Friday, January 26, 2007
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Despite everything, the march towards democracy in Iraq proceeds. It started with the first open national elections in our history. The January 2005 election saw millions of Iraqis braving the threats of extremists and casting their vote to elect Iraq’s first democratically accountable government. Ordinary people then defied extremists again to ratify Iraq’s first permanent constitution. It may be flowed, but remains the most progressive constitution in the region.And Socialist Worker Online writes about him and makes one wonder which side the US anti-war movement is on,
There are other democratic achievements such as the move towards a free press and the development of a multiparty system and civil society. This includes a free trade union movement which has soared from a small underground movement to a significant force. It is not driven by ideology or religion. Its motivation by the improving is to improve the lot of ordinary Iraqis and work with other progressive forces to build a free and open society.
All these suggest that the vast majority of Iraq want a brighter future of democracy, prosperity and human rights. But nothing is ordained, and the international community can still make huge difference. The support of the United Nations and the European Union is vital. The alternative is misery and death on a massive scale that will haunt humanity.
THE CONTROVERSY over the IFTU erupted in Britain in October 2004 when the federation’s representative Abdullah Muhsin intervened at the annual Labour Party conference to help head off a resolution calling for withdrawal of occupation troops.
In a recent phone interview from London, Muhsin denied advocating any position on the occupation to the Labour Party or British unions. “Our demand is for the [United Nations-created] political process in Iraq to succeed, to have a permanent constitution, and peace,” he said. “If the labor movement in the U.S. wants to campaign and say troops should be removed [from Iraq], it is their right, and who are we to say no?”
But Muhsin did argue against the out-now position in Britain. He distributed an open letter to union delegates at the Labour Party conference, saying that an early withdrawal of troops “would be bad for my country, and play into the hands of extremists.”
Such a characterization of the resistance is a regular theme for Muhsin. In the interview, he attacked Iraq’s insurgents for “indiscriminately killing” innocent people. “This is no resistance,” he said.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
The last paragraph but please read the whole thing.
The second choice for the liberals was to do the wrong thing for the right reasons. To look at the Iraqi civilians and the British and American troops who were dying in a war whose central premise had proved to be false, and to go berserk; to allow justifi able anger to propel them into 'binges of posturing and ultra-radicalism' as the Sixties liberals had done when they went off the rails. As one critic characterised the position, they would have to pretend that 'the United States was the problem and Iraq was its problem'. They would have to maintain that the war was not an attempt to break the power of tyranny in a benighted region, but the bloody result of a 'financially driven mania to control Middle Eastern oil, and the faith-driven crusade to batter the crescent with the cross'.Also Part I to this series on the moral collapse of the left.
They chose to go berserk.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Maryam Namazie: Nazanin Fatehi Acquitted!: "PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
Sunday 14 January 2007
According to information received by the International Committee Against Execution, the charges against Nazanin Fatehi, the teenager under a sentence of death in Iran, have been dropped. She will probably be released from jail next week.
Earlier today, the court sitting in Tehran decided on Nazanin’s case and told the defence lawyers that she would not have to face execution but has to pay financial compensation before she is released.
The defence lawyers are planning to oppose the compensation ruling and are demanding that she be released immediately on bail.
The Save Nazanin Campaign will follow Nazanin's case and keep the public and the press informed of her situation.
The International Committee Against Execution congratulates all those who have helped and supported the campaign to save Nazanin's life.
This is a victory for humanity and against ignorance and laws of retribution.
International Committee Against Execution"
- Oscar van den Boogaard, Humanist and Gay Dutchman
Quoted from his column De terreur van de angst found in The Brussel Journal via The Ancrhosses's must read reassessment of Iraq and Just War.
xp Bill Baar's West Side
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
To: Congressman Keith Ellison, Fifth District, Minnesota
From: Interested Americans
Re: Your great opportunity
You have been elected to serve the Fifth District of Minnesota in the United States House of Representatives. This is a crucially important opportunity, not only for all of your district’s constituents, but also for Muslims in America — even Muslims worldwide, who watch American politics with close attention.
You are in an unprecedented position: the political point man for Islam in this country. As our only elected Muslim in national office, you have the heavy burden and the unique responsibility to aid the cause of Islam in its endeavor to become the religion of conciliation.
There is no doubt that you, as our sole Muslim member of Congress, could bring to bear a high level of influence on Iran and other Muslim countries, in order to make the situation for women in these countries more humane.
If you were to use your bully pulpit to speak out about the plight of women under sharia law — especially in Iran and Pakistan — you would be a powerful influence for good.
Your wife is a professional, a teacher of mathematics. She has obviously been a helpmeet and an equal in your rise to national office. To make the politics into the personal, consider the alternative fate of your wife, her career, and her life, were she living in a Muslim theocracy such as Iran. As you well know, her existence would be precarious and her career non-existent. You have only to question former professional women like Iranian expatriate Manda Zand Ervin, the founder and president of the Alliance of Iranian Women, to know that your family’s Muslim identity and security in America do not flow from the ideas laid down by the Muslim Brotherhood. Instead, your family’s safety originates here, in your native country, where all women have the access to the same opportunities your wife has used to educate herself and to contribute to the commonweal of Minnesota and of the United States.
Muslim women in other countries live under the yoke of a draconian hatred towards women qua women. Their original sin lies in being born female, and thus being worth half the value of a man.
