The Revolutionary Cannot Speak

We were taught that the sun does not always shine
We were taught
Thousands mirrors worth a truthful face

We tried to unlearn, those many lines our memory cannot forsake
The revolution, we repeated, the revolution is the solution
A task we may never undertake

Our revolution is pure, and it is not White
It’s grounded and rooted in our sinful eyes

We are the people
We are the words of wisdom
Your books and think-tanks so eloquently did not foresee

The power lies in people
The Black Palestinian painfully teaches us

Why do I feel that I’ll soon be the last Syrian alive
40, 000 corpses can never lie
They lay underneath our sacred soil
They haunt us in protests
Occupy our banners
and online profiles

A burden I cannot bear
So like others, I long for the day I join the Shuhada

I cannot be the last Syrian alive
I cannot be the Syrian who left, and still alive

You think “critically” of our raw revolution, you say
You think and cite our savagery with references of youtube videos
You are as powerful as the states you oppose
States silence us with machine guns
They send us sleepless killers in black suits
States fight among each other
We have learned the drill

But you, like the White, speak on behalf of us
You are the intellectual whose privileged voice silenced our indigenous voices
You’re no friend of mine
The leftist, feminist and the pro Palestinian activist
Are names of spaces you proudly occupy
To me, they’re just another privileged class
You made it possible to become my enemy

Yes, I have said the word “enemy”
And I would say it in the class you teach
Below the many articles you publish
Where you could tell the world how my struggle isn’t consistent with yours

What is your struggle, I wonder
When you’re the diasporic subject and I am the postcolonial
I stand in front of systems, machines and propaganda
In my besieged land

Your battle has become my dream of freedom
Your intellect has become another bullet in my chest
A “friendly fire,” I do not call it

I am being silenced by your pen

The revolutionary cannot speak
She may never speak for years to come
She writes in her mother tongue
Speaks folky words and songs your memory can no longer grasp
The revolutionary speaks to her gender-less comrades
And you
The powerful male intellectual
You are not one.

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Fadwa Suleiman’s Speech Represents Me

I have my reservations on the Syrian National Council, Burhan Ghalioun’s “apology” to the Kurds is shameful, and in a free democratic Syria the battle against nationalism and national Arab identity will continue, it will take a while, a long while, until we reach that separation between “belonging” and “identity.” What the hell is identity and why do we need it in the first place? Some say, that in order to lose “conventional self-identification,” or sectarianism, we need to be “Syrians.” But isn’t by becoming Syrians, we enhance a racist, national identification as being solely “Arabs”? Or else, why do we refer to “Syrian-Kurds” as such? Once we drop hyphenations, we become as one, and in order to be one, we need to lose those national preconceptions of ourselves, as Sunni Muslims or as Arabs.

I don’t know what “Syrians” means, belonging to a geographical border? owning a “similar consciousness”? Don’t get me wrong, I do relate to the people of Syria the most, but that is also relative. I am sure someone supporting Hezbolla relates to a Syrian supporter of Assad, and someone like me, relates to all revolutionaries in the region. So what the hell?

I do not believe in a ‘national consciousness,’ I don’t believe in nationality, look how it is interpreted by those apologetic to Assad crimes, and those who’re fighting for their dignity and freedom, and they’re all “Syrians.”

So please, do not talk to me about being “Syrians.” I want to be something else, like Homsi or Dar’awi for example.

Colonization made us all a bunch of nationalists, and because of that we made Arab Jews our enemies. Fighting for a label than for a value. I want to be living hand in hand with all of you, and this cannot be done if we see ourselves as “majorities” and “minorities.” The foundation of this logic lies in nationalism. Look at Iranian regime’s idea of nationalism, it’s not sectarianism we’re taking about here, it’s precisely nationalism. Nationalism that colors a whole nation in one color, one self-identification based on “majority.” I am not an Arab, I am not a Sunni, but people see me like a Sunni and an Arab nonetheless. I don’t want to be a citizen when other citizens are prevented from getting their rights, I don’t want to be a Syrian when other Syrians cannot be one.

