Archive for February, 2011

Young Iraqis held a Valentine’s Day rally in Baghdad on Monday to call on their leaders to love the war-battered country rather than rob its resources.”We do not want Valentine’s Day to be only one day of love but a celebration for reform, democracy, citizenship and freedom”.



Our people in wounded Iraq. We have gathered your children in this place and are determined to change the corrupt reality which cannot be tolerated any longer. Killing, displacement, unemployment, arbitrary arrests, theft of public funds and hunger mark our lives. Our salvation and the salvation of our children and future generations will only come by ending the American occupation and the political system based on sectarian and ethnic quotas created by the occupation and adopted the Green Zone politicians who proved to us day after day, they did not come to serve Iraq as they claim, but to serve their own interests.

The sons and daughters of Iraq; your youths decided to march forwards today for their right to freedom and decent living, and for a vision for a better tomorrow. Your youth dream of a bright future after the deposing for ever of the system of the ethnic and sectarian quotas.

Our Iraqi heroes .. We will use the earth in Firdous Square as our bed and we will stay here at the heart of Baghdad, day and night until all our demands are accepted and met. our demands at the present time:

1. Obliterating corruption and bringing to justice those who have embezzled or misused public funds.

2. Provide the full entitlements under the ration system and ensure complete coverage for all. Initiate immediate plans of action in order to improve of basic public services.

3. The release of detainees who are held without trial or charge and immediate disclosure of all secret prisons.

4. Providing job opportunities for all young people.

5. The enactment of the immediate care and financial support for millions of orphans and widows and to increase the salaries of retirees.

These are our primary demands. They are the demands of the majority of the Iraqi people.

We appeal to our youths to join the march for these national demands based on the sincere desire for national independence, for rebuilding Iraq and to preserve the unity and dignity of its people. We deplore any attempt of a partisan monopoly or political manipulation of this popular movement.

Our primary goal to change the dire situation faced by Iraqis urging our fellow youth to join the Iraq Liberation march to join us or organise sit-ins at their local centres or squares.

The preparatory committee for the protest

The popular movement for the salvation of Iraq

Occupied Baghdad 14th Feb 2011

بـيـان

يا أهلنا في العراق الجريح.. لقد تجمع أبنائكم في هذا المكان وعقدوا العزم على تغيير الواقع الفاسد الذي بلغ حدا لا يمكن السكوت عليه، فالقتل والتهجير والبطالة والاعتقال وسرقة المال العام والجوع أصبحت صفات لا تفارق حياتنا وإن خلاصنا وخلاص أبناءنا وأجيالنا لن يكون إلا بالخلاص من الاحتلال الأمريكي والنظام السياسي القائم على المحاصصة الطائفية التي ابتكرها الاحتلال وتبناها سياسيو المنطقة الخضراء الذين اثبتوا لنا يوما بعد يوم أنهم لم يأتوا لخدمة العراق مثلما أوهموا الناس، بل لخدمة مصالحهم الخاصة.

لقد قرر أبنائكم وبناتكم من شباب العراق أن يتقدموا اليوم بصدورهم العامرة المؤمنة بحقهم في الحرية والحياة والعيش الكريم، والحالمة بغد أفضل ليفتحوا صفحة جديدة ومشرقة من تاريخ العراق وليسقطوا والى الأبد نظام المحاصصة الطائفية والعرقية.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

((ان الله لا يغير ما بقوم حتى يغيروا ما بأنفسهم))

أيها العراقيين الأبطال.. نحن سنفترش تراب العراق ونعتصم هنا في قلب بغداد النابض وبصورة سلمية ليلا ونهارا حتى تنفذ جميع مطالبنا، ومنها في الوقت الحاضر:

1. محاربة الفساد وتقديم سراق المال العام الى القضاء .

2. توفير مفردات البطاقة التموينيه كاملة والشروع الفوري بتحسين الخدمات .

3. اطلاق سراح المعتقلين الذين لم تثبت عليهم جرائم والكشف الفوري عن السجون السرية .

4. توفير فرص عمل للشباب .

5. سن قانون فوري لرعاية ملايين الايتام والارامل وزيادة رواتب المتقاعدين .

هذه مطالبنا الأولية وان لم تنفذ سيكون للمعتصمين خطاب ثاني.

نناشد شبابنا العراقي الطاهر بالانضمام الى مسيرة المطالب الوطنية المرتكزة على خلفية وطنية خالصة مستقلة مؤكدة على بناء العراق والحفاظ على وحدته وكرامة شعبه دون ان يكون لها خلفيات حزبية اوفئوية

ان هدفنا الاساسي تغيير الوضع المزري الذي يعيشه العراق مناشدين اخوتنا شباب العراق الانضمام الى مسيرة التحرير بالانضمام الينا او تنظيم اعتصامات في ساحات تواجدهم

والله والعراق من وراء القصد.

