Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Danish Cartoons

Wow...All hell broke loose in a couple of days! I spent a bit of time searching online for the comics that caused the mayhem and finally found--guess what--a BLOG with the cartoons (link is at the bottom of this post).

I won't go into analysis at this point because I'm just beginning to discover the problem. However, I will say that so far, I do have a glimpse of both sides. KW's depiction of any Muslim, whether it was supposed to be Mohammed or otherwise, is very much reminiscent of Orientalist depictions of bushy haired Muslim/Arab men...the type that old movies portray. The fact of the Shahada (declaration of belief) on the front of canon ball with a lit stem isn't good. Aside from the image itself being out-dated as an attack on Arabs (unless this is actually the point), it is a provocative image.

BUT as a proponent of free speech and free dialogue, I'm at a loss as to how to react to the reaction. Maybe I don't get it. I just don't think that one obviously negative representation of the Prophet is worth a death warrant or several. I have a feeling (can't know since I can't translate the comics) that more than that particular cartoon are the source of the outrage.

We Muslims, whether culturally or belief based, might want to take a careful look at these depictions to really learn how people see us and our beliefs--and really, this is no defense of DW. Denmark is the only country I know of that actually has social programs, directed by Muslims, that actually assist second generation Muslims in negotiating with where their families come from and where they are. I don't see this as docile, as many seem to be describing the Danish. I think it's fierce.

The Cartoons:
PBS Watch: Farenheit 451 Alert

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Blog Pestering Pop-ups

Is anyone else experiencing an excess of pop-ups when visiting my blog or is it just me? It began ever since I hit one of those nasty poster id's on my tag board... but it happens on any computer I check my blog from.

If you've had this problem or know of it at all, PLEASE share here.


Friday, January 27, 2006

getting hot in Palestine...

Alright, most readers of this blog probably already know the results of the Palestinian elections. But then I walked into our studios this morning to find a television screen showing a Fatah rally in Gaza, of all places! ay-ay-ay!

This raises so many things for me: the dynamics between countries in international relations; the right-ward political shift that seems to be taking hold and spreading throughout Europe, the US, and the Middle East; the slow chipping away of a universal secular political dialogue and its replacement by one more divisive, more rigid, and much easier to co-opt.

I really hope I'm over reacting on this. I just fear I'm not. I have that feeling in my gut again and it's creeping into my throat. (Then again, the throat constriction could be a result of meeting James Yee this morning--the former Muslim Chaplin at Guantanamo).

The last thing I want to see is fragmentation among Palestinians, but then Political Islamic parties also make me a bit nervous--quite nervous actually. I apologize if I offend any readers' sensibilities about that, but I can't lie about it. I'll discuss if anyone is interested. Finally, I do have faith in Palestinians' solidarity. That, at least, I can hold onto.

Hamas to talk 'partnership'
Friday 27 January 2006, 15:58 Makka Time, 12:58 GMT

A senior member of Hamas says he will meet Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, in the coming days to discuss forming a "political partnership".

Ismail Haniya, who led Hamas to its surprise win in Wednesday's parliamentary election, made the announcement as Abbas himself said he would be asking Hamas to form a new Palestinian government.

"I have not asked anybody so far to form the government but we are leading towards contacts and consultations with all the blocs in parliament," Abbas told reporters on Friday.

"Of course, I am going to ask the majority party to form the government," he added.


His comments came amid reports of clashes between supporters of Hamas and followers of Abbas's Fatah party, the former ruling power which was dramatically swept out in Wednesday's poll.

According to reports, the rival gangs exchanged gunfire in the town of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, leaving at least two people injured.

Amid worries that such clashes may escalate, Haniya's call for a partnership has been seen by some as an effort to heal rifts after Hamas's shock victory by building a government of national unity.

Hamas won 76 out of the 132 seats in parliament in Wednesday's election, thrashing Abbas's previously dominant Fatah faction which won only 43 seats.

With Middle East peace diplomacy in limbo, Israel has ruled out negotiations, frozen since 2000, with any Palestinian administration involving Hamas.

The group is sworn to Israel's destruction and has been behind dozens of suicide bombings.

Calling on Fatah members to join the new government Moussa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas official, said in Damascus the party had "a clear vision for a government of unity," describing it as "one in which everyone joins".

However, Fatah leaders, speaking after the party's crushing defeat, have said they wanted no part in such a coalition.

