Sunday, November 16, 2008


Handing Over to the Mirror on WordPress...
This is the Mirror on Blogger Signing Off.

Good Night and Good Luck Everybody!

This is my Closing Theme:

The Journey Continues Here.

Picture Courtesy of "daveknapik"

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Mirror is Moving

I’m in a process of moving this blog permanently to another location… if you're not too bothered by the rubbish I've been beaming here for almost -gosh!- one an a half year now (man, time runs fast!) please go pay a visit and make yourself at home whilst I’m constructing it!
All suggestions are welcome by the way.
See you!

Friday, November 7, 2008

What the... ?

I'd be very interested in knowing your reaction to the very first appointment made by Mr. Obama. I may sound a bit over the edge here, but forgive me if I'm a bit sceptical. Indeed I'm more than that: My blood was boiling and I was deeply frustrated to the announcement of Rahm Israel Emanuel as chief of staff. Yes! because I somehow secretly hoped that this guy (Obama) would deliver and that -as Jill pointed out in a recent comment- his public stance may be different from what he really thinks. The fact is that Obama appointed a man not only deeply involved in the financial crisis (he was member of the board of Freddy Mac at the time it went through serious trouble, " and recuses himself from any Congressional votes on the mortgage giant" according to but who also served in the Israeli army; therefore an Israeli citizen and a de facto Israeli officer, whose background suggests where he comes from as far as the Middle-East is concerned (His father was member of the Irgun: the infamous terrorist organization that killed women and children during the first half of the 20th century in the name of Zionism.)
So I'm deeply sceptical and profoundly frustrated. Where do we go from here?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Case For Obama

From an Arab perspective, foreign policy is paramount as far as the next American president's intentions are concerned. Of course there is the ambivalent approach on Iran, the position on Israel (read this too), the condescending interventionist stance on Pakistan and all the rest of it. But let's face it: The question here for anybody who has the privilege to vote in this crucial election and who has primarily foreign policy in mind, is, to put it bluntly, to choose the less worse candidate.

Five Good Reasons

1. His experience with poverty first in Indonesia where he witnessed -reportedly- the effects of an ill advised American foreign policy, supporting an ugly dictatorship, then in Chicago where he preferred working as a community organizer and civil rights lawyer rather than choosing a promising and predictably lucrative career as a corporate lawyer, having just graduated from a prestigious law school.

2. He opposed the war on Iraq well before the illegal invasion started, then he advocated an early and phased withdrawal in concordance with the opinion of a crushing majority of the "international community" (meaning: ordinary people's).

3. Despite some early contradictory declarations, he generally seeks a renewed diplomacy with a more seasoned approach with Cuba, Syria and Iran. Of course, and as far as the middle-east is concerned, the pressure and the level of infiltration by the Israel lobby and by the Military industrial complex are such that it will be difficult in case Obama had the integrity, soundness and willingness to act as an honest broker, to overturn the flawed system in place. Of course Arabs have to walk the walk after having talked the talk, far from primitive and futile violence.

4. The power of symbolism. In other words: the simple fact of having a black, self-made, left-leaning (in American terms of course), charismatic and clearly smart American president (at least in comparison with the imbecile outgoing one) may in and of itself contribute to temper international relations, and inject hope an positive expectation not only amongst Americans but also to some extent, amongst young secular people over the world -literally.

5. He has met late Edward Saïd. This reason may sound childishly naive and senseless but this is a reason enough to me, if I were American, to vote for this guy, knowing that at some point of his existence, has been exposed to the reasonable discourse of a secular, exiled Palestinian intellectual explaining eloquently his plight and that of his people.

Now of course one could argue for hours about the nature of the political system in America, which is, as far as I'm concerned, more of an oligarchy that it is a democracy, but again an Obama president has the potential to change something of some size, to some extent positively to make the current status
quo more viable.

The visionary dream of a compassionate pastor from Atlanta called King, nearly forty years ago may come soon true. Let us just hope that the man now about to achieve that dream will set about to also fulfill the other vision of Dr. King dreaming of a Revolution of Values.

Picture Courtesy of "Stevegarfield."

