Saturday, April 26, 2008

Story of my banishment

I had written all the details of my ban on my French speaking blog but Rime Allaf suggested I write the story in English. She wrote an introduction which you will find here

Here is my report :

"Six months ago, on October 27, 2007, in the bleak hours of the morning I was about to board a flight to Brussels at the Damascus international airport. I was leaving for a holiday, or so I thought.

I had cleared the emigration service and was about to proceed to the boarding area, when a policeman caught up with me, asked me the name of my father, and shortly thereafter came back and announced in a very neutral voice : you may leave but you’ll NEVER come back. “ABADAN ? What did I do? I’ll die !”

I phoned a friend thinking that my poor Arabic was responsible for misunderstanding this horrible news and the friend confirmed the sentence.

Upon arrival in Brussels, I went straight to the Syrian embassy and they told me they had no file about me, that my visa was valid and that it had not even been cancelled in Damascus. So, as far as they were concerned, I could go back. I wrote them a report about what happened and it was translated and sent to Damascus.

Back I went on January 9 after a friend with “wasta” had assured me that there was no obstacle to my return. I spent 20 hours in Damascus in the transit area of the airport before being shipped out. I was not allowed to see my friends or to leave them the presents I had brought with me.

A new Syrian consul arrived in Brussels and I went to see him. He asked me to write a letter. I wrote it in Arabic and he forwarded it to Damascus. He never got an answer. So, I applied for a new visa and I obtained it; nevertheless, according to other sources in Damascus, I am still blacklisted and not because I was part of an expelled shipment of University students who were mere listeners as I had thought so far. Where is the hitch?

Usually, when people are expelled, they are given time to pack. Not in my case. Fortunately, I had just paid 8 months of rent and my possessions were safe. My wonderful Syrian friends did all the sorting, disposing, packing and shipping of what I had accumulated during five years in books, records, clothes.

So, now I am in exile, pining for Damascus trying to rebuild a life elsewhere, but where? I cannot complain: I have a country and a house, things which most refugees are without.

The Israeli Project Has Failed in Lebanon

This will be my last post for a while
From CounterPunch

April 25, 2008

Why the Bush Administration Wants to Negotiate Now with Hezbollah


Note: This is the second installment in Franklin Lamb’s extraordinary three-part series, which we are publishing across Thursday, Friday and the weekend. Editors.

"These fools do not learn from their past mistakes. When they withdrew from Lebanon, they continued to occupy the Shebaa Farms and kept our brothers in custody. Had they released them when they left Lebanon, there would not now be a 'prisoner issue' between Lebanon and the enemy. They opened the door for us."

Hassan Nasrallah, January 2004,during a welcome home ceremony for Lebanese and Arab detainees as a result of a Hezbollah-Israel swap.


Syria nuke charge backlash

A very interesting video

Former U.N. weapons expert David Kay talks about allegations Syria built a nuclear reactor.

Source: CNN
Added On April 26, 2008

Syria scoffs at U.S. nuclear claims, says CIA fabricated photos

DAMASCUS, Syria — Syria is scoffing at U.S. claims it was building a nuclear reactor at a site attacked by Israel warplanes seven months ago.

Syria's ambassador to the United States said Friday the CIA fabricated pictures allegedly taken inside the secret reactor.

Ambassador Imad Mostapha also predicted that in the coming weeks the U.S. story about the site will "implode from within."

He said the photos the U.S. government made public are "ludicrous, laughable."

Note : Fox news provides photos of the site HERE

I love the caption of the second picture that to me looks like a barn but the caption of which reads: "This image shows an overhead view of a Syrian nuclear reactor that White House says bear a strong resemblance to one near Yongbyon in North Korea."

Friday, April 25, 2008


I don't think any of the candidates is very desirable but he is probably the lesser evil.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Occupied minds

The above is only the blurb.

"Occupied Minds is the story of two journalists, Jamal Dajani, a Palestinian-American, and David Michaelis, an Israeli citizen, who journey to Jerusalem, their mutual birthplace, to explore new solutions and offer unique insights into the divisive Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The film takes viewers on an emotional and intensely personal odyssey through the streets of one of the world’s most volatile regions."

