discarded lies: friday, january 19, 2018 9:39 am zst
abnormal is the new normal
daily archive: 12/11/2004
evariste in Discarded Lies:
Khatami's Khatima
In Asia Times Online, Safa Haeri describes outgoing failed reformist president Mohammad Khatami's speech on December 6th and its ramifications. As disappointing as his two terms in office were to reformists, even in failure, his final act in office was remarkable for a middle eastern de-facto despotism (albeit with electoral trappings). He faced a large mob of angry students who yelled slogans at him, and they weren't mowed down or arrested immediately like they would have been in any other regional regime.
most Iranian political analysts, even those who have cut ranks with him, agree that the meeting has no precedent in any country of the region, except Israel, and this in itself is a major and important achievement of Khatami's years of power.

"What happened at Tehran University on December 6, 2004, could well be the last service that Mohammad Khatami renders to this nation and its people," said Mas'oud Behnoud, a pro-reform journalist who escaped Iran for London two years ago after serving a three-month jail term.

"The picture of the president who stares directly at angry students and hears their shouts, including the harshest and most humiliating ones, has no precedent in the political life of Iran nor any other country of the region, most of them strangers to the idea of democracy," he pointed out.
(Oh yes, the title: "Khatima" means "last chapter"; I was making an Arabic pun.)
Why are Persia's reform-oriented youth so furious with the bowing and scraping Khatami? They bought something he wasn't selling. More inside...
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Relations With Israel
Al-Ahram columnist Hazem Abd Al-Rahman, on Egyptian-Israeli relations:
Objective analysis on this matter cannot lead to any other conclusion. It is time to drop the negative attitudes towards Israel, and relations with it. The basic value of the peace accord between Egypt and Israel lies in the fact that it expunges the term 'prohibition' or 'taboo,' which was created in the past by Arab policies towards Israel, and which turned relations with Israel into an abomination that could not be allowed.

"Relations with Israel are a privilege and a correct [step] which should be developed in a way that will fulfill the achievable interests.
Develop Relations with Israel and Drop the Negative Attitudes Towards Her

More voices like his, please.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Wailing Wall and Al-Buraq Wall
The theme that there is no Jewish connection to Jerusalem is also common in sermons and statements by Palestinian religious figures. For example, Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, the Mufti of Jerusalem and the highest ranking Palestinian religious figure gave an interview to the German Die Welt on January 17, 2001, stating, “There is not [even] the smallest indication of the existence of a Jewish temple on this place in the past. In the whole city, there is not even a single stone indicating Jewish history… The Jews do not even know exactly where their temple stood.? When the interviewer asked why he could not respect the Jewish connection to the place, he added, “It is the art of the Jews to deceive the world... There is not a single stone in the Wailing-Wall relating to Jewish History. The Jews cannot legitimately claim this wall, neither religiously nor historically.?
In other related news, the Parthenon is really a Turkish hamam and the Colosseum was built by the Rosicrucians.

Palestinian Denial of Jewish Ties to Jerusalem
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Los Desaparecidos
Symbols of purity and hope were on display at this week’s tribute to the Jews who “disappeared? during Argentina’s last dictatorship.

The symbols of purity were the white scarves worn by Mothers of the Plaza of Mayo, a group of women known for their protests against the government during and after the 1976-1983 military junta, when at least 1,900 Jews were among the 30,000 people who went missing or were abducted, imprisoned and murdered.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
A Twilight of Fear
This article has nothing to do with the theme of our blog (provided we had a theme, that is.) I felt compelled to post it because it made me angry and it broke my heart. And it also made me appreciate this country even more because of people like Detective Melchionna and Ms. Markarian. They demonstrated two qualities that seem uniquely American to me: compassion and persistence.
They went out late. It was ugly weather. Six below zero in the Brooklyn night. Wind took garbage into the air. A blizzard was in the forecast. It was Lincoln's Birthday, 2003, in Brighton Beach. Not a night for humankind, but the sisters, one 73 and the other 70, didn't get holidays off, didn't get snow days.