'Wake-up call'

Hamas's capture of 76 seats in the 132-member parliament against 43 for Fatah has been widely portrayed as nothing short of a political earthquake in the Middle East, triggered by voter disenchantment with corruption and the failure of peace efforts.

"The people have punished Fatah for its mistakes and for internal divisions," said Nabil Shaath, a senior Fatah official and a former cabinet minister.

In Washington George Bush, the US President, also acknowledged that Hamas's electoral sweep represented a "wake-up call" for the Palestinian leadership, but said the United States would have no dealings with a Hamas-led government while the group continued to advocate violence.

"I have made it very clear ... that a political party that articulates the destruction of Israel as part of a platform is a party with which we will not deal," he told a White House news conference on Thursday.

Acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has also said he will refuse to negotiate with a Palestinian government that includes Hamas.

"If a government is led by or includes Hamas, the Palestinian Authority will turn into a terror organisation," he said.

The suprise outcome of the Palestinian vote is now certain to be a key issue in Israel's own election scheduled for March 28.

Commenting on the outcome of the vote, Bush urged Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to stay in office so the United States could keep open a diplomatic channel with the Palestinian government.

Democracy drive

The Bush administration, which has made promoting democracy in the Middle East a priority for its second term, had pressed Abbas to hold Wednesday's parliamentary election despite polls showing Hamas would do well.

Analysts have said Hamas' shock victory, giving it 76 seats in the 132-seat parliament, could bury any hope of reviving peace talks with Israel and stop Bush from achieving his goal of a settlement creating two states within the next few years.

However, Bush rejected susggestions that the Hamas win had finally killed off the stalled peace process.

"Peace is never dead, because people want peace," he said.

Observers say Hamas' win, bringing an end to four decades of rule by the Fatah Party, stunned even Hamas leaders, who mounted a well-organized campaign but have no experience in government.

Fatah chief Mahmoud Abbas, who was elected last year to a four-year term as president of the Palestinian Authority, has yet to decide how closely to work with the group.

He has said he may go around the new government to talk peace with Israel.

"I am committed to implementing the program on which you elected me a year ago," he said in a televised speech after the election result was announced.

"It is a program based on negotiations and peaceful settlement with Israel."

Nonetheless the cabinet and legislature must approve any major initiative by the Palestinian president, giving Hamas tremendous influence over peace moves.

Aljazeera.Net - Hamas to talk 'partnership'

Sunday, January 08, 2006

From the Ground Up: Race and the Left Response to Katrina

I'm posting an article sent to me by our friend Jordan in New Orleans. This time the article was written by Walidah Imarisha, a poet and an independent journalist who works with The Human Rights Coalition (the Philly-based prisoner family organizing group), AWOL Magazine, and is part of the poetry duo Good Sista/Bad Sista . Walidah's compadre in Good Sista/Bad Sista is Turiyah Autry.

Jordan and Walidah's articles are also available in the new feature of Left Turn Magazine, along with other excellent coverage of New Orleans, the environment justice moevement, social movements in the Arab world, and much more.

From the Ground Up: Race and the Left Response to Katrina
By Walidah Imarisha

In the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, thousands of progressives, radicals, anarchists, activists, hippies and college students — the majority of them white — have gone down south to aid in relief and rebuilding efforts, and white organizations across the country have dedicated time and resources. But in their rush to help, are they recreating the racist dynamics we have seen from the government?

Is the white left racist? Sakura Koné would answer this question, for the most part with a “no.” “I’ve been impressed with the response of the white left, liberals, progressive and radicals who have joined us out here.” Kone’ works as the media coordinator for Common Ground Collective, Common Ground Relief and Rebuild Green, three different arms of a New Orleans grassroots organization started after the hurricanes to provide relief and focus on alternative energy/sustainable rebuilding. “They are not just coming down here and telling us what to do, but they are listening to what we have to say. They do it our way. They are not coming like missionaries. We welcome the white left to our communities here.”

“Our church is full of white volunteers right now,” Victoria Cintra of Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance (MIRA) says. “We have hundreds of volunteers from the North Carolina Baptist Men Disaster Relief. They were here before FEMA, before Red Cross, when no one was helping out, and they’ve committed to being here for two years.”

Others, however, have had serious problems with white volunteers’ behavior and attitude throughout the south. Curtis Muhammad, of Community Labor United and the People’s Hurricane Relief Fund, would answer the question of whether the white left is racist with a qualified “yes.” “Every white person who shows up has the disease called white supremacy, and if they don’t confront it and work on it, they are going to continue to have it. That’s just the reality of racism.”