الحركة الشعبية لإنقاذ العراق-اللجنة التحضيرية للاعتصام

http://www.iraqi-revolution.com/home.html

Facebook contact

http://www.facebook.com/Iraqe.Revolution

بغداد المحتلة 14/2/2011

Things that do not require a tribunal in Lebanon (picture by Amelia Opainska)

Al Jazeera reported yesterday that judges and lawyers at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), ostensibly established to prosecute the perpetrators of the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, “have begun discussions on how to define the crime of ‘terrorism’ as listed in a draft indictment”.

Opposition to the politicization of the STL, which appears to be concerned with prosecuting certain groups and not others, led to the collapse of the Lebanese government in January.

According to the Al Jazeera website:

International lawyers have wrangled for years without arriving at a single definition for the crime of terrorism, but prosecutors and defence lawyers at the tribunal agreed on Monday to apply the definition as stated in Lebanese law, which the tribunal already uses.

‘There is no reason to go further and create an overarching, worldwide, universal definition,’ Iain Morley, a lawyer for the prosecution, said.

But he sought to refine the definition they will use at future trials, arguing that it was unnecessary to prove a political motive for a terrorist act.

He proposed his own definition of terrorism as an act by which ‘a substantial section of the public reasonably and significantly fears more than momentarily from the present onward indiscriminate personal harm’”.

I’d be willing to bet that a more substantial section of the Lebanese public feared impending indiscriminate personal harm during and after the July 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon—waged in part via rush shipments of American weapons to Israel and resulting in the elimination of over 1200 people, mostly civilians, in the country—than after the elimination of Hariri and 22 others.

As for assassination-related fear, there was presumably some of this in 1985 when CIA-trained operatives attempted to dispense with Shiite cleric Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah in Beirut. Fadlallah survived; approximately 80 civilians, including a number of women and children, did not. It is meanwhile unclear why the Hariri assassination should be considered any more fear-inducing than the decades of Lebanese political assassinations that have not prompted special tribunals.

Dr. Omar Nashabe, editor of the justice section at Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar newspaper, gave an excellent speech in London last month on the subject of the STL in which he pointed out that current Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has boasted of his participation in assassinations in Lebanon in 1973. One more reason not to issue an “overarching, worldwide, universal definition” of the word terrorism.

http://pulsemedia.org/2011/02/08/on-indiscriminate-personal-harm-in-lebanon/

Heba Farouk Mahfouz – A Day in Tahrir

Posted: 02/14/2011 by editormary in Egypt
Tags: , , ,

I thought that after the revolution, I would not see such great things I used to see during the protests, as Christian human shields to Muslim prayers or Muslim human shields to Christian prayers. Not that I make distinctions between either.

It’s not that Christians protected Muslims or Muslims protected Christians while praying! We don’t make those distinctions between a Muslim or a Christian. We just don’t have this culture!

It is just some of the Egyptians protected the OTHER Egyptians while doing something (praying), because they were too busy to protect themselves. And when they finished, they exchanged the roles with those OTHER Egyptians! While raising us, our parents never said : “Treat your Muslim friend this way or treat your Christian friend that way!” They just simply said: “Treat your friends as you want to be treated!”

Or thought to see a Christian Imam. haha. In Muslim prayers, an Imam leads the rest of the prayers. They perform the same movements after he does them. He says Allahu akbr, and kneels, then those praying do the same after him. So many were praying in Tahrir that those at the back could not hear the imam say Allahu akbr. Christians stood in between the lines of those prayig and repeated Allahu akbr after the imam so that the Muslim praying at the very back could keep up the prayers with those at the front.♥

Or hear people shouting “Selmeya+, peaceful, or EAD WAHDA “We are one hand”.

Or I thought I would never see a police officer asked to kill us, but gets killed while refusing to let the prisoners loose on us. And yes, the days when our youth used to stand with very fragile weapons to protect us when police let thugs loose on us are over, and ran away leaving the streets empty with no protection. Those beautiful young men of my street no longer stand all night, to protect my balcony without being told to do so.

I might not see the scenes of these people who did not wait for the government to put the fire out at the Egyptian Museum, Cairo’s most valuable possession, but went there, got their fire extinguishers out of their cars, and started to put the fire of a museum down with them now.

Or see scenes of thousands and thousands of Egyptians standing in front of the Egyptian Museums and temples in Luxor, Aswan, Cairo, everywhere, with their bodies and hands around them, waiting and waiting endlessly for the Army forces to come and secure our history, our most valuable belongings, risking their own lives in a country where security did not exist anymore for those days. Fearing the tourists could be hurt, they gathered around them.

Like the Egyptian saying goes, which I used to question, but not anymore, “Shabab zay el ward”, which literally means, “Youth just like blossoming flowers”. Indeed.

I no longer hear “A group of students, also protestors, arrest 9 of the thugs trying to steal the Egyptian Museum, and turn them in to the Army forces.” on the news.

Or that Muslims, with fragile weapons, went to the churches of their streets, but not to attack them as any western source of media would love you to believe, they went to protect them, WITH THEIR BODIES AND LIVES!

Or hear ” Some of the protestors and some of the patients, who stood with their chests opened, ready for attack, defending the Children’s Hospital of Cancer, Al qasr el ainy’s hospital, and every single hospital, bank, property in their country, with broomsticks.

