Monday, November 26, 2007

Bang on Target

The Political Compass
  • Economic Left (-5.38)
  • Social Libertarian (-6.10)
I've been pleased to discover on Ibn Kafka's blog (Obiter Dicta) that most of the usual progressive bloggers I've been meeting there and who submitted themselves to the "Political Compass Test" proposed by the blog's author, were that close to my own results on the same test (insofar as the test is as accurate and credible as the site claims and that it draws an outline of user's political leaning.)

Anyways; I would be really pleased to know what the same test's yield would be if applied to some usual suspects of the kind of Abdelilah, eatbees, Wassim, Jillian and all the others.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Strange Encounter

There she stood in the darkest corner of the room, looking dazed, probably altered by some earlier sipped doses of heavy alcohol but still looking terribly handsome. The room was saturated by a thick fog of cigarette smoke, some rock music was beaming out of the loudspeakers connected to a laptop reading some "illegally" downloaded mp3 files and everybody was speaking and laughing out-loud. Although I'm not an alcohol drinker, I rarely object to sharing my friend's (almost all of them drinkers) party times. Indeed I enjoy it most of the time. The scene I'm describing happened last Saturday in my colleague's place when he invited us all over to celebrate his... mm... how shall I say?... "career promotion." I know... it sounds pompous, but it was more of a pretext for partying. Anyway; at one point that night, I was approached by this young lady:

"Hi! my name is Cécile. I know you're a Moroccan. My parents were Moroccans too"

At which point I woke up from the state of lethargy I was slipping into. The whole evening I was listening to stupid argumentation about football, politics and some boozed-up stories of absolute nonsense, so I was pleased to engage into what seemed to be a promising conversation with a becoming interlocutor of the sort any sober being would be pleased to chat with.

"Yes indeed I am a Moroccan. Have you ever been in Morocco yourself?"

Her eyes were looking tired but she managed to gather strength and looked as if she was struggling to focus on every word she was going to pronounce. As if her life depended on it:

"No, I've never been in Morocco and my parents left the country when they were teenagers; they fled the country with the French in the late 50's and they never wanted to go back. The country will never be as it was in the past, my father always explains."

I thought: "F-L-E-D the country? what the hell is she talking about?"

"Are you sure you're talking about Morocco? I don't understand. If your parents were Moroccans, why would they have to leave with the French, why didn't they stay and enjoy independence?"

"My parents are Jews and they were afraid of the aftermath" she answered. "They feared the reaction of Muslims after the French protectors were gone. Now; don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Muslims but you can see how Jews are treated there nowadays... I think my parents took the right decision."

I always worry when anyone starts saying: "I do like Muslims, BUT..."; "I'm not a racist, BUT..." It's often a disclaimer for an issuing covered up racist diatribe. At that point, I felt that my blood was starting to boil and that I had to hold my fire and try to dig this intriguing matter up as dispassionately as I could.

"With respect, I really don't see what you're talking about. In my whole life I've never heard of or witnessed a Moroccan being attacked or discriminated against because he was a Jew. Yes you can find some scarce instances of mean racist behavior of the kind you'd find in every western society, but nothing really malign. In fact Jewish people -with all due respect to your parents- have fled the country not because they were threatened but because they were encouraged to do so, or deliberately pushed into a state of irrational fear of the Arabs (I mean Muslims) by the so many pernicious activities of Israel's Zionist agencies."

She turned red, but I didn't quite work out whether she was hurt, upset or just going to go berserk.

"I'm a secular Jew, I don't quite care about religious matters. In fact I'm agnostic. I'm suspicious of everything religious. You can't deny mounting antisemitic feelings amongst Muslims... and you cannot just put the blame on Israel... the only democracy in the region and a secular state."

There we go. My goodness! I glanced to my watch thinking: "I don't wanna get bogged down into this... Is this really worth loosing my time?" I was really annoyed by what I've just heard 'cause I really started to like the irresistibly attractive lady standing in front of me, looking offended.

"I'm not denying mounting antisemitic feelings not only amongst Muslims," I replied " but in every corner of the planet and I'm deeply saddened and concerned by that. It's very difficult to deny the obvious and I have no reason to denying that... But I think you've missed my point. Antisemitism is a despicable phenomenon; a symptom of a much profound disease. If you think like a Doctor you would surely want to treat the symptoms but you know that as long as the deep and pernicious source is left undiagnosed, you're running the risk of relapse. And you don't have to work it out that hard. The diagnosis has got a name: it's Zionism. Now, sure Zionism cannot be blamed for all the filthy antisemitic nut cases out there but it's surely a fundamental motive for many ignorant extremists and racists who find in Israel's actions and those of her supporters, the ideal pretext for further stigmatizing and defaming Jews for no reason other than they are Jews. But I think that you should stop deluding yourself with regard to Israel: First it is not a democracy... Did you get that? IT IS NOT A DEMOCRACY. No democracy in the world would divide its citizens into two or three classes: Ashkenazi being first-class citizens, Sephardi and Falasha being arguably the second, and last & indeed least, the unwanted pesky Arabs put in some sort of non-citizenship status. As for Israel being a secular state: I agree that the founding figures of Zionism, from Herzl onward, have been for the most part secular; in fact most of them were atheists, but you have to admit that Judaism was used by those same figures to gain political and moral support for their scheme. If you mistrust anything religious as you claim, I don't see how you can miss the ludicrously obvious religious undertone of the Israeli state which claims to represent all Jews on this planet?"

