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I have a parallel blog in French at http://anniebannie.net

Date

April 16, 2012

Flytilla 2012 – Ronnie Barkan’s arrest at Ben Guryon Airport – 15 April at 18:30 – Palestine

[youtube http://youtu.be/FJxvOUqJ3n8?]

Sectarianism and Honesty

Robin Yassin-Kassab

the Syrian dictator accompanied by the Sunni mufti

This was published in the excellent Ceasefire magazine.

Ba‘athism began as a conscious attempt to supersede the sectarian and regional divisions which plague the Arab world. That’s why many of its early ideologues were Christians or members of other minority groups. The Ba‘athist slogan umma arabiya wahida zat risala khalida – One Arab Nation Bearing an Eternal Message – employing the word for ‘nation’ which previously designated the international Muslim community, and the word for ‘message’ previously associated with the Prophet Muhammad’s divine message – suggests that this variety of Arabism actually intended to supersede religion itself, or to become a new religion.

In Iraq it all went wrong very quickly. Saddamist Ba‘athism in effect designated ethnic Arabs of the Sunni sect as true Arabs, the Shia majority as quasi-Persian infiltrators, and the Kurds as an enemy nation. Saddam even wrote a characteristic pamphlet called ‘Three Things God Should Not Have Invented – Persians, Jews and Flies’, and so demonstrated the slip from nationalism to fascism.

Syria was somewhat different, somewhat more sophisticated. Despite the fact that the president and his top spies and generals were Alawis from the Lattakkia region, only Sunni Islam and Christianity were taught in the education system (to the chagrin of traditional Alawi shaikhs). When the president prayed in public he prayed in the manner of the majority, Sunni-style. In the last couple of decades the regime sought to broaden its base by coopting Sunni businessmen as well as soldiers from the minority groups. And the majority’s rituals and religious festivals were never banned as they were in Iraq.

continued here

Noam Chomsky Speech: The U.S. & Its Allies Will Do Anything to Prevent Democracy in the Arab World”

[youtube http://youtu.be/TcX23O7RqQQ?]

Avi-a short film by Hanan Khamis about the transformation of one American Jew

[youtube http://youtu.be/gCZx5_VgHU0?]

Salt of This Sea (Milh Hadha al-Bahr) \ ملح هذا البحر 2008

[youtube http://youtu.be/6iNVYvhf9Vw?]

One of the landmark Palestinian films of the decade -Daily News “This film is so full of spunk, madness, love, and sadness — that camera is shooting right out of the director’s heart. Viva Salt!” – Deepak Singh

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1090680/

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