Tamika Middleton, southern regional coordinator for Critical Resistance — a national prison abolitionist organization with an office in New Orleans — applauds people’s willingness to come down and do work, but wants white people coming to acknowledge the privilege inherent in that. “For a lot of people, people of color from New Orleans and the south, we’re all trying to put our lives together. If we had the means, if we had the same privilege, we would be here too, we would be organizing and fighting for our community. It’s important for people to realize the privilege they have and others don’t have.”

Au Hyunh, who is working in Vietnamese communities throughout the south, says that there are different cultural standards people are not aware of. “When I was at Common Ground, the volunteers would be really disrespectful. They are serving a historically disadvantaged community, but they’re not bathing or showering and they’re serving people food, and they don’t see that. A lot of white activists are appropriating poor culture when they have a lot of class privilege.”

White supremacy

Muhammad says that PHRF is working to counter that disease of white supremacy. “We are talking about doing trainings, we are asking some groups down here who specialize in this to help train volunteers about their white supremacy. Some of them are taking it and some are not. Some are running around acting like slave masters.”

Kone’ says Common Ground provides that kind of orientation. “We tell them, ‘Look, you’re not from here, listen up, this is what’s happening. This is what the community is about, this is the history of the community, this is what’s been going on since Katrina. You’ve got a good heart, because you’re here. You have to take the leadership from the community.’”

“White people are going to have to learn to obey and follow directions. They are not runaway slaves. They aren’t now and they weren’t during the Underground Railroad days. They can help us, feed us, house us, but they are not the slaves. They can’t lead us,” Muhammad finishes.

It’s not just individuals who are having race issues. Organizations are also bringing their own assumptions and agenda to the table. “Some white organizations are trying. But white folks don’t like to chastise themselves. The left does that too, it will not punish white people for their white supremacy, they won’t hold white folks accountable and as long as they can do this stuff without punishment, they’re going to keep doing it.”

Tamika Middleton says the white left has wasted a lot of time and energy focusing on debating whether the issues in the gulf are the result of class or race. “It’s impossible to separate race from class, especially in the south, because historically, culturally, it is one and the same.”

Untold stories

Many populations are just being ignored both by the mainstream and the white left. John Zippert is the director of program operations for the Federation of Southern Cooperatives in Alabama, and works primarily with poor black farmers, a population he says has been greatly overlooked by government, media and nonprofits alike. “Our experience is that the Department of Agriculture takes care of the largest farmers first, rather than the smallest and poorest, which is generally where black farmers are… So the government isn’t there for people. We have gotten some assistance from organizations, but it’s been limited.”

Big corporations are getting huge contracts to do construction, and many of them are using immigrant labor to do so. MIRA says many people they work with — the majority of whom are Latino — are either not being paid the wages they were promised or not being paid at all, are working under unsafe conditions, and are not given any accommodations and forced to sleep in tents in the cold.

Workers are being recruited to the south to do this rebuilding work. When the job is done, they are fired and then arrested by the INS, often by the prompting of their former employers, according to Cintra. “That’s sad and sick. They are rebuilding our coast and we are treating them like animals,” she says.

In New Orleans East, the Mary Queen of Vietnam Roman Catholic Church is seeing first hand that the city’s rebuilding plan is quite literally built on top of people of color. The church, which is in the heart of a thriving Vietnamese community and has served as a distribution center and gathering place for people coming back to the community, is serving 1500 people a week. It is also right in the middle of an area that the city wants to build an airport and business industrial complex on. “They
are going to take our community away; they are going to dismiss us,” says Father Luke, one of the priests at the church. “We come back here as an action to say to them that we are here, we are back here to rebuild the community, to rebuild New Orleans.”

History class

New Orleans and the south are what they are because of the input of people of color, and people have to be aware of the culture they are coming into. “Why do people aspire to come to New Orleans? The music, the culture, the food, and what is the origin of those? Black people!” Kone’ intones.

All of the people interviewed for this article spoke of the history of slavery, immigration issues, labor rights, gentrification, police brutality, governmental misconduct, a history of neglect and racism, and the need for white organizations and individuals to understand that. It’s vital that people understand the roots of the poverty and deprivation. “The problems that are happening now are not happening because of Katrina. They didn’t just arrive; they didn’t come out of smoke. These things are historical,” says Middleton.

