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daily archive: 05/19/2005
zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
The Tattoo and You
Do you have a tattoo? Most of my friends have one. I've always wanted a tattoo but I can't make up my mind about what it should be and there are needles involved and it's sort of permanent, as in "forever." I might as well get married.

I did get a temporary tattoo once, it was a little scorpion and it lasted about ten days. I thought it would make me special, even in a fake sort of way but nothing happened.
According to some published reports, around 20 percent of Americans aged 18 to 25 are getting tattooed. Skin motifs are increasingly shedding their subversive image, some tattoo artists said. And women, who were once scarce in tattoo parlors, now make up about half the clientele, they added.
Artists concerned tattoos losing nonconformist lure
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Hard labor for honor murderers in Jordan
This is a good sign, but I'm not breaking out the champagne just yet...
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) -- A court issued Jordan's harshest punishment ever for an honor killing: 7 1/2 and 10-year jail terms for two brothers who stabbed their pregnant sister. But the judge said Wednesday while he wasn't setting a principle, he felt the men deserved hard time because they didn't act in a sudden fury.

The ruling comes amid a campaign led by Jordan's Queen Rania to amend lenient laws that provide for sentences as light as six months in prison for honor killings. An average of 20 women a year are killed by male relatives each year, some for simply dating, according to government figures.

Lawmakers of conservative tribal backgrounds, however, have rejected changes, saying they would give rise to more vice.

The brothers, Raed and Bilal Rabah al-Ajouri, were convicted of premeditated murder in the killing of their sister Amira in April 2004.

According to the indictment sheet, Amira was in a relationship with an Egyptian man without her family's knowledge. When they found out she was pregnant, her father gave his blessing for the union to go ahead, and she later left for Egypt. But she returned to Jordan to give birth in her home country.

The indictment sheet said when her two brothers learned that their sister was in town, they planned to kill her "to get rid of the shame." The elder brother, Raed, took his 25-year-old sister to his house and stabbed her to death, also killing the fetus.

A police official had said last year that the woman was eight months pregnant with a baby boy. The charge sheet listed her as three months pregnant.

Police said Raed confessed and said his brother Bilal knew of the plans. Once the trial opened, however, the two brothers retracted their confessions and pleaded not guilty to the charges. The court verdict was issued in March and made available to the press Wednesday.

Judge Mohammed Abu-Dalbouh commuted Raed's death sentence to 10 years in jail with hard labor. He sentenced Bilal to 10 years, but commuted the term to 7 1/2 years in jail with hard labor.

The judge underscored the severity of the sentences, saying that the two brothers had plotted the killing beforehand. "The case lacked the factor of the act of fury," he told The Associated Press.

"So far there is no general intention to deal differently with the honor crimes and impose harsher punishment," Abu Dalbouh said.

Since 2000 the government has been pushing for legislation that would impose harsher punishment on men who commit honor crimes.

To help combat domestic violence, the government -- under instructions from Jordan's King Abdullah II and his wife, Rania -- has been providing legal, medical and social support to abused women. A hotline has been set up, and a shelter is expected to open early next year.

On Monday a 24-year-old married woman was stabbed in the stomach and back with a kitchen knife, allegedly by her 19-year-old brother.

He claimed that he had killed his sister to cleanse the family's honor after finding a man in her house.

CNN.com - Hard labor sentences for Jordanian honor killers - May 18, 2005
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
We're all Jews (Mazel Tov, Everyone!)
Council on Foreign Relations report: Muslim World Largely Anti-American
The report, by Charney Research, is based on 14 focus groups conducted last December and January among college-educated men and women in Egypt, Morocco and Indonesia.

Anger at U.S. foreign policy and at the U.S. government dominated spontaneous reactions in all three countries.

Many young Muslims said they admired Osama bin Laden, while views of President Bush were uniformly negative. All focus group members rejected U.S. views of the war in Iraq, saying the United States invaded on a false premise to further its own regional goals.