This law is not something your leader in the House, Nancy Pelosi, would understand or condone.
Thus, Rep. Ellison, your public stance on the predicament of Muslim women is vital to the progress of reforming the view many Americans have of Islam at the moment. The news from Afghanistan and Iran is unutterably sad: the number of women choosing suicide over the prospect of living under sharia is increasing dramatically. A nine-year-old girl chose self-immolation rather than face a forced marriage that meant a lifetime of virtual slavery. Can you imagine your child faced with such a choice?
Many women in Iran are in prison awaiting execution by stoning or hanging for the crime of being raped. Often these are rural women who do not speak Farsi, and have been inadequately represented in court. Some of them had to have their sentences explained to them after the fact.
You have emphasized your Muslim beliefs by choosing to take your oath of office using the Koran. With this public emphasis on your religion, it is imperative that you follow through on this symbolism with vital action on behalf of Muslim women everywhere.
Why not begin in Iran, where women like and support our country, where people have begged the United States to intervene on behalf of the homeless children and the underage sex slaves who are sold into lives of degradation in other Muslim countries?
With many others, I await your response to your historic calling.
Gates of Vienna
via Euston Manifesto
January 22, 2007 looms very near on the New Year's calendar. That's the day Bangladesh native, Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is scheduled to go on trial for his life. The pro-Israel, moderate Muslim journalist stands steadfast and alone.
Choudhury is the editor and publisher of The Weekly Blitz, an English-language newspaper in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.
In 2003, the future looked bright for the 41-year-old, truth-seeking journalist. He was proudly on his way to address the Hebrew Writers Union, having gained the attention of the outside world by a series of articles promoting peace with Israel, condemnation of Muslim extremism and encouragement of interfaith cooperation.
Dreams turned to ashes when he got no further than Zia International Airport in Dhaka. The speech, advocating understanding between Muslim and Jews of which he was so proud, was never to be heard. Arrested upon his arrival at the airport, his passport was confiscated, his home and offices were raided, his money and personal effects stolen, and his computers seized.
There was no protest outside the prison where he was to linger in jail for some 17 months. During the long months of his imprisonment, his glaucoma went untreated and he was sometimes locked up with the insane, whose blood-curdling screams kept him awake through long nights.
In prison, the journalist who once had so much to look forward to, was tortured.
Going to Israel with pro-Israel opinions is a crime in Bangladesh.
All of this is taking place against a backdrop of a Bangladesh in the midst of anarchy, with extremist factions pressuring the ruling party into allowing them an increasing say in the government, and with local judges being able to exert enormous personal sway.
Worse, Bangladesh watchers are predicting that the country's January 25 elections will bring the fundamentalists even more prominence and power. It is now a very real possibility that the Islamic religious code of Sharia will become the law of the land in Bangladesh.
Here is the harsh reality for Choudhury's fate: Even if sentenced under existing Bangladeshi law, the journalist can anticipate one of only two possible options: Thirty years in prison or execution.
He is fully aware that he cannot hope for a fair trial. His only hope is to see all charges against him dropped, and soon.
And support of the outside world is absolutely critical.
Rep. Mark Kirk of Illinois and Rep. Nita Lowey of New York have introduced House Resolution 1080, calling on the Bangladeshi government to drop all charges against Choudhury, to cease the harassment campaign against him, and to bring his attackers to justice.
Americans are being asked to call or e-mail their representative in Congress and to urge him or her to sign on to Resolution 1080 immediately.
"Contact both of your senators and plead with them to sponsor a complementary resolution in the Senate--now," urges Heritage Florida Jewish News. "Bangladesh depends upon some $60 million a year in U.S. aid while its rulers pose as our government's enlightened partners in the "war on terror"--make them earn their money.
Monday, January 01, 2007
WELSH Labour MP Ann Clwyd has criticised the Archbishop of Canterbury for not doing enough to get Saddam Hussein indicted for mass murder before the invasion of Iraq.
Cynon Valley MP Ms Clwyd - Tony Blair's personal envoy to Iraq - revealed she had asked Dr Rowan Williams to take a leading role in her campaign in 2002 when he was the Archbishop of Wales.
Ms Clwyd campaigned against Saddam's human rights abuses for many years and, in 1996, founded a group called Indict which amassed evidence and sought to persuade governments to support moves to prosecute the dictator.
She said, "I went to see Rowan Williams in Newport in the summer of 2002 to try to get him to campaign for an indictment. He appeared to be quite enthusiastic at the time but all I ever saw was a quote from him in the Guardian some time later.
"I wish he, and others, had pursued the matter more vigorously. If Saddam had been indicted, he would have lost a lot of credibility in the Arab world and it may have been possible to avoid invasion."
The Saudi cleric Sheikh Abdel-Rahman al-Barrak, regarded by many as the highest authority for Wahhabi Muslims, doesn't like Shi'ites. In a fatwa issued this week he said: "The rejectionists (Shi'ites) in their entirety are the worst of the Islamic nation's sects. They bear all the characteristics of infidels. They are in truth polytheist infidels, though they hide this."If there is a Civil War going on in Iraq, we need to be on the right side. This fellow ain't it.
"The Sunni and Shi'ites schools of Islam are opposites that can never agree, there can be no coming together unless Sunnis give up their principles," the fatwa said.
Barrak was among 38 clerics who issued a statement this month calling on world Sunnis to support their brethren in Iraq.