Monday, December 31, 2007

Zeroes & Heroes

Many actors played different roles in shaping the ups and downs of last year events. Some usual suspects who left already their print in previous years have proven to be resiliently present in 2007. Others have emerged as new figures. Here are the makers and breakers who caught my eye in '07.

The Zeros

The gangster administration in Washington

Responsible for the killing (in a way or another) of well over one million Iraqis (according to the most conservative estimates) and the displacement of more than four million others, the Bush administration has persevered in manipulating the facts and succeeded in stirring up factional and sectarian divisions within Iraq. Divide and rule as the old adage goes. The puppet regime in Baghdad, a rubber stamp of what ever Washington decides has shown complete incompetence and subservience and proved to be completely disconnected from the Iraqi people. Although one can only be pleased by the relative decrease in the number of terrorist attacks (from whatever source they might come) and casualties among civilians, the fact remains that Iraq is still under occupation by a colossal number of foreign troops, backed by some hundred thousands mercenaries; and that its oil resources have now been de facto mortgaged by major American oil companies through the euphemistically called Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs).

The Apartheid regime in Israel

Israel has shown, yet again, to those who had a shred of doubt about its real -barely hidden- intentions, that it is not, had not and will not be prepared to pay the price of JUSTICE, the only and genuine road-map for PEACE. Its lobby and supporting "think" tanks have shown, beyond any reasonable doubt how influential they were in shaping American foreign policy towards the question of Palestine. Scholars have yet again been silenced and the systematic accusation of anti-Semitism has been brandished to all those who dared challenging the received wisdom about Israel branded as the "only democracy in region," when it is the only remaining apartheid state in the World. The Gaza concentration camp has been squeezed into a cruel embargo which is aimed at collectively punish the Palestinians for having democratically voted in the wrong way. A stooge government has been anointed: "the legitimate government of Palestine," effectively playing the role of the I'D'F in oppressing the occupied people in Palestine. Signed agreements (remember Annapolis?) have been dishonoured and more illegal settlements have been built up on equally illegal colonies planted on the land stolen from the Palestinians.

Arab despots and potentates (without exception, from the Atlantic to the Arabian-Persian sea)
At the very root of the complete tragedy experienced by Arabs and Muslims all over the world, the Arab regimes, 22 in total, managed to stay in power in large part because (or thanks to) the Western support. These are the most incompetent, backward, inept, power-obsessed and megalomaniac heads of states on the planet. Of course, the peoples have only the kind of government they deserve." This is true to a large extent, and one should not easily put all the blame on external conspirators, although the conspiracy is not all theoretical. Taha Hussein, the dean of contemporary Arabic literature and a pioneer of enlightenment in the Arab World (according to once said:

"We want to be free people in our countrie[s], free of foreigners such that they cannot oppress us or treat us unjustly, and free with respect to ourselves, such that no one of us can oppress or treat another unjustly."

Religious fanatics of all sides
Since 9/11, religious fanaticism has been thriving. Alqaeda found in the actions of the Bush administration, which has mainly gained the white house -especially in its second term-thanks to the very "generous" support of very influential Christian fundamentalists -most of them openly Zionists-, the more powerful recruitment argument for its campaign of terror and nihilist destruction. Extremes have always campaigned for each other!

The Heroes

President Hugo Chavez
The Venezuelan president has won more democratic and transparent elections, and more popular referenda than any other living leader. He is independent and pro-people, hence the hostility of the Western establishment towards him. More power to you Chavez!

Illan Pappé

The courageous Israeli historian has published at the beginning of this year, the English version of his book ""Ethnic Cleansing in Palestine." A refreshingly honest account of how Israel seeks, as it had always sought to, to systematically and methodically kill, harass, terrorise and push the Palestinians to the edge so that they lose hope and renounce their rights and eventually leave their homeland.

Norman Finkelstein

Another victim of the Israel lobby in America, forced to resign from his position for no reason other than being forensically objective about the realities of the middle east. Fascism is still alive and kicking!

John Pilger

Award-winning independent journalist and a renowned documentary film-maker. "The War on Democracy" is his latest opus. A startling reminder of the ravages that capitalism has already caused in Latin America, considered for decades to be the American (USA) preserve. Based on an arrogant imperial vision of the world and on the so-called Washington Consensus which theorized and underpinned the neo-liberal policies for the last two or three decades, successive American administrations made sure that no genuine democracy springs in the southern half of the continent: putting absolute potentates at the head of States, overthrowing democratically elected governments and sponsoring a class of plutocrats monopolizing their country's wealth at the expense of impoverished populations.

Aboubakr Jamaï
The founder of the most popular Moroccan magazine, Le Journal Hebdo, was forced earlier this year, to leave Morocco in order to avoid paying a record breaking fine of $350,000, that would otherwise bankrupt his magazine. He is one of the most popular and charismatic young journalists that the country has ever produced, and one who marked the recent Moroccan journalistic scene by bringing a revolutionary new style of professional investigative journalism. He openly challenged the monarchy and the military and literally paid the price. In November 2005, Jamaï wrote a ground-breaking open letter to Mohamed VI in which he urged the monarch to grab the opportunity of his political virginity and his capital of popular sympathy to put the country on the tracks of reform. The letter fell on deaf ears.

Happy new year to all.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

What a Real Happy New Year Would Mean

One Answer Would Be: Getting Rid of Poverty and Child Labor

This is not meant as a miserabilist attempt to hamper the joy of those who, legitimately, want to forget about the ills and miseries of our society. But it is a reminder of the kind of obstacles still ahead.

