Upcoming Michigan Events

July 23, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

* Ramallah Club of Metro Detroit 3rd Annual Golf Outing

Saturday, July 25, 2009 10:00AM; Fox Hills Golden Fox CC

* Arab and Chaldean Festival

Saturday, July 25, 2009 12:00PM; Hart Plaza Detroit

* Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce Party-Mixer

Thursday, July 30, 2009 6:00PM;  Bayview Yacht Club

* ActionGAZA Fundraising Gala

Saturday, August 01, 2009 5:00PM; Arab American National Museum

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Gaza from California

February 26, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

By Geoffrey Cook, MMNS

Berkeley–Very often the media takes up a story as “sexy,” and then drops it from their “radar” when the media judges it to be no longer to be of active interest for their target audience, even though a good deal of the public are still wondering what has happened to the issue.  Well, much has happened to Gaza since the Jewish blitzkrieg through Gaza ended last month, and I, as a journalist, intend to keep going back as a venomous Gila Monster in the American Southwest and Northern Mexican hangs onto his attacker with his venomous fangs to keep my reader’s consciousness focused on the subject and its aftermath as they should be.

About the most momentous event since the truce (which seems near failure) since it has been broken several times by the Israeli army, are the Israeli elections and the right-wing Likud leader, Benjamin Netanyahu has been asked to forming a government.  He has pledged to wipe out Gaza, and to expand Settlements on the West Bank.  On the other hand, the U.N. (United Nations) has been asked by Tehran to expel Tel Aviv from the General Assembly!

Few relief supplies have been permitted through the borders by either the Muslim-dominated Egypt or the Jewish State, also, to relieve the haggard denizens of the Strip.  During the middle of February a fact-finding delegation from the British Parliament were beleaguered by Israeli military thugs.  The chair of the delegation was quoted “It was a bit weird to be hassled by another country when entering a [sovereign] nation.”  A similar event occurred when an American Congressional deputation visited post-War Gaza.

About a month and one-half ago, a program on Gaza was presented off campus in this city.  My criticism of the agenda was that it lacked the (academic) rigors of the campus assembly on the following day that I reported as “Gaza under Siege” printed here not many weeks ago. I must denounce the knee-jerk radicalism of Berkeley’s hoi po loi, and their Americo-centric prejudices.  The two Muslim Arabs were quite perceptive plus one American who has worked extensively in the area, and I shall consider their quotes quite carefully.  The others I shall gloss over.

The organizer of the event called this an “emergency” meeting.  “An emergency is a situation that demands immediate action!”  Americans are stuck in an illusion.  ”We are demanding that the slaughter in Gaza to stop,” but we in the American public are only accumulating misconceptions!

I gave an account of the Palestinian-American Professor Hatem Bazian of U.C. (University of California at) Berkeley comments in my previously mentioned article.  The Gaza crisis began considerably before December 28th last.  The prior Truce was violated by the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) on November 4th, 2008.

Israeli and/or U.S. State Department press releases dominate the American dialogue on what was the old Mandate of Palestine.  There is a new campaign for the Middle East promoted by the United States, Israel and their “franchises” (the “moderate” Arab States) to corner the region’s resources.  The District of Columbia is enabling a classic “divide and conquer” between the Shia and Sunnis as a mechanism to force the Arabs, Persians and Central Asian Turks to sell the West their oil at a reasonable price.

“Israel acts as an advance ‘aircraft carrier’ for the U.S.A.,” but, at the same time, Israel may possess different objectives from North America.

Curiously, though, Tel Aviv’ myth of strategic invincibility was severely damaged by their defeat over Galilee by Hezbollah (and Iran technology’s) missiles in their 2004 War.

Unfortunately, the major Israeli Parties all appealed strongly to the (illegal) Settler’s vote.  On this side of the Atlantic, “Obama isn’t going to fight against Israel or AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee].”  (An AmerIndian speaker, Tony Gonzalez, called it “Obama Romanization”) which has swept the young and the idealistic off their feet.

The minor local politician (former Afro-American Oakland City Councilman and the son of a past Mayor), Wilson Riles, Jr., said “We have to listen to what Hamas is saying,” but he equates a Fourth World country to the problems of the U.S.!  “We got to move against…structures in this community.”  At least, “We have to commit to Palestine…,” and, further “…We must [do our] research…” of course.  Further, there was a Black minister who reacted with the correct moral outrage, “I feel the pain and outrage from what has happened!” Yet it was his pain from afar and not the outrage of the victims themselves.  He does talk of the accusations of “anti-Semitism” for those who defend the Palestinian people.  He declared that we must not cringe from the charge:  “Silence is unthinkable…” Ultimately, though he goes back to the accountability of the American government (for which they unarguably possess and hold responsibility).

Denis Bernstein a supposed “investigative reporter” for the local Pacifica radio outlet (KPFA) felt “It is time to end the savagery to these people!”  Agreed, but “It [also] is time for a one State solution!” [Sic!]

