No comment


Every now and then I will post a picture that I find aesthetically appealing to me that doesn’t need any comment from me and I won’t accept any comment from others.  This is such a picture.  I hope to make this a regular feature of the blog.

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Old dog, new tricks?


Hat tip to ‘The Angry Arab News Service‘ for finding this little gem about Bill Clinton in a NYT article about Hillary Clinton. After reading it I wondered aloud where were all those people who claimed during Bill Clinton’s presidency what a great supporter he was for the cause of African-Americans.

As for Mr. Clinton, he boiled with resentment that a candidate with as little experience as Mr. Obama was given what he considered a free pass by the news media. Yet his tone struck some as dismissive. When Mr. Clinton referred publicly to Mr. Obama as a “kid,” Representative James E. Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina, recalled in an interview that a fellow black congressman said, “I don’t know why he didn’t just call him ‘boy’ and get it over with.”

In private, Mr. Clinton was making matters worse. On the night of the South Carolina primary, Mr. Clinton called and Mr. Clyburn said he told him to tone down his rhetoric against Mr. Obama. Mr. Clinton responded by calling him a rude name that Mr. Clyburn would not repeat in an interview. Mr. Clinton called back a few days later for what Mr. Clyburn called “a much more pleasant conversation,” but the damage was done. “Clinton was using code words that most of us in the South can recognize when we hear that kind of stuff,” Mr. Clyburn said.

It makes me wonder whether the real Bill Clinton is the one we find in this article without the trappings of the presidency spouting epithets that make even his supporters blush. You know when someone has exceeded the bounds of acceptable racism when his colleagues of the same race blush at his indecencies.

There is no freedom of speech in America when it comes to Jews, Israel and Palestine


More and more people are being denied the right to speak freely their opinions on what is happening in Israel and Palestine or the influence of the Jewish lobby on American politics. Here is another person weighing in on how they were denied the opportunity, which was extended to them and then taken away and then extended again, to talk about the situation in Palestine. Why is the lobby so against any opposition and why are people so afraid of it? What is it about American society that has made it almost impossible to speak about this force which shapes American thought and politics? Until questions like this are posed and answered the intimidation will only continue.

Why I Shed Bikini for Niqab: The New Symbol of Women’s Liberation


I am always heartened when I read stories like this that I must post it here.

I am an American woman who was born in the midst of America’s “Heartland.” I grew up, just like any other girl, being fixated with the glamour of life in “the big city.” Eventually, I moved to Florida and on to South Beach of Miami, a hotspot for those seeking the “glamorous life.” Naturally, I did what most average Western girls do. I focused on my appearance and appeal, basing my self-worth on how much attention I got from others. I worked out religiously and became a personal trainer, acquired an upscale waterfront residence, became a regular “exhibiting” beach-goer and was able to attain a “living-in-style” kind of life.

Years went by, only to realize that my scale of self-fulfillment and happiness slid down the more I progressed in my “feminine appeal.” I was a slave to fashion. I was a hostage to my looks.

As the gap continued to progressively widen between my self-fulfillment and lifestyle, I sought refuge in escapes from alcohol and parties to meditation, activism, and alternative religions, only to have the little gap widen to what seemed like a valley. I eventually realized it all was merely a pain killer rather than an effective remedy.

By now it was September 11, 2001. As I witnessed the ensuing barrage on Islam, Islamic values and culture, and the infamous declaration of the “new crusade,” I started to notice something called Islam. Up until that point, all I had associated with Islam was women covered in “tents,” wife beaters, harems, and a world of terrorism.

As a feminist libertarian, and an activist who was pursuing a better world for all, my path crossed with that of another activist who was already at the lead of indiscriminately furthering causes of reform and justice for all. I joined in the ongoing campaigns of my new mentor which included, at the time, election reform and civil rights, among others. Now my new activism was fundamentally different. Instead of “selectively” advocating justice only to some, I learned that ideals such as justice, freedom, and respect are meant to be and are essentially universal, and that own good and common good are not in conflict. For the first time, I knew what “all people are created equal” really means. But most importantly, I learned that it only takes faith to see the world as one and to see the unity in creation.

One day I came across a book that is negatively stereotyped in the West–The Holy Qur’an. I was first attracted by the style and approach of the Qur’an, and then intrigued by its outlook on existence, life, creation, and the relationship between Creator and creation. I found the Qur’an to be a very insightful address to heart and soul without the need for an interpreter or pastor.

Eventually I hit a moment of truth: my new-found self-fulfilling activism was nothing more than merely embracing a faith called Islam where I could live in peace as a “functional” Muslim.

I bought a beautiful long gown and head cover resembling the Muslim woman’s dress code and I walked down the same streets and neighborhoods where only days earlier I had walked in my shorts, bikini, or “elegant” western business attire. Although the people, the faces, and the shops were all the same, one thing was remarkably distinct–I was not–nor was the peace at being a woman I experienced for the very first time. I felt as if the chains had been broken and I was finally free. I was delighted with the new looks of wonder on people’s faces in place of the looks of a hunter watching his prey I had once sought. Suddenly a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I no longer spent all my time consumed with shopping, makeup, getting my hair done, and working out. Finally, I was free.

Of all places, I found my Islam at the heart of what some call “the most scandalous place on earth,” which makes it all the more dear and special.

While content with Hijab I became curious about Niqab, seeing an increasing number of Muslim women in it. I asked my Muslim husband, whom I married after I reverted to Islam, whether I should wear Niqab or just settle for the Hijab I was already wearing. My husband simply advised me that he believes Hijab is mandatory in Islam while Niqab is not. At the time, my Hijab consisted of head scarf that covered all my hair except for my face, and a loose long black gown called “Abaya” that covered all my body from neck to toe.

