News from home

Off and on when I was in the U.S. I found myself worrying that something would happen and that the U.S. embassy would send out a message stating that it was closing and that I wouldn’t be able to return. I felt a great sense of relief when the plane touched down in Amman. Ironically, one of the first news stories I stumbled upon tonight had to do with two embassies closing in Amman. Both the British and the Canadian embassies are shutting down operations here. I don’t exactly know yet what this means for Jordan or for its relationships with these countries, but it is a bit disconcerting. But perhaps what is even more frightening is the sense that the U.S. is not taking any steps to distance itself in Jordan, but rather to enmesh itself here. Jordan is actually considering legislation that would grant Americans immunity from war crimes prosecution:

“The Legal Committee of the Lower House on Monday approved a controversial agreement that the Kingdom signed with the US, giving American citizens and personnel immunity against prosecution for war crimes.”

Of course, escaping war crimes prosecution brings to mind everyone’s favorite war criminal, Ariel Sharon. For those of you who are not familiar with his history, I strongly encourage a read of Robert Fisk’s latest article in The Independent. It’s a brilliant piece about Sharon’s real legacy, not the one that dominated the headlines this summer and of late.

Finally, for those of you who have not seen the latest incarnation of hell that the Israeli’s have created, here is a link for an eyewitness report and photographs of the new Qalandia checkpoint (read: international border crossing between Ramallah and Al Quds).

Eid Mubarak–

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12 thoughts on “News from home

  1. In debate, there’s a little thing called a concession, in which you cover your opponents’ arguments and point out which bits you agree with and which you oppose. I don’t see that in your postings. You are very good at using unnecessarily provocative language to express your anger at what often are true injustices. But it is important to remember that the Israelis cannot control every settler, any more than the Palestinian Authority can stop all the suicide bombings. But on both sides are leaders who, despite having done terrible things in the past, have come to realize that war is not the answer and who are trying to rein in their respective extremists. I haven’t been overly fond of Sharon myself, but one must at least admit that he isn’t just a paper-mache villain that one can point to as the personification of evil. He seemed to have be making some attempts at peace (if you didn’t notice, there was recently a total withdrawal from Gaza) before his unfortunate stroke. Whether these actions were results of conscience or acts of desparation, one would to well to remember them, which you apparently do not.

  2. 100% accurate, provost. Marcy, are you aware of the fact that the commander of the Phlangists (who, i may remind you, actually perpetrated the Sabra and Shatila massacre, despite the fact that the world still blames Sharon) was never brought to any sort of justice, nor do the vast majority of those who scream for venegence even know his name. Following the news of Sabra and Shatila there was the largest anti-war protest in Israeli history. The ability to criticize one’s government openly and without fear of reprisals is a) the mark of a free society and b) not a luxury enjoyed throughout the middle east. Israel has plenty of faults, and I’ve seen them with my own eyes, but lets give credit where credit is due. You villify Israel like so many others while ignoring vast and expansive human rights abuses and horrendous dictatorships min al-gharib ila ash-sharq.

  3. Certainly, I am lucky to live in a country where I can criticize government without fear of reprisals–to a certain extent. There are, in fact, people who have been in custody in places like Guantanamo as a result of their reporting, however. So there are limits, too, even in America.

    Of course, Sharon worked with the Phlangists, he did not work alone. But that does not meet he was absolved of the crimes against humanity. Even Sharon was forced to step down from his post as Minister of Defense when an Israeli tribunal investigated the massacre of Sbra and Shatila. The Kahan Commission’s report understood that Sharon was at fault here (i.e., his own government, administration, etc.) stating that Sharon made “a grave mistake by failing to order appropriate measures for preventing or reducing the danger of massacre” in the camps.

    Salam–

  4. I don’t mean to excuse Sharon for what he did. But sometimes, people who have done terrible things are necessary for the greater good. Winston Churchill sacrificed the lives of thousands of Australians needlessly at Gallipoli in World War One. And he was certainly no friend to Gandhi and his compatriots; he was supposedly willing to let Gandhi die while hunger striking, which was not standard British policy. But he was a great leader in World War II. Sharon should be remembered for what he did at Sabra and Shatila. But he should also be remembered as someone who, at the end, was willing to give peace a chance.

