Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Skokie, Palestine

There was rioting in the Palestinian town of Umm El Fahm in Israel yesterday due to a planned march by an ultra nationalist Israeli group who insisted on parading the middle of town. The Israeli high court gave permission to the highly controversial request, but police had postponed it several times, fearing violence.

Reading that, I was reminded of a similar incident that happened in the town of Skokie, a suburb of Chicago IL back in 1977. The National Socialist Party of America (a Neo-Nazi group) planned a march in the middle of town which had a largely Jewish community including many Holocaust survivors.

sad, no?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Defending Bashir

I was laying in bed this morning listening to RMC-Doualiya the popular NPR- like station based in Paris and covering the entire Arab world. The program was called Oxygen and consisted of a blend of popular pop songs along with call-ins by listeners to discuss current events.

While the host of the show was trying to suggest various topics of conversations, caller after caller seemed intent on discussing one issue and one issue only; that of the warrant of arrest against Omar Bashir, the president of Sudan.

What was interesting and scary is that none of the callers believed Bashir to be guilty and there was a unanimous belief that the whole thing was nothing more than a US (read Zionist) led conspiracy to go, not only after Bashir, but after every Arab leader in the region. One woman even suggested that the UN passes laws protecting all presidents from prosecution.

While the host of the show tried to raise some questions regarding Bashir's own flaws, that didn't seem to change the opinions of the callers. Just like in the days before we took down Saddam in Iraq, at least on the popular front, there was once again, the sentiment that by going after the leader, you are going after the country. The two are simply the same.

If there is anything that Arab leaders were successful at, this was it..