staff Sergeant S, as he is called to protect his identity (valor indeed!), gives him a marvelous opportunity to earn himself an actual award—for helping to prove IDF lies.
In his testimony, he explains how he came to murder so many people. As reported by The Times:
As he landed on the ship’s top deck, he said he saw three of his superior officers who had landed ahead of him lying wounded, one with a bullet wound to the stomach, another shot in the knee and the third beaten unconscious.
Taking charge, he formed his men in a perimeter around the wounded, pulled his 9mm Glock pistol and opened fire on passengers.
Did you catch that? He told The Times that he pulled out his 9mm Glock pistol.
Yesterday, however, we were informed by a navy officer that navy commandos don’t carry 9mm guns, and that the empty 9mm casings were proof that the humanitarian activists had brought guns with them. Oops, someone forgot to tell Sergeant S. Then, of course,Michael Oren parroted a recital of this “evidence” on the op-ed pages of the New York Times, unchallenged by any differing opinions or contradictory testimony, as usual.
Israel’s attack on a flotilla of aid ships sailing for Gaza has once more put the spotlight on the Israeli blockade of the Strip. But two years ago, activists did manage to peacefully break the Israeli blockade, and became the first ships to reach Gaza’s shores in 30 years.
This is their inspirational story. For the rest of the video parts, visit Al Jazeera
Since at least the mid-1970s, only one country has had the power to force Israel to give up its dreams of permanent occupation of the West Bank: The US.
After the success against Soviet-backed Arab forces in 1967, Israel suddenly became a “strategic asset” - a useful proxy in the global great game against Communism.
For three decades the US and its political class have feigned concern, affection and even love for Israel; the reality is that Israel has always been a tool to advance US strategic goals and power, and nothing more.
All the while, thoughtful Israelis - not to mention Palestinians and the rest of the world - have begged the US to intervene, to stop the insanity before it created an abscess that threatened not just the Jewish state, but the whole region, and even global peace.
But the US goal was never to “protect” or “support” Israel.
We have pretended to be its friend, but we are the friend in the way your drug dealer is your friend, sitting with you late at night listening to your problems while hooking you up with your next fix - only in strange twist, the American people rather than the Israelis are paying for the habit their government and corporate elites grow richer sustaining.
by Amos Oz, The New York Times
FOR 2,000 years, the Jews knew the force of force only in the form of lashes to our own backs. For several decades now, we have been able to wield force ourselves — and this power has, again and again, intoxicated us.
In the period before Israel was founded, a large portion of the Jewish population in Palestine, especially members of the extremely nationalist Irgun group, thought that military force could be used to achieve any goal, to drive the British out of the country, and to repel the Arabs who opposed the creation of our state.
Luckily, during Israel’s early years, prime ministers like David Ben-Gurion and Levi Eshkol knew very well that force has its limits and were careful to use it only as a last resort. But ever since the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel has been fixated on military force. To a man with a big hammer, says the proverb, every problem looks like a nail.
Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip and Monday’s violent interception of civilian vessels carrying humanitarian aid there are the rank products of this mantra that what can’t be done by force can be done with even greater force. This view originates in the mistaken assumption that Hamas’s control of Gaza can be ended by force of arms or, in more general terms, that the Palestinian problem can be crushed instead of solved.
But Hamas is not just a terrorist organization. Hamas is an idea, a desperate and fanatical idea that grew out of the desolation and frustration of many Palestinians. No idea has ever been defeated by force — not by siege, not by bombardment, not by being flattened with tank treads and not by marine commandos. To defeat an idea, you have to offer a better idea, a more attractive and acceptable one.
This is a major development. The Irish-flagged MV Rachel Corrie cargo ship, whose passage to join the Freedom Flotilla may have been delayed because of sabotage by Israelis, is now heading for Gaza — and it has the full support of the Irish government. This is no longer just a question of how easily Israel can trample on the rights of a humanitarian organization.
The Irish prime minister, Brian Cowen, has warned Israel that it will face “the most serious consequences” in the event that any harm comes to Irish citizens on board the humanitarian relief vessel.
Read more at War in Context
The Israeli government (not the Israeli people, and certainly not Jewish people) decided this morning that it would attack an unarmed convoy of activists who were attempting to deliver aid to what most countries in the world and the United Nations consider to be the world’s largest prison, Gaza….
On fucking point! II could not agree more.