Thanks for Amine, my indefatigable and tremendously resourceful correspondent and friend.

Short movie by a young Moroccan director (name not communicated), posted on the Internet last September

Friday, December 28, 2007

Qui Bono?

Benazir Bhutto 1953 - 2007

Multiple Choice Question:

Who benefits from the murder of Ms. Bhutto?

A. The Pakistani ruling junta ready for anything to maintain the status-quo?
B. The fundamentalist nutcases and their nihilist and cowardly vision of the world?
C. Some external forces who might find some benefit in keeping Pakistan as volatile and unstable as possible?

Ms. Bhutto has been accused of incompetence, nepotism and corruption in the past, nevertheless she has never been convicted nor has any evidence ever been brought against her. One thing is for sure: she was a hell of a courageous, beautiful and charismatic woman. A Muslim woman who undeniably loved her country and refused to hand it over to arbitrary rulers or to absolutist fanatics.

Pakistan -a nuclear power- is a bullet away from Islamic revolution which would plunge the whole country into a night, darker than the one it already struggles to override. I think that the best homage that her followers may offer to her memory is for their party to get rid of the current prevailing nepotistic system and transform it into a modern and democratic party, offering the secularist alternative that most Pakistanis are today in bad need for.

Rest in peace Ms. Bhutto.

Some Links:

> Murtaza Shibli's summing up of the life and death of Binazir Bhutto and the surrounding drama unfolding in Pakistan.

> Benazir Bhutto hosted by Aljazeera's David Frost, last november.

> The life and death of Benazir Bhutto.

> This is what the Moroccan blogosphere thinks about this tragedy (Thanks Jillian!)

Image courtesy of

Monday, December 24, 2007

Meditations on Mary, Jesus and the Wall

If Mary was to give birth to Jesus Christ today, she would have to go through Israeli checkpoints and be harassed by I'D'F soldiers, only to find herself blocked by the apartheid wall from making her journey from Jerusalem to Bethlehem!

Merry Christmas to all, especially those living under occupation in the holy land of Palestine.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Keep Walking America

A Reflexion on What Comes Next

Studying the rapacious behavior of US governments one after the other and in the face of the utter helplessness of most of the ordinary people to even beginning to curb or influence any of these American policies despite the -often- detrimental effects on these same people's lives, security, sovereignty and independence, many resort to a passive and fatalistic state of mind, considering that nothing, nobody, nowhere could ever affect in any effective way, shape or form the pervasive, imperialistic attacks on their lives; thinking that maybe taming the world's only superpower is the only way out.

There is indeed no reason to believe that a violent confrontation would produce any good, but rather reinforce the more fundamentalist, imperialistic and hawkish elements of the American establishment, giving them yet another pretext for more unthinkable adventures.

Non-violent decent, engagement and active progressive political involvement is -in my humble view- the way forward. And equally important is the sens of the "middle-way" as eatbees (definitely my favourite blogger, now taking some rest) very eloquently put it in his
very moving and extraordinarily honest post when he reflected on the way and intensity with which he would try to change the world around him without having to lose his independence or his soul.

No reasonable mind can ever deny the huge benefits that America has brought to the world, but the same once-great nation is pushed by a sort of mad drive; a system that went out of control; a foreign policy led by so-called pressure groups and lobbies who only serve private rather than public interests; a consumerist model based on waste and futility that now threatens the survival of the species; a military-industrial complex always pushing for more blood and wars; powerful oil companies pressing for ever more invasions and mad military adventures; wealthy and influential religious fundamentalists who have decided that you're either with them, hence "good" or against them, hence "evil"; a political class that has sold its soul and pledged allegiance to the oligarchy, the real power holders.

Yet, the path in which America walks today has led nations before her to complete disasters and failures. Oppressive and dominating powers end-up corrupting their own people and dangerously corroding their morals.

As the new year looms at the horizon, one only hopes that the worrying dynamics now underpinning world politics will hopefully evolve to a situation where ideally the people of the world take matters into their own hands and a sort of global democracy takes place where the wealth produced is fairly distributed and where the governments are working for addressing the real needs of the people, as sustainably as they can, in full respect of the environment, rather that simply serving the wealthy influential oligarchy: the private tyrannies who are now running the world and leading us all to an inexorable disaster.

America must change course. Untill that happens, keep lying, keep manipulating, keep conspiring, keep vetoing... keep walking America untill you realize that you can no longer afford failing your own people, betraying the spirit of your own constitution, losing your soul and the World in the process.

Some are Beginning to Introspect...

Some Have Already Warned...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

It's the People We're Talking About!

It's always refreshing to find that someone out-there is sticking the argument right on the correct place and making the good diagnosis and proposing the right answer:

No to imperialist war!
No to the theocratic regime!
The immediate and unconditional withdrawal of US/UK troops from the Gulf region!
Opposition to Israeli expansionism and aggression!
Support to all working class and progressive struggles in Iran against poverty and repression!
Support for socialism, democracy and workers' control in Iran!
For a nuclear-free Middle East as a step towards a nuclear-free world!

These are the words of the people of Iran (look at "
Hands Off the People of Iran"), not the Mullahs, nor the puppets presenting themselves as "the Iranian opposition" and who are fuelling the rhetoric in Washington and helping the neocons campaign to go further in their path to demonise Iran and push the theocratic regime there to commit the unthinkable, offering them the cassus belli they've been waiting for for so long. The recent joint American intelligence agencies' report which confirmed a bit of what any reasonable observer knew already, doesn't seem to deter the Bushies from keeping on with their calumny business.