Syrian actress Fadwa Suleiman appeared this week at a demonstration in Homs. The regime is looking for her now, her life is in danger. She begun hunger strike 3 days ago.

I came here to talk about Fadwa Suleiman’s speech she made yesterday, and here I am rambling about postcolonial anxieties. Anyways, this woman is amazing, really, and not because she’s an Alawite, I am not sure if you don’t know this, but if you’re an Alawite, and you’re opposing the Syrian regime, you’re not only considered a “traitor,” but also you will be boycotted from those supporting the regime, and you’re most likely be killed, not because you’re opposing the regime, but precisely because you’re an Alawite and opposing the regime.

This is the first and only speech made by a Syrian woman publicly addressing her people, this is the first time that a Syrian actress addresses her people and starts a hunger strike, do you understand how courageous she is? Do you understand how much she is in danger right now?

She’s fighting for a value, she’s fighting for a whole different Syria, and I want to hear from Burhan Ghalioun is to say the same.

Listen to her speech here and read the English translation on Abu Kareem’s blog here. For a little background on Suleiman, here’s a good piece about her on BBC, I am sure you won’t find it on Angry Arab’s blog or MRZine.org and the likes.

“It’s True, I was Made for You”

So for some reason, people think that my existence in conferences is useful in a way. The so-called “Arab Spring” is getting a lot of NGOs rich, and these NGOs must get “involved” in the revolutions that have swept the Arab-speaking region in 2011.  Conferences love bloggers the most. The world still assumes that the revolution in Egypt was made by bloggers, and hence bloggers in Arab-speaking countries must be invited, because they must have some interesting role in their country, and not to mention how journalism always create “heroes” in every “crisis,” the Hollywood-style. I’ve said it many times on this blog and I am saying it again: “online activists are overrated,” and not just in Syria, but all over the MENA region. And the “social media + revolutions” is the stupidest and most irritating topic made by ignorant “experts.”

Anyways, I am now in Spain, attending some geeky conference were geeks talk about stuff I’ve heard so much about but still don’t get them. I am not here for the conference, I am here for Spain. Conferences give you a free ticket, food and a free bed (in Spain we are offered a free tent). This is my first time to Spain and it’s not going well so far for reasons I cannot talk about in a Syria ruled by the current criminal and monstrous regime. Nshalla in a free Syria (in few months so please wait up).

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Would You Be My Palestine?

We can buy Almaza and get to your uncle’s place while he’s having his Argileh with his friends outdoors.

We can buy some of the Armenian nuts you like.

We can sit next to each other on the Sofa.

We can get nervous.

We can allow silence to be so loud.

This is it.

We can turn Valentine into a sacred sin.

Would you break the law with me?

We can wait till we finish our first bottle.

We can forget about your tomorrow and mine.

You can let me start right here and now.

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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.

We Won't Take No for an Answer: "Israeli" War Criminals Wanted NOW

Public asked for information on travel plans and whereabouts of top Israeli leaders

By Redress Information & Analysis

26 January 2009

An international human rights organization has submitted evidence to the International Criminal Court for the arrest of top Israeli leaders for war crimes in Gaza and has called for information about the travel plans and whereabouts outside Israel of the suspects.