I am not seeing those scenes of some of the protestors and some of the police forces TOGETHER trying to help each other close the doors of prisons so that the NDP would not be able to let thugs loose on us anymore.

But I have seen lots of other, if not greater, things.

I have heard people say this about Mubarak, and after everything he has done,

”I personally have disregarded whatever kind of injustices I had experienced under you.
God, I make you the witness that I am pleased with him, so be pleased with him. I have forgiven him, so forgive him, bless him with a redemption, and save him on Judgment day!”

YES THEY DID.

I have met a guy who still has 9 rubber bullets in his body, and came to clean. I have met a group of strangers who helped me come home, all men, and I don’t even know their names. I have seen the disabled trying to clean every corner in Tahrir. I have seen strangers holding hands to prevent people from stepping on the wet pavement after painting it. I have seen very rich people holding dirt with their bare hands. I have seen strangers stopping other strangers and saying, “keep my phone with you, and if my wife calls, answer”. And I have seen their phones given back to them after 5 hours. I have seen old people who could not help, but chose to stay to encourage us. I have seen a lot of people, and I couldn’t know who are the Christians, the Muslim, the poor, the rich, the educated or those who haven’t had much schooling!

I have seen people who no more say “It is none of my business. I am not going to save the world”. No, I have seen people saying, It is our country. They ran away and left it. We have to clean it. We have to take care of it”. I have seen them ACTING today, going to people and asking to stop doing that or start doing this, and people responded.

I have seen people group up SO VERY SPONTANEOUSLY, not knowing each other, not knowing even each other’s names, to gather up to clean, or protect, or fix. AND I LEFT WITHOUT KNOWING THEIR NAMES, BUT WITH KNOWING THEIR IDEAS FOR EGYPT!!

I have seen people clinging to their bad habits and negligence but once you talk to them, they stop, AND TELL OTHERS TO STOP! I have seen people hugging other people they don’t know. I have been talking with two girls, and five men, that I still do not know their names, but we have agreed on some things to do for Egypt, later on, together or alone. We have shared great ideas about what could possibly be done for Egypt, not just us, EVERYONE!!! walahy! Every single one. I swear!

I have seen people cleaning a statue, embellishing and painting, the pavements. Collecting stones and sweeping the ground! I have seen people standing human shields to protect others. I have seen people giving money, food, drinks, and bags for us to throw rubbish in. I did not have to ask anyone for anything. AND OH MY GOD HOW POLITE AND CARING EVERYONE WAS ! I have seen INDEPENDENT Egyptians, proud Egyptians, smart and loving and caring Egyptians! REAL EGYPTIANS.

I have seen strange men joining hands around me to protect me from the crowd, fearing I could be pushed, and without even asking them!

I have seen that when you need a volunteer to do a very hard job in Egypt, all you have to do is to shout it out loud to the crowd, and within a SECOND, yes, a second, you will find thousands that you will tell them, “Thanks, we now have enough people.”

People carrying sharp, heavy stuff without complaining, better, while chanting for Egypt.

I have seen actors, directors, everyone today!

I have seen mothers and very old ladies bending their very weary backs to collect dirt. We have reached Tahrir on time, but find no place to be cleaned, people cleaned everything before we even got there. We had no broomstick or cleaning materials, people gave us their own, which they bought with their own money, and said, “We are leaving, now it is your turn”. I have never seen people grouping so fast to actually TALK and discuss what could possibly be done to help Egypt. We have all talked, cleaned, protected, and helped and cared for each other. People distributing cleaning materials for free to anyone. People asking me to help them wear their face masks as their hands are dirty, people asking me to clean their glasses, help them drink, as they are dirty and busy. I have seen Egypt. Ladies and gentlemen, I HAVE BEEN TO THE FREE EGYPT!

I have seen prisoners running away, but I’ve never seen any turning themselves in. I’ve seen a lot of people stealing, but I’ve never seen anyone giving things he has stolen back to its rightful people. I have witnessed sectarianism, but I have never seen a Muslim protecting a church, or a Christian Human Shield to Muslim prayers.

I have seen people killing other people while the police are watching, but I’ve never seen people protecting each other while the police is not there for them. I pray you, God, to keep Egypt this way forever, and that is the real change! Long live Egypt. Long Live the Egyptian People!

I saw freedom, dignity, justice, persistence, longing for victory, progress, and LOVE in those people.

By Khalil Bendib

By Khalil Bendib

Translated by: Adib S. Kawar and revised by Mary Rizzo

originally printed 12/5/2010 in PTT
The definition of despotism or oppression is very simple.

Despotism in the Greek language was equal to one man rule, a Greek citizen – whether he was a simple man or a member of the elite – did not make any differentiation between one man ruling in a magnanimous and open-minded way or not.

Now the word despotism is almost considered as out of use among the common public in the Western world – America and Europe – where they believe that democracy has spread and imposed its rule… and the one-man rule is out of existence in these countries.

