Gaza Diary: January 30 2009 10:33 PM

Are you from Pakistan?

I am not sure how he knew for we had not met nor spoken to each other.

I was just about the get up to leave Al-Awda mosque in Rafah, Gaza when a man sitting behind me introduced himself and asked if I was from Pakistan.

How did he know? Why did he think so? Nothing about my appearance that day – I in my conventional trekking pants and checkered shirt, suggested my background.

How did he know? Details »

Gaza Diary: January 24 2009 18:00 PM

The water pipe has many names.

In the balkans it is called a ‘lula‘ or ‘lulava’.

In Egypt and the Persian Gulf it is often referred to as a ‘shishe’.

In Iran it is called a ‘ganja’ pronounced as ‘ghelyoon’.

In India and Pakistan it is called a ‘huqqa’.

In the Palestinian Territories, the Levant, Iraq, Jordan, Greece, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Israel, it is called by the beautiful name of ‘narghile’- a word that has its roots in sanskrit.

But I doubt if it has ever been called a weapon of defiance. Details »

Gaza Diary: January 22 2009 14:25PM

On the Getty Images archive you can type in ‘Gaza Destroyed’ and retrieve over 5,500 images to select from.  If you run the query ‘Gaza Funerals’ you will get back over 7,000 images.  I was unable to check the Corbis archives because at the time of writing this entry their site was undergoing maintenance.  But I am confident that I would find a similarly large number of images for both the queries above.  Details »

Learning To Read

On January 10th, 2009, America’s paper of record, The New York Times, ran this piece

A Gaza War Full of Traps & Trickery by Steven Erlanger

I had wanted to write a response to this piece of ‘journalism’, to explore the way in which it had been put together and published on the pages of this apparently fine journalistic outlet.  Instead, Chris Hedges beat me to it. I quote him, speaking about precisely this piece of reporting by Mr. Erlanger, Details »

What We Are Is Only What We Do

Huwaida Araf is a young American of Palestinian descent and a founder of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). Here is a video of what it means to have the courage of your convictions

Details »

Edward Said Discussses His Work ‘Orientalism’

Edward Said discusses his work ‘Orientalism’ in this series of video discussions.

This work has recently been denigrated by some.  Most of these critics seemed to have waited until his passing to send out their works.  Sadly all of them actually miss the ideas that are in fact discussed in his book! Instead, they attack what they imagine is Said’s anti-Western stance, which is in fact not at all what the book or his research is about. Details »

The Most Dangerous Nation

The obsession with things ‘Islamic fundamentalist’ and ‘Al Qaeda” has been turned into a veritable multi-billion dollar industry and this despite the very little concrete and independently verified evidence to suppor the many claims of underground ‘Islamic/Al Qaeda’ cells and networks. Details »

What A Tangled Web We Weave

Samuel Huntington, author of the infamous book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, died on December 28th 2008.

In an obituary in the New York Times, a newspaper famous for retrospectively bestowing garlands of respectability onto  the lives of even the most questionable of men, thought it ‘uncanny’ i.e. a reflection of his brilliance, that in that book he had written (predicted?) that ‘Somewhere in the Middle East, a half-dozen young men could well be dressed in jeans, drinking Coke, listening to rap, and between their bows to Mecca, putting together a bomb to blow up an American airliner.’ Details »

Unraveling Bitter Threads

The only man I have ever felt envious of was a ‘celebrity’ documentary filmmaker who once told an interviewer that his success was a result of his complete lack of introspection!

Introspection has been the bane of my existence. Details »