A human rights organization has called for the arrest of a number of senior Israeli leaders for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The International Coalition against Impunity (HOKOK), a non-governmental organization registered with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, has submitted a “Letter of Notification and Referral” to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court outlining the case for the arrest of 15 Israeli political and military leaders for crimes committed in Gaza in violation of the Rome Statute and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

It has also issued an international appeal for information about the undermentioned war crimes suspects. Members of the public in Israel and throughout the world who have information about the travel plans or whereabouts of the undermentioned suspects when they are outside Israel should report this immediately to:

The Prosecutor

P.O. Box 19519

2500 Hague

Netherlands

Fax +31 70 515 8 555

otp.informationdesk@icc-cpi.int

The Israeli war crimes suspects are:

  1. Ehud Barak
  2. Amir Peretz
  3. Binyamin Ben Eliezer
  4. Avi Dichter
  5. Carmi Gillon
  6. Dan Halutz
  7. Doron Almog
  8. Ehud Olmert
  9. Eliezer Shkedy
  10. Gabi Ashkenazi
  11. Giora Eiland
  12. Matan Vilnai
  13. Moshie Bogie Yaalon
  14. Shaul Mofaz
  15. Tzipi Livni

A summary of the evidence against the above-mentioned war crimes suspects can be found in the document below, which is also available in Hebrew.

Evidence for the arrest of 15 top Israeli leaders can be found here.

This document is also available here.

Soldiers Beat Up Gay Men at Sassine Square, Achrafieh, Beirut

You wouldn’t find this on local “free” and “open” Lebanese channels, stations and newspapers. If you’re better than the worst, doesnt make you good really.

It is worth to note that being a homosexual is against the law in all Ayrab countries. Lebanese gay and lesbian communities are very active communities in Beirut, and essential ones.

Some of the Lebanese homoexuals were hyper members of Nahr el Bared relief campaign, opposing the terrorist Lebanese Army bombing a civic establishment of Nahr el Bared.

Some of them were as well the co-founders of Samedoun movement defying “Israeli” terrorist war on Lebanon.

These two men were not beaten up and arrested because they were having a sexual intercourse in public, they were beaten and criminalized because of their very nature, because of their very identity: they were homosexuals.

This law of criminalizing homosexuals as such should be abolished. Homosexuals ARE human beings and anyone who treat them less is the one who should be criminalized.

Grumpy Citizen
Barbaric homophobia, Sassine Square
Anne-Marie el-Hage entry

The Lebanese gay community is angry, so are the human rights associations. They are outraged by the medieval practices of authorities when dealing with homosexuals who openly came out of the closet.

The incident, reported by Alef, association for human rights, took place last Thursday evening, when two gay men, reckless and unconscious, were making love in the lobby of an uninhabited building in Sassine Sqaure, Achrafieh, assuming they were safe.

Discovering the two men in action, the Lebanese army soldiers stationed in the district to submit a real public beating. Nothing was strong enough, punching, kicking, rifle butts, insults, humiliation. One of them, half naked, was exhibited to the public of bystanders, just for the fun of it.

Deaf to the pleas of the two men that were caught red handed, the soldiers were doing it with great joy. The whole neighborhood was in the street, attracted by the scene. Any customer of any coffee of the corner nearby. Both men were bloodied, but this did not diminish the determination or the savagery of the soldiers, those newly delegated to preserve public morality.

Fortunately, voices of condemnation among the crowd, taking pity at the sight, put an end to the beating. Both homosexuals were arrested, in spite of the supplications of one of the men fearing for his reputation, married man with family, with a certain reputation.

Held all night by troops, the men were transferred yesterday to the barracks of Hobeiche, by the order of Attorney General. A place known not to be particularly kind to prisoners.

Certainly, the case will be camouflaged. A beautiful Lebanese custom to avoid putting the finger on the wound. The wound in question is the barbaric and unacceptable reaction of the soldiers facing the display of homosexuality.

The men had sinful, of recklessness and even inattention. But is that a valid excuse to beat them and treat them like this? Was it necessary to bring down the whole neighborhood and humiliate them? Is it right to point them out as gangsters?

It is time for lawmakers to reconsider these laws, which are obsolete, ridiculous and from a totally different era, a law which still condemns homosexuality in Lebanon. At a time when gay marriage is permitted in many countries, the authorities continue to hypocritically deny the simplest expression of a reality that they do not understand. But they will have to face it sooner or later.