Friday, February 29, 2008

The story is not true

... and this is not a negationist post

The facts are : this little girl was not Jewish : true, her parents were deported as resistants and were killed in a concentration camp. But she did not set out to look for them by foot and did not live with wolves. But the book is a best seller and was made into a very successful film

She said 'I lived with wolves to escape the Nazis'

After her Jewish parents were rounded up by the Nazis, Misha Defonseca set off on an epic journey to the East to find them. In a remarkable autobiography, she tells how wolves helped her survive. Sarah Foster heard her story.


READ ALSO HERE Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years

For rebuttals of her story (so far only in the French) READ Here
and HERE

p.s. and in English now HERE

Friday, February 22, 2008

Evidence of Israeli "Cowardly Blending" Comes to Light

War Crimes Airbrushed from History


It apparently never occurred to anyone in our leading human rights organisations or the Western media that the same moral and legal standards ought be applied to the behaviour of Israel and Hizbullah during the war on Lebanon 18 months ago. Belatedly, an important effort has been made to set that right.

A new report, written by a respected Israeli human rights organisation, one representing the country's Arab minority not its Jewish majority, has unearthed evidence showing that during the fighting Israel committed war crimes not only against Lebanese civilians -- as was already known -- but also against its own Arab citizens. This is an aspect of the war that has been almost entirely neglected until now.


The colors of Damascus

A new album of pictures taken at the vegetable souk.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Under 18

February 22, 2008 ·

I have been tagged by Sophia to list Six Things One Should Do Before 18. Here are the rules of the game:

1. Post these rules before presenting your list.
2. List 6 actions or achievements you think every person should accomplish before turning 18.
3. There are no conditions on what can be included on the list.
4. At the end of your blog, choose 6, or less, people to get tagged and list their names.
5. People who are tagged write their own blog entry with their 6 suggestions.
6. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged.

Here goes

1. I have never accepted the kind of injunction which says : what you SHOULD do. I remember an uncle who had landmarks for higher education. He never stopped criticising me because I had taken a sabbatical after my baccalauréat because I wanted to reflect on what I wanted to do in life. I am glad I took the break, because it helped me find that I really wanted to become a simultaneous translator.

2. Actions or achievements ? Achievements at 18 ? Getting your baccalauréat or any other diploma or skill which will allow you to become independent from your parents financial backing. But then, you don’t have to get that before you are 18 either. If it takes you longer, that’s ok.

3. Be natural and spontaneous. Be you. But if you are not spontaneous by nature, that is all right too. May be someone will help you unwind. Accept the person you are and love her.

4. Stay away from people who make you feel bad about yourelf; at 18 most of us lack self assurance.

5. Live within your means. Learn to handle a budget: i.e. you have a certain sum for the month; you divide it by the number of days. The result is your daily budget. When you overspend, take what is left over from your allowance and divide by the number of remaining days etc. Reaching the end of the month in the black is something which will help you the rest of your life.

6. Practice a sport and if you have no physical energy, practice meditation.

Six is too little but I shall abide by the rules.

I tagged Yazan, Abou Fares, Rime Allaf, Ihsan Attar

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Syria in pictures : four added albums

Inside a hammam on women's day in Damascus

Hosn Souleiman

The Shalalat in the Yarmouk Valley

Qardaha, the Assad Mausoleum

Saboteurs may have cut Mideast telecom cables

Damage to several undersea telecom cables that caused outages across the Middle East and Asia could have been an act of sabotage, the International Telecommunication Union said on Monday.

"We do not want to preempt the results of ongoing investigations, but we do not rule out that a deliberate act of sabotage caused the damage to the undersea cables over two weeks ago," the UN agency's head of development, Sami al-Murshed, told AFP.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Doomsday' seed bank to be built

Rice is one of the world's most important crops
Norway is planning to build a "doomsday vault" inside a mountain on an Arctic island to hold a seed bank of all known varieties of the world's crops.

The Norwegian government will hollow out a cave on the ice-bound island of Spitsbergen to hold the seed bank.

It will be designed to withstand global catastrophes like nuclear war or natural disasters that would destroy the planet's sources of food.

Seed collection is being organised by the Global Crop Diversity Trust.

Bill Gates is among those who finance the project.


