Posts Tagged ‘obama’

Distracting from the Issues

It might be wishful thinking that now that President Obama has released his birth certificate, the ridiculous issue can be put to rest.

I can’t believe questions about Obama’s birth have gone on for this long. Besides being a ludicrous issue, it really takes away from big questions that actually matter.

There’s more than enough going on in the world that the president, Congress and the rest of the leadership have to deal with. There are two wars, uprisings all over the Middle East and a grave financial situation.

Obama was right to feel affronted when people questioned why he wouldn’t release his full birth certificate. It shouldn’t be an issue.

It takes away from him dealing with what’s important.

What’s more, the Republican leadership has just helped fuel this fire. They haven’t pointed out that there are more problems at hand. They’ve let a faction of their constituency go on about a problem that shouldn’t be the focus for anyone.

The political arena has fallen away from wanting to solve a problem by any means to political parties wanting their way to be the only way to tackle a matter.

Republicans have been disingenuous about wanting to solve economic problems. They just want to make sure that nothing gets solved while a Democratic leader is in power and will do anything to make sure that things go wrong with Obama in office.

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05 2011

What about Libya?

The Arab world is fired up right now. Paving the way, the people of Tunisia and Egypt have successfully removed their dictators and are in the process of rebuilding their countries. The revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt have sparked anti-government movements across the entire Arab world, after decades of stagnation. And there is no turning back now.

Furious protests are happening now in Libya, Bahrain and Yemen. Governments are scrambling to do everything they can to stop them, by any means necessary. Still, hundreds of thousands of people are out in the streets protesting with no fear, ready to die in the name of freedom.

Libya is in one of the most dire situations right now. Libyans have suffered under Gaddafi’s tyranny for 42 years. As the longest running dictator in the Arab world, Gaddafi has ruled the nation with an iron fist. Please don’t be fooled by his perceived harmless, flamboyant dress or eccentric behavior. And Arabs, please don’t be bamboozled by his supposed anti-imperialist rhetoric and criticisms of Israel.  His actions speak louder than his words.

Gaddafi’s regime has a poor record for human rights.  He is responsible for the arbitrary arrest, torture and murder of countless prisoners, even without charge or trial. The judiciary is controlled by the regime, and there is no right to a fair public trial. The rights to freedom of speech, press, assembly, association and religion are restricted.  Although Gaddafi pretends to be some sort of defender of the Palestinians, he ordered the ethnic cleansing of 30,000 Palestinian refugees from Libya.  His criticisms of Israel are merely a way to deflect criticisms of his own regime. Gaddafi has maintained his rule by using his wealth, playing up the tribal loyalties in Libya and instilling fear in the population.

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02 2011

Bahrain, Ya Bahrain.

Bahrain, Ya Bahrain

I was crying on the way from work.  My tears could not stop.  How could anyone attack people as they slept? … At a traffic light, a policeman approached me. He thought I was crying because of the red light.  I told him – massacre in Bahrain.  His response?

Innocenet Child Murdered

You’re Bahraini? You have family there?  We are all family, I replied.

I have tired of people assuming that only someone from a particular country would be impacted by actions there. I have tired of people asking me: Are you Egyptian? And when I say no, they say, ah, so you’re interested in politics, then? sigh…

I have been – and continue to be – inspired by Tunisia and Egypt, inspired by the rising up of the people and by their success in expelling a dictator.  I am inspired by the protests in Bahrain and Yemen and Algeria and Libya … Many of us are…

I could make the argument that what happens throughout the Arab world does impact us here in Lebanon. I could make the argument that democracy there brings stability here. I could argue that with the change of the government in Egypt – even if in facade only – Israel will be uneasy and thus less likely to attack Lebanon, as a colleague of mine at the university stated today.

Yet, that is not what inspires me. That is not why what is happening – there – is relevant – here.

It is important because people are rising – first and foremost. It is important because when people rise up against injustice, they break their own chains of fear and inspire us all to rise up against injustice. And, yes, the closer the revolt for liberty, the greater an impact it has.  And, yes, when those organizing and protesting are Arab, it means even more to us here in Lebanon.

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02 2011

Apologies for an Empire

The Middle East is often spoke of by the elite and their apprenticed citizens in a way an overlord would speak of his slave; commanding, repressive and domineering. For far too long the West has remained the dominant, hegemonic entity in the region – that is until recently. As of late their role in the Middle East has been threatened, ironically by the very ideal they enjoy planting in territories they occupy  - Democracy.