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Sting

Socialising Risk, Privatizing Profit

What happens when a democracy gets hijacked? When the pillars of justice metamorphose into pillars of sand and salt? When what was intended to be the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave transforms into a open battlefield for mean private rascals who don't give a damn about public interest and social justice let alone justice in international relations?

I have to admit, I'm a complete novice as far as finance and economy are concerned, but let's forget about the figures, shall we, and let us just talk in human terms.

Whatever the extent to which one might despise Capitalism in the sense with which it is run and presented to the world, i.e. an extreme egotistical and cruel social and political system, one should recognize the benefits liberal ideals have brought to humanity. It would be indeed extremely hypocritical to claim that without the spirit of freedom and self-initiative inspired and led by America and then inoculated to the world, humanity would have achieved much. The problem, from my humble point of view, is that the very noble ideals set forth by the so-called fathers of the American revolution, whom I'm sure had no Wall-Street gamblers nor pressure groups in mind when they were writing their constitution, have been diverted then perverted by private power in America to the point that the federal government has become a mere executioner for the benefit of a wealthy and extremely influential oligarchy.

What did Chomsky say? ... 'What remains of democracy is largely the right to choose among commodities.' ... He added that 'Business leaders have long explained the need to impose on the population a "philosophy of futility" and "lack of purpose in life," to "concentrate human attention on the more superficial things that comprise much of fashionable consumption."

'Deluged by such propaganda' he said, 'people may then accept their meaningless and subordinate lives and forget ridiculous ideas about managing their own affairs. They may abandon their fate to corporate managers and the PR industry and, in the political realm, to the self-described "intelligent minorities" who serve and administer power.'

And indeed they abandoned their fate. The American people, and in fact the world watched in mesmerized silence, the biggest transfer ever of wealth in human existence, from public to private hands, paralyzed as we were by the vision of the so-called doom and gloom that would ensue otherwise.

Is it the end of Capitalism as we know it ? Is it the end of American hegemony? I'm in no position nor capacity to foresee. Now, God knows how much I distrust extreme ideologies including Communism (in the Stalinist or Maoist version... or whatever.) And I'm, by no stretch of the imagination dreaming of a social utopia here. Indeed I hope that the best part of America will survive, that everybody would be able to enjoy the benefits of a free and productive life where fundamental human needs are met and where Justice reigns as the shared human religion. For as much as I despise Capitalism-American style, I realize the wonderful energy-releasing, opportunity-creating machine that a well regulated liberal economy represents.
Consumerist capitalism is an unsustainable way of life, apart from the fact that it is immoral, for the simple reason that we would need three or more planets to barely cover the needs of the greedy crowds that we have all become, deluged, as it were, by all the tempting environment around us.

"Let's burn the banks," said almost seriously my friend Yves the other day when we were talking about the matter at lunch time. A radical view supposedly shared by many who maybe are beginning to feel the consequences of the economic sting that now threatens their financial security.

Should America survive, she must rid itself of the ills that have poisoned its soul and have transformed the dream into a nightmare, allowed lobbyists and pressure groups to pervert the political system, the corporate media to subjugate the masses into an obsessive spending herd. All this having in effect corrupted the very spirit in which the American constitution has been written, a document supposed to be the end product of a very rich enlightening century that extracted man from its primitive condition as a slave of either the elements, kings, knights or fundamentalist priests. Leading quite paradoxically to a state of blind arrogance, unprecedented in human history, and most worrying of all, to establishing, in Chomsky's words, a "profoundly undemocratic character of state capitalist institutions, designed in large measure to socialise cost and risk and privatize profit, without a public voice."

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Last Man Standing

"One man with courage makes a majority." Andrew Jackson

Who said that all Jews are Zionists?

Who said that all Americans are brainwashed?
Who said that America has lost its soul completely?
Who pretends that no one American today dares criticizing Israel's crimes?

Judaism IS NOT Zionism...
Israel doesn't represent all Jews...
the Holocaust industry is a monumental fraudulous scheme (apart from the monumental crime itself) that serves justifying the unjustifiable and...

Norman G. Finkelstein is the living proof of the exception that, sadly, confirms the rule of a majority indeed opposing his clairvoyant and justice loving approach.

