Celebrating Newroz: Sunshine on the Beirut Seafront
On March 21, Beirut’s seafront celebrated Newroz, or new year for the country’s Kurdish community. Held on the spring equinox, the occasion is shared by multiple Central Asian and Middle Eastern communities.
Children played with bright balloons, women in shiny dresses danced, and men waved the colors of the Kurdish flag in the Lebanese capital. Speaking to each other in Kurdish, in a rare public show of linguistic oneness, whole families enjoyed their day out together. Some chatted with relatives they rarely saw, while others danced dabke, a traditional line-dance shared by people from the Sinai Peninsula through Turkey to Iraq.
“We are celebrating our new year, which begins on the first day of spring,” said Amina, mother of three. She spoke fluent Kurdish to her children, and was happy to switch to perfect Arabic to speak to Al-Akhbar. “We’re enjoying the day very much, because it’s the only time that we come together as a community. But it’s not just about Newroz. Today is also mother’s day.”
Others viewed the event from a more political lens. Some chanted in support of the Syrian uprising, given the Syrian Kurds’ longtime opposition to the regime. Others held up posters of Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Compared to the exclusion Kurdish communities have faced in a number of countries, in Lebanon it appeared that public expression of the Kurdish identity was somewhat less problematic. Still, Kurds have traditionally faced significant racism in Lebanon.
Wrapped in the Kurdish flag, 17-year-old Rudy dreamed of inclusion, calling on non-Kurdish Lebanese to join in the fun. “We’re fortunate in that we can express our identity freely in Lebanon,” he said. “But to me, it’s not about being Kurdish. I just dream of a day when all humans can express themselves like we are today, and be free.” (x)
(Photos by Haitham Moussawi)
The “story man” is what they called him.
He spun tales so verbose that even webster had a hard time handling his lines.
It was not his intention to spin lies,
But many folks misunderstood and took his fantasy for falsity.
Maybe he dreams too big for this world.
Maybe his brain doesn’t fit.
She wanted to let him tell her stories forever,
But her heart seemed to break when the colors began to fade.
He lived in his stories and there was no room for her in his fiction.
The news from Afghanistan over the last few weeks has been heart-wrenching, devastating, and infuriating. An American soldier named Robert Bales (on the left in the image below) walked into the midst of an Afghan civilian community, and shot 16 people dead, including 9 children and 3 women.
The shooting in Afghanistan has eerie echoes of the Fort Hood Shooting from November 5th, 2009, when an American Muslim military member, Nidal Malik Hasan, opened fire inside a military base, and killed 13 people.
And yet the media coverage of the two episodes has been diametrically opposed. When Americans kills, it is portrayed as an aberration, an act of a tormented and troubled individual. When Muslims kill, it is covered as a signal of a communal, global genocidal tendency. Let’s go over some details.
Here is how Fox covered the shootings by Major Malik Nadal in the Fort Hood shootings:
The murders at Ft. Hood are about the radicalization of individuals by an extremist ideology — jihadism — which fuels acts of terror.
The main question we should be asking is when did Hasan become radicalized and who indoctrinated him?
Fox’s “analysis” was written by Walid Phares, the same person that Mitt Romney had picked as his Middle East foreign policy adviser.
The very same person who has been identified as a major Islamophobes, and involved in massacres in Middle East.
Phares and Fox News take great pains to point out that Nadal’s actions are not about one individual man, but part of a grander Islamist war against America. Here is what they say:
Instead it is part of a wider ideological war, generated by radicalization and inciting individuals to perform such acts.
“Lone wolf” or not, organized or not, fully self-aware perpetrator or not, influenced by overseas radicals or not, this massacre of servicemen has moved America from stage to another.
Of course future investigations would demonstrate that Hasan’s actions were indeed the actions of a lone person, not part of a broader campaign.
In short, when a deranged Muslim kills Americans, Fox News tells us that it is “the largest terror act since 9/11,” and “it’s jihadist evil and terrorism.” When a deranged American kills Muslims, such as the actions of Robert Bales in Afghanistan in February 2012, Fox News and its subsidiaries behave in an entirely different fashion. We are offered the following litany of explanations and justifications:
- There was alcohol involved.
- It is an isolated act of a “troubled” person that in no way shape or form reflects on the noble ideals of America or Americans.
- The soldier was housed in the “most troubled” base in America.
- He was on his fourth tour of duty, and neither he nor his family wanted to go back.
- He simply “snapped.”
- He was experiencing martial difficulties.
The headline from Fox news read: “Money, career woes reportedly plagued Afghan Killing Suspect.”
The first sentence of the article reads:
“Bypassed for a promotion and struggling to pay for his house, Robert Bales was eyeing a way out of his job at a Washington state military base months before he allegedly gunned down 16 civilians in an Afghan war zone, records and interviews showed as a deeper picture emerged Saturday of the Army sergeant’s financial troubles and brushes with the law.”
In short, the assumption that when we Americans kill, it is an aberration from our good nature. Even if the act is abominable, it is said to be purely an individual act totally disconnected from any larger institutional or political context. However, when Muslims kill, it is a sign of a world-wide, evil ideology of jihad and terrorism.
I have searched in vain to find a commentator in the United States that grasps the above double standard, and have not so far seen that insight in a mainstream American press. The only place I have seen it is in the UK, by Robert Fisk: Fisk correctly points that that most Western journalists use descriptions like how Robert Bailes was “”Apparently deranged”, “probably deranged”, “might have suffered some kind of breakdown” (The Guardian), a “rogue US soldier” (Financial Times) whose rampage was “doubtless [sic] perpetrated in an act of madness” (Le Figaro).
It is these types of double standards that are at the heart of the hypocrisy of our current situation vis-à-vis Islam and Muslims. What we should be saying is simply this: the life of each and every person in the world, civilian or military, American, Afghani, Palestinian, Israeli, Iraqi, Iranian, male or female, rich or poor, gay or straight, carries exactly and identically the same intrinsic value. Just as Dr. King taught us that the measure of a character is not connected to the color of our skin, we should be demanding that the measure of a human life is not connected to the nationality of the victim or the assailant. All human lives are sacred, all are sacrosanct. And all violations of human lives are equally morally repugnant.
Taking that type of an approach would restore a sense of dignity and honor to our standing in the world community, and it would allow us to recover the moral dignity that we have squandered over the last ten years.
complex brain matter.
COMPLEX BRAIN MATTER!
cOMpleX bRaiN MaTteR?
rettam niarb xelpmoc
surrealism: (n): a style of art and literature developed principally in the 20th century, stressing the subconscious of non-rational significance of imagery arrived at by automatism or the exploration of chance effects, unexpected juxtaposition, etc…..
- emphasis on positive expression (dada —->negation)
- between WW1 & WW2
- reuniting the conscious and unconscious realms.
- fantasy joined with the rational world.
- REALITY —-> SURREALITY
nothing can stop love. free this doubt in my heart. ease my troubled mind
if for one spare second you could step back and look at things………
maybe then you would see the wall being built. but which of us is the builder?
it grows brick by brick, higher and higher.
each brick; is every thought; of what our love should be. trapping us by what we assume love is.
instead of being on separate sides we should be one and use the wall to protect our hearts from all the hurt.
body to body, mind to mind, heart to heart and soul to soul.
Saturated fat, the stuff in meat and dairy foods, was associated with lower sperm counts, in a study of 99 men who were clients of fertility clinics. The results, though preliminary, suggest there’s something men can do to boost the odds their sperm are up to their evolutionary task: eat better.