Anti-Semitic stereotypes also were noted. Focus group members saw the United States and Israel as synonymous and estimated the proportion of Jews in the U.S. population at up to 85 percent; it is 2 percent.

The report found negative opinions of the United States are taking a toll on U.S. companies, and that amounts of U.S. aid were massively underestimated; not one person in any focus group knew the U.S. is the world's largest donor by dollar amount.

"Most Egyptians and Indonesians put U.S. support for their countries over 10 years in millions; the correct figures were $7.3 billion and $1 billion, respectively," the authors said.
And these are college-educated people.

Even though the report recommends that America publicises more the amount of aid it gives, I think it should be the other way around. It's in bad taste for someone to publicise what they give, good manners dictate that the recipient shows their appreciation by acknowledging the help they've received. In the case of these nations, even their own citizens don't know the truth.

Maybe we should make aid dependent on the condition that the recipient nation runs television ads: "This year, the Great Satan gave us $3 billion! Go buy food, everyone!"
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
A Palestinian Love Story
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
The Auschwitz Uprising
There hasn't been a lot written about the Greek Jews in Auschwitz. From the little we know, they were noted for helping each other, "their hatred of violence, their trying to keep their dignity, made the Greeks the most compact ethnic group in the camp and therefore the most civilized" wrote Primo Levi in "Survival in Auschwitz." But they also participated in acts of heroism and resistance.

In September 1944, Alberto Herrera de Larissa, a Greek Jew and officer in the Greek army, escaped after hitting the German guards with a shovel. He was captured and died after being tortured.

In June 1944, a group of 100 Jews from Corfu, newly arrived in Auschwitz, were ordered to work in the Sonderkommando unit. They refused and were shot immediately.

But the most significant act of resistance of the Greek Jews who worked in special work detail was the uprise they organised with other Polish prisoners.

The Sonderkommando unit at Auschwitz-Birkenau consisted of teams of prisoners who were responsible for emptying the gas chambers after the gassings, transporting the bodies to the crematoria, and loading the dead (and sometimes not completely dead) in the ovens. Then they would scatter the ashes on the barracks paths and the nearby ponds. They were kept in special barracks, away from the other prisoners and were replaced by new prisoners every six months. The previous Sonderkommando prisoners were gassed.
According to the commonly accepted conventional wisdom, no Sonderkommandos survived, since they were usually sent to the gas chambers after a few months on the job. Many historians have accepted this opinion as fact. However, as Greif's book proves, some 100 Sonderkommandos emerged alive from the death camp following its liberation by the Red Army; of these approximately 30 are still alive in various countries. Sonderkommando, Auschwitz
In the fall of 1944, the Sonderkommando unit at Auschwitz staged a revolt. One hundred and thirty five Salonica Jews were part of this uprising.
That day the word spread about a transport of men and men of the Sonderkommando. Just a few minutes later and six hundred of the men of the Sonderkommando rebelled. Crematorium 2 went up in flames and the German Kapo, who excelled in cruelty, was thrown into the burning oven. In a battle at close quarters four SS men were killed and several others were wounded. The area surrounding the crematorium turned into a battlefield. The barrier around the area was destroyed and the rebels escaped.

All of the SS in the area were summoned to the camp. The work gangs stopped their labors and were returned to their blocks. A count of the prisoners was made. The SS men ran around the camp like poisoned rats. This was something they had not expected nor had it ever occurred to them that they would have to defend themselves against Jews. Oswiecim, Poland
Almost all of them were captured and killed as were the women who helped them sneak in munitions from the factory. The least we can do is tell their story again and again, hoping to forever extinguish the myth of Jews going to their deaths unprotesting.
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kianb in Pahlaver:
How Jimmy Carter Sold Out South Koreans' Fight For Democracy
Another account of Jimmy Carter's misjudgment in the late 70's: according to NY Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez, while Carter was playing his Tom and Jerry game with Khomeini, some 2000 South Korean students and human right activists were slaughtered by brutal dictator Gen. Chun Doo in the city of Kwangju.

Posing the human rights gestures for public media was apparently all Mr. Carter could do in that time for South Korean activists.