The fall of Mubarak’s Regime has turned many stomachs, especially those in Israel and Washington. Israel has lost a decisive collaborator and Washington, a vital puppet and strategic ally.

On June 2, 2009, no more than 9 months ago, while speaking to BBC’s Justin Webb prior to his widely-acclaimed speech in Cairo, President Obama refers to recently ousted Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak as a “…stalwart ally of the United States” and a “…force for stability and good”.

If we look at the statements stemming from the Obama Administration and its actions, prior to Mubarak’s much awaited resignation, we will not only witness a cascade of blatant hypocrisy but the pathetic attempts of a waning empire to more or less save-face as they stand face to face with a region ready to break free of imperialist shackles.



02 2011

Guantanamo Bay: The Forgotten Promise

[src:]The Guantanamo Bay prison camp, known as “Gitmo”, serves as a military prison and interrogation center for the United States, and it is located in Cuba. The detention areas currently consist of Camp Delta and Camp Iguana. As of January 2002, there has been an influx of “war on terror” detainees who have been transferred and re-located there. Currently, there are over a hundred prisoners from over 34 different countries. Despite international outcry and extensive criticism, the detainees continue to be held, based on “suspected” ties to Al-Qaeda. To put things simply, a country that boasts about its civil liberties and freedoms currently holds “suspected terrorists”, without any type of solid conviction or indictment, as the world watches helplessly. To further affirm the innocence of at least a few of the inmates, there have been many cases where detainees have been released years later. Furthermore, they have received no compensation. This includes three British Muslim prisoners, now known as the “Tipton Three”, and Mehdi Ghezali. All of the statements and complaints from these former detainees indicate serious accounts of torture, abuse, and harassment.

Furthermore, a US-based human rights organization, Amnesty International, has called the entire situation a “human rights scandal.” In fact, an article revealed that the U.S. military trainers who came to Guantánamo Bay in December 2002 had based an entire interrogation class on a chart copied directly from a 1957 Air Force study of Chinese Communist torture techniques. These torture techniques had been used during the Korean War to obtain confessions, which many of them (confessions) later proved to be false.

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11 2010

The Eroding Seesaw

“Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Another election has passed and once again dissatisfied Americans voted the ineffective incumbents out, and those advocating for change in. It only took two years for the Democratic Party to lose the unprecedented political capital it inherited on the heels of the Bush presidency. When one “inherits” something, they did not earn it. The Republicans in 2010 followed the same blueprint to victory as the Democrats in 2008, namely, they were not the incumbents. When the Republicans bail-out corporate America and escalate wars, we vote the Democrat. Then the Democrats bail-out corporate America and escalate wars, we vote Republican. And the elaborate game of seesaw continues without interrupting the corporate elite and war profiteers.

Americans are dissatisfied with our nation’s political status quo. According to a Reuters Poll taken in October of 2010, 62% of Americans feel that generally speaking, the United States is headed in the wrong direction. Recent elections echo this sentiment. Those Americans who continue to vote, voice their dissatisfaction by voting Obama, Tea Party, or Ron Paul, all with the naive hope of tossing out the Washington elite and “voting ourselves back to democracy.” (C. Hedges) On the other end of the spectrum, a majority of Americans do not even vote in midterm elections, and voter turnout for presidential elections is significantly lower than in most “democratic” societies. The non-voting populace is portrayed by the Political Establishment, the Media and by “Establishment Cats” as being either; ignorant, complacent, unrealistic or unproductive.

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11 2010

A Real American Hero

“O you who believe! If you fear Allah, He will grant you a Criterion (to judge between right and wrong)…” (Surah al-Anfal; 8:29)

They ask why I love you; you were an ordinary man;
I tell them I can’t put it into words, maybe you can?

They say we are irrational, always talking conspiracies;
You started a speech “Ladies and Gentlemen, friends & enemies…”

They say to Mahmoud, it’s no time for twin tower truth;
But you said at JFK’s death, “chickens coming home to roost.”

They say my-way or the highway, some leaders these days;
Don’t confuse “methods with the objectives” that was your way.

They said Obama is better; let’s vote for him this time!
You said a “ballot is like a bullet,” so I didn’t use mine.
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10 2010