But in spite of that we find in Europe and the United Sates, there are some who insist that despotism represents the overwhelming movement in these countries… Some writers demonstrate it with the fact that most people who live in these democracies do not contribute to democracy more than sometimes going to voting boxes to participate in elections. Other writers demonstrate the absence of actual democracy in these democracies by proving that most people – citizens in a more political expression – spend more of their time in playing cards than giving time thinking about state affairs.

Why should we go so far as to call the situation one of despotism? Isn’t it true that hundreds of thousands of citizens in these democracies organize demonstrations during certain crises to express their opposition to their democratic governments’ policies? After a few days or even weeks demonstrations stop – but the policies they demonstrated against and condemned continue to be implemented. How many hundreds of thousands march in American and European cities against waging war on Iraq before a single bullet had been fired, but the war was waged and continued during which all these tragedies were committed… and it was proved that it was not based on any legal basis even the claim of weapons of mass destruction that were never found, as well as the war that is still officially going on up till today’s date. Demonstrations could march here and there, but governments of democracies do not respond to these demonstrations protesting against their policies. On the contrary, they abide to the decisions of the orders of the chiefs of staffs of the armed forces, and those of the NATO. In spite of that, the general opinion is that these democracies execute the will of citizens who go to the ballot boxes.

The group that executed the war on Iraq and played within the press and outside it fell to an extent that made American voters who – the maximum sign of their rejection – go only as far as electing “a black man” for the first time in history for the presidency of the United States of America. George W. Bush who pushed America to wage the war on Iraq, and his successor did not come out of the neo-cons, but in spite of that, the “black man” chosen by the Americans continued with executing orders of the chiefs of staff, and decided on proceeding with the Afghanistan war, and threatens to wage a more fierce war against Iran.

Then when would the citizens of these democracies execute their own will?!

It seems that this opportunity shall never offer itself under the two party political system in existence in the United States. And U.S. citizens shall proceed with their ordinary social life and their private personal social affairs… while the governing elite continues with imposing their policies in disregard of the extent the citizens may show opposition to them – including opposition to wars – the expenses of which are born by citizens and not by the political elites.

Thus the difference is not enormous, it’s not even felt between these democracies and despotic regimes found outside the United States and Europe. This is what we see. But the fact is proved when you try to compare internal and external policies, then one would discover that the share of foreign policies is small, it is even almost not available, in comparison with internal policies.

American and European citizens similarly – do not see that the distance between them and the influence on the trend of foreign policy of their country is so great to an extent that they cannot be overpassed, neither through street demonstrations no matter how vast they may be, nor from the side of freedom of thought, however well expressed in the media they may be. Up till now there is no logical explanation or convincing argument for the continuity of the alliance with “Israel”, not even America’s and Europe’s interests with Arabs. There is no logical or convincing explanation for the ability of American rulers, from the extreme right to the current president, Barack Obama, who is accused of leftism and socialism by his political racist foes, to swallow the Zionist entity’s challenges not only against American interests but also against America’s strategies, and the continuation in giving its unlimited support and the means to implement this entity’s security and foreign policy… including its ownership of nuclear weapons arsenal and refusal to sign the treaty to ban them.

Foreign policy became a private privilege for the ruling elite in the ruling democracies… Tomorrow, the British could elect the conservatives (which they already did / the translator), because the Labour policy was not by any means for the labuorer, but what is certain is that the conservative government when it comes shall adopt the Labour government’s position in relation to foreign policy. And the democratic British citizens should know that their country’s participation in the Afghani war and the Zionist entity’s security, strategic and colonization options are not the matters they can alter.

And we are in no better condition in the Arab homeland.

But with one important difference, which is that these Arab despotic regimes that are in power in this homeland and who are keeping it divided are not allowing large mass demonstrations in our cities’ streets to declare their opinions concerning our rulers’ internal and foreign policies.

We in the Arab homeland are in a much worse position, though we, as citizens and masses, have no influence with regard to foreign policies (Arab policies too are similar and equal to international policies) as we, to start with, lack the privilege of having the right to approach and interfere the authority’s decisions related to both foreign and local policies.

The ability of oppression Arab governments have in relation to foreign policies greatly exceeds what Western democracies have in hand, in later years clear double standards prevailed in the policies followed by most Arab governments. Arab thinkers, public policy makers and writers in general can express their opinions with almost unlimited freedom. There is liberty of expression at the time when these Arab governments granted themselves the right of ignoring what is said… especially if what is said contains specific demands. The general rule is now that you can say whatever you want concerning conditions that you reject, and I can “do” what I want concerning conditions both you accept and you reject.

With the exception of when a thinker, writer or journalist is not threatened with imprisonment, arrest or trial as we understand them and is permitted to express himself by the ruling elites. This is while the right of free expression went to the extent to include various forms complaints that were not in the past included through demonstrations and sit ins, while authorities reserved for themselves the right of confronting protests with tear gas bombs, water cannons, overhead firing, taking some of the protesters for private investigations.

