Good government, bad government


Sometimes there is reason to be hopeful that our Nation can self-correct and return to the principles it has finely tuned over the generations, of liberty, social responsibility and good citizenship.  The decision of the US Department of State to overturn the ban on academics Tariq Ramadan and Adam Habib are examples of hope and perhaps light at the end of the tunnel of darkness we have surrounded ourselves in over the last decade.  We’ve written extensively about Ramadan in the pages of Miscellany101 in what can only be termed an act of revenge against him and his family to keep him out of the mainstream of political, social and contemporary  dialogue.  When given the full weight of a judicial system, albeit imperfect, but still forming and trying to correct itself while being universally applicable, Ramadan’s visa revocation was first overturned by the judicial system in 2009  and then by the US Department of State just last week.  Initially he had been hired for  the Henry R. Luce Chair at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, but extremists who managed to infiltrate policy making positions in government were able to get the US government to revoke a visa they had originally granted him.  The reasons for it were spurious at best, lies at worse and so transparent that when given the light of day were thrown out post haste.  You can read one of Ramadan’s more recent musings here.  Good government.

Along with Ramadan’s decision the State Department overturned the revocation imposed on Adam Habib, a South African academic who is Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation & Advancement at the University of Johannesburg. It goes without saying the case against him was as empty and irrational as the one made against Ramadan. In fact, it seemed the only people afraid of Habib, besides American Islamophobes, were South African communists, which should have made Habib a significantly important figure with a right wing conservative administration the likes of George  Bush’s.  Habib’s case, like that of Ramadan, was wrapped up in the Islamophobic notions of Campus Watch, the Daniel Pipes led organization. You can read about them here and here.   It didn’t take a Clinton led State Department very long to overturn her predecessor’s revocation for either of these two men; in fact less than a year after being in office.  Says alot about a fanatically led Bush administration and even more about “good government”.

Euphoria however is quickly dashed when one reads about the US Justice Department’s quick reaction to the story of the three “suicides” at Guantanamo Bay and especially the reporting of that story by MSNBC’s  Keith Olbermann.  Olbermann reported on his show how Justice was upset with his coverage of the story that was reported extensively by Scott Horton of Harper’s magazine and picked up by a lot of people on the blogosphere, including here at Miscellany101.  It seems the Justice Department is only willing to comment negatively about the story, that is, to say Olbermann did a sloppy job of reporting it, but doesn’t see the need to comment on the essence of the charges made by US military men who have gone on record to say the series of events are not consistent with what they observed or were told later when promised an investigation.  This is the worse case scenario for bad government.  The leader of the free world, a designation we have heaped upon ourselves and which we wear proudly,  and which is acknowledged by others the world over, doesn’t need to engage in this type of intimidation and stonewalling with a free press.  Transparency, something promised by the Obama administration, means making all the facts available of  investigations and going on record to actively and judiciously clear the name of government when tarnished by accusations the likes of which are in the Harper’s story.  To do anything less than that is bad government….something  we’ve been used to for the last decade.

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Another Bad Bushism Bites the Dust


tariq ramadanNot that President Obama had anything to do with it, but a federal court has reversed a ruling against one Tariq Ramadan, who had been denied a visa to come to the US by the Bush Administration.  You can read about that decision here.  Ramadan had previously visited the US many times, but when the University of Notre Dame wanted to make him a tenured professor there, many within the political zionist movement, notably Daniel Pipes, would have none of that and so a well organized campaign began which resulted in the revocation/denial of a visit for Ramadan.  Oxford University snatched him up quickly, however, which proves this isn’t a fringe political hack we’re talking about in Ramadan.    What’s really happening  here is Islamophobes who are  trying to isolate Islamic thought from the main stream and keep it isolated,  feared and reviled; allowing Tariq Ramadan such a mainstream audience as Notre Dame in the heart of the midwest is anathema to political zionism’s goals of hate/fear based interaction with targeted religions such as Islam.  During the era of fear, accusations were made about or against people who were unable to counter those accusations or defend themselves against them in a court of law.  Witch hunts were carried out and people detained or denied their rights merely on the face of an accusation and without judicial recourse or review.  It remains to be seen whether Ramadan will be given a visa, but the ruling gives him a chance to defend himself in court and that’s what the Bill of Rights allows.

The Rising Tide of Fascism in North America


galloway1We should all be used to the notion that differences of opinion, no matter how sanely and legally expressed ramadanand/or carried out are becoming less and less acceptable.  We should be used to or accustomed to that because of the previous eight years where political differences were couched in terms that produced an either for us or against us culture.  The extension of that was the “us” in the flippant and casually tossed dismissal of dissent used their power to silence expressions different from the mainstream.  I must admit there are plenty of voices of dissent and many avenues available for them  to express themselves; I must also admit there is the distinct possibility those venues most likely are being searched for to be shut down at a later date.  For now, the squashing of dissent has a very distinct flavor of fascism about it that fits the political definition of fascism to the letter.

Canada led the way in the lead up to the fascist abyss with its  announcement it would not allow George Galloway to visit that country because it claimed he gave “material support” to Hamas when he led a supply to that besieged strip of land after the Israeli invasion earlier this year.