“You have the compounded issue of race and poverty together, a concentration of people who are poor and black and have been that way since slavery, even in the urban areas,” Zippert explains.

“You can see the intersection of race, class and gender by who was left behind in New Orleans. Most of the images you saw of people who were left behind, who were stranded, are poor single black mothers. That’s the fall out in a culture that is racist and patriarchal,” Malcolm Woodland of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement says.

Salvation army

While this is the largest fundraising effort in the history of the US, with hundreds of millions of dollars pouring into groups like the Red Cross and Salvation Army, people on the ground are skeptical as to how effective those organizations are.

Cintra summed up the sentiment when she said, “I wouldn’t give a penny to Red Cross, and I would encourage others not to.”

The problem is the way major non-profits have operated in communities of color globally, says Woodland. “The fact that people continue to give to organizations that have historically not operated in the best issues of people of African descent suggests that people aren’t fully aware of the history of these organizations, and what they are doing now, and not aware of alternative methods of being able to give directly to the people affected.”

Several people interviewed for this article talked of the ways in which the Red Cross gives preferential treatment to areas that are predominately white and was much slower to react in communities of color.

Middleton says her biggest problem is the criminal background checks that keep out people who were formerly incarcerated, and that this is a race issue as well.

Hyunh spoke of the language and access barriers that aren’t being addressed. Hyunh, an activist who moved just outside of New Orleans after Katrina, offered her services as a professionally licensed Vietnamese translator to both Red Cross and FEMA. “They both turned me down, they said they didn’t need any interpreters.” Hyunh went down to the south to see for herself, and found a complete lack of translation.

“The police were trying to evict a single Vietnamese mother living in a housing project in Biloxi. The entire projects were flooded. The police tried to arrest her for remaining there, but there was nowhere for her to go, and she didn’t speak English. She couldn’t even find out where the Red Cross shelter was,” Hyunh explains.

Cintra said it is even worse than ignorance or benign neglect on Red Cross’ part. “Red Cross is evicting people from shelters because of the color of their skin. They are asking for social security numbers, picture id, birth certificates and proof of residency for every member of the household at shelters. That’s alienating a large group of people.”

Middleton says the issue is really about giving funds to organizations that can build for the future. “Red Cross and other big non-profits create a different kind of problem. It’s like, ‘I’m going to deliver all this food to you, but not create sustainable options for you to grow food.’ There is no long term plan; there are no ways for people to be part of rebuilding their communities.”

The People’s Hurricane Relief Fund (PHRF) was started to provide an apparatus for survivors, local grassroots organizations and displaced people to have control over funds coming in. “We demand resources to rebuild our community under our control,” Muhammad says.

Leadership position

That’s why it’s important, organizers say, for people of color to have a leadership position in the relief and rebuilding efforts.

James Rucker, who helped found Color of Change (colorofchange.org) after Katrina as an online mobilization tool to enhance black people’s political voice, says black people have to mobilize to lobby politicians and hold them accountable. Color of Change grew to over 10,000 members in the first month and had thousands of people sign different petitions.

Rucker says it’s so important for organizations of color to speak up because it can push white organizations. “Race is just not a focal point for liberal white America… When groups like ours are out there, we can embolden other white organizations to talk about race more. They will do better than if there weren’t any organizations of folks of color speaking in terms of race.”

While Color of Change is working to build up political pressure, others feel the way to change lies in grassroots organizing.

Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (mxgm.org), a national black human rights rganization, put out a call on Sept. 13, 2005 that framed the issue again in terms of race and class. It was a framing of the issue around race that had historical memory and was not often being articulated. The demands included a right of return, the right to organize, the right to an income, the right to living wages, the right to access, the right to education and health care, and the right to self-determination.

Woodland, one of the coordinators for MXGM’s Katrina Relief program, says it’s really about the black community relying on itself. “My inclination is not to worry about what white folks are doing, because they’re going to do what they have done historically. Every once in a while they will surprise you and I’ll take it as a surprise, but my concern has been with how folks in our community have really stepped up, and I’m particularly proud of the response of black organizations.”

Long term

It is not enough, though for organizations of color to lead the rebuilding efforts, but for those organizations to be made up of people most directly affected by the disaster. “Many of our black leadership, non-profits and all, are from the middle class. Our coalition said upfront, we are listening to the voices of the poor,” Muhammad says.