A message from the Iraqi resistance

The video is not recent but it is still very beautiful. You will find more here

Saturday, February 16, 2008

SARKO blows a fuse

The French President has suggested that school children aged 10, "adopt" a Jewish child who died during the Shoah.
See article in Haaretz and read the comments
Interesting suggestion which opens endless possibilites : the kids could also adopt a child from the Nekba, an Algerian child who died during the revolution, Pol Pot's victims etc.
The President's suggestion was coldly received in general.

Friday, February 15, 2008

An earthquake in Damascus ?

I was on the phone with friends in Damascus and suddenly they told me that everything was shaking and moving. It lasted for some long seconds and then stopped. No dammage apparently.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Israeli army abducts 85 Palestinians in the West Bank in one day

Wednesday February 13, 2008 18:32
Jessica Frederick & Ghassan Bannoura -
IMEMC Newsauthor email ghassanb at imemc dot org

The Israeli army on Wednesday invaded both the city of Nablus, in the northern West Bank, and the village of Beit Ummer, located near the city of Hebron in the southern West Bank. In total, at least 85 Palestinian civilians were abducted by the invading military


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tear down the walls

Interview: Tear down the walls
By Saeed Taji Al-Farouky

Jewish academic says Palestinians must
tear down separation wall

Norman Finkelstein is one of Israel's fiercest academic critics and a vocal supporter of the Palestinians.

He is urging the Palestinians to break down the "segregation" wall built across the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The son of Holocaust survivors, Finkelstein was an assistant professor of Political Science at Chicago's De Paul University for six years until he was denied tenure there in June 2007.

Known for his critical investigations of other scholarly works on Israel - notably his ongoing feud with Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor and Israel supporter - he has published six books on the occupation and the issue of Palestine.


Israel and Iran

Israel & Iran

February 13, 2008

I don’t understand Israel. First, they have nuclear weapons. And I would say that they are a pretty unstable country, and that their nuclear capability should scare everyone. If the United States broke it’s alliance with Israel, for whatever reason, why wouldn’t Israel use nuclear weapons against Americans?

But this thing now. Israel’s Prime Minister accusing Iran of having nuclear weapons. What is he trying to do? Provoke Iran into attacking Israel? Starting even more war and conflict in the Middle East? And the only evidence that Israel has is that there is no evidence showing that Iran doesn’t have nuclear weapons. That logic doesn’t make much sense to me. Especially since the release of the intelligence report stating that Iran has not had nuclear weapons programs for years.

Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, says he is certain Iran is engaged in a secret operation to build nuclear weapons.

“We are of the view that the Iranians are continuing to pursue their plans to create a capacity for non-conventional weapons,” he said in Berlin on Tuesday at a news conference with Angela Merkel, the German chancellor.

“Nothing we’ve seen so far has changed our view on that,” Olmert said, speaking through an interpreter.

Olmert also said he was sharing information with other countries about Iran’s nuclear programme and that no options should be forgotten in trying to prevent Iran from developing atomic weapons.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Haifa Wehbe

She is charming, beautiful, has the breasts but also a heart.

By ListenArabic.Com - اغاني MP3

Bruges : Jew kicked out for wearing kippah

Antwerp - As VIN News reported earlier today a story�regarding a restaurant in the Belgium city of Bruges which threw out U.S. Professer Mr Kalmann, because he was a Jew. A reader of Vos Iz Neias wrote an email to the restaurant to voice his outrage, and this is the response received from the restaurant.

Dear Sir: Normally we decided not to respond to all the hate-mail we get becouse 90% of them are anonymous. As your mail is undersigned I will answer.

It is true Mr Kalmann visited our restaurant, and it is also true there has been an incident between mr Kalmann and one of the waiters. This incident was based on a discussion about the price of his coffee.
This can be checked in the police-files. It was not at all a racist incident.

In our restaurants we employ over one hundred people. 40% of them are not Belgian, are not catholic, do not have the same color of skin as we do, some of them do not even speak or understand our language (Flemish) and we have no problem with this.

The biggest part of our clients are tourists which means they have a different nationality, different religions, different colors of skins, speak different languages, and we have no problem with this.

We always tell our staff to respect all our clients, rich or poor, white or black, catholic or muslim or jew or … and we never had any problems of this kind. We also expect our clients to show some respect for our staff who works very hard. Unfortunately we sometimes have clients with a different opinion in this matter, but we always try to remain calm and if there sometimes is a discussion we try to solve the problem by speaking to the persons.

Very often we find out there is no real problem but only some misunderstanding because of the peoples different habbits and problem is solved. We never got the occasion to speak to Mr. Kalmann to try to defend ourselves or to solve the problem because he went directly to the police.