A year-and-a-half passed, and I told my husband I wanted to wear Niqab. My reason, this time, was that I felt it would be more pleasing to Allah, the Creator, increasing my feeling of peace at being more modest. He supported my decision and took me to buy an “Isdaal,” a loose black gown that covers from head to toe, and Niqab, which covers all my head and face except for my eyes.

Soon enough, news started breaking about politicians, Vatican clergymen, libertarians, and so-called human rights and freedom activists condemning Hijab at times, and Niqab at others as being oppressive to women, an obstacle to social integration, and more recently, as an Egyptian official called it–“a sign of backwardness.”

I find it to be a blatant hypocrisy when Western governments and so-called human rights groups rush to defend woman’s rights when some governments impose a certain dress code on women, yet such “freedom fighters” look the other way when women are being deprived of their rights, work, and education just because they choose to exercise their right to wear Niqab or Hijab. Today, women in Hijab or Niqab are being increasingly barred from work and education not only under totalitarian regimes such as in Tunisia, Morocco, and Egypt, but also in Western democracies such as France, Holland, and Britain.

Today I am still a feminist, but a Muslim feminist, who calls on Muslim women to assume their responsibilities in providing all the support they can for their husbands to be good Muslims. To raise their children as upright Muslims so they may be beacons of light for all humanity once again. To enjoin good–any good–and to forbid evil–any evil. To speak righteousness and to speak up against all ills. To fight for our right to wear Niqab or Hijab and to please our Creator whichever way we chose. But just as importantly to carry our experience with Niqab or Hijab to fellow women who may never have had the chance to understand what wearing Niqab or Hijab means to us and why do we, so dearly, embrace it.

Most of the women I know wearing Niqab are Western reverts, some of whom are not even married. Others wear Niqab without full support of either family or surroundings. What we all have in common is that it is the personal choice of each and every one of us, which none of us is willing to surrender.

Willingly or unwillingly, women are bombarded with styles of “dressing-in-little-to-nothing” virtually in every means of communication everywhere in the world. As an ex non-Muslim, I insist on women’s right to equally know about Hijab, its virtues, and the peace and happiness it brings to a woman’s life as it did to mine. Yesterday, the bikini was the symbol of my liberty, when in actuality it only liberated me from my spirituality and true value as a respectable human being.

I couldn’t be happier to shed my bikini in South Beach and the “glamorous” Western lifestyle to live in peace with my Creator and enjoy living among fellow humans as a worthy person. It is why I choose to wear Niqab, and why I will die defending my inalienable right to wear it. Today, Niqab is the new symbol of woman’s liberation.

To women who surrender to the ugly stereotype against the Islamic modesty of Hijab, I say: You don’t know what you are missing.

Norman Finkelstein gone mad


It’s refreshing to hear talk so blunt, and pointed yet so dreadfully obvious coming from ANYONE in America, I decided it best to make this available to the audience.

Wasn’t one of the side effects of the occupation of Iraq supposed to be cheaper oil?


Well it’s not working out that way! Oil prices continue to spiral upwards with some analysts saying it will only go higher. Before the war on Iraq, oil prices were hovering around $30/barrel in 2003, and today they are four times that amount. When will the American public realize or its politicians point out that this war is not in their financial interests? Meanwhile, Osama bin Ladin is still free and the American administration doesn’t seem at all interested in ‘bringing him to justice’.

Iraqi sovereignty? What Iraqi sovereignty?


Word out of Iraq is there is a deal which will allow the US to establish “permanent” military bases there but somehow not affect Iraqi sovereignty.  Yet when you read the fine print, that notion falls flat on its face and Iraq, since the invasion has ceased to be a sovereign nation.

Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq’s position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country…

“It is a terrible breach of our sovereignty,” said one Iraqi politician, adding that if the security deal was signed it would delegitimise the government in Baghdad which will be seen as an American pawn.

The US has repeatedly denied it wants permanent bases in Iraq but one Iraqi source said: “This is just a tactical subterfuge.” Washington also wants control of Iraqi airspace below 29,000ft and the right to pursue its “war on terror” in Iraq, giving it the authority to arrest anybody it wants and to launch military campaigns without consultation.

The agreement in essence allows a foreign power the right to conduct military operations against its own citizens on its own soil.  Doesn’t sound like sovereignty at all, and certainly not something any American government nor its citizens would allow.  But what’s interesting is even the Iraqis see this for what it is, continued occupation of their territory, that leaves them utterly helpless to defend themselves and to rely solely on US help.  But what’s even more interesting are the political undercurrents involved that will influence this decision.

Although Iraqi ministers have said they will reject any agreement limiting Iraqi sovereignty, political observers in Baghdad suspect they will sign in the end and simply want to establish their credentials as defenders of Iraqi independence by a show of defiance now. The one Iraqi with the authority to stop deal is the majority Shia spiritual leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. In 2003, he forced the US to agree to a referendum on the new Iraqi constitution and the election of a parliament. But he is said to believe that loss of US support would drastically weaken the Iraqi Shia, who won a majority in parliament in elections in 2005.

The signature of a security agreement, and a parallel deal providing a legal basis for keeping US troops in Iraq, is unlikely to be accepted by most Iraqis. But the Kurds, who make up a fifth of the population, will probably favour a continuing American presence, as will Sunni Arab political leaders who want US forces to dilute the power of the Shia. The Sunni Arab community, which has broadly supported a guerrilla war against US occupation, is likely to be split.

The US is playing both sides, it appears, and continued strife is the only way to insure American presence in Iraq.  Strife, not reconciliation is and has always been  the goal of US military presence in Iraq, not finding WMDs or removing Saddam from power, except to provide a power vacuum that allows strife.  This can only happen with the absence of Iraqi sovereignty.