Old Sana’a at Dusk - Yemen (by M. Khatib)
A night-time aerial view of oppression. The smothering effects of hermetic, rigid, dictatorial ideologies are evident, even from outer space.
The legacy of these sociopathic socialists and communists: famine, brutality, slavery, poverty….economies left in ruin….infrastructure destroyed….families fractured….spirits extinguished….life oppressed into a living death….bleak and dark.
Yet….look to the South….where the light of freedom and liberty shines into the heavens! Spirits soar….a beautiful country is built….economies flourish….laughter pervades….families join together….and life thrives.
When will we ever learn….
Give me liberty, or give me death!
—Patrick Henry (1736-1799)
Can you guess which Korea these slums are in?
Look at this lady’s spirit soaring!
Yup, freedom and prosperity by the bucketful here…
Atta Sabbah, 13, is paralyzed after an Israeli soldier shot him in the spine after buying a soda..
On 21 May this year, Atta wasn’t throwing stones. He wasn’t involved in clashes or provocations with soldiers. Atta committed no known crime.
He completed his final exam and went to retrieve a school bag that had been taken from him by a soldier the day before. On his way to the Jalazone Boys School, he stopped by a small corner shop to buy a soda. He opened the can, saw two soldiers hiding behind a wall, and turned around to run away.
One of the soldiers aimed a machine gun and fired a single bullet, changing his life forever. One “dum-dum” or exploding bullet severed Atta’s spinal cord and he fell to the ground. The bullet ravaged tissues and caused irreparable damage to his spleen, pancreas and liver, and left him with multiple fractured ribs.
Atta is a harmless child who used to spend his free time tending to his pigeons. Every day now — as he tries to maneuver his way through the narrow, uneven streets of the refugee camp — Atta is reminded of his new reality.
New York City: Hundreds of protesters demanding “Hands Off Syria!” march and block traffic throughout Times Square, August 29, 2013.
I think these photos capture the dynamic (and somewhat chaotic) character of this great demonstration.
The pedestrian island next to the Armed Forces Recruiting Station where we usually rally was torn up for construction. It turned out to our benefit — most of the several hundred protesters marched throughout the Times Square area, frequently blocking traffic and spreading our message very widely.
Photos by redguard
This is the real story of today’s bloodbath. Who can be surprised that some Muslim Brotherhood supporters were wielding Kalashnikovs on the streets of Cairo? Or that supporters of the army and its “interim government” – in middle-class areas of the capital, no less – have seized their weapons or produced their own and started shooting back. This is not Brotherhood vs army, though that is how our Western statesmen will mendaciously try to portray this tragedy. Today’s violence has created a cruel division within Egyptian society that will take years to heal; between leftists and secularists and Christian Copts and Sunni Muslim villagers, between people and police, between Brotherhood and army. That is why Mohamed el-Baradei resigned tonight. The burning of churches was an inevitable corollary of this terrible business.
In Algeria in 1992, in Cairo in 2013 – and who knows what happens in Tunisia in the coming weeks and months? – Muslims who won power, fairly and democratically through the common vote, have been hurled from power. And who can forget our vicious siege of Gaza when Palestinians voted – again democratically – for Hamas? No matter how many mistakes the Brotherhood made in Egypt – no matter how promiscuous or fatuous their rule – the democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi was overthrown by the army. It was a coup, and John McCain was right to use that word.
The Brotherhood, of course, should long ago have curbed its amour propre and tried to keep within the shell of the pseudo-democracy that the army permitted in Egypt – not because it was fair or acceptable or just, but because the alternative was bound to be a return to clandestinity, to midnight arrests and torture and martyrdom. This has been the historical role of the Brotherhood – with periods of shameful collaboration with British occupiers and Egyptian military dictators – and a return to the darkness suggests only two outcomes: that the Brotherhood will be extinguished in violence, or will succeed at some far distant date – heaven spare Egypt such a fate – in creating an Islamist autocracy.
