Sunday, October 31, 2004

Poetry and Prose by Khaled Mattawa

Here's a poem by my most recent favorite Libyan poet. You can check out more of his poetry by hitting the link at the bottom. I chose to post this poem because of Highlander's last post regarding the Italian occupation of Libya.


Tripoli, 1937

The snowflakes landing on your shoulders
are a first in this city, in this colony you rule.
The guard who carries your briefcase
tells you snow had never fallen here.
You ask him to leave. It's safe to walk
the streets now, the rebels long subdued
by Graziani. In the square you stroll
he strung up hundreds, once leaving

five dangling for a week until a film crew
(experimenting with color) arrived from Rome.
This is not your method. The few
you catch now are shot far away,

two bullets to the head, unmarked graves.
Your mind drifts back to the snow.
You want a picture of it before it melts.
You want to show it to your fellow Ferraresi,

to the farmhands milling about Napoli
and Trieste. You want to tell them
there is enough water for their vineyards
and orange groves, enough grass for their sheep,

and trash for their pigs. You will have
to exaggerate about the brick homes
you will build them, and the natives'
helpful cowardly ways. And why

would they not believe you General,
their valiant hero who defended the Piedmont,
the fascist youth traveling the countryside
preaching Mazzini and Il Duce's New Rome,

the photogenic ex-veteran who rid Ferrara
of the Red Leagues' "other Austrians," harnessing
the "Bolshevic avalanche," a sapphire studded
dagger strapped to your waist? They will believe

you "Il Padre D'Aeronautica" who crossed
the Atlantic leading a fleet of hydoplanes,
star of the Chicago World's Fair. "Balbo,
Balbo," New York greeted you with downpours

of confetti in a Broadway ticker tape parade.
Roosevelt shook your hand firmly two days later,
poured your coffee, another medal on your breast.
Children are playing in the snow now.

They stop when they see you; the older ones,
who will polish the shoes of your countrymen
or become their hired men, their kitchen help
and part-time pimps, stiffen up in fascist salute.

Their fathers rush to greet you, brushing
snow off your shoulders and cap. You enter
one of the houses for tea, the house of the man
who felt no shame kissing your left hand.

Poetry and Prose by Khaled Mattawa

Monday, October 18, 2004

Come again?

ufffff... In the days leading up to the invasion of Iraq, Friedman was a cheer-leader. He didn't care about anything anyone said, including the millions of demonstrators on the streets all over the world, other governments, or the UN. His consistent justification was something along the lines of 'I spent time in the region and spoke with a lot of intelligent people; they need our help in liberating themselves'.

It should have been 'i hung out in a couple of countries, chatted with some of the elites and two random guys at a cafe; that along with my deep seeded belief that Arabs are incapable of autonomous change or achieving dog eat dog capitalism coupled with my extensive reading of orientalist political literature and concern for Israeli security led me to support the invasion of Iraq. Did I mention that I don't speak Arabic?'

Then he had this epiphany about Bush having his own motives, which he limited to re-election. Apparently, he didn't know that governments sometimes state false reasons to justify their actions....Or, he didn't care and thought it was okay in the case of Iraq. Not that he'd ever say that, but it's lurking somewhere in the background of his editorials.

Now, after his 3 month vacation, the man comes back with a different perspective. As he says, I don't know whether to laugh or cry about those who are addicted to 9/11.

Hey, everyone is entitle to change their minds. And I respect people who admit their mistakes more than those who don't, but when you have a voice as loud as Friedman's, please pay attention to what you're saying. A lot of people's lives depend on it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

To My Mother

The poem To My Mother by Palestinian poet Mahmud Darwish (Angry Arab's translation):

I long for the bread of my mother
and the coffee of my mother
and the touch of my mother..
And childhood grows inside me
a day over the chest of a day
And I love my life because
if I die,
I am embarrassed for the tears
of my mother!
Take me, if I came back,
as a scarf for your eyelashes
And cover my bones with grass
baptized by the purity of your heels
and bind me..
with a lock of your hair..
with a thread loose in
the edge of your dress...
Maybe that would make
me god,
God I become..
If I touch the core of your heart!
Place me, if I return,
as fuel in the fire of your oven..
a rope for clothes on your roof
Because I lost the ability to stand
without the prayer of your day
I aged, so please return the stars
of childhood
So that I can join
the baby birds in
the path of return..
to the nest of your waiting!

