Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Must Read

A beautifully written, heart wrenching post by Juxtaposer.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Lion's Speech

There is a lot I could have said about the lion's speech but nothing could have summed it up better and more succinctly than what I saw on bumper sticker while driving to work today. 

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."
Voltaire (1694 - 1778)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Man of Principle: Malek Jandali vs ADC

The Arab American Anti-discrimination Committee (ADC) is an organization created to safeguard the civil and human rights of Arab-Americans. This weekend is their yearly convention.  Malek Jandali, the noted composer and pianist of Homsi origin was to perform at the convention.  He was to perform his new song Watani Ana (my homeland is me), a universal call for freedom and dignity.  Although Syria is not explicitly mentioned in the lyrics, given his background, it is clear what Watan he is referring to; and yet the lyrics are gentle and non-confrontational. The ADC asked him to choose another piece to perform at the convention. He refused and when the ADC would not give in, he walked away.

The ADC's explanation for its action just does not hold any water.  They are an organization that strongly promotes the human and civil rights of Arab Americans.  They cannot claim to be apolitical and feign neutrality when it comes to human rights abuses in the Middle East because they take a clear stance in on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  What they did with Jandali is hypocritical and outrageous.

I have been a card carrying ADC member for several years now but will reconsider my membership if the ADC does not change course.  They can either limit their mission to civil rights issues in the US, or be an independent voice for human rights for all Arabs.  To achieve the latter, they will have to assert their independence from Arab regimes.

As for Malek Jandali, I salute him as a man of principle and a Syrian patriot.  In his gentle, civil way, he continues to advocate for the Syrian people at every chance that he gets.

Ministry of Disinformation: Reem Haddad Lives in an Alternative Universe

But I don't think she is delusional; she is lying and she knows it.  It is the same with every Syrian government official I have seen being interviewed.  As soon as they are asked a simple of question, they immediately become defensive, combative and then indignant. You don't need a polygraph, just watch their body language and their facial expression and the tremor in their voice; they are lying through their teeth.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

منحبك : Who are these People?

Who are these people with their well manicured looks, their matching white hats and flags and requisite Bashar posters as statesman, warrior and man for all seasons? Do they really believe that they represent the majority of Syrians and that the men women and children protesting peacefully for change are but the poor ignorant minority?  Even if it was so, why are they so heartless? Has the blood of their compatriots spilled so savagely by men who utter Bashar's name next to God's in their chants not repulsed them?

It is an irony of ironies that the heir to the Arab Baath Socialist party has carefully built and indoctrinated this privileged class of Syrians as the buffer between him and the unwashed masses. This منحبك (we love you) class was built to reflect an air of modernity and sophistication that Bashar has sought to project over the last decade.  Yet, clearly, this veneer of sophistication is thin and, as has become clear over the last twelve weeks, supported by a corrupt and repressive state infrastructure.

The منحبك crowd should be told that carrying posters of your leader as idol or big brother is so 20th century. They should also be told that if they want real sophistication, they should listen to their less privileged compatriots from the hinterland.  Those compatriots understand, much more than they do,  the importance of freedom and dignity.  They understand that without those very basic tenets, you cannot built a thriving successful country where citizens enjoy equal rights and opportunities.