“Specifically, we have information that indicates you organized a convoy worth over £1 million in aid and vehicles to Hamas, and personally donated vehicles and financing to (former) Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh. Your material support for this organization makes you inadmissible to Canada,”

The intended outcome of this decision is to stifle any expression of support materially or politically for the Palestinian people, not Hamas.  The Israelis have been able to tie all support for Palestinians with support for Hamas and therefore because of its undeserved terrorism designation, ostracize those who support the people of Gaza and inevitably Palestinians as a whole.  The Israelis  set up Hamas as a political straw dog on which many people rest their fate for the next so many years, while Israeli theft of Palestinian land continues until the next straw dog is set up to oppose Hamas and so on and so on.  This is not only foolhardy but dangerous, but it allows the Israeli government time  to establish some very definite “facts” on the ground while it tries to change the demographics of the region for future considerations.  Galloway’s problem is one of being too high profile a dissenter, one who might be able to influence many fence-sitters, politically as a member of British government or personally through the types of lectures he was scheduled to give in Canada.  Therefore his exposure to the world community must be limited.

The Canadians have taken a page from the US playbook where Tariq Ramadan is still being refused entry into the US because of a similar accusation.  The administration of “change”, Obama, has gone on record to argue Ramadan should not be allowed to visit America.  This after Obama himself claimed he wanted to reach out to Muslims all over the world.  The Obama administration’s support of Bush’s  denial of entry goes to show there’s not much difference between the two governments as it relates to foreign policy.

The visa ban — apparently based on Ramadan’s donations to a group linked to the Palestinian militants Hamas labeled a terrorist organization by Washington — was instituted under former president George W. Bush’s administration….the visa denial  (was)  pinned to Ramadan having donated 1,300 dollars to a Swiss charity, Association de Secours Palestinien (ASP).

The charity allegedly funded Hamas, the ruling Palestinian group in Gaza, which Washington designates as a terrorist organization.

What’s troubling about this accusation beyond it being “alleged” and not proven  is that Ramadan made known to everyone he had donated to the group at a time  before Hamas was designated as a terrorism group by the US government.   When that label was attached to Hamas, Ramadan ceased giving to the group.  In effect he is being held accountable for doing something when at the time he did it it wasn’t illegal.  But that’s not his only sin, besides those of his father and his grandfather.  Ramadan’s is a passionate voice for moderation and coexistence between a feared Islam and a reluctant West and nothing gets in the way of “fascism” like peace, so like Galloway, Ramadan’s exposure to the West must be confined to a much smaller universe like the halls of Oxford University.

It’s interesting to see the turf war going on between those who are for and against the intermingling of intellectual and political thought all over the world.  Obviously North America is still considered home for those who believe  in perpetual conflict, have an aggressive warrior mentality and believe in conquering, dominating, and eventually eliminating people deemed undesirable or unwanted.  It fit the previous administration like a hand in glove and seems to be the destiny of the Obama administration as well.  It  also fits the definition of fascism.

A voice from the wilderness


It’s hard to believe the Bush administration denied the author of the piece below entry into the United States.  He is safely ensconced in the US’ main ally, the UK and writing pieces like this one:

An alliance

of values

Listening to the feelings expressed by Muslims around the world one gets a sentiment of anger and revolt mixed with a deep sense of helplessness. The current massacres are but a confirmation of the well-known: the “international community” does not really care about the Palestinians, and it is as if the state of Israel, with the support of the US and some European countries, has imposed a state of intellectual terror. Among the presidents and kings, nobody dares to speak out; nobody is ready to say the truth. All are paralysed by fear.

While the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is sometimes perceived, and experienced, as critical to the relationship between the west and Islam, many Muslims no longer know how to react. Is it a pure political conflict? What does Islam have to do with it? Should we make it an Islamic concern to call upon the ummah?

Muslims around the world are facing three distinctive phenomena. First, in the Muslim-majority countries or in the west, they see they can expect no reaction from governments, especially from the Arab states. Theirs is the guilty silence of the accomplice, the hypocrisy, the contempt for Palestinian lives. Second, western media coverage is alarming, with the majority buying the Israeli story: two equally powerful belligerents, with the victim of aggression (Israel) acting in self-defence. What a distortion! Yet the third phenomenon is interesting: while 73% of Europeans were backing Israel in 1967, more than 67% are supporting the Palestinians today. With time, understanding and sensitivity have moved: populations are not blindly following the games and hypocritical stands of their political elites.

Considering these factors, Muslims around the world, and especially western Muslims, should clarify their position. While refusing to turn the Israeli-Palestinian war into a religious conflict, they should not deny its religious dimension, and thus formulate an explicit stand. From an Islamic viewpoint, it should be clear that their resistance is not against Jews (antisemitism is anti-Islamic); to target innocent civilians must be condemned on both sides; and the objective should be for Jews, Christians and Muslims (with people of other religions or no religion) to live together with equal rights and dignity.

The Palestinians are never going to give up; and Israel, for all its awesome firepower, has not won the conflict. Muslims around the world should be a driving force of remembrance and resistance. Not as Muslims against Israel, the west or the hypocritical Arab states, but more widely, and constructively, for justice with all (religious or not) who refuse to be brainwashed or reduced to powerless spectators. It is time to create broad alliances and synergies around clear political objectives.

If the Middle East is teaching Muslims anything, it is to stop acting in isolation and return to the universal values they share with their fellow citizens. They should realise they are in and with the majority. Demonstrations and articles are crucial but we need to go further. To launch a global movement of non-violent resistance to the violent and extremist policy of the state of Israel has become imperative. The violence inflicted, in front of us, upon a population of one and a half million humans makes our silence, our division and even our limited emotional reaction undignified, insane and inhumane. A true and dignified resistance requires commitment, patience and a long-term strategy of information, alliance and huge, non-violent democratic participation.