Larry Everest who seemed to come from an “Old Left” perspective, and was of (anti-Zionist Jewish) heritage was, also, in favor of a one-State solution, but this would be where the Palestinians would dominate in a way similar to M.K. Gandhi’s envisioning on the “Jewish Problem” published in a seventy-year old issue of his Harijan, and republished on these pages quite some time ago,  “Israel is a Settler Colonial State…a garrison State for [U.S.] Imperialism!”  I think this is an over simplification of agency, and absolves Tel Aviv in its lack of morality where the U.S. is more than the enabler par excellence that makes it possible for the hand of the doer to enact the deed.  The truth is that the “evil” can be stopped in either in D.C. or in Judah itself.  Bazian pointed out previously above in this piece that the policies of the two oppressor allies do diverge. 

Much of the rhetoric that night was polemic, and was direct more against the American State than the Modern Israeli nation who decided to devour Gaza for their objectives of a greater Israel.  Our guilt lies in giving them the weapons et al., and that has to stop!

Paul Larudee, whose project to relieve the Gazans by sea was written up by me twice in these pages, stated that “Palestine is made to suffer because they are not Jews.” 

He notes how the State of Israel has expanded the definition of Jewishness to allow more potential Settlers within as citizens; therefore, he sarcastically, avers “Why not make the Palestinians Jews!”  I am not sure of the taste of his suggestion, but Palestine is, also, a geographical “neighborhood,” and all who live within should be considered Palestinian (again, back to the “Mahatma’s” 1938 essay), and that would include the Jews as in the pre-Partition Ottoman Province. 

He believes racism is the core of the problem.  I would argue that it is not racism since they belong to the same race, but Sectarianism.

Hisham Ahmed is a blind Palestinian-American Professor at a small (San Francisco) Bay Area Roman Catholic College who was raised in a refugee camp located near Jerusalem.

“Israel had unleashed a savage attack upon Gaza… [and the Gazans] had to stand up!  Before the onslaught a Cabinet Minister from the Knesset remarked “…We have to start a holocaust on Gaza!”  This is a “…act of sadism!”  As my readers know, and Ahmed re-emphasizes, Gaza has been under a total blockade for years.  Although Dr. Hisham is a critic of Hamas, he attests that they had upheld their part of the prior treaty.  The West bank is hell, too.  They wish to “…destroy our will to resist,” but their PR (Public Relations; i.e., propaganda) has failed!  “…Israel is ugly…Egypt is sitting on a volcano…” which can only lead to lead to international instability!  Before proceeding to sanctions, he suggests a legal campaign from granting visa to Israeli officials from entering the United States.  “The fall of Palestine is real,” but independence is near!

Laudree, Baziam and Ahmed were excellent, and the evening was well worth while, but many of the other speakers lacked a deep understanding of the dire Palestinian predicament.  As Americans on the extreme Left, Palestine was a cause célèbre for them to help produce paradigm shift of power within the United States.  Anyone who is aware of the history of Colonialism in the Nineteenth Century is well familiar that a few of the radical movements within the Metropolis (the Imperial homeland) were ultimately unsupportive of the Colonials themselves for fear of damaging their domestic privileges.  Few of our mainstream American speakers understood Middle Eastern realities!

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The “Stockholm Syndrome” and American Muslims

August 16, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

By Shahid Athar

In the aftermath of September 11th, American Muslims are suffering from the Stockholm Syndrome without even knowing what it is. This is a term in Psychiatry in which the disease manifests when the victim, for example a captive sympathizes with his captors and takes up the cause of the captors or oppressors as his own cause in order to get special privileges. The syndrome was first described after World War II during the trial of war criminals in which captives of war criminals identified themselves and sympathized with their captors and even cooperated with them during concentration camps. Thus, they themselves became the tools of the oppressors, acting on their behalf in order to gain their sympathy and be in their “good book.” In more recent days, the syndrome was best manifested by the behavior of Patty Hearst who was kidnapped by SLA and then participated in the theft and violence by SLA while being their captive.

The response of most of the American Muslims to the tragedy of September 11th is in two extremes, both suffering from the same syndrome. At one extreme is the group most visible on the Internet, still working on the conspiracy theory, that is this evil act was done by the work of Mossad, the CIA, the Pentagon, the Militia or the remote control devices blowing up the World Trade Center, completely denying the possibility that it could have been the evil act and plot by Muslim Terrorists. This group did not say enough to the fellow Americans that this act was an attack on humanity and not just on America, an attack on innocent civilians and even on the peaceful religion of Islam.

Thus, suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, this group became a manifestation of the disease, identifying themselves with those terrorists who might have done it and even justifying their actions.

On the other extreme is the group of Muslim intelligentsia, who after recovering from the shock of September 11th, suffered from unwarranted guilt complex and became apologetic. After visits by the FBI, they realized that they must make a politically correct statement now in order to save American Islam and their own leadership. Otherwise, they may not get invited again to the White House or State Department Iftaar parties. For them, to be in good books of homeland Security was more important than their dignity as Muslims. Some of them had to change their external outlook, tone of speech and writing, and even retracted and regretted their statements given before September 11th against the “super power.” Now, some of them are telling the same American Muslim audience, whom they incited before against America that “If you do not like the West, go back to your own country.”