The issue of “Despotic Tolerance” – if we permit ourselves to borrow this expression from the American philosopher of German descent, Herbert Marcuse, the thinker whose name was connected with the student revolution of the sixties and seventies of the twentieth century – that was considered by some of the ruling elite a “danger” that threatens the “homeland”… which actually means a danger against the authority. And we have seen how a group of the Egyptian ruling party members had requested the “People’s Council” (The parliament) to fire with live bullets at the demonstrators because “they exceeded the allowed limits…”. From one side they don’t deserve the mercy that security forces show them, and from the other they are “communists”, “mercenaries” and “thieves”, and this demand to open fire at them with the aim of killing them is a splendid opportunity for the ruling elite to provoke their zealot children to prove their tolerance is wide enough for demonstrations, but doesn’t accept those participating in them, but just to disperse them and force them to retreat by force!

In spite of that, ruling regimes consider foreign policies a taboo domain for citizens to cross to… They can complain about the high cost of living, corruption and in general the downfall of health, human and educational services, but it shall always be a taboo to approach the conditions and the melancholies of foreign policies.

It is a taboo for Arab citizens to demonstrate against Zionist threats to wage a war against Syria, Lebanon or Gaza, it is forbidden for them to reach Zionist embassies in Cairo and/or Amman to protest against the Zionist entity’s decision to expel 75,000 Palestinian Arabs from the West Bank (the land of the anticipated Palestinian state) to Gaza (the big prisons of Palestinians in which they live under siege from all sides). They are not allowed to negatively demonstrate against the policies of Arab summit meetings and their effeteness whenever they meet in ordinary or extraordinary meetings, and their everlasting submission to the American/”Israeli” demands.

Arab authorities curbing in relation to Arab foreign policies is more dangerous than that in local affairs.

All Arab governments that concluded peace with the Zionist entities – whether they signed treaties or not yet – are interested in showing that they can pay the price internally. This is what is demanded by America before being demanded by the Zionist entity. They are asked (not to say ordered) to prove that they are able to crush any opposition to peace with “Israel”, and any support to resistance against it. And within the framework of proving this ability, meetings are taking place with the “Israeli” prime minister, his minister of defense or whoever “Israel” wishes to delegate.

How would Barack Obama’s policies in relation to “Israel” and Palestinians become bearable if they are not approved by the rulers of Egypt, Jordan and the “Palestinian Authority”. If Benjamin Netanyahu is not welcomed in Cairo (Sharm EL-Sheikh is better for weather and security wise) whenever he wishes?! Is this not alone proof that the peace process is “passing” without stopping?

We don’t hear about a demonstration against a visit by Netanyahu because this falls within the framework of the outlawed.

Arab citizens in Egypt can demonstrate against the high cost of living, corruption and even against the possibility of president Mubarak to bequest the presidency to his son… but they cannot demonstrate against a visit by Netanyahu, or the steel wall on the Egyptian border with the Gaza Strip under siege, or be a supporter of Hezbollah or Hamas in confronting “Israel’s” threats with a devastating war.

This is the despotism of foreign policy during the era of “despotic tolerance” with matters of internal policies..

This could be a reflection of an involuntary perception within the Arab despotic regimes concerning Arab policies are not within the affairs of foreign “policy”…. On the contrary it is an integral part of the internal policy. But the ruling elite categorizes it as foreign to keep it outside the framework of “despotic tolerance”?!

Didn’t we say that matters were simpler during the old days of Greece while defining despotism?

وراء التسامح الاستبدادي 

 

سمير كرم

كان تعريف الطغيان أو الاستبداد بسيطا للغاية.
كان الاستبداد معادلا في اللغة اليونانية لحكم الرجل الواحد. ولم يكن المواطن اليوناني ـ سواء كان إنسانا بسيطا أو عضواً في النخبة العليا ـ يفرق في هذا بين رجل واحد يحكم بعقل مستنير أو رجل يحكم بعقل منغلق.
والآن تكاد كلمة استبداد أن تختفي من الاستخدام العام بين جماهير الناس في العالم الغربي ـ أميركا وأوروبا ـ حيث يسود الاعتقاد أن الديموقراطية قد حلت وفرضت أحكامها… وانه لم يعد وجود في هذه الدول لنظام حكم الرجل الواحد.
مع ذلك ستجد في أوروبا وفي الولايات المتحدة الأميركية من يؤكد أن الاستبداد يمثل التيار السائد حتى في هذه الدول… ويدلل بعض الكتاب على ذلك بأن معظم الناس الذين يعيشون في هذه الديموقراطيات لا يفعلون للديموقراطية أكثر من انهم يذهبون الى صناديق الاقتراع أحيانا. ويدلل كتاب آخرون على غياب الديموقراطية فعلا في هذه الديموقراطيات بأن معظم الناس ـ المواطنين بتعبير سياسي أكثر ـ يعطون وقتهم للعب الورق أكثر مما يعطون للتفكير في شؤون الدولة.

