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Showing posts from April, 2013

On jihad

I found an enlightening article on what jihad really is. See for yourselves. "The Arabic term jihad, short for jihad fi sabil-ilah, literally translates as a struggle in the cause of God. Struggling in the cause of God is an endeavor highly elevated within all three Abrahamic faiths. Within Islam it is done in several ways, each operating within its contextual mandate. To understand this one must note that although jihad has a single basic definition, its application varies. The Qur’an teaches Muslims that any endeavor intended to alleviate the suffering of a people is considered a jihad. Feeding the poor, providing medical assistance, defending against a bully, building a road, defending one’s country or family, seeking and teaching good knowledge and striving to improve one’s self are some examples of jihad. The focus here is on three levels, the personal, the verbal and the physical jihad. The personal jihad is the best struggle to undertake. Evidence of the significance of

Another reason to shout ENOUGH

The minaret of Aleppo's Umayyad Mosque  (built between the 8th and 12th centuries and designated as a UNESCO world heritage site ), has been destroyed during clashes between government troops and opposition forces. The destruction comes just a week after the minaret from Omari Mosque was destroyed in Daraa. Look at how beautiful it was.

Syria's manifold wars

Anyone out there unaware of Assad's latest mischief? Really? Well, on the occasion of Syria's  Independence Day , the country's stiff President gave an interview to the Syrian official television channel Al-Ikhbariya. The interview coincided with the country's Independence Day, and at one point of the ranting he linked his departure to a "decision of the people". Was he maybe suggesting there might be a presidential election, in which he will beyond doubt be the front runner, in 2014? He then paradoxically added that his post is of no value without the support of the people. Which people exactly?  Assad's speech was full with pearls of wisdom, notably the one about the West being trying to colonize his country and thus playing with fire as a result of its funding Al-Qaeda operations. He somewhat threatened the West saying it will pay dearly one day or the other, for this organization would turn against them in the future,  striking "in the hear

A resignation almost no one has mentioned

 Nearly no one liked him at home. He was hailed as a great political figure abroad, though. He spent all his life looking forward to becoming a prophet in his own country, but Palestinian hearts and minds are not that easy to win over. Last week and after months of political bickering and governmental stalemate, former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, handed in his resignation (although he has accepted to remain as caretaker PM) to a relieved Mahmoud Abbas. Indeed, everybody in Palestine and elsewhere was aware of the growing hatred each figure felt towards the other. They have publicly clashed many times, particularly over their respective powers or economic policies. The face-off reached unprecedented heights in recent weeks, coming to a head with the resignation of the Finance Minister Nabil Qassis, which was accepted by the Prime Minister (who coincidentally was previously in charge of the portfolio) but rejected by the President. Fayyad, a US-educated seasoned eco

Settlement products are unethical goods

Do you know where a product you usually consume has been produced? Within the EU borders, you usually do. According to European legislation, the origin of many products has to be specified.  But... what about the products with the label "Made in Israel"? That is a much more complicated issue, for these may have been manufactured in Tel Aviv, in Hebron, or in the Israeli Settlement of   Ariel .  European regulation lay down for which products it is required (notably fresh fruit and vegetables and a few other food products such as honey, olive oil and wine, as well as cosmetics) and for which it is not. Moreover, labelling is the responsibility of the merchant and not the producer. And merchants are often unaware of the issue of the settlements, as a result of which they fail to label these products correctly. This is going to change. After months of procrastination, several EU Foreign Ministers have asked the HR Catherine Ashton to move forward with plans whereby consum

Will Brahimi resign?

It seems Brahimi wants to ditch the organization thanks to which he got the post he now flaunts. He's right up to a certain extent: despite all the beautiful empty words, the Arab League has done almost nothing to put an end to the conflict in Syria, giving much leeway to renewed talks about a "good for nothing body". But we have to take into account there hasn't been much/enough help from other international actors. The conflict finds itself at a dead end, and meanwhile people keep either dying by the thousands, either fleeing the country heading towards an unbearable uncertain situation . UN officials already speak about a "humanitarian catastrophe" . I really don't know what can be done. I believe nobody does. But enough is enough. A new Lebanon might crash all the hope the "Arab Spring" once kindled. Please, whoever may help, don't let us, and by us I mean the whole human race, down. P.S. Rumour has it the one to replace Brahimi wi

Unrest, arrests and a Grand Prix

We have already talked about Bahrain , and the situation seems not to have changed in the least. In spite of the authorities' continuous statements about their efforts to reach consensus and achieve enduring peace and stability, protests have not abated, and they even have escalated throughout the last weeks under the threat of what activists have called "volcanic flames". Why is that? Because the tiny island is hosting a key F1 event many enthusiasts and sportsmen cherish, and Shia Baharainis are aware this could be the only means to attract attention over their ongoing struggle for freedom and recognition of their rights. Bahrain's Shiite majority feels its plight has been outrageously forgotten by the rest of the world, once the "Arab Spring trend" has apparently faded away.

A vueltas con una futura “Primavera Argelina”

El efecto dominó que despertó la “ Primavera Árabe ”, en virtud del cual una inmolación de un desesperado vendedor ambulante de frutas en Túnez llevó al derrocamiento de vilipendiados autócratas en este país, Egipto, Libia y Yemen, así como incitó a otros lideres árabes a poner en marcha programas de reformas, también ha llevado a muchos periodistas a hablar de una eventual “ Primavera argelina “. ¿Qué hay de cierto en todo ello? En este sentido, algunos precipitadamente replican que Argelia ya tuvo su propia primavera más de veinte años atrás. Otros esperan su llegada. El resto cree que las cosas nunca cambiarán realmente en el país nor-africano, o al menos no en el corto plazo. Argelia ha recibido el apodo de “mal alumno” del despertar árabe, la excepción a este emocionante fenómeno, un país en el que el status quo no parece haber cambiado significativamente, a pesar de las reformas emprendidas por el régimen a lo largo del último año.

Kurdistan: one people scattered throughout four countries

On the occasion of the start of the Kurdish new year and before hundred of thousands of feverish supporters, imprisoned PKK (Kurdistan Worker Party, branded by many countries as terrorist organization) leader, Abdullah Ocalan, surprised many by announcing last week both a ceasefire and the withdrawal of all the group's forces (experts reckon they amount to more than 3,000) from Turkey, in what some consider the culmination of years-long efforts from both sides to put an end to a decades-long bloody conflict that has left behind more than 40,000 deaths (a vast majority of them Kurdish), as well as thousands of ravaged families. With this declaration, the group meets one of the conditions PM Erdogan has repeatedly established to