MXGM says they are working to provide resources and training to displaced people. “Here in New York we’re already seeing this develop so that people who have been displaced are beginning to say, ‘Hold on, we don’t need people to speak for us, we can speak for ourselves,’” Woodland explains.

Woodland hopes that other organizations will support those affected, as well to take the lead. “I think you will see MXGM move to the periphery in terms of being visible and really be a back up and provide support for those individuals as needed and requested,” he finishes.

Most of the organizations interviewed are working on long term plans and goals that would empower the communities affected while furthering the rebuilding efforts.

Zippert says the Federation of Southern Cooperatives is encouraging people to use cooperatives and credit unions as tools poor people can use to rebuild. “We want to help people create worker owned cooperatives to do certain jobs created by the storm that went to Halliburton and these other companies. We can help poor people get the training and assistance to best deal with this post Katrina situation.”

Common Ground wants to rehabilitate the 9th ward, which was the most heavily damaged section of New Orleans, “to show people and the powers that be that contrary to their observations, the 9th ward is salvageable,” Koné asserts.

Everyone I spoke with agreed that if changes are going to happen, it will happen only by people on the ground pushing for those changes, and that as we move forward, race will continue to play an intricate part in the south, as it has since this country’s inception.

“We all have to get on ground, roll up our sleeves and go to work. I do not believe FEMA or the American government...is capable of rebuilding our city; they have no intention of helping poor black people return. We are going to have to demand it,” Muhammad declares.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Details of Palestinian Dispossesion

Here's a note from our other friend Noura, writing from Palestine. For those not familiar, Amira Hass is an Israeli journalist who has devoted herself to writing from a Palestinian perspective. She lives and works from Ramallah, where Noura is currently living, and is published in the Israeli Haaretz daily paper which I can only assume is a liberal newspaper for publishing her work. She's magnificent...really.

From Noura:

I recently passed through the administrative detention border
crossing that was erected in Qalandiya last week. The checkpoint is
critical because it effectively severs [isolates] Jerusalem from
Ramallah with the wall and as a border crossing, miles within the
green line.

Equipped with 24 automated turnstiles which are controlled by
soldiers behind a glass wall barking orders, from speakers above -
it is difficult to put into words. It has all happened with almost
no other media coverage, and yet another step in the 'details of
dispossession' as Amira Hass has elequently reported below.

It's not all in the details
By Amira Hass

Each detail described here, every shred of reality, is liable to be
considered as a whole, which would dim its severity. Detail:
hundreds of people gather each morning at three narrow steel
revolving doors, and the gates do not turn because some unseen
person has blocked them by pushing a button. The number of people
crammed behind them grows and grows, and they wait for an hour, and
the anger at another day being late for work or for school is piled
on top of previous residual tensions brought on by anger, bitterness
and helplessness.

However, it is not the crowdedness and waiting and anger that define
the checkpoints and roadblocks, or in this specific instance, the
new Qalandiyah checkpoint. Nor is it the crowdedness and compressed
atmosphere of the rest of the inspection route, before the
magnometers and the closed rooms in which the soldiers sit and
inspect documents, or the other revolving doors. Or even the
other "details": the cameras that make the soldiers and commanders
seeing and unseen, the snarling voice in the speaker that issues
commands in Hebrew, the terrifying concrete wall above and around,
and the devastation left by Israeli bulldozers and planners outside
the cage that Israel calls a "border terminal," in what was once,
and no longer is, a continuous stretch of residential neighborhoods,
soft hillsides and the Jerusalem-Ramallah road.

Nor are the 11 "detainees" at the inspection route's exit an
adequate detail: nine teenage boys aged 18 and under, one adult, and
a 23-year-old university student, all of whom committed a serious
crime on Monday: After waiting in vain for the steel gates to turn,
which would lead them to the inspection route, on their way to
classes and work, they decided to jump over the fence - one hoping
to get to an English test on time, the other fearful of being fired
if he again arrived late to the printing press where he works. But
they were caught. The student was handcuffed from behind, and was
sat down next to a guard booth in the closed military compound. The
other ten were placed outside the compound, in the mud that became
thicker with every drop of rain. And the soldiers demanded that they
sit down. They could not sit, because of the mud, and only went into
a kneeling position. After half an hour, the bent knees begin to
hurt more and more, and the pants are soaked with water and grow
tight over the knee. The hands turn cold, but the soldiers don't
change their tune: "Sit, I told you. Sit."

