Monday, December 29, 2008

war-weary jews establish homeland between syria, lebanon, jordan, egypt

The Onion
Tuesday, November 9, 1948

"In Israel, Our People Will Finally Have Safety and Peace," Says Ben-Gurion
Jordan Welcomes New Neighbors with Celbratory Gunfire, Rock Throwing

Jerusalem, Israel--After more than 2,000 years of wandering and persecution, including six million deaths at the hand of Nazi Germany, the Jewish people finally established a homeland Monday, a place of safety and peace nestled between Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.

"No longer will the Jewish race live in a constant state of fear and endagerment, its very existence threatened at every turn by hostile outsiders," said David Ben-Gurion, the new nation's first prime minister, addressing a jubiland crowd of Zionists at Jerusalem's Western Wall. "Here in Israel, we are safe, far away from those who seek to destroy us."

For two millennia, the Jewish people have wandered without a home, facing an endless series of hostile enemies. With the establishment of a soverign Jewish state in the Middle East, Israeli officials believe this 2,000-year ordeal has at last come to an end.

"Israel is the land of milk and honey," Ben-Gurion said. "Here there will be no pogroms, no midnight visits from Cossacks, no Nuremberg Laws. The only gunfire we shall hear is that which lingers in our minds from troubled times long past."

Ben-Gurion said he looks forward to years of harmony and cooperation with Israel's neighboring states. "Jordan seems extremely happy to have us as a new neighbor," he said. "Last night, from my window, I could hear great explosions coming from the Gaza Strip. How wonderful of the Palestinian peoples there to celebrate our arrival with fireworks."

In his official greeting to Israel yesterday, Egypt's King Farouk issued the following statement: "Egypt does not and will not ever recognize the so-called state of Israel's right to exist. Israel is a land built on Jewish lies and the spilled blood of countless Arabs. Until the territory called Israel is returned to is rightful Palestinian owners, Egypt will have no choice but to consider itself at war with the Jewish people."

As a token of its good will, Syria presented Israel with a burning Israeli flag, with an attached note that read, "May you be swiftly driven into the sea and drowned."

In the months leading up to Monday's formal declaration of Israeli statehood, hundreds of thousands of Hocaust survivors from around the world have flocked to Israel, where they will finally find a safe haven from anti-Semitism. "This is a dream come true," said Holocaust survivor Zadie Dubrovnik, 59, who left her native Lithuania for Israel last week. "In this place, we will build a refuge of peace, far away from those who hate us."

Ben-Gurion said that with no need to defend itself from enemies, Israel will be free to spend billions of dollars on domestic development that other nations would be forced to devote to a defense budget. Military expenditures are expected to account for just two percent of the country's overall budget, as Israel will be a place of peace, not war.

Also from the Onion:
Israel Bombs Anti-Semitism Out Of Lebanon
Israel Intercepts Massive Palestinian Rock Shipment
Israel, Palestine Now Fighting Over Cemetery Space
War-Torn Middle East Seeks Solace In Religion

see also: on a lighter note...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

excedrin for (racial) tension headaches

I was recently browsing the SNL website looking for a clip of the Homocil ad and ended up finding a different sort of prescription instead:

Monday, December 08, 2008

eid mubarak y'all

(sigh) I miss a student's schedule when it was much more feasible to take the day to celebrate. Go to prayers in the morning and hang out with folks later.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

harold camping

I currently have a long commute from work and unfortunately am faced with a small number of radio stations to choose from. (I'm a big NPR fan but during most of my evening drive home the local station switches to programming in Creole).

Occasionally I will listen to a radio call-in show run by an evangelist named Harold Camping... more out of curiosity than anything else. He is an odd bird. He teaches that the Church Age is over (and so all current churches are ruled by Satan). He's not a Jehovah's Witness but he teaches that Jesus is Michael. And most importantly, he teaches that the world will end on May 21, 2011. Initially I thought his ideas were harmlessly bizarre, but the other night I heard him advising a mother with a young child to not bother making college or career plans for their child's future because they won't have one. He's not just eccentric but irresponsible.

It just reminds me again to appreciate the fact that the Quranic descriptions of the end-times, however vivid, are not full of the sorts of tempting descriptions as the Revelation of St. John or the book of Daniel which would encourage folks to presumptuously predict the end of the world (see also the number of the beast). I'm not saying that Muslims never make eschatological missteps. But I would argue that the Bible encourages this sort of behavior more than the Quran does.

old interview with dhoruba bin wahad

I've been watching some old episodes of the Boondocks recently (especially the ones which show the BET staff is continually plotting against the black race). It made me think back to what BET used to be like and what kind of hard-hitting, thoughtful positive shows they used to have like Teen Summit or Our Voices with Bev Smith or Tavis Smiley's show.

Bev Smith on Our Voices interviewing Dhoruba bin Wahad.

We've mentioned Dhoruba bin Wahad (Muslim, former Black Panther and political prisoner, now political activist) before on Planet Grenada. This is making me want to see what else is out there.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

r.i.p. odetta (1930-2008)

To be honest, I wasn't a serious follower of Odetta's musical career, but I do really enjoy her duet with Harry Belafonte performing the old folk song, There's a Hole in the Bucket.

and while we are on the subject, I'm actually a big fan of Michael Franti/ Spearhead's loose homage entitled "Hole in the Bucket" which points to a different kind of vicious cycle.

black iraqis in basra face discrimination

I just heard this on the radio as I was on my way to work and had to share...

Jalal Diyaab

Morning Edition, December 3, 2008 · The election of Barack Obama to the U.S. presidency was celebrated with special fervor by Iraqis of African descent in the southern port city of Basra.

Although they have lived in Iraq for more than 1,000 years, the black Basrawis say they are still discriminated against because of the color of their skin, and they see Obama as a role model. Long relegated to menial jobs or work as musicians and dancers, some of them have recently formed a group to advance their civil rights.

NPR: Full Story

Also, Third Resurrection has a number of posts about Black Arabs and racism in the Middle East. (Some of the same stories may also be found here: the black knight /Dec 5, 2008)

Monday, December 01, 2008

islam and same-sex marriage

For a while now I've been intending to write about the (partial) overlap between traditional Islamic opinions on abortion and the pro-choice position. Very briefly, according to some scholarly interpretations, the soul doesn't enter the fetus until 120 days after conception, consequently abortions carried out before that point are not considered to be equivalent to murder. I need to say that there is definitely some nuance and complexity to the issue (which is why I've been waiting to write it)... This is not that post.

It is a post about another area where it is possible that common cause might be made between traditional Muslims and modern Liberals.

From Alt.Muslim: Why the same-sex marriage debate still matters by Sabir Ibrahim. The argument roughly goes: Given that Islamic law enshrines the rights of non-Muslims to follow their own customs and practices when it comes to family life, and given that Muslims living in the West would theoretically want the right to enjoy our own distinctive practices (e.g. polygamy) then we all ought to support other minority groups as they attempt to assert their rights as well.

brass crescent awards 2008

An unsolicited "plug" from Marqas over at The Manrilla Blog:
Having just come off attending the 2nd Annual MANA Conference here in Philadelphia, it came as a pleasant surprise that the Manrilla Blog has been put in the running for Best Design in the 2008 Brass Crescent Awards, a joint project of The awards are meant to honor blogs that represent the best in Muslim blogging, with yours truly up for, “…[a] blog that has the most aesthetically pleasing site design, appealing to the eye, evoking Islamic themes, and/or facilitating debate and discussion.” My thanks to those who felt this blog worthy of nomination. Feel free to cast your vote here.