  5. It’s true that I don’t know the name of the Phalangist leader but could that be because…he’s never been elected Prime Minister of a country?? The world is full of vicious thugs…but few democracies elect war criminals to their highest posts…

  6. I don’t think Marcy will ever truly respond. I’m pretty disappointed. She is very good at attacking people for closed mindedness and refusing to allow their mindsets to be challanged but she appears unwilling to be challenged herself.

    Marcy – you yourself made the point. Israel at least held him responsible in some part and was willing to examine itself. The accusation against Sharon (and I don’t like him either) was that he did not POLICE effectively enough. The head of the Christian Phalangists actually carried out the massacre. And has never been held to account, nor have there been calls for him to be held to account.

    We are all responsible for our own actions. We all have choices.

    Elizabeth – you don’t know the name of the Phalangist leader because you don’t care. You want to assign blame and you want it to point in only one direction. You don’t want to challange your own mindset either.

  7. FYI – the head of the Phalangists who carried out the massacre was ELIE HOBEIKA. Elizabeth – he spent many years in the Lebanese government and was in fact a Cabinet Minister for a time. He was assassinated in 2002 after he tried to assassinate other politicians. It seems that noone was particularly upset at his demise. It seems that his strongest connections were with Syria.

    Also FYI, some other Lebanese massacres you might like to know about:

    Karantina massacre – Phalangists murder approx. 1,000 Palestinian refugees.
    Damour massacre – PLO eliminates a Christian town, 3-400 killed.
    Tel Al Zaatar massacre – Phalangists massacre some more Palestinian refugees.

    Of course THOSE massacres aren’t important. They don’t have propaganda value.

  8. I wonder how someone who I have never met, who knows nothing about me, can tell from a couple of sentences on someone else’s blog what my “mindset” is or what I care about…that’s really extraordinary…even though I’m a psychotherapist who does clinical forensic assessments, I’m not that good!

  9. Elizabeth, I’ve read more than enough of your comments and your postings to get a pretty good idea of where you stand. And when are you going to drop that “I’m a psychotherapist” line. There are both very smart and intuitive and very dense psychotherapists. Just respond to the point made and let your words show your abilities.

  10. Well I never heard of you before “Hallie” so I don’t know how you could have read many posts and comments I have written…I’m not trying to show anyone my “abilities.” When people make idiotic remarks, especially when they are directed at me personally, I respond accordingly; sometimes sarcasm is appropriate.

  11. For those who think that there is 100% free press in the U.S., here is a recent example of the U.S. trying to limit the freedom of the press:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1682207,00.html

    US troops seize award-winning Iraqi journalist

    Monday January 9, 2006
    The Guardian

    American troops in Baghdad yesterday blasted their way into the home of an Iraqi journalist working for the Guardian and Channel 4, firing bullets into the bedroom where he was sleeping with his wife and children.
    Ali Fadhil, who two months ago won the Foreign Press Association young journalist of the year award, was hooded and taken for questioning. He was released hours later.

    Dr Fadhil is working with Guardian Films on an investigation for Channel 4’s Dispatches programme into claims that tens of millions of dollars worth of Iraqi funds held by the Americans and British have been misused or misappropriated.

    The troops told Dr Fadhil that they were looking for an Iraqi insurgent and seized video tapes he had shot for the programme. These have not yet been returned.

    The director of the film, Callum Macrae, said yesterday: “The timing and nature of this raid is extremely disturbing. It is only a few days since we first approached the US authorities and told them Ali was doing this investigation, and asked them then to grant him an interview about our findings.

    “We need a convincing assurance from the American authorities that this terrifying experience was not harassment and a crude attempt to discourage Ali’s investigation.”

    Dr Fadhil was asleep with his wife, their three-year-old daughter, Sarah, and seven-month-old son, Adam, when the troops forced their way in.

    “They fired into the bedroom where we were sleeping, then three soldiers came in. They rolled me on to the floor and tied my hands. When I tried to ask them what they were looking for they just told me to shut up,” he said.

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