Writing from Jerusalem
No one knows whether the Middle East is at the dawn of a new era with the accession of President Obama to leadership, whether between Obama, the new Saudi king’s very serious Peace Proposal, and President Assad’s keen interest in a peace process, that we are at the dawn of a strong consensus to finally resolve the central conflict of the region, the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. We could also be at the beginning of a downward spiral of hatred, revenge, populist rage, military force, fanatical manipulation, and zero sum desperate final measures of power and destruction that will yield unprecedented human misery in the region. I cannot tell, honestly.
But I do know that we are all responsible for this. We are responsible in everything we say and do, and in every action that we support. The nonsense that corrupt…
She sits in a room that is dark. There are no lights, there is no gas or oil. There is no heat, there is no electricity. Those were rare luxuries even before the bombs fell because she is in prison. A place of blockades cut off from the rest of the world for over a year. But now there is no heat at all, and it is freezing cold at night. And, more importantly, she must keep all the windows open for if not they will all shatter from the vibrations of buildings exploding nearby and the glass will explode onto her children.
So she huddles with her children under ten blankets. The children cannot drink milk nor find any meat because she cannot afford these luxuries. She was brought up by a Sufi sheikh, and she was taught so many…
Israeli aircraft dropped over 100 tons of explosives on the Gaza Strip throughout Saturday as part of operation “Cast Lead” launched in response to the ongoing rocket attacks on Israel, but Gaza’s inhabitants worry that the worst is yet to come.
The strikes caused widespread panic and confusion in Gaza, as black clouds of smoke rose above the territory, ruled by Hamas for the past 18 months. Some of the Israeli missiles struck in densely populated areas as children were leaving school, and women rushed into the streets frantically looking for their children. Most of those killed were security men, but civilians were among the dead.
Said Masri sat in the middle of a Gaza City street, close to a security compound, alternately slapping his face and covering his head with dust from the bombed-out building.
“My son is gone, my son is gone,”
Reporting from Jerusalem this month:
An astonishing statement from Benjamin Netanyahu. Not only does he have a plan to topple Hamas in Gaza through assassinations (as if that was not already tried and aborted by warriors more talented and experienced than he), but he also plans to proceed with diplomacy in his region by making clear to President Assad that the Golan will stay in Jewish hands:
“It should be clear to the Syrians and to the world, the Golan Heights will stay in our hands,” Netanyahu said.
This is a fascinating position. Either Mr. Netanyahu is delusional in terms of his understanding of Syria and the political realities of the moment, or he holds the Israeli right-wing voting public in contempt. My hunch is the latter, and I felt the same way about McCain’s contempt for his right wing in the United States. Everyone knew that ‘time was up’ …
I was impressed by Bill Ayers’ recent public disclosure. His anguished re-reading of the Vietnam Era, his desperate attempt to stop a war that killed millions of Vietnamese people and 60,000 Americans, his remorse over some of the more extreme efforts he made, and his explanation of the principled violent and illegal stands that he took, all suggest a person of conscience and subtlety. I would not have done what he did in those buildings, and I would not demonize a military or country that way his group did, but only because of what I now know about the poison of demonization. In fact the radical right demonized and scapegoated Ayers in order to destroy the candidacy of Barack Obama. Demonization is a problematic domestic political form of terrorism that must resisted. I am both relieved by who is and horrified by what was done to him by this campaign.…
Millions of Muslims across India have decided to temper or even cancel festivities on their most cherished week of holy yearly celebrations, the Eid, in protest of crimes committed in the name of Islam by the criminals who murdered so many in Mumbai.
They wore black ribbons, carried placards of peace, sent out emails and SMSes reiterating harmony, and put up banners saluting those who died in the 26/11 terrorist attack. From Chennai’s Thousand Lights Mosque to Delhi’s Jama Masjid, from Khwaza Banda Nawaz dargah in Gulbarga, to the mosques of Mumbai – Bakr-Eid celebrations were subdued, in a symbolic declaration of Muslim protest against terrorism.
“At every dargah, prayers were said for the grieving families in Mumbai. In Ajmer Sharief, Kaliyar Sharief (Uttarakhand) and Barabanki’s Deva Sharief, the community came together burying their differences to focus on one thing: communal harmony. By showing our unity, we have spoilt the