But the cold and the rain are not the story, nor is the soldier
eating his combat rations and watching the detainees apathetically,
nor the telephone calls by this writer until after two hours they
are permitted, how compassionately, to stand up, nor their release -
including that of one individual whose frozen hands are imprinted by
deep red cracks from the handcuffs, nor the fact that the 14-year-
old in the group had to wait another 20 minutes after his release
until the soldier who took his birth certificate (after all, he does
not yet have an identity card) could be found. The question of
whether the detention would have continued longer had the writer not
been present is also marginal.

Also of secondary importance is the decision to open
the "humanitarian gate" (which is intended for the passage of those
in wheelchairs, parents with baby strollers, and Palestinian
cleaning workers employed by a contracting firm), in the morning to
women and men above the age of 60. Another detail that in itself
diverts one's attention from what is important.

What is important is that the army and the Israeli citizens who
design all of the details of dispossession - and the roadblocks are
an inseparable part of this dispossession - have transformed the
term "humanitarian" into a despicable lie.

Through the checkpoints, road closures, movement ban, and traffic
restrictions, through the concrete walls and barbed wire fences,
through the land expropriations (solely for the purpose of security,
as the High Court of Justice, which is part and parcel of the
Israeli people, likes to believe), through the disconnecting of
villages from their lands and from a connecting road, through the
construction of a wall in a residential neighborhood and in the
backyards of homes, and through the transformation of the West Bank
into a cluster of "territorial cells," in the military jargon,
between the expanding settlements - we Israelis have created and
continue to create an economic, social, emotional, employment and
environmental crisis on the scale of a never-ending tsunami.

And then we offer a little turnstile in a cage, an officer who is
briefed to see an old man, a bathroom and a water cooler - and this
is described as "humanitarian." In other words, we push an entire
people into impossible situations, blatantly inhumane situations, in
order to steal its land and time and future and freedom of choice,
and then the plantation owner appears and relaxes the iron fist a
bit, and is proud of his sense of compassion.

However, even the important matter - that is, the humanitarian
deception - is only one detail in a full set of details in which no
single detail is representative in itself. Isolated fragments of the
reality are read as being tolerable, or understandable (security,
security), or may make one angry for a moment and then subside. And
among all the details, the reality of colonialism intensifies,
without letup or remission, inventing yet more methods of torture of
the individual and community; creating more ways to violate
international law, robbing land behind the legal camouflage, and
encouraging collaboration out of agreement, neglect or torpor.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Hunger Strike in Abu Sleim Prison in Libya

Libya: News and Views: Hunger Strike in Abu Sleim Prison

Unfortunately for non-Arabic readers, this article is in Arabic. I can give a jist of what's up with my slower than dial up Arabic reading skills though.If non-Arabic readers are interested, please let me know so I or someone else can try to translate a little more for you. If Arabic readers feel inclined to translate, please do so or let me know that you are interested and we can work together.

Brief synopsis: About 131 political prisoners, among them Muslim Bretherens, have begun the new 2006 year with a hunger strike. They claim to have attempted to negotiate through traditional channels but that this has not shown results.

It was posted on the Libya News and Views with a Libya Watch logo, but I couldn't even find it on the Arabic version of the Libya Watch site and the last posting on the English version of Libya Watch is 2004. So, either the Arabic version is more updated but takes longer to post on the official site or something else is up. I also couldn't figure out a way to copy and past the article so I could post it. I'm not in the mood to speculate at the moment, but I would appreciate any information whether languistic or technical from any readers out there.

Salamat ya'll!

Happy 2006 & Eid Mubarak

Dear fellow bloggers, friends, and both-

I actually wrote another post for the new year that was lost...I'm sure that's nothing new to bloggers. I'll try to repeat as much of that post as possible.

I miss blogging and I miss you all, there's no doubt of that--I just haven't been able to for a while. My last postings were writings that I'd saved for editing. Then the new year came along and the need to tie up loose ends led me to publish without the editing. No baggage this year... or so I hope to carry none along.

2005 has been by far one of the most tumultuous and growth filled years of my life. The long in-betweens of my posts generally represent much heart-ache accompanied by head-aches. Growing pains, I guess is what they're called. I'm sure I'm not done growing, but I hope it's somewhat easier in the future since some of the basic road blocks have been removed. In this next year, I hope to find the best way to address some of the issues I've encountered and to open sincere discussion on these issues.

I wish everyone the best for 2006 and forever for that matter.