For the full version see here only on April 24 and 26
Many parts I found enraging to watch as always when witnessing the Israeli abuses but these two journalists are honnest people and I agree with Dajani when he speaks of the one state solution with equality for all.

Monday, April 21, 2008

If Americans Knew What Israel Is Doing! VIDEO WAS CENSORED!

"It is the goal of If Americans Knew to provide full and accurate information on this critical issue, and on our power -- and duty -- to bring a resolution." -

The Israeli government's Foreign Ministry is involved in efforts to influence public opinion on the Internet. Israel's Foreign Ministry orders Internet propagandists, so called "trainee diplomats," to skew online polls and public forums to conform with the Israeli line.[sorry, broken link]

A pro-Israel group's plan to rewrite history on Wikipedia

EI exclusive: a pro-Israel group's plan to rewrite history on Wikipedia
Report, The Electronic Intifada, 21 April 2008

A pro-Israel pressure group is orchestrating a secret, long-term campaign to infiltrate the popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia to rewrite Palestinian history, pass off crude propaganda as fact, and take over Wikipedia administrative structures to ensure these changes go either undetected or unchallenged.


Not so cool facts about Israel

"NOT So Cool Facts About Israel
This is in response to a propaganda video I have seen called "Cool Facts About Israel", which is nothing but a bunch of B.S. Here are the real facts about the Zionist terror state. The truth they don't want you to see. (NOTE: This video has been changed slightly from the original version.)
A person filed a copyright violation against all people showing the original video on YouTube, claiming that ONE picture in the video was his. Let's suffice to say that had this been a pro zionist video condoning terrorism against the Palestinian people he would have had no problem with the use of "his" photo. In this version of the video that photo has been removed.
"Those who try to silence the truth only succeed in spreading it."

Youtube here

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Jimmy in Damascus

This video was referred by Josh Landis at syriacomment


Jewish settlers flood Palestinian neighbours with sewage

Beitar Illit settlers release sewage on Palestinian Wadi Fuqeen village farmlands
By Redress Information & Analysis

19 April 2008

The authorities in the illegal Jewish settlement of Beitar Illit, which is built on stolen Palestinian land, regularly open their sewage tanks on to the farmlands of the Palestinian village of Wadi Fuqeen, ruining crops, contaminating the water table and posing a serious health threat to villagers.


Iran training media for Israel-Syria war

Written by The Media Line News Agency Staff
Published Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Corporation (IRIB) has begun a training course for war journalists, who will be sent to Syria and Lebanon in case these countries engage in war with Israel, the Iranian news agency 'A'sr Iran reported.

The course, titled "Training Reporters in Crisis," will be taken by 20 radio and TV reporters.

After graduating the course, the journalists will be placed on call and would be sent to Syria and Lebanon if war breaks out there.

Syrian President Bashar Al-Asad gave a speech on Wednesday, where he emphasized that while his country was preparing for war with Israel, he felt the odds for war were not high.

"We know that there are those in the American administration who want this war and so we are preparing for the worst," Al-Asad nevertheless added.

The Syrian president said further that the U.S. wanted a civil war in Lebanon and for there to be war between the Arabs and Iran.

For his part, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has recently told the Israeli daily Yedioth Aharonot that Israeli and Syria were exchanging messages.

"I can assure you that with regard to the standing issues between us and the Syrians, they know what I want of them, and I know well what they want from us."

Copyright © 2008 The Media Line. All Rights Reserved.
You can read the article here

Friday, April 18, 2008

Mr Carter shunned by Israel, Hamas'hero

Watch video
Former President Carter meets with Hamas and outrages Israeli officials.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Chilling footage

Settler curses Fida' Abu 'Ayesha in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hebron. Filmed by Fida' Abu 'Ayesha, 14, Shooting Back project, 4 July 2006.

From B'Tselem (Israeli information center for human rights in the occupied territories)

"Shooting Back"

A year ago, B'Tselem launched "Shooting Back", a grassroots video advocacy project. "We provide video cameras to Palestinians who live in high-conflict areas, so that they can document violations of their human rights and seek redress. Sample footage is now available online".