ولماذا نذهب بعيدا؟ أليس صحيحا أن مئات الآلاف من مواطني هذه الديموقراطيات ينظمون التظاهرات في أوقات أزمات معينة لتسجيل اعتراضهم على سياسات حكوماتهم الديموقراطية، وتنقضي التظاهرات ـ بعد أيام أو حتى أسابيع ـ ولكن السياسات التي يعترضون عليها تستمر؟ كم تظاهر مئات الآلاف في المدن الكبرى الأميركية والأوروبية ضد شن الحرب على العراق قبل أن تطلق فيه رصاصة واحدة ولكن الحرب وقعت واستمرت وارتكبت فيها كل المآسي… بل تبين أنها لم تستند إلى أي أساس قانوني وحتى أسلحة الدمار الشامل لم يظهر لها أثر. ولا تزال هذه الحرب ـ رسميا ـ مستمرة حتى اليوم. وقد تقع تظاهرات هنا أو هناك ولكن حكومات الديموقراطيات لا تستجيب للمظاهرات، بل تستجيب لقرارات رئاسات أركان القوات المسلحة وقيادات حلف الأطلسي.
ويسود الظن مع ذلك بأن هذه الديموقراطيات تنفذ بالنهاية إرادة المواطنين يوم يذهب هؤلاء إلى صناديق الاقتراع. ولقد سقطت المجموعة السياسية التي صنعت حرب العراق ولعنت في الإعلام وخارج الإعلام… سقطت إلى حد دفع بالناخبين الأميركيين ـ لتأكيد مدى رفضهم ـ إلى انتخاب «رجل أسود» لأول مرة ليكون رئيسا لهم. راح جورج بوش الرجل الذي دفع بأميركا إلى حرب العراق ولم يأت خليفة له من مجموعة المحافظين الجدد. مع ذلك فإن «الرجل الأسود» الذي اختاره الأميركيون رئيسا يواصل الاستجابة لقرارات رؤساء الأركان ويقرر أن يواصل حرب أفغانستان وان يهدد بحرب أعنف وأوسع ضد إيران.
متى ينفذ سكان الديموقراطيات إذاً إراداتهم؟
يبدو أن مثل هذه الفرصة لا تسنح أبدا في ظل نظام الحزبين القائم في الولايات المتحدة الأميركية. ويواصل المواطنون حياتهم المعتادة الاجتماعية وحرياتهم الفردية والجماعية… بينما تواصل النخب الحاكمة فرض سياساتها مهما كانت درجة معارضة المواطنين لها. ومع أن نفقات هذه السياسات ـ بما فيها الحروب ـ تقع على عاتق المواطنين لا على عاتق النخب(…)

الفرق إذا ليس هائلا، بل ليس حتى ملموسا بين تلك الديموقراطيات والنظم الاستبدادية الموجودة غالبا خارج الإطار الأميركي ـ الأوروبي. هكذا يبدو. إنما تتأكد هذه الحقيقة عندما نحاول أن نفرق بين السياسات الداخلية والخارجية هنا وهناك. عندئذ نكتشف أن نصيب السياسات الخارجية ضئيل، بل لا يكاد يكون له وجود، بالمقارنة مع نصيب السياسات الداخلية.
ان المواطن الاميركي ـ والمواطن الاوروبي بالمثل ـ لا يدرك ان المسافة بينه وبين التأثير على توجهات السياسة الخارجية لبلاده شاسعة الى حد انه لا يستطيع أن يجتازها، لا من خلال تظاهرات الشوارع مهما بلغت ضخامتها، ولا من خلال حرية الرأي مهما اتضحت في وسائط الإعلام. وحتى الآن ليس هناك تفسير منطقي أو مقنع لاستمرار سياسة التحالف مع إسرائيل حتى ومصالح أميركا وأوروبا مع العرب. ليس هناك تفسير منطقي أو مقنع لقدرة الحكام الأميركيين، من أقصى اليمين الى الرئيس الحالي باراك أوباما، المتهم باليسارية والاشتراكية من قبل خصومه السياسيين والعنصريين، على ابتلاع تحديات اسرائيل لمصالح أميركا بل تحدي الاستراتيجية الاميركية، والاستمرار في تقديم كل الدعم بلا تردد لأمن اسرائيل واستراتيجيتها وسياستها الخارجية… بما في ذلك امتلاكها ترسانة من الاسلحة النووية ورفضها التوقيع على معاهدة حظرها.
لقد أصبحت السياسة الخارجية امتيازا خاصا بالنخب الحاكمة في الديموقراطيات الحاكمة… وغدا، قد ينتخب البريطانيون حكومة من المحافظين، لان سياسة حزب العمال لم تكن عمالية بأي حال، ولكن الامر المؤكد أن حكومة المحافظين البريطانية عندما تأتي ستنتهج سياسة حكومة العمال البريطانية في المجالات الخارجية. وسيتعين على مواطني الديموقراطية البريطانية أن يعرفوا أن مشاركة بلادهم في حرب أفغانستان وفي خيارات إسرائيل الامنية والاستراتيجية والاستيطانية ليست أبدا من الامور التي يمكنهم تغييرها.

