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A New Home

This blog has found a new home at http://www.anasqtiesh.com . If you have an RSS subscription please update it to http://www.anasqtiesh.com/feed/ .

I’ve had a good run on this blog although I had a poor average of one post per month. Anyway, it was time to move on to a self-hosted domain where I can have more control over the look and the content of my blog. Don’t believe me? have a look at the new awesome design of the new blog:

New Blog screenshot

What do you think? head over there now.

Today Paul Carr, my favorite author on Tech Crunch, announced that he will make the pdf version of his latest book “Bringing Nothing to Party” available for free through a Creative Commons licence allowing noncommercial redistribution while crediting his website htttp://www.paulcarr.com .

I haven’t read the book yet so I will withhold giving an opinion for now. If you feel adventurous enough to start reading a 275 page book you can download it right here.

No Way Through

The following video came through my RSS reader. It’s an award winning short film on the illegal checkpoints imposed by the Israeli Occupation(sic). Routinely, Palestinians in need of immediate medical attention are denied access to it, harassed, assaulted, and forced to give birth with out access to basic medical attention. Sometimes they’re even shot at those checkpoints. I leave you with video.

[Hat tip to Jazarah]

Photo by Anas Qtiesh

I had the opportunity to attend a presentation by the brilliant Palestinian journalist and photographer Mohammed Omer which was properly named Welcome to Hell. He demonstrated the the situation in Gaza, the Israeli war crimes, and his experience as a journalist working under the Israeli occupation in Gaza and the abuses and assault he was subjected to by Israeli soldiers.

Omer shocked an awed the audience with striking photos and videos almost never seen by a “western citizen” and he recounted tales of horror of families killed; homes demolished over the heads of its residents; children risking their lives to go to a bombed house looking for a bicycle, or to see whether their favorite school bag survived; and elderly women cooking grass to survive. Needless to say that’s all a result of the Israeli siege on Gaza that has been going on for years now while the international community stands silently on the sidelines.

What really amazed me was his talk about the fluffy names of Israeli operations in Gaza: Rainbow; Summer Rain; and, if I remember correctly, Plucking Flowers where Israeli soldiers would walk around randomly shooting civilians (children included) point-blank.

Looking at Omer’s Wikipedia page you’ll find out that “in 2008, Omer was awarded the 2007 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. In the award citation, Omer was honored as ‘the voice of the voiceless’ and his reports were described as a ‘humane record of the injustice imposed on a community forgotten by much of the world.'”

On his return to Gaza after winning the award, he was assaulted by Israeli Soldier’s at Allenby Bridge and received severe bodily injuries including broken ribs and spine damage. He is still receiving treatment for these injuries till this day. But that’s not the worst of his problems: in 2003 his 17 year-old  brother was killed by sniper bullets as he was going to school. Three years later his mother sustained severe injuries as she jumped out of a house window to escape with her life as an Israeli Army bulldozer was tearing down their 2-story house with no prior warning. Almost all of his younger siblings were injured by the Israeli army at one time or another.

After all he went through, he stood at Harvard advocating a nonviolent approach to end the suffering in Gaza. He asked the people to spread the message and pressure their congressmen to cease blind preferential treatment for Israel. He pointed out a small yet significant progress: The Congress condemned the Goldstone report as biased with a vote of 344 to 36. While the aggression were taking place the Congress overwhelmingly voted against condemning Israeli actions with only 2 in opposition. This counted as a success to a slowly, yet steadily, growing BDS Movement (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) against Israeli occupation.

Mohammed Omer will go on with his tour before going to the Netherlands to resume medical treatment for the aforementioned injuries. His work is available on his website: http://www.rafahtoday.org .

Care to act?

Today is Blog Action Day, this year’s theme is Climate Change which many of you know is happening rapidly. Sea levels are rising at an increasing pace, and we’re losing glaciers and polar ice caps. Global action on the subject is a long way from being satisfactory or effective. The US demands China to lower their CO2 emissions because China is the worst offender when it comes to emissions. On the other hand, China demands that the US lower emissions since the US has the largest carbon print per capita. The blame game goes on and in the end  – which is coming a lot sooner than we projected – all of us are losing. Continue Reading »

Karim Arbaji has just been sentenced to three years in prison for defending human rights in Syria. Meanwhile, the Syrian blogosphere is bustling with posts advocating admirable and worthy campaigns. There’s the astounding campaign against masturbation, the noble Blogging Week for Moral Decay, and the enlightening campaign for Blogging Against Fossilized Thinking.

The background of this story is this post by Abu Fares, a response ridiculing the infamous call for a campaign against masturbation. The commentators on that post eventually came up with their own ideas for  random blogging campaigns. In essence to further mock that blogger, and the perceived religious bloggers he’s associated with.

I have to say that upon reading about the anti-masturbation campaign I cracked up. Also, I posted about it on Global Voices, sans-sarcasm. Some people were amused by the idea and tweeted the link of the article and a friend of mine wrote to me saying that the campaigner is likely to have a crowd supporting his campaign that you could fit in a phone booth. So, many people find – me included – that idea outrageous, But does that warrant the ridicule of the blogger? Does that make it ok to put aside all the great words and thoughts I’ve seen many Syrian bloggers write on each of their blogs to combine forces to fight this supposed “common enemy” called religiousness?

Continue Reading »

United States of America President George W. B...

Image via Wikipedia

Gregory Levey suggested in the Newsweek today that President Obama should appoint George W. Bush as his Mideast envoy to gain the trust of Israelis in order achieve the American “wish list” with the Israeli Government. The “full-court press” wishes are the following:

They want Israel to stop expanding settlements; to stop building Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem; and for hawks in the government to chill out while the U.S. is negotiating with Iran.

So Mr. Levey suggests that the U.S. needs to acquire Israeli trust in order to stop the illegal settlements, illegal Judaization of Jerusalem, and to have Israeli permission to have talks with Iran. The absurdity of his suggestion is only matched by a fact he mentions to justify his outrageous suggestion:

In the history of U.S.-Israel relations, probably no president has earned adoration and unequivocal trust from Israel like Bush.

It strikes me that the U.S. President that was considered by the rest of the world as the worst (and most stupid) U.S president in history was the most popular among the Israelis. His achievements were: dragging the U.S. into two pointless wars and promoting anti-American sentiment in the world like never before, and right before his second term was over he practically destroyed the American economy to the extent they had to borrow astronomical sums of money from CHINA to keep the economy going. Of course he was rewarded by a flood of jokes on his expense by late night comedy shows and a sewage plant that was honorably named after him.

Yet of course:, Levey continues with another gem:

During the Bush years, Israelis were consistently among the few foreign populations that gave the American president high approval marks—often in far greater proportion than Americans themselves.

It appears, according to Levey, that the measure of a good American president is how much the Israelis love him, regardless of the catastrophes he brings onto the very people who elected him. After all, voters are dismissible once the elections are won. A better alternative would be that Bush becomes the  honorary Israeli president since he has unprecedented approval rates there and they’re practically fawning over him, although I’m sure the trend would be reversed if this were really to happen . This alternative suggestion, though absurd, is a much superior solution to the Middle East problems than Mr. Levey’s well-thought-well-written plan.

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