But fearing a spinning SK, he continued to support Gen. Chun Doo and his excessive use of special forces to crush down pro-democracy movements in Kwangju and other cities. Read the whole thing inside. Freedom bid that shames us
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Stingy Arabs
The self-criticism is encouraging, at least. They're not completely blind to their faults.
The Tsunami is an old story now except when two former US presidents play golf to raise money for the relief effort. But three months down the line one thing that I am more than a little curious about is as to what moves charity in the Gulf states. The plight of fellow Muslims in Banda Aceh, Indonesia wasn't enough to move significant petro-dollars in that direction. It was largely `infidel' US and `infidel' Europe coming to the rescue of the tsunami plundered population. To give a few figures--individual state pledges before January 10 of this year, in US dollars millions: Australia, $ 810; Germany, $ 674; Japan $ 500; US $ 350; Norway, $ 183; France, $ 103; Britain, $ 95; Canada, $ 80; Sweden, $ 76; Denmark, $ 75; Saudi Arabia, $ 70; Spain, $ 68, China, $ 63; Taiwan, $ 60; UAE, $ 20; Kuwait, $ 10; and Qatar, $ 10; New Zealand, $10.

It is significant, that more than 95 per cent of the pledges have come from states characterized by militant Islamists as `infidel', who, in places like hard hit Indonesia (160,000 casualties and more likely) have claimed responsibility for terrorist attacks like the October 2002 Bali bombings.

The above aid pledges, of course, don't take into account donations for tsunami relief by the civilian populations, which in places like the US and the UK are likely to or have already surpassed the state commitments. Or, as in the case of the US and many other states, the use of military assets in the first phase off active relief. Just to give an indication of the quantum of the US effort going on in Indonesia: More than 14,400 U.S. military personnel and $20 billion in military assets are involved in Operation Unified Assistance at a cost of $5 to $6 million a day. Almost 6 million pounds of relief supplies and equipment, including water, food and medical supplies (non-medicine), have been delivered to the region by 25 ships, 37 cargo aircraft, 8 patrol aircraft and 51 helicopters are involved in the relief effort. U.S. aircraft have flown more than 1,000 sorties.

The stingy behaviour of the Gulf states, on the other hand, has come under criticism from their own press. Says Shamlan Al-Issa in the daily As-Siyassah: "The Gulf states need only to pledge one day's oil revenues." Al Issa was obviously referring to the combined oil revenues of nearly $ 500 million that the four states-Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and Qatar earn in one single day. The combined total of the four states was $ 100 million. Said another Kuwaiti newspaper, Al Qabas, in a front page editorial: "We have to give them more; we are rich...The price of oil doubled, so we have no excuse." The editor of the paper, Waleed Al-Nusef reminded the readers that more than half of Kuwait's residents were from the Tsunami devastated regions.

Added another Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai Al-Aam says: "Let's admit that Kuwait's donation was too small compared to its humanitarian status and the size of the catastrophe." The paper also goes onto note that the Gulf states, specially Kuwait are home to millions of south Asian muslims who are the backbone of the country's workforce. In fact, Kuwait's initial pledge was just $ 1 million and was raised to tenonly after much prodding by the Kuwaiti press.

The growing Arab self-criticism echoed even in London based Arabic newspapers. Says editor Abdul Bari Atwan in the Al-Quds Al-Arabi: "We Arabs failed in peace as we did in war. We failed in all tests of democracy and human rights. Here we are, registering a new failure on the humanitarian front." Another influential Arabic newspaper Ashraq Al-Awsat raised the question of hypocrisy among today's so called Jihadi `leaders' viz Osama Bin Laden, Ayman Al-Zawahiri and Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, the Al Qaeda elite. The trio have been defeaningly silent in the wake of the disaster which has killed many thousands of their muslim brothers and sisters. The paper asked whether this enormous disaster was the final proof that they were capable of only death and destruction and not anything else.
Read the rest: Stingy tsunami aid effort by the gulf states
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