ولسنا أحسن حالا في الوطن العربي.
لكن مع فارق مهم هو أن النظم الاستبدادية العربية التي تحكم هذا الوطن وتبقي عليه مجزأً لا تسمح بتظاهرات جماهيرية واسعة النطاق لتخرج الى شوارع المدن تعلن رأيها بسياسات الحكام الداخلية والخارجية.
نحن في الوطن العربي أسوأ حالا بكثير. وان كنا لا نملك أي تأثير ـ كمواطنين أو كجماهير ـ على السياسات الخارجية (العربية ايضا سياسات خارجية مثلها مثل العالمية)، فإننا لا نملك أصلا ميزة الاقتراب من قرارات السلطات المتعلقة بالسياسات الخارجية أو السياسات الداخلية.
قدرة القمع التي تملكها الحكومات العربية في ما يتعلق بالسياسات الخارجية التي تنتهجها تفوق كثيرا تلك التي تملكها حكومات الديموقراطيات الغربية.
ولقد سادت في السنوات الأخيرة ازدواجية واضحة في السياسات التي تنتهجها الحكومات العربية في معظمها. أصبح بإمكان المفكرين والكتاب، وصانعي الرأي العام بصورة عامة، ان يعبروا عن آرائهم بقدر كبير من الحرية. اتسع نطاق حرية الرأي في الوقت الذي منحت هذه الحكومات العربية لنفسها حق تجاهل ما يقال … خاصة اذا تضمن مطالب محددة. أصبحت القاعدة السائدة ان بإمكانك ان «تقول» ما تشاء عن الأوضاع التي ترفضها وبإمكاني أن «أفعل» ما أشاء بشأن كل الأوضاع ما تقبله وما ترفضه على السواء.
إلا في حالات قليلة لا يكون المفكر أو الكاتب أو الصحافي مهددا بالسجن أو الاعتقال أو المحاكمة اذا استخدم حرية الرأي كما تفهمها وتسمح بها النخبة الحاكمة. بل ان حرية التعبير امتدت لتشمل أشكالا لم تكن تشملها من قبل من الاحتجاج عن طريق التظاهرات والاعتصامات، فيما احتفظت السلطات بحق التصدي لهذه الاحتجاجات بقنابل الغاز المسيلة للدموع وخراطيم المياه وإطلاق الرصاص في الهواء فوق الرؤوس.. وسحب عدد من الأفراد الى تحقيقات خاصة بعيدا عن الأعين.

وصل أمر «التسامح الاستبدادي» ـ اذا سمحنا لأنفسنا باستعارة هذا التعبير من الفيلسوف الاميركي الالماني المولد هربرت ماركيوز، المفكر الذي ارتبط اسمه بالثورة الطلابية في ستينيات القرن العشرين وسبعينياته ـ الى حدود اعتبرها بعض من أعضاء النخبة الحاكمة خطرا على «الوطن»… والمقصود هو بالتحديد خطر على الحكم. وقد رأينا كيف أن مجموعة من أعضاء الحزب الوطني الحاكم في مصر طالبت في مجلس الشعب بإطلاق الرصاص الحي على المتظاهرين المحتجين لأنهم تجاوزوا حدود المسموح من ناحية .. ولأنهم لا يستحقون الرأفة التي تظهرها معهم قوات الأمن، فهم «شيوعيون» و«مأجورون» و«لصوص». وكانت هذه المطالبة بإطلاق النار على المتظاهرين بهدف قتلهم فرصة ما أروعها للنخبة الحاكمة لتخاصم أبناءها الغيورين فتثبت أن تسامحها يتسع للتظاهرات ولا يقتل المشتركين فيها بل يشتتهم ويجبرهم على التراجع بالقوة.
مع ذلك فإن استبداد النظم الحاكمة تعتبر قرارات السياسة الخارجية مجالا محظورا على المواطنين… هؤلاء يمكنهم أن يحتجوا على الغلاء، وعلى الفساد، وعلى انهيار الخدمات الصحية والتعليمية والإنسانية بوجه عام، لكن يبقى ـ وسيبقى ـ محظوراً عليهم الاقتراب من أمور السياسة الخارجية وشؤونها وشجونها.
محظر على المواطنين العرب التظاهر ضد تهديدات إسرائيل بشن حرب على سوريا أو على لبنان أو على غزة. محظور عليهم الوصول الى السفارة الاسرائيلية في القاهرة أو في عمان للاحتجاج على قرار إسرائيل بطرد 75 الف فلسطيني من الضفة الغربية (ارض الدولة الفلسطينية المأمولة) الى غزة (سجن الفلسطينيين الكبير الذي يعيشون فيه تحت الحصار من كل اتجاه). محظور عليهم التظاهر ضد سلبية القمم العربية وتخاذلها كلما اجتمعت ـ في دورة عادية أو استثنائية ـ واستعدادها الدائم للرضوخ لمطالب أميركا/اسرائيل.