American Radical: A documentary coming soon in a theater near you, unless the hideous and insidious pro-Zionist censure decides otherwise.

Go and watch the
trailer NOW!

Monday, September 15, 2008

This blog will be on a symbolic
today, September the fifteenth in solidarity with Mohamed Erraji who might be momentarily free, but who hasn't yet got off the hook. Moroccan bloggers and their friends around the place are joining efforts to name and shame the Moroccan government and put pressure on those who can put an end to this parody of justice. Please join this effort by publishing links to Erraji's blog and to that of his supporting committee.

Latest: Erraji has been acquitted.

Friday, September 12, 2008

9/11, Seven Years On: Safer? Freer?

Yesterday was an interesting discussion on BBC's World Have Your Say on the subject matter of whether the American reaction to the 9/11 attacks "has made the world a safer place?" in which I had the chance to participate.

Much to my surprise, I discovered that one of the architects of American policies in the immediate aftermath of the shock was invited to answer the questions of anonymous listeners: Richard Perle, the Prince of Darkness as he is often dubbed; the Neocon par excellence.

Overall, my very modest intervention lasted for seconds but I took the opportunity to argue and state the obvious really: Whatever the rhetoric, as long as the symptomatic treatment, and that is an arduous police and intelligence work -not military,- as long as it is not supported by a tireless political effort to deal with the causes of despair and anger in the Arab and Muslim worlds, we are doomed at repeating tragedies of the past. In other words, as long as the question WHY is avoided, the problem of Terrorism will be around for some time still.

As I responded to the comment of my friend Abdelilah, who by the way also participated in the program, I like to make the analogy of the current American rhetoric with that of an acrobat, trying to convince himself and his public that he can walk his way safely, without falling, without loosing control, with a heavy elephant on his shoulders. The question in these circumstances is not IF he can handle it, but FOR HOW LONG!

In other words: as long as root causes of the problem are not dealt with genuinely, the sources of the recruitment of youngsters amongst the frustrated masses are not addressed head on, the elephant is inexorably going to fall upon our heads!

Is the world safer...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thou Shall Not Blog

Another prisoner of opinion, Mohamed Erraji, has been jailed (then released) in Morocco, and again for a crime of lèse-majesté.

A Moroccan court in the coastal city of Agadir has sentenced in September 08, 2008, Mohamed Erraji, a journalist and blogger, to two years in prison and to a fine of around 600 US dollars. Erraji was convicted for "failing to respect the sacrality of the monarch" under article 41 of the Moroccan press code.

In an article he published on HesPress (ar), an irreverent Moroccan electronic magazine, Erraji criticized the king's policy of rewarding people who adulate and praise him, much to the detriment of the common sense and public interest. Mohamed wrote (Original arabic version here - English translation from Global voices here by Amira Al Husseini) :

We need to admit that what has destroyed our country and made it plummet to this embarrassing level in all international rankings, is this economy of dispersing gratuities, which benefits the lucky sons and daughters of this country and overlooks the rest. Of course, we don't need to use the larger than life terms used by politicians to understand what this means. It simply means that some people can take the rights of others unjustly! Transportation licenses and nobility titles which the King distributes on citizens who send him letters, written using the same phrases used by beggars lining sidewalks, fall under this category of gratuities. Countries which respect their citizens do not turn them into beggars under the feet of nobility.

Instead, they develop factories and workshops for them to work in and earn their living with dignity. Even if we assume that such gratuities are only dispersed to deserving citizens such as the special needs and poor, which is impossible at any rate, this isn't anything that makes Moroccan citizens proud. The right to work, health care and education are granted by the Constitution. Therefore, the state should provide decent means of living for its citizens - other than humiliating them in this shameless manner.

During the 10-minute trial, the defendant wasn't allowed and has not been able to have a defense attorney.

The hilarious side of the story is that the same iniquitous and corrupt court, later retracted and allowed for a provisional release on bail of Mr Erraji pending his appeal of the judgment against him.

Reporters Without Borders: “We are relieved by Erraji’s provisional release. The Moroccan judicial system must now hear his appeal in a proper manner. We hope the outcome will be fair. Erraji is not guilty of insulting the king. We hope the court will not uphold the prison sentence.”