I can assure you we regret this. I have read on the site of 'joods actueel' that the waiter said that if Mr. Kalmann want he would like to apologize to him. Why doesn't he get the occasion to do this? It looks to us somebody needed a reason to create a problem and so they did. Really grown up people should try to solve a problem (if there is one) by having a good conversation.
I hope this misunderstanding is solved quick and in a correct way.
All the staff and direction of restaurant 'Le Panier d'Or'

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Jonathan Cook's "Israel and the Clash of Civilisations"

Stephen Lendman Blog
Thu, 07 Feb 2008 06:14 EST

Cook's newest book, just published, is called "Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East." It's the subject of this review in the wake of advance praise. Noted author John Pilger calls it "One of the most cogent understandings of the modern Middle East I have read. It is superb, because the author himself is a unique witness" to events and powerfully documents them. This review covers them in-depth along with some of this writer's reflections on the region from America.


Jonathan Cook is a British-born independent journalist based (since September 2001) in the predominantly Arab city of Nazareth, Israel and is the "first foreign correspondent (living) in the Israeli Arab city...." He's a former reporter and editor of regional newspapers, a freelance sub-editor with national newspapers, and a staff journalist for the London-based Guardian and Observer newspapers. He's also written for The Times, Le Monde diplomatique, the International Herald Tribune, Al-Ahram Weekly and In February 2004, he founded the Nazareth Press Agency.


4th International cartoon contest (SYRIA 2008)

For information click here

See also the Gaza cartoon contest

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Mardi Gras at Binche (Belgium)

The "Gilles" of Binche

Pictures from Le Soir

Since the 14th century, the town of Binche has celebrated the arrival of spring each year through its carnival. It is the only opportunity for the people to see a procession by the “real” Gilles, who are famous for their costume and for throwing oranges.

The town of Binche, in the centre of Hainaut province, has remained unwaveringly faithful to the centuries old tradition of its carnival. This popular gathering celebrates, symbolically, the return of spring. The “Gille” is the central character in these festivities. He embodies the soul of the people of Binche.

There are many legends which attempt to explain the birth of the “Gilles” of Binche. The most famous mentions a carnival-like ceremony organized in 1549 by Maria of Hungary in honour of her brother Charles V and his son Philip II of Spain. To celebrate the recent achievements of the Spanish conquistadores, courtiers travelled in procession disguised as Incas. A variant of this legend claims that real Incas were present. The population of Binche, fascinated by the costumes, then adopted the habit of holding a procession each year with the same type of costume.
read on

Tariq Ali and the Turin Book Fair

Why I Will Not Participate in the Turin Book Fair


When I agreed to participate in the Turin Book Fair, which I have done before, I had no idea that the 'guest of honour' was Israel and its 60th birthday. But this is also the 60th anniversary of what the Palestinian call the 'nakba'the disaster that befell them that year, when they were expelled from their villages, some killed, women raped by the settlers. These facts are no longer disputed. So why did the Turin Book Fair not invite Palestinians in equal numbers? 30 Israeli writers and 30 Palestinian writers (and I promise you they exist and are very fine poets and novelists) might have been seen as a positive and peaceful gesture and a positive debate might have taken place.

A literary version of Daniel Barenboim's Diwan Orchestra, half-Israeli, half-Palestinian. Such a move would have brought people together, but no. The cultural commissars know best. I have argued vigorously with some of the Israeli writers visiting the fair on other occasions and would have happily done the same again if conditions had been different. What they decided to do is an ugly provocation.


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Syrian Bloggers : release the blogger Tariq Biasi

It is stated in the introduction of the Syrian Constitution: “The freedom of the country is only protected by free citizens”

Also the Article 28 in the constitution dictates that: “Every accused person is innocent until he is convicted by a final court judgement”

In the morning of the seventh day of July in 2007, the security authorities asked Tariq Biasi (23 years old) to go to the security branch of Tartus for some investigations concerning a comment he posted in an Arab discussion forum in the Internet. And up to this moment Tariq still behind bars without any trial.

Tariq, who is suffering from liver diseases, still detained in the Palestine Branch in Damascus and it is not permitted to his family to visit him or even know anything about him, despite their multiple attempts with the security authorities.

More than six months passed since the arrest of the Syrian blogger Tariq Biasi by the military security in Damascus without being referred to the relevant trial court to study the charges against him, if there were any in the first place. This may be considered a violation of the provisions of the Constitution and its rules. On the other hand, the suppression of the citizens’ freedom is also against the law.