Here is one example. Listen to the child's voice

For more, here

From Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland reports from Gaza where a Reuters cameraman, Fadl Shanaa, was killed by Israeli troops.

Shanaa was covering the most recent of clashes that resulted in 17 other Palestinian deaths. Ehud Olmert, Israel's prime minister, said that Hamas was "responsible" for the violence.

Did the soldier aim at him deliberately ? You bet he did !

Gaza: The Holocaust Continues

By One "Democratic" State Group

17 April, 2008

The latest Israeli war crimes in the besieged Gaza Strip have resulted in the brutal killings of 21 Palestinians, including 6 children, within the last 12 hours. More than 40 have been injured.

Fadel Shanaa, a Reuters cameraman, was amongst the dead. His visibly marked car was targeted by an Israeli missile in an attempt to cover up crimes committed in day light.

The areas targeted are Shijaeyah, Beit lahia, and Bureij refugee camp. Al-Salam Mosque in Shejeyah was demolished; Al-Wafa hospital was rampaged; and houses were set on fire. In Juhr El Dik, eastern of Bureij, a group of civilians, including children, was targeted by an Apache helicopter. 14 of them died on the spot.

This comes as the number of terminally ill patients who have died as a result of the imposed heinous siege has reached 135. The latest victims today were two toddlers from the Nusairat camp. The Israeli authorities denied both of them permits to be treated in the West Bank and Jordan.

As 85 per cent of all transport in Gaza has come to a stand still due to shortages in fuel, and as universities and schools have shut down, the people of Gaza are bracing themselves for worse days to come.

Israel seems to get the wrong message, not only from the international community, but also from the Arab world as well. Its Foreign Minister is being welcomed as a hero in Doha, while Jimmy Carter is denied entry into the besieged Gaza Strip.

With this international conspiracy of silence and the complicity of the UN and EU, the people of Gaza are left alone to face the ongoing Holocaust.

All warnings and photos of dead bodies of children and women seem to have failed so far in making the Arab and Islamic worlds translate their words of support into action.

We ask: what is needed more than the photage of Mohammed Burai and the toddlers of Nusairat to convince the Arab world to break this unprecedented, medieval siege? Has the existence of Palestinians become a burden, not only on Israel, but also on the Arab World? Are Palestinians, especially Gazans, left with the option of surrendering, or dying like cockroaches?

This slow-motion genocide must come to an end now before Gaza explodes.

From Countercurrents

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Carter: Arafat fought for a just cause

Carter, my man.
Compare this with Blair who hardly
bowed his head

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 05:15:41
Carter lays a wreath at Arafat's grave
Former US president Jimmy Carter says Yasser Arafat fought for the advancement of the Palestinians and other just causes in the world.

Carter made the statement after laying a wreath on the grave of the deceased Palestinian Authority chairman in Ramallah Tuesday.

He then added Israel was dodging the implementation of the agreements reached during last year's Annapolis peace conference and criticized the regime for not taking the negotiations seriously enough.

Carter, a Nobel Peace laureate, is on a private peace mission to the Middle East that includes stops in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Syria. He returns to Israel on Monday.

The former US president also angered Israel's government by embracing Nasserr al-Shaa'er, Hamas' deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister in Ismail Haniya's government, during a visit to the West Bank.

Prior to his meeting with West Bank-based Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Carter told reporters Israel refused to grant him permission to travel to the 'besieged' Gaza Strip.

But he said he was determined to meet with exiled Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Damascus despite Israeli and American objections.


Even Reagan ...

Beneath the photo from the REAGAN DIARIES is an actual quote that Reagan wrote about George "W" in his diaries, recently edited by author Doug Brinkley and published by Harper Collins:

"A moment I've been dreading. George brought his n'er-do-well son around this morning and asked me to find the kid a job. Not the political one who lives in Florida; the one who hangs around here all the time looking shiftless. This so-called kid is already almost 40 and has never had a real job. Maybe I'll call Kinsley over at The New Republic and see if they'll hire him as a contributing editor or something. That looks like easy work."