In years of miserable low points, it was one of the lowest. As they had done the day before and the day before that, Lillian and Julia hobbled out to Coney Island Avenue, a lineup of chromatic storefronts, to beg from strangers in their cars. They were known out there, regulars among the mendicants. The money was for their bilious nephew and his crack habit, their own blood who was smoking up their lives. He had already cost them their house, their savings, their dignity. "I need one more," he would tell them when he desired a hit, "one more."
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Islamic Countries Commit to Reforms (Kinda)
Powell may not be disappointed that this conference on Islamic reform was linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but I am. It's much easier for Arab leaders to avoid the commitment and hard work it would take to reform Muslim societies if Israel is presented as "the real bone of contention."
Officials from more than 20 Islamic countries said Saturday that political, economic and social reforms must go hand in hand with steps toward settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The commitment to reforms came during a four-hour meeting that included those Muslim nations, industrialized democracies, the Arab League and other groups.

The United States, a driving force behind the conference, sees the changes as a way to make these societies less of a breeding ground for political extremism.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Nazi Acquitted in Italy
I'm trying to understand this. I can't.
An Italian military court acquitted former Nazi officer Hermann Langer of a 1944 massacre of some 60 people at a Tuscan monastery, where Jews were hiding during World War II, the prosecuting attorney said on Saturday.

The ruling, handed down late on Friday, clears perhaps the last surviving member of the Nazi unit behind the killings on Sept. 2, 1944. Several children and members of the church were among the dead.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
The Taboo of Sexual Abuse
Ranging from "Eve teasing" - as sexual taunting is often referred to in South Asia - to disturbing numbers of gang rapes, sexual harassment is affecting women in villages and cities alike.

Yet the problem has been ignored by society in general and by the government.

Even women themselves have said little in the face of a social value system that makes it difficult to speak out.

Incidents of harassment and molestation are being reported at workplaces, public venues and universities from all over the country, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

Its figures show that this year between January and August, 175 women including 24 minors were gang raped and 225 were raped, of which 38 were minors.

Ten women were stripped naked publicly - a practice sometimes used to punish women considered to have brought shame on their communities.

These are the forms of extreme sexual abuse. Most cases of sexual harassment go unreported - but some figures suggest cases are increasing.

For example, in 2002, 12 women were stripped in public places - in 2003, the number rose to 40.

Combating the problem is difficult. Women don't want to discuss these issues. They prefer to suffer in silence.
Pakistan's taboo on sex abuse
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Flamenco Rhythms
Some 50 miles to the south of Seville, Jerez is one of the many towns across Andalusia that carry the "de la Frontera" tag, in reference to the once-shifting front line between Christian and Muslim empires. Part of the great Islamic big bang, North Africans invaded the Iberian peninsula in 711, taking control of almost the whole region within five years. Muslim power was not driven entirely from Spain until 1492, and much of the skirmishing between civilizations took place in what is now Andalusia.

By 1499, the zealous new Catholic monarchs, Fernando and Isabella, had given remaining Muslims a choice of conversion or deportation to Africa. With the Spanish Inquisition ascendant, the state now also hunted Jews, who had been free under most of the caliphs. Meanwhile, gypsies, wanderers from a tribe that probably came from India via Europe, had arrived in Andalusia in the 15th century, and because of their suspiciously itinerant ways, they too faced official attempts at eradication.

The result of all this discrimination was that around 500 years ago, Muslims, Jews, and gypsies fled the cities—especially Granada, the last Muslim outpost—for the hills of Andalusia. And it was there, down-and-out and on the lam, that most experts think the flamenco sound germinated, fusing gypsy, Moorish, and Ladino (Spanish-Jewish) folk music, and later mingling in sounds from Christian Europe. The North African influence is especially evident in the deep, emotional riffs known as cante jondo, or deep song—the sort of thing David busts out with in class.
Dancing in Spanish: Flamenco in Seville - Do you have to be a gypsy to perform flamenco?
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
U.S. Policy on Iran Remains Confused
During the U.S. presidential campaign, debate over Iran policy received unprecedented attention. The reasons are multifold. With Iran on the verge of developing both nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile capability, Washington policymakers can no longer ignore the Iranian threat, especially when confidants of Supreme Leader Ali Khomenei lead televised chants of "America will be annihilated," as Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati did last June.

American concern over a nuclear Iran is multifold. The danger is not necessarily that Iran would conduct a nuclear first strike, although former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani threatened to do exactly that on December 14, 2001. Rather, Washington fears that a nuclear Iran would feel itself immune from retaliation and so less obligated to international norms.
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