القمع السلطوي العربي في شؤون السياسة الخارجية العربية أخطر منه في شؤون السياسة الداخلية.
ان كل حكومة عربية أقامت سلاما مع اسرائيل ـ سواء وقعت معاهدة أو ليس بعد ـ يهمها أن تبدو قادرة على تحمل دفع هذا الثمن داخليا. فهذا مطلوب منها أميركيا قبل ان يكون اسرائيليا. مطلوب منها أن تظهر قادرة على سحق أي معارضة للسلام مع اسرائيل وسحق أي تأييد للمقاومة ضد اسرائيل. وفي إطار إثبات هذه القدرة تتم اللقاءات مع رئيس الوزراء الاسرائيلي أو مع وزير دفاعه أو مع من تشاء اسرائيل إيفاده.
كيف تصبح سياسات باراك أوباما تجاه اسرائيل والفلسطينيين محتملة اذا لم تكن تحظى بالتأييد من جانب حكام مصر والاردن والسلطة الفلسطينية. اذا لم يكن بنيامين نتنياهو يستقبل في القاهرة (شرم الشيخ أفضل مناخيا وأمنيا) في أي وقت يشاء؟ أليس هذا دليلا وحده على ان عملية السلام «ماشية» لم تتوقف؟
ولا نسمع عن تظاهرة ضد زيارة نتنياهو لان هذا يدخل في إطار المحظور.
يستطيع المواطن العربي في مصر أن يتظاهر ضد الغلاء والفساد وحتى ضد التوريث… لكنه لا يستطيع أن يتظاهر ضد زيارة نتنياهو، أو ضد الحاجز الفولاذي على حدود مصر مع غزة المحاصرة، أو يكون مؤيدا لحزب الله أو حماس في مواجهة التهديدات الاسرائيلية بحرب مدمرة.
هذا هو استبداد السياسة الخارجية في عهد التسامح الاستبدادي مع قضايا السياسة الداخلية.
ربما يكون هذا انعكاسا لإدراك لا شعوري داخل نظم الاستبداد العربية بأن ما يتعلق بالسياسات العربية ليس من شؤون السياسة “الخارجية”… بل هو من صميم السياسة الداخلية. لكن النخبة الحاكمة تصنفها خارجية لتبقيها خارج إطار التسامح الاستبدادي؟
ألم نقل كانت الأمور أبسط كثيرا في أيام اليونان القديمة في تعريف الاستبداد؟

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FREEDOM!!!! By Carlos Latuff

FREEDOM!!!! By Carlos Latuff

Palestine Think Tank salutes with joy the Egyptian Revolution and the Tunisian Revolution and now looks forward to the complete change in the “Middle East” with the liberation of Palestine and all the Arab people from all oppressors. Never for one moment did a doubt set in that THE ARAB PEOPLE would lead and conduct their own revolution, joined together in what binds them and never accepting the pressure from anyone to try to damage the people by insisting upon absolutely unacceptable strategies such as a boycott of Egypt, which would only have hurt the people and brought about a sharper crackdown of them. Those who were calling for such appalling things got the two fingers from us, but that doesn’t stop them from now acting as if THEY (Westerners and outsiders!!!) were the driving force of the Egyptian Revolution. Others kept insisting “the only Resistance is Islamic”, and again, we said, “sorry, there are many forms of resistance, and the unification of people in the common Arab body is the greatest, most powerful one and it needs to be supported.” Those self-same “pundits” are now hailing the “people’s revolution” — and again, we chuckle as we witness how everyone loves a winner and will change horses as it suits them, nevermind their previous banter!!!

Palestine Think Tank has been an outstanding and stupendous experience, and a platform for a wide variety of voices and points of view. It has had many excellent contributors, all of whom are thanked for their hard work and participation, a huge following, as well as also getting a lot of heat from people (usually anonymous tabloid bloggers or those who are allergic to facts), so it was a community adventure and also an emotional one. However, new times also call for new measures. PTT is a lovely site, yet it is quite complicated to format, and for that reason, having to dedicate extended amounts of time to administrative tasks and managing comments, the writing of the editor in chief has fallen to the wayside. This was not something that was easy to live with but a necessity. As well, over time, a collective of people has developed and we are fed up with the orientalism we see in activism and the predominance of the “Western Pundits” in what essentially MUST be a grassroots movement lead by the people. Affiliations (formal and informal) with grassroots movements are also calling for a more communal approach and an immediacy of participation that this format simply would not allow.

It is thus that this site will migrate into www.wewritewhatwelike.com for the writing of Mary, many of the contributors here, and a new stable of activist writers who are working together to create this brand new collective blog. The content of PTT will be migrated there bit by bit, so the history of PTT and its archives (including some things that were only available to some readers) can be found there. Currently there are pieces from the first year and a half of activity, roughly 1000 pieces, and the other 700 plus will be made available shortly. But what matters is that within days the new editorial group will begin its work in earnest, hoping to serve Palestinians and everyone in the region under the thumb of tyranny and oppression.

You can see the description of the site and its goals here: https://wewritewhatwelike.com/about/ and in a few days, those who have loved and wish to continue reading the writing of PTT can switch over to that site as well as to continue to read http://sabbah.biz/ Sabbah Report where you will find his own commentary and a collection of other writers.

Embrace the Revolution! Long live the Arab People. Long live Palestine!!!