Another prominent writer wrote, “the Muslims are hypocrites of grand scale, in opposing the oppression by Israel, Serbia and Hindu but when the same acts are done by Al Qaeeda and other Muslim terrorist groups they look the other way.” True, but apples and oranges cannot be compared. Two wrongs do not make one right and there is no trade off, i.e., we must choose between two types of terrorists, two groups of oppressors and accept state terrorism over the group or individual terrorists. Another group of Muslim intellectuals find someone else to blame rather than accept responsibility. Not too long ago, I was on a public forum at a Town Hall meeting. My other counterpart speaker was an Afghan origin Professor who put all the blame of the recent trouble with the Taliban on Pakistan in creating, training and sponsoring Taliban terrorism. Those who are true students of Taliban history know this is not all of the fact. Talibans were created and strengthened with the help of CIA and the American government. This Afghan Professor never acknowledged the help given to mujahideens by Pakistan in fighting Russian aggression on Afghanistan. He did not realize that if there was no Pakistan, Russians would have won their “great game” in very little time and conquered Afghanistan. It was Pakistan who gave sanctuary to mujahideens and helped them with everything that they had to re-arm and regroup themselves to go back to Afghanistan and fight. Again, the psychology of this Professor’s mind is nothing but Stockholm Syndrome in order for him to say something to please his captors.

The American media and some of the columnists, never a fan of Muslim intelligentsia in the past, are now out to discredit them even more, saying something like his to the State Department Policy makers and American people. “ Do not believe these American Muslim leaders. Look at what they wrote in the past and said in the National convention of Muslims 2 years ago. Look at what they have actually done themselves to fight terrorism. Do not listen to what they are saying now under the pressure, against Bin Laden or AL-Qaeeda.”

Thus, while our leadership is in disarray suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, the average middle class, mosque going Muslims who run grocery stores, are office workers or students, are totally confused at what they should do or say.

Should they side with the Muslim terrorists Or with the super power who is bombing the innocent civilians in order to free the whole world of these terrorists. How can we present Islam to those who stereotype, profile and even attack us? On record are close to 1,000 cases of such hate crimes since September 11th. Is the FBI our friend or our foe? Will our children ever get admission to schools of flight training, biomedical research and nuclear physics or will we ever feel comfortable flying as a passenger in an airplane?

Will women in hijab be able to go shopping without fear? The joy of being a Muslim in America is gone, at least for now. All the progress we have made in the last 30 years is being reversed. We have to start all over again.

How can we live our faith while we work with those who defame it? We American Muslims are going through the most difficult time in our history in this country. These are difficult questions and I have no simple solution to offer. My advise is to the mainstream ordinary American Muslims and not to the intelligentsia and leadership. I hope and pray the latter get healed from Stockholm Syndrome and instill in us our stolen and bruised self esteem. Even if they heal, I’m not sure if they will not relapse again. Many of these leaders, especially those from overseas, tend to live in the past and not in the present. While their bodies are here, their hearts and minds were left behind somewhere else.

The sad plight of American Muslim organizations is no different from that of Arab league, OIC and Rabita. They are just bodies to meet and pass resolutions without any actions. They will pass resolution to condemn acts of terrorism (which they should) and thank FBI when it catches a terrorist. These organizations are like the poor peasant when beaten up by the emperor bragged to his people “Today I was honored by the emperor who beat me with his golden shoes”

The need of time for American Muslims is to have a civil rights organization of their own consisting of American Muslim lawyers and journalists as well as Muslim elected officials who will be able to speak for them as one voice whose sole job is not to please agencies and bureaucrats in DC but defend the rights of all Americans but especially the most oppressed right now that is American Muslims.

I suggest to myself and all ordinary American Muslims to wake up and take charge of our religion as we have to take charge of our families, our health and our lives. We should learn Islam for ourselves as a religion of love, peace and tolerance and prove it by our individual actions. If we want to be counted as American Muslims, we must take all the concerns of Americans, whether terrorism, Anthrax, drugs, violence or even pollution as our own concerns.

We must show Islam by their actions, not by speeches, video tapes and pamphlets. We must denounce all those who use religion for their political gain and denounce political powers who wish to abase religion of Islam.

Thus, we as ambassadors of Islam, must be careful in what we say and to whom we lend our ears and even our money.

We must reclaim our faith from the terrorists who hijacked it and also from the leadership who apologize for them.

We did not do anything wrong so we should not have low esteem. Allah has chosen Islam for us and we are thankful for it. As for the question being asked “are you with us or with the terrorists?”, we say “we are neither with the terrorists nor with those intent to terrorize us.

We are here to stay, vote and participate in the American process and we are neither going back no can we be interned. Make no mistake!”

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