From the REAGAN DIARIES------entry dated May 17, 1986.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The London Palestine Film Festival 2008

18th April - 1st May

Week one at the Barbican and week two at SOAS

The Palestine Film Foundation (PFF) programmes and runs the annual London Palestine Film Festival. This two-week Festival is the largest event of its kind in the world, showcasing over 35 films dealing with the subject of Palestine each year. Art, fiction, documentary, and experimental work by artists from across the world are screened alongside panel discussions, question and answer sessions, and book talks.

Full details here

History brings tourists to Syria

A wall painting, believed to date from 11th Century, found in Syria last year
Syria's archaeological riches are one of its main attractions

Syria is enjoying a boom in foreign tourism, its government has said, with visitors attracted by its stability as well as the richness of its history.

Visitor numbers rose 23% in the first quarter of the year, the state-owned news agency Sana reported, citing figures from the Ministry of Tourism.

Syria has prioritised tourism development since 2002, offering foreign firms tax incentives to invest.

A British travel firm said Syria was increasingly appealing to Europeans.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

SYRIA: New draft law targets sex traffickers

Photo: Haretha Yousuf/IRIN
Clients throw paper money at an Iraqi prostitute in a bar outside Damascus. Syria is working on a new law to target trafficking, which agencies say includes bringing girls from Iraq to Syria
DAMASCUS, 17 March 2008 (IRIN) - In 2003 Hiba (not her real name), then aged 11, was forced to marry her cousin. The following day she was driven from Baghdad to the border with Syria and sold to traffickers. In Damascus she was forced to dance in night clubs or private homes. Four years later, pregnant and abandoned by her handlers, she was imprisoned by the Syrian authorities on charges of prostitution.

[Read this report in Arabic]

When the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) found her, Hiba was on the point of being deported to Iraq. Instead, the UNHCR - to whom Hiba told her story - arranged for the teenager to be resettled in Canada earlier this month, where she recently gave birth to a baby boy named Zaman (Arabic: time).

“He’s named after the time I never had,” she said.


The Al-Arian case

I watched the movie advertised in the previous post.

"Documentary USA vs. Al-Arian"

The Sami Al-Arian case is really an attempt at intimidation. Making people scared of speaking up for Palestine in the US.

Bless the jury and damn the judge who perverted the justice system.

You can help by signing the petition and writing to the judge.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

USA's war on "terror" : Free Sami al-Arian

"Documentary USA vs. Al-Arian"

This revealing documentary presents a close portrait of an Arab-American family facing terrorism charges leveled by the U.S. government.

In February 2003, the FBI arrested university professor and political activist Sami Al-Arian in Tampa, Florida. Charged with supporting terrorism, he was placed in solitary confinement for 2 1/2 years before he received a trial.

The film follows Sami, his wife Nahla and their five children through the 6 month long trial and the difficult period after the verdict. It is a personal story of a family, who like many Muslims in the USA today, are fighting against increasing stigmatization and discrimination in a post 911-climate.

The film deals with themes of freedom of speech, and the right to a fair trial. It also shows how the media influence public opinion and how the USA`s fear of and fight against terrorism can threaten civil liberties.

40 Days of Hunger Strike, Dr. Sami Lost Over 30 Pounds


ACTION: Write to Judge Gerald Lee asking for better medical care for Dr. Al-Arian and an end to the government's abuse of the grand jury process to continue to detain him. more

MIR: Egypt - The War of Bread


Friday, April 11, 2008

Obama asked for orange juice when offered coffee ! Gasp !

"Most people understand that in a time of war, with the nation teetering on the edge of recession (if one hasn't already started), and the housing market collapsing, and an administration that views the Geneva Conventions as "quaint" and the Bill of Rights as optional, assessing candidates based on who would be the most fun to have a beer with is not the way out of this mess; it's the way we got into it in the first place. Most people -- but not political journalists."

From Media Matters the full article

Veterans demand that Cheney and Bush are charged with war crimes

Is there hope after all ?

Source, and do NOT miss the comments They are incredible ! Some Americans are waking up !

