What a coincidence!
May 26, 2007
Western powers put their plan for a court to prosecute the murder of a former Lebanese prime minister before the U.N. Security Council on Friday, but Russia raised objections to its compulsory nature.
Sponsors the United States, Britain and France played down the Russian concerns and said they still expected their resolution setting up the special court, a highly divisive issue in Lebanon, to pass by next week.
The resolution responds to a Lebanese government request but the country's parliament has not approved the plan because its speaker, an opposition figure who disputes the legitimacy of the government, has refused to convene the chamber.
Despite warnings by Lebanon's pro-Syrian president, Emile Lahoud, and others that setting up the court could trigger a fresh wave of violence there, Western leaders say it is essential as a matter of principle to try Hariri's murderers.
And they shrugged off suggestions that bombings and fighting in Lebanon this week aim to derail the court.
A bomb in a suitcase has ripped through a building in the town of Aley, in the mountains east of the Lebanese capital.
Aley is a predominantly Druze town, popular with Arab holidaymakers as a summer resort.
The blast was the third in Beirut and the surrounding area since fighting broke out between the Lebanese army and Fatah al-Islam at a Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon on Sunday.
The first explosion struck Beirut's Christian district of Ashrafiyeh on Sunday night, killing one woman, and the second occurred in Verdun, a predominately Sunni Muslim quarter of the capital, on Monday wounding 10 people.
A faxed statement purportedly from Fatah al-Islam claimed the group had carried out the first two bombings, but a spokesman later denied any involvement.
The United States and Arab allies rushed military aid to Lebanon yesterday, boosting its strength before a possible army assault to crush Islamic extremists barricaded in a Palestinian refugee camp.
Palestinian factions were scrambling to find a negotiated solution to end the siege and avert what many fear would be a bloody battle over the Nahr el-Bared camp, where thousands of civilians remain in the line of fire.
The military was gearing up for a fight, rolling more troops into place around the camp in northern Lebanon, already ringed by hundreds of soldiers backed by artillery and tanks. Fatah al Islam has claimed to have more than 500 fighters, with automatic weapons, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.
At least a dozen more armored carriers and a battle tank were seen headed for the area yesterday.
Sporadic gunfire at Nahr el-Bared camp kept tensions high, but a truce that has halted three days of heavy artillery and rocket bombardment since Tuesday held.
An all-out assault on the camp would risk sparking unrest and violence elsewhere in the country, where about 400,000 Palestinian refugees live, most in camps that are rife with armed groups.
A deputy Fatah al Islam leader, Abu Hureira, told the pan-Arab Al Hayat daily by telephone from Nahr el-Bared that "sleeper cells" in other Palestinian camps and elsewhere in Lebanon were awaiting word for a "violent response" if the army struck.
The U.S. military aid could also attract other fighters into what they see as a battle against the West and its allies. Extremist groups were already using the battle at the camp as propaganda.
A group billing itself as al-Qaeda's branch in Syria and Lebanon vowed "seas of blood" if the Lebanese army resumed its attack. In a video on the Web yesterday, a spokesman threatened bomb attacks on Lebanon's tourist industry.
May 17, 2007
How is it possible to define the Arab identity in our society when it is increasingly so narrowly identified with Islam? Unfortunately, Westerners believe that being Arab necessarily means being Muslim. What a mistake they make! Overloaded by the news media, our minds do not stop accumulating such falsities. Amongst 1.6 billion Muslims throughout the world, Arabs represent only a minority today.
Misinterpretations of Islam and injustices committed in its name have led to many misunderstandings regarding the actual realities of the Arab world. I have made a great effort to accept realities without making any judgments. This has allowed me to adopt a better approach to understanding the problem that continues to feed the flame of hatred in the hearts of humans. If only we look at things simply, Islam is nothing other than the third monotheist religion born in this region.
I traveled widely for many years in the Middle East, North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, studying the differences and similarities of these regions. I portrayed the difficult everyday life of the people of these countries moving between war and faith, in unadorned and very personal shots and says, 'Seen from outside, the Arab world looks like a powder keg, ready to explode at any moment, and Islam seems to be the dominating power. Seen from inside, everything is different.
On my trips to Iran, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Gaza, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Morocco and Saudi Arabia I am searching for traces of past civilizations and the vestiges of old traditions in contemporary everyday life, marked as it is by centuries of clashes between and a mingling of different religions and cultures, of destruction and reconstruction, preservation and adaptation.
It is undeniable that it is a region plagued by more important problems: war, lack of food for displaced persons, the construction of new infrastructure and so on... For me, it is absolutely necessary to memorize such moments and learn to read them. This will give us a better understanding of our situation and help guide us towards a constructive future.
visit the online exhibition
Solidarity with the Egyptian novelist and writer Nawal El Saadawi
May 03, 2007
The Egyptian writer and novelist Nawal El Saadawi well known both in the Arab world and internationally, is facing a political and religious campaign mounted against her by the authorities of Al-Azhar. Basing themselves on a play written by her entitled "God resigns at the Summit Meeting" published during the month of January 2007 in Cairo, they are accusing her of apostasy and disrespect for the principles of Islam.
Arab Women's Solidarity Association – Belgium
The theater play is a work of fiction and should be judged by the men and women who read works destined for the theater and not by religious dignitaries whose areas of concern are totally different. To bring a writer to trial before a court relying on dangerous accusations of this kind can be a license for her assassination.
Accusations such as this which should hold sway in the Twenty First Century are being leveled against a woman of letters, a woman from the medical profession who has given to the Arab world forty five works ranging from novels, plays, short stories, autobiography to scientific and intellectual studies which have served the cause of women's liberation and that of men, and have been translated into thirty languages covering different regions of our globe.
This is not the first time that Nawal El Saadawi has had to face campaigns of this kind. The accusation here also was that of apostasy.
We the signatories of this petition demand that this repressive campaign come to an end immediately. We call upon all the men and women of conscience all over the world, in the Arab countries and in Egypt to take the action they see fit in order to defend freedom of thought and creativity. We call upon all the associations and organizations of civil society, the unions of workers, on journalists, on all free women and men in the different countries, on the associations and organizations of women and on democratic progressive political parties to join us in our efforts to defend freedom.
- June, 2008
- November, 2007
- September, 2007
- July, 2007
- June, 2007
- May, 2007
- April, 2007
- March, 2007
- February, 2007
- January, 2007