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

odd noises in my head

ok... i love this entry (October 11th). no, i'm writing very much about it, jeames, but i still love it. This is the same friend that brought up the first post 9/11 presidential speech that i posted a couple of days ago.
read and learn

Monday, October 11, 2004

To Heiko: Curtailment of Civil Liberties

I'm putting together a package of info and links to answer your question about the curtailment of civil liberties in the US so that you don't just have to take my word for it.

American Civil Liberties Union : Summary of the USA PATRIOT Act and Other Government Acts

American Civil Liberties Union : USA PATRIOT Act : Further Analysis

American Civil Liberties Union : Section 215 FAQ

Center for Constitutional Rights: CCR

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Comments section change

I've changed my settings so that anyone can comment now. Not that I'm expecting a flood of viewers, but an experiment for the moment. I'll let you know right now that I will not tolerate meaningless comments, so make it worth your while...and mine.
Peace Out

Friday, October 08, 2004

Muslim WakeUp! The Miseducation of Muslim Kids

fabulous commentary... wow is all i can say. no, really, 'wow'. Muslim WakeUp! The Miseducation of Muslim Kids

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Israel: Thanks to the U.S., Palestinian state is ruled out -

Opportunity in Libya

Libya Event

To enable the comfortable easing in of big money, Libya is hosting a conference this month. For those seeking opportunities in the up and coming 'Gulfy' state in North Africa, here's an interesting event that I came across. Familiar sponsors and supporters on the side bar. Take note of the 'Patronage of Saif Al Islam'... it may hold some clues as to the future of Libyan governance as well as some of the drive behind the recent 180 degree turn in economic policy.

As for my commentary, I can't quite move past the image of slick men in sharp suits or pastel lenin running around Tripoli wiping the drool from their chins after mirages of piles of money in the desert invade their thoughts. I don't mean the ones already there...

Here's realism for you: If we're at the mercy of a few families, maybe it's not such a bad thing that their off-springs' rebellion might translate into some economic liberation for the rest of the population.

Then again, aside from impressing statistics on work sheets on file in the WTO, IMF, and other international financiers, I'm apprehensive about the true extent of the 'trickle down' ideology.

President Declares "Freedom at War with Fear"

A friend just reminded me of this speech that was the president's first after 9/11. For him, this speech was an immediate threat to use nucleur weapons in the Middle East. For me, nucleur weapons are at the bottom of the list.
Upon re-examination of the speech, my concerns lie with the double speak about the status of Muslims in this perpetual war, the wars strategies, and the glorification of an 'enemy' who's powers remained unknown at the time.
Regardless of my babble... read it.
Read what the man says to see if he didn't already have an agenda

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

This is a picture from the same friend's new home in Costa Rica. He must be miserable. And doesn't the cat (Schnidy) look irritated, too?  Posted by Hello

Cute Time!!!! This is Paco. Paco is the new dog of my friend who moved to Costa Rica in protest of the new American way of life. OR he just wanted to move to Costa Rica and is now having the time of his life.  Posted by Hello

U.S. Report Finds No Evidence of Iraq WMD

I wish I could gloat. I wish I could even be relieved about this report. But this is like the courts finding someone innocent and framed that the state had already executed. Aside from a theoretical affirmation, there's little pleasure to find in this kind of thing. The dead are still dead; the violated still violated; the heartbreak and humiliation and anger and frustration cannot be compensated. Time may heal physical wounds, but the psychological trauma experienced by a people is the stuff legends are made of.

The most important lesson I've learned over the last 10 years is that 'facts' are not nearly as powerful as 'perceptions' and 'impressions'.
The culture of fear and hatred invoked to support the call for war is still breathing down my neck. Even as specific instances of deception are uncovered, the psychological and social effects of this administration's policies and rhetoric are deep and irrational. It is my belief (and I am only one among many) that we now have institutionally sanctioned and encouraged discrimination towards Arabs and Muslims, anyone that is confused with them, and anyone that may sympathize with any of our causes. I am also convinced that many people in the United States have not yet opened their eyes to what exchanging civil liberties and governmental transparency for security really means.

Yahoo! News - U.S. Report Finds No Evidence of Iraq WMD