"Excellent start! May many more citizen rebellions erupt in public places across the USA, especially those calling for the arrest and prosecution of the war criminals in power in Washington.

blizzard | 04.10.08 - 1:20 pm | #"

"Wonderful. This is much-needed civil disobedience, which I fervently hope will be one of the precursors to civil war. If the people of America, the owners of America, want to take back America from those who have stolen America, then you owners of America must face the bleak truth that you have to overthrow this current, corrupt, and depraved ruling class. Just like the men and women of honor did in 1775. Truly, this current crisis is even worse than that nightmare.


Al Ahram : Witness accounts of the disposession

Special pages commemorating
50 years of Arab dispossession
since the creation of the
State of Israel

Sixty years after Deir Yassin

The 12 March cartoon by South African cartoonist Zapiro that was later attacked by David Saks of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and which sparked debate in the country.

Read article here

More about Deir Yassin

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Deir Yassin : April 9 1948

Sixty years ago today, early in the morning of April 9th 1948, commandos of
the Irgun (headed by Menachem Begin) and the Stern Gang attacked Deir
Yassin, a beautiful Arab village with cut stone houses located on the west
side of Jerusalem.

It was several weeks before the end of the British Mandate and the declaration of the State of Israel. The village lay outside the area to be assigned by the United Nations to the Jewish state; it had a peaceful reputation; it was even said by a Jewish newspaper to have driven out some Arab militants.

But it was located on high ground in the corridor between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and with the knowledge of the mainstream Jewish defence force, the Haganah, it was to be conquered and held.

In spite of being better armed, the two Jewish gangs were at first unable to
conquer the village. But after they elicited the help of a small band of
Palmach troops (the elite fighters of the Haganah), Deir Yassin soon fell.
The Palmach soldiers left; it was then that the massacre began.

That evening, over tea and cookies in the neighbouring Jewish settlement of Givat
Shaul, gang members told foreign correspondents that over 200 Arabs were
killed and forty taken prisoner.

This was reported in the New York Times the very next day (4/10/48, p.6). The terrorists claimed to have lost four of their own forces. They boasted of the “battle” but made no mention of the male Palestinians whom they had loaded onto trucks, paraded through some Jewish sections of Jerusalem, and then taken back to a stone quarry between Givat Shaul and Deir Yassin and shot to death.

On April 13th the New York Times reported that 254 Arab men, women, and children had been killed at Deir Yassin; there was no mention of prisoners.

The official Zionist leaders of the Haganah denounced the dissidents of the
Irgun and the Stern Gang accusing them of massacre, robbery, looting and
barbarism. Ben Gurion even sent an apology to King Abdullah.

But this horrific act served the future state of Israel well. As Begin said, “Arabs
throughout the country, induced to believe wild tales of ‘Irgun butchery’
were seized with limitless panic and started to flee for their lives. This
mass flight soon developed into a maddened, uncontrollable stampede.

The political and economic significance of this development can hardly be
over estimated.” (The Revolt, p.164) While modern historians argue that
Begin’s claims were exaggerated and that the actual number of Arabs killed
was closer to 100, they all agree that the massacre at Deir Yassin marked
the beginning of the depopulation of over 400 Arab villages and the exile of
over 700,000 Palestinians.

In spite of protests by Martin Buber and other noted scholars, within a year
the village was repopulated with orthodox Jewish immigrants from Poland,
Rumania and Slovakia. Its cemetery was bulldozed and its name was wiped off
the map.


Monday, April 07, 2008

IRAQ-SYRIA: Some 40 stranded Palestinian refugees resettled in Chile

Almost half the refugees at al-Tanf are under 18 years of age, many of whom have developed asthma as a result of the desert conditions and suffer from high fever, diarrhoea and vomiting

DAMASCUS, 7 April 2008 (IRIN) - Thirty nine Palestinian refugees from Iraq - stuck at al-Tanf refugee camp in no-man’s land on the Iraq-Syria border - have been resettled in Chile.

“Until last year it felt like the doors were closed for moving the Palestinian refugees. The desert conditions at al-Tanf are extremely inappropriate for the refugees to live in. Finally a window of opportunity opened with Chile,” said Laurens Jolles, head of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Syria.