I am Resistance: I won't be the Helpless Victim

I would do whatever it takes for my right to live and dream

another fascinating video from Never Before Campaign

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Helem replies to Massad: We are not agents of the West

Ghassan Makarem founding member and current Executive Director of Helem replied to Joseph Massad’s interview conducted with him by Reset Doc website. Here’s an extract of the interview:

The real problem with Massad’s interview is the lies, fabrications, and insinuations of being agents of the West against the people in Helem. This is an opinion we have heard many times from Salafists and chauvinists. The contention that homosexuals are agents of the West, that they are “imposing Western values”, and that they belong to the upper classes was also used by Khomeini before rounding up homosexuals and executing them. It is the same justification given to call for the arrest of HIV positive persons in Egypt and elsewhere and to pass a viciously homophobic law in Uganda.

Read the whole article here.

قولوا لرابطة السفر الدولية للمثليين والمثليات أن إسرائيل الفصل العنصري ليست مكاناً للاستجمام

الثامن من أيلول/سبتمبر 2009

صادر عن:

أحرار الجنس مناهضين للفصل العنصري الإسرائيلي، تورنتو

أحرار الجنس من أجل تقويض الإرهاب الإسرائيلي

الشبكة اليهودية الدولية المناهضة للصهيونية

أحرار الجنس الناشطون في حملة المقاطعة، وسحب الاستثمارات، والعقوبات على إسرائيل

تخطط رابطة شركات السفر الدولية للمثليين والمثليات IGLTA  لعقد مؤتمر سياحي في تل أبيب، وذلك في السادس عشر من شهر تشرين الأول/ أكتوبر من العام الجاري، من أجل تعزيز السياحة الترفيهية الخاصة بالمثليين والمثليات والثنائيين والثنائيات والمتحولين والمتحولات جنسياً (م.م.م.م.). من المتوقع أن يتألف جمهور المؤتمر من وكلاء السفر المختصين بالترويج للسياحة المتعلقة بال م.م.م.م. وستقدم منظمة IGLTA من خلال هذا المؤتمر، وبالتعاون مع منظمة إسرائيلية للمثليين Aguda، الدعم المالي والرمزي لدولة تستمر في احتلال وقمع وتجريد ملايين الفلسطينيين من حقوقهم، إضافة إلى قتل وسجن الآلاف منهم.

لذا نتوجه، نحن مجموعات وأحرار جنس ناشطين بنداء إلى كافة الم.م.م.م والأصدقاء حول العالم لمشاركتنا احتجاجنا في مواجهة ترويج IGLTA للسياحة الترفيهية في إسرائيل الفصل العنصري، ونطالبها بإلغاء المؤتمر المزمع عقده في إسرائيل وبوقف أي شكل من أشكال الترويج السياحي لهذا البلد.

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Azmi Bshara at AUB in commemoration of Nakba

Taken from Palestinian Cultural Club at AUB

In Commemoration of the 61st anniversary of the Nakba

The Palestinian Cultural Club in AUB

cordially invites you to a lecture by

Dr. Azmi Bshara

“Palestine: the Arab cause or the “Palestinians’ problem”?

Questions of history and the Nakba”

Time: Thursday, May 14, 2009 at 6.00 pm

Place: Issam Fares Hall, American University of Beirut

For further information, please call 70/637624 or 70/236010

Open invitation

في الذكرى الواحد والستين للنكبة

يتشرّف النادي الثقافي الفلسطيني في الجامعة الأميركية في بيروت

بدعوتكم لمحاضرة

الدكتور عزمي بشارة

فلسطين: قضية العرب أم “مشكلة الفلسطينيين”

أسئلة النكبة والتاريخ

الزمان: الخميس في 14 أيار 2009، الساعة السادسة مساء

المكان: قاعة عصام فارس، الجامعة الأميركية في بيروت

لمزيد من المعلومات، الاتصال على أحد الرقمين 637624-70 أو 236010-70

الدعوة عامة

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=78595612629

"Human Rights" and Syrian and American Censorship of websites in Syria

This post is not well-documented for I don’t have the time to search for links to support my claims, hence I realize my argument is weak nevertheless I don’t think it’s baseless.

A lot has been said and done, both by Syrian netizens and by western human rights organizations, about the vicious no good evil Syrian regime censorship of websites in Syria. It’s the favorite topic for almost all of the human rights websites and organizations, alternative and mainstream ones, to pin point the illegal censorship policies of certain regimes mostly Syria and Iran.

Whenever a website is found blocked in Syria, these organizations hurry and publish their appealing reports to the western world condemning the act that devalues one of the most important human right to the western world, freedom of speech. A right I think it’s also important to us here in this region, but in a whole different context.

Whenever a prominent blogger or a Syrian/Iranian activist is arrested, or rather, whenever the Syrian regime commits the crime of censorship, reports in the western world never stop from flowing.

But what is not known to many people who follow and salute these human rights organization is that many Syrians are arrested and recently prevented from leaving the country for no explained reasons (which is now considered the threat to Syrians activists than imprisonment) and contrary to a stupid report published here calling US and European officials to put pressure on Syria concerning its human rights record. Only the prominent political prisoners get attention from these organizations and from the mainstream and alternative western media. Of course the case is relatively the same with Syrian human rights organizations, not every Syrian political prisoner or detainee get the same attention from local human rights organizations and many prisoners remain unknown.