Tariq’s act does not constitute a contravention of the law, he actually acted on the basis of freedom given to him by the Constitution since the Article 38 states that: "Every citizen has the right to express his opinion freely and openly, orally and written and in all other means of expression. He also has the right to contribute in the control process and in the constructive criticism to ensure the safety of national reconstruction".

Tariq was arrested because of a comment he posted in a web site, and regardless of the content of this comment, it may not be a cause for this long arrest and without a public trial.

Tariq expressed his opinion which would not shake the security nor destabilize the country nor become a sedition against the established order. As a matter of fact the security in Syria is stronger than being shaked by an opinion or a comment posted in the Internet.
Tariq is still young. He loves his country Syria and its people, and he is working for them. The one who loves Syria does not deserve to be thrown in the darkness of prisons for just a spoken word, or merely for an expressed point of view.

Whatever the charge that Tariq was arrested for, he has the right to be tried before the relevant court to consider the evidences that prove this charge and to be given the opportunity to prove his innocence.

Therefore, we call upon the application of the Constitution and law by the transmission of Tariq to the relevant court to study the charges attributed to him. And once the court admits the absence of evidence of any charge we demand that they release him immediately.

It is unfair to let Tariq stay more than that in prison without a fair trial!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Can I Have My Change Back: Arab-Americans and Obama’s False Hope

Remi Kanazi is a Palestinian-American poet and writer based in New York City. He is the co-founder of and the editor of the forthcoming anthology of poetry, Poets for Palestine.

At what point does an individual stop supporting the lesser of two evils? The question became particularly important this primary race, as one man ascended to political stardom ostensibly breaking free from the evils of mainstream politics and creating a platform based on hope and change. This transcendent figure is presidential hopeful Barack Obama.

Searching for substantive policy, I began to chip away at Obama’s political posturing, and came to a daunting conclusion: there are a multitude of reasons one shouldn’t vote for Barack Obama, especially those within the Arab-American community.

Read on here

Sunday, February 03, 2008

It takes 43 muscles to frown and 17 to smile, but it doesn't take any to just sit there with a dumb look on your face (from:

Israel gearing up for Another War

Another piece of gloom and doom; I'll try to do better next time.
Global Research, February 3, 2008
Press TV (Iran) - 2008-02-02

Israel calls for shelter rooms to be set up in a bid to prepare the public for yet another war, this time, one of raining missiles.

"The next war will see a massive use of ballistic weapons against the whole of Israeli territory," claimed retired general Udi Shani.

Shani did not specify whether by 'the next war' he meant a battle against the residents of the Gaza Strip, the Lebanese or the war many speculate Israel will wage on Iran allegedly over its nuclear program, which the recent US National Intelligence Estimate conceded to be void of nuclear arms development intentions.

Speaking on the radio as part of a military propaganda offensive, Colonel Yehiel Kuperstein said the safety of civilians must be assured and put forth a plan to equip apartments with a reinforced room serving as a shelter.

"Today in Israel only one third of apartments have such a room able to provide shelter. They have neither an air filter nor ventilation system enabling anyone to stay there for a long time," said Kuperstein.

Israeli officials, who have been preparing the public for a major war, have started the distribution of brochures in six languages instructing people on how to react during a future war, particularly in the event of missile attacks.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

UN research indicates high levels of trauma among Iraqi refugees

DAMASCUS, 22 January 2008 (IRIN) - Iraqi refugees in Syria are suffering from extreme levels of trauma, far higher than among refugees elsewhere from other recent conflicts, according to new figures released on 22 January by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

read more

The figures, based on interviews with 754 refugees and analysed by the US Center for Disease Control using the Hopkins Symptom Checklist (HSC) and the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (HTQ), reveal that 89.5 percent are suffering from depression, 81.6 percent from anxiety and 67.6 percent from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Photo: Julien Lennert/IRIN

Friday, February 01, 2008

Female bombers kill 72 at Baghdad pet markets

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Female suicide bombers, detonated by remote control, killed 72 people in attacks blamed on al Qaeda at two popular Baghdad pet markets on Friday, the Iraqi capital's worst bombings in six months.

Full article here

Do they really think they died as martyrs ? And what is worse , they were reportedly mentally retarded and exploded by remote control .
Some say that the occupation power engineers some of these attacks.
see here