Erraji's lawyer who filed the appeal's request later declared that his client's "provisional release is the result of strong pressure. The decision came from a very high level."

What else indeed could have helped for the release of Erraji other than a "high-level" intervention in a judicial system under direct orders from the executive... namely the monarch?

CPJ noted that "press freedom in Morocco has notably regressed in recent years. Independent journalists have been the targets of a series of politicized court cases, financial pressures, and harassment from authorities. The country’s restrictive press code criminalizes offending the king, “defaming” the monarchy, insulting Islam or state institutions, and offending Morocco’s “territorial integrity.”"

In a fatalistic and pessimistic tone (not without some sense of derision,) Erraji closes his article writing:

[W]e should delay our dreams of a Morocco of equality and equal opportunities until the reign of Mohammad the Seventh, which will follow after that of Hassan the Third, who is the Crown Prince at present.

The idiotic and anachronistic trepidations of the Moroccan regime, are becoming disturbingly worrying. For how can any reasonable mind believe that such a medieval system of systematic censure ever work in face of a -definitely- awakening nation, thirsty of freedom, equality and genuine democracy?

This blog will then be on a symbolic strike, Monday, September the fifteenth in solidarity with Mohamed Erraji who might be momentarily free, but who hasn't yet got off the hook. Moroccan bloggers and their friends around the place are joining efforts to name and shame the Moroccan government and put pressure on those who can put an end to this parody of justice. Please join this effort by publishing links to Erraji's blog and to that of his supporting team.

Latest Update: Another example of the worrying state of affairs we're talking about, this news I've come across while browsing through Moroccan online newspapers: A member of the royal family, one of the King's ants husband, Hassan Alyaaqubi, has opened fire on a policemen who stopped Alyaaqubi for a misdemeanour traffic violation. The affair has apparently provoked a stir in the Moroccan street. What the hell is going on?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Ramadan Kareem

Picture Courtesy of "laNDN."

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Moroccan Extraordinary Renditions

The British high court has Friday, given David Miliband, the foreign secretary, a week to disclose documents related to the detention in 2004 (abduction shall we say) of a British resident, Binyam Mohamed currently detained at Guantánamo Bay.

As reported by the and according to Mohamed's team of defense, the man "was detained in Pakistan in 2002 and secretly rendered to Morocco, where he claims he was tortured by having his penis cut with a razor blade. He was also detained and interrogated in Afghanistan before being taken to Guantánamo Bay in 2004, where he is awaiting trial."

The anti-torture organization Reprieve, deplored the British government's reluctance to communicate documents which may prove Binyam's innocence and/or maltreatment. The head of the Organization declared that “The British government effectively says that a British resident’s right to a fair trial is less important than avoiding embarrassing the Bush Administration, and we’ll just gloss over the fact that he was tortured. But British national security cannot ever be enhanced by torture. To borrow from President Bill Clinton’s speech two days ago – the world is more impressed by the power of our example, than the example of America abusing its power. To suggest otherwise is, surely, Britain going back to the role of poodle.”

And how on earth shall I describe the despicable attitude of my own government? I'm speechless and abhorred by the Moroccan authorities' attitude, abasing themselves into a vulgar executor of America's dirty business. How is that for democracy and human rights which the regime is glossing over ad-nauseum?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Viva La Vida* (Slightly Modified)

Especially dedicated to Arab dictators.

I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own

I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemies eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing:
"Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!"

One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt, and pillars of sand

I hear [ ] bells [of change] are ringing
[Revolution] choirs are singing
[No more] mirrors [no] sword and shield
[No] missionaries in a foreign field
For some reason I can not explain
Once you know there was never, never an honest word
That was when I ruled the world

It was the wicked and wild wind
Blew down the doors to let me in.
Shattered windows and the sound of drums
People could not believe what I'd become
Revolutionaries wait
For my head on a silver plate
Just a puppet on a lonely string
Oh who would ever want to be king?

(*) I'm absolutely positively addicted to that song at the moment. I guess I shouldn't have modified its beautifully poetic lyrics, but the image it inspires me is so powerfully associated with the fate of some lonely autocrat looking back at his past glory with a hint of regret, and also the idea that what goes around, comes back around.