The pundits went about their poisonous work today before the first corpse was in its grave. Can Egypt avoid a civil war? Will the “terrorist” Brotherhood be wiped out by the loyal army? What about those who demonstrated before Morsi’s overthrow? Tony Blair was only one of those who talked of impending “chaos” in bestowing their support on General Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi. Every violent incident in Sinai, every gun in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood will now be used to persuade the world that the organisation – far from being a poorly armed but well-organised Islamist movement – was the right arm of al-Qa’ida.
History may take a different view. It will certainly be hard to explain how many thousands – yes, perhaps millions – of educated, liberal Egyptians continued to give their wholehearted support to the general who spent much time after the overthrow of Mubarak justifying the army’s virginity tests of female protesters in Tahrir Square. Al-Sisi will come under much scrutiny in the coming days; he was always reputedly sympathetic to the Brotherhood, although this idea may have been provoked by his wife’s wearing of the niqab. And many of the middle-class intellectuals who have thrown their support behind the army will have to squeeze their consciences into a bottle to accommodate future events.
Could Nobel Prize-holder and nuclear expert Mohamed el-Baradei, the most famous personality – in Western eyes, but not in Egyptian - in the ‘interim government’, whose social outlook and integrity looked frighteningly at odds with ‘his’ government’s actions today, have stayed in power? Of course not. He had to go, for he never intended such an outcome to his political power gamble when he agreed to prop up the army’s choice of ministers after last month’s coup. But the coterie of writers and artists who insisted on regarding the coup as just another stage in the revolution of 2011 will - after the blood and el-Baradei’s resignation – have to use some pretty anguished linguistics to escape moral blame for these events.
Stand by, of course, for the usual jargon questions. Does this mean the end of political Islam? For the moment, certainly; the Brotherhood is in no mood to try any more experiments in democracy – a refusal which is the immediate danger in Egypt. For without freedom, there is violence. Will Egypt turn into another Syria? Unlikely. Egypt is neither a sectarian state – it never has been, even with 10 per cent of its people Christian – nor an inherently violent one. It never experienced the savagery of Algerian uprisings against the French, or Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian insurgencies against both the British and the French. But ghosts aplenty will hang their heads in shame today; that great revolutionary lawyer of the 1919 rising, for example, Saad Zaghloul. And General Muhammad Neguib whose 1952 revolutionary tracts read so much like the demands of the people of Tahrir in 2011.
But yes, something died in Egypt today. Not the revolution, for across the Arab world the integrity of ownership – of people demanding that they, not their leaders, own their own country – remains, however bloodstained. Innocence died, of course, as it does after every revolution. No, what expired today was the idea that Egypt was the everlasting mother of the Arab nation, the nationalist ideal, the purity of history in which Egypt regarded all her people as her children. For the Brotherhood victims today – along with the police and pro-government supporters – were also children of Egypt. And no one said so. They had become the “terrorists”, the enemy of the people. That is Egypt’s new heritage.
Oh look. US imperialism strikes again
An important read for anyone following escalations on the peninsula.
The US military plans to set up a base for drones in northwest Africa to bolster surveillance of al-Qaida’s affiliate in the region as well as allied Islamist extremists, a US official told AFP on Monday.
The base for the robotic, unmanned aircraft would likely be located in Niger, on the eastern border of Mali, where French forces are currently waging a campaign against al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
If the plan gets the green light, up to 300 US military service members and contractors could be sent to the base to operate the drone aircraft, according to the New York Times.
US Africa Command was also looking at an alternative location for the base in Burkina Faso, the official said.
The United States and Niger signed a status of forces agreement Monday, which will provide legal safeguards for any American forces in the country. The Pentagon secures such agreements for base arrangements or troop deployments.
As news emerged of the planned drone base, the Wall Street Journal reported that US military and intelligence officials were weighing plans to provide French fighter aircraft with sophisticated data to help them hunt down militants in Mali.
President Barack Obama’s administration waited for more than two weeks before agreeing to offer aerial refueling tankers to the French forces, amid concerns among some advisers that assisting the French could draw the United States into an open-ended conflict.
The Obama administration has also provided transport planes to help ferry French weapons and troops and to share intelligence with Paris from surveillance aircraft, including reportedly unmanned Global Hawk spy planes.
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