My point is that the term “human rights” is never about people’s rights really. It’s one of the major political terms used heavily in political contexts to support or condemn certain people or regimes according to the organization’s agenda or its source of funding agenda. If an authorial regime arrests people who resist its authority, authorial human rights organization support authorial political prisoners and ignore “marginal” ones. If Syria censored websites, all western human rights organizations heavily condemn the illegal act, but these very organizations stay still, and thus become cooperatives, when censorship is practiced “legally” by American websites and corporations like Google, which prevents Syrian users from downloading most of its products like Google Talk, Chrome, Gears, Video chat and from uploading a video to Google Videos.

this-product

I cannot upgrade and renew my wordpress account from Syria, because wordpress deals with Paypal and Syria and Lebanon are not listed in its countries’ list to allow me to pay. I have to rely on my friends on other parts of the world to do so. And the only reason I reserved a domain on wordpress is because the domain blogspot is blocked in Syria and I fear wordpress domain might be blocked in the future as well.

So what did Amnesty or Human Rights Watch or Reporters Without Borders have to say about these websites who censor, as the Syrian regime, Syrian users from using their services?

Absolutely nothing.

Yes, these three websites have not published not one single report condemning Google or Linkedin or Paypal about their decisions to prevent Syrian users from using their services, but they did however, publish heavily on Syria’s act of censorship. These so called prominent human rights organizations do not condemn the act of censorship itself but rather the doer of that act, and this condemnation always goes hand in hand with the American foreign policy, sorry no, intervention, hmm not really, “imperialistic occupation” in the region, as Azmi Bshara rightly once called it.

From how I see it, human rights organizations are like the United Nations, their job is not to defend people’s rights but rather to show the world who’s in power at the moment. We can see that from Human Rights Watch reports on both of the Zionist war crimes on Lebanon in 2006 and on Gaza 2008-09. HRW reports on July war were clearly biased to Israel because the whole world was siding with it, whereas with Gaza, the story was slightly different; HRW can no longer ignore the heavy amount of documentations and visual proofs circulated widely around the world by the Gazans and activists condemning Israel of committing war crimes in sieged Gaza. HRW is not objective and certainly not condemning Israel as much is depicting a historical moment the world is processing right now against Israel as a war-crimes state.

Western human rights organizations are only tools used by authorial western countries to put political pressure on Syrian and Iranian regimes exactly because of their support to Hezbolla and Hamas, the one thing that pleases me about these regimes.

Syrian regime censor websites and arrest people to secure its domination over the country, some American websites prevent us from using their websites because we support Hamas and Hezbolla. President Assad did not claim not once that Syria is a democratic country, but these websites, coming from proud democratic and civilized nation that is, are punishing us Syrians for our democratic choice; supporting resistance. So please, don’t ever talk to me about democracy, human rights and freedom of speech before, and as a starter, put Bush and his soldiers on trial and fucking kill him in front of his people (who elected him) on Christmas as you killed Saddam in front of his people (who did not elect him) on Eid.

Arab Jews Against Zionism

Some Mizrahi are very blunt about the link between Zionism and their plight. “If Israel had not been established, nothing would’ve happened to the Iraqi Jews,” opines the Iraqi-Jewish poet Me’ir Basri.

But the suspicion and distrust did not end there. Their resemblance to Arabs – in fact, you could argue that they are also “Israeli Arabs” – in everything but religion caused them to be viewed with a mixture of condescension, contempt and even fear. This kind of culture shock is, at one level, understandable, as it is a myth to expect the simple fact of belonging to a single faith automatically means that people are the same. “We have here a people whose primitiveness sets a record,” wrote a Ha’aretz reporter in 1948, not of the Palestinians, but of Mizrahi refugees.

This anti-Mizrahi prejudice among the Ashkenazi elite (European Jews) translated into them being whisked away to live in the remotest parts of Israel and populate what are known as “development towns” that failed to develop into anything beyond a receptacle for broken promises and shattered dreams.

The Ashkenazi elite also set about “civilising” the Mizrahi Jews and shaping them into modern “Israelis”. Of course, to a certain extent, this happened to all immigrants, but since the Ashkenazi were calling the shots, it was their culture that most influenced the Israeli ideal.

Today, mizrahim still make up the bulk of Israel’s poor and undereducated; they are often stereotyped in the media as pimps, hustlers and whores; their culture is seen as somewhat inferior; and their accent, although it is the more accurate form of Hebrew, is scorned.

[…]

the Mizrahi experience resembles that of the Palestinians, and this is increasingly leading to joint activism at the grassroots level, such as when Israeli Arabs joined Mizrahi Jews protesting eviction in a village on the outskirts of Tel Aviv, even though it had once been a Palestinian village.

In addition, a vocal Mizrahi minority have been at the forefront of the peace movement for decades. For instance, it was a Mizrahi organisation, the radical Black Panthers, which was the first Israeli group to recognise the PLO, and a couple of years before the Madrid peace conference, Arab Jewish and Palestinian politicians, writers and academics held their own informal peace conference in the Spanish city of Toledo.

And even if it is misguided to believe that the chasm can be bridged, those who wish to work for peace and coexistence must continue to stretch as far across it as they can. As Sasson Somekh, the Iraqi-born professor of Arabic literature and long-time friend of the late Egyptian Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz, expressed it: “I am aware that I did not produce any important results, but I’m not going to stop.

(Thanks Marcy for the link).