Now she's seriously blushing. May be I should work out a way out of this. I don't want to be ripped apart by this young lady. Cowardice? Yea! maybe. Who wouldn't lack courage in front of such a delicate creature? She finally replied:

"I don't like Israel, nor do I like Arabs... I mean Arab countries... I mean States. I know where you're coming from but I don't like politics anyway. I don't like politics..."

Well I didn't ask her to dislike Israel or even to love Arabs... All I was asking for, is a bit more of fairness. Now I can't help defining as racist anyone proclaiming his or her dislike or even liking of one group of human beings or another because this is the typical kind of irrational mindset that brought terrible tragedies in the very near past. I mean Arabs, Jews, Blacks or Asians are not clones or a bunch of perfectly homogeneous individuals; therefore there is no reasonable basis for liking or disliking each group as a whole. There is no black and white (no pun intended) kind of answer for that.

We decided to cut short the conversation, changing the subject and trying to enjoy the rest of the evening, not without a little pinch of disappointment in my heart. "Never trust appearances" my grandmother always told me... yes! but I still wonder if I should have asked for her number... to expand on the conversation of course not for what some twisted minds would think... of course!

(picture credit: "JMC")

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sunlight at Midnight

News coming from Palestine those days are quite depressing. Nothing new one might argue, but the deepening divisions amongst the Palestinian society have made it painful for the so many supporters of the noble cause of liberation in Palestine to keep on fighting. So I was delighted to hear (a bit late I have to admit) about this play called "Sunlight at Midnight." Created by the Palestine Theatre in Motion group and supported by Amnesty International, the play commemorates the 25th anniversary of the brutal massacre of Palestinian refugees in the Sabra-Shatila camps. The cast include Najla Said, the daughter of the late Palestinian scholar Edward Said.

"A British Palestinian solicitor, Naji, lives in London doing his best to avoid involvement with the politics that affected his fellow Palestinians. He is successful, happy and assimilated into British society. On a night out celebrating his engagement to his long time girlfriend Alice, they hear a beautiful song by a young woman. Although he cannot understand much about the song, a few days later Naji comes back alone to the same restaurant to hear it again. His growing attachment to the young singer breaks the illusion of his carefully ordered life.

"Guided by the young singer's haunting voice and snippets of emails and articles, Naji follows the story of Hani, a 19 year old boy in from Shatila. It's 1982 and all Palestinian fighters have been allowed safe exit out of Beirut under a peace agreement. Hani bids his family goodbye not realizing it is not he but they who are in danger and that he will never see them again.

"Naji's interest in the past soon reveals more about his own feelings. Are his arguments with Alice over wedding arrangements merely cold feet or a deeper disquiet? Can he really escape the effects of what happened to his fellow Palestinians in Beirut 25 years ago?"

The Palestine Theatre in Motion website doesn't mention dates other than those planned in the UK. If anybody is listening and maybe aware of further presentations throughout Europe (especially in France) please let me know.

(picture credit: "FreePal")

Monday, November 5, 2007

Musharaf Mounts a Coup Against Musharaf

Gen. Pervert... Oh Sorry! Pervez Musharaf has cancelled democracy in Pakistan, put journalists, Human Rights Activists, lawyers and secular political opponents in jail, dismissed irreverent judges and imposed a de facto martial law. All this, amidst almost complete silence apart from some timidly pronounced half-condemnations from the major western capitals, most of which are heavily involved in the current volatile situation.

One thing still torments me: how many medals are they on this uniform? I counted 16... I guess most of these decorations have been won by the General while sitting on his sofa playing some odd war games... Certainly not on the battle field.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Is There Anybody Alive Out There?

Yes, the Boss is still alive and kicking. I bought Springsteen's latest album (perfectly titled): "Magic," which is only just that. Now I hate promoting anything or anyone, but that one Album is worth the publicity, I can tell you; and not just for the astounding songs quality but also for the power of the lyrics.

Wondering whether "there is still anybody alive out there" he only echoes (or at least that's the way I understood his lyrics... hope I'm not wrong!) my own concern and consternation about the lethargy that appears to have struck America, the UK and all of the Western world. People seem to have lost touch with the reality around them, blidingly trusting their leaders. Also a dreadful apathy seems to have infiltrated the so-far animated and inspired progressive blogosphere... which now sounds deafeningly silent.

The Bushies are preparing another illegal attack against Iran. The second phase of the Great Oil Robbery looks well under way and the world looks like it's sleep-walking towards, yet another disaster. This one though, may prove to be cataclysmic. More people will be sent to die for other people's interests. I hope someone is listening... if so: WAKE UP PEOPLE... I wanna hear some RHYTHM!

Here is some More... Rhythm!

Ian Brown- Illegal Attacks- Polydor Ltd. 2007

And More...

Image courtesy of