March 31, 2008 § Leave a comment

In the wake of all this Mickey-Hamas-Promoting-Terrorism stuff, I think now is the time to clear up some misunderstandings about Islam, children’s shows, and politics. The above graphic is from a children’s show called “al-Manar al-Saghrir” (the little Manar — or lighthouse) broadcast on Hezbullah’s satellite station al-Manar. Besides the scary-looking sun, there’s nothing “terroristic” about this show.

I also think the Hamas children’s show was taken out of context and judged unfairly. Any children’s show that is produced from the Gaza Strip must be understood in the context of daily violence, family deaths, widespread unsanitary conditions, and military occupation. The whole “leave the children out of it” argument is essentially null. Political ideologies shouldn’t be forced on to children, but it is understandable that explanations for daily living conditions are included in broadcasts.

Either way, the Hamas program is a very small slice of children’s programing in the Arab world. Below are some clips which show just how dangerous those Arabs really are!

Here is a show about a “strange car” named “Boumbo” which is pretty much the cutest thing I’ve ever seen:

Here are the opening credits for the show “Iftah ya Sim Sim” or Open Sesame:


Sadr releases statement calling for end of armed conflict

March 31, 2008 § Leave a comment

Muqtada al-Sadr released a nine-point statement calling for an end to the “manifestations of arms.” Here is a copy of the statement in Arabic from Inbaa news service and here are a few of the points below:

  1. Put an end to all manifestations of arms in Basra and all other districts.
  2. Stop all house-raids (al-mudahunaat) and all random, illegal arrests.
  3. Call on the government to apply a general amnesty (al-‘afo) law and a release of all prisoners who have not been proved guilty, especially those from the Sadr Wing (al-tiyar al-sadri).

Jaysh al-Mehdi calls for end to US and British Occupation

March 31, 2008 § Leave a comment

Iraqi soldiers hand over their weapons to a follower of Muqtada al-Sadr in Sadr City in Baghdad. (Al-Hayat via Informed Comment.)

The recent fighting in Iraq between Iraqi security forces and Jaysh al-Mehdi has laid bare many alliances and foe-ships. I can’t offer any analysis on this web of complex relationships and motives, but here are some reports from Arabic sources on what’s happening on the ground.


Al-Hayat reports that according to official accounts, 275 have been killed and over 500 injured in the past week of violence. PM Nuri al-Maliki has renewed his commitment to fight Jaysh al-Mehdi until the end, but supporters of Sadr say that they refuse “to hand over any weapons unless the government banishes the Occupation.” Similar sentiments have been echoed by Shaykh Zahir al-Khafaji, the military leader of the Jaysh al-Mehdi in Najaf: “Handing over weapons is impossible until the occupation has left the country.”

From these reports, the demands of Muqtada al-Sadr’s followers are clear: The US and British occupation must end.

Al-Hayat also notes that the US Military has deepened their involvement in the conflict in by launching several air strikes in Basra and Sadr City. These strikes have led to the deaths and injuries of dozens of people. (Al-Hayat)

Image of a demonstration of Muqtada al-Sadr’s followers form al-Jazeera. 

The Summit must go on!

March 28, 2008 § Leave a comment

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Emir of Qatar.

No Shows: King of Jordan Abdallah II, President of Yemen Ali abd al-Salah, King of Saudi Arabia Abdallah bin abd al-Aziz, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Sultan of Oman, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, the King of Morocco, and Lebanon.

Shows: Eleven Arab leaders including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the President of Algeria, the Emir of Qatar, and some other dudes. Eighteen leaders were present at last year’s summit in Riyadh.

Summit Time!

Algerian President Abdalaziz Boutflika and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. One is short; the other is tall!

Double-chin twins! Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem and head of the Arab League Amr Moussa.

Double-chins for everyone! Qaddhafi looks fat!

Assad intimidates Palestinian President Abbas by grabbing his bicep. Hot!

I am calling men fat because this label is normally disproportionately saved for women.

Information and Photos from al-Jazeera and al-Thawra.

Syrian newspaper publishes obscenely long article on the Damascus Summit

March 28, 2008 § Leave a comment

Syrian newspaper al-Thawra has unnecessarily published an epic-length article on the Damascus Summit which is scheduled to begin tomorrow. Several Arab governments have sent low-level ministers to the summit in order to express disapproval of Syria’s role in Lebanon’s presidential crisis. Lebanon has boycotted the summit entirely. The article from al-Thawra is just like twenty press releases jumbled together: Peace, blah blah, Israel, Golan, blah blah, Arab ministers, Occupation.

Here is Lebanon’s empty seat at the Summit. (al-Nahar)

Al-Jazeera has an article on Syrian cartoonist Ali Farzat whose work is quite controversial. (Here is his homepage.) The cartoon below depicts his sentiments on Arab summits in general.

But, resistance is futile.

Fighting between Iraqi Security Forces and Jaysh al-Mehdi continues

March 28, 2008 § Leave a comment

US Apache helicopters bombed houses in Hilla, Iraq, killing up to 60 civilians and wounding dozens more. The Pentagon said that US troops were providing air support to Iraqi security forces who have been fighting with Jaysh al-Mehdi for the past three days. The most intense fighting has been in Basra and Kut, where hundreds have been killed or injured.

(Democracy Now and al-Tariq ila Karbala)

This woman’s son was killed yesterday in Hilla during the fighting.

Al-Hayat reports that Iraqi PM Nuri al-Maliki refuses to negotiate with militants from Jaysh al-Mehdi. Meanwhile, thousands of supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr are holding demonstrations calling for the resignation of Maliki and for him to have a trial like Saddam Hussein’s.

Screen Shots!

March 25, 2008 § Leave a comment

Al-Jazeera used this shot from al-Manar with their article.

Al-Nour, the Hezbullah radio station, used this screen shot with their article.

The Secretary General of Hezbullah Hassan Nasrallah gave a speech today in Beirut 40 days after the assassination of Hezbullah military commander Imad Mughniya. (The time period of 40 days is significant because it represents the 40 days of mourning in Shi’i Islam for Imam Husayn, who is seen as the most prominent martyr.)

You can listen to the full speech here with Real Player, but al-Jazeera also has a concise wrap-up. Nasrallah reiterated that he is determined to react to Israel’s assassination of Mughniya. He also said that the public has expressed their support for the Resistance (al-muqawama) through a series of several polls. Nasrallah said that 80% of Lebanese from different sects expressed support action that would lead to the downfall of the zionist regime (al-nidham al-sahyoniyya) and that 50% want to see Israel totally disappear (zawal).

There will be mixed translations of the word “zawalwhich I have chosen to translate as “disappearance,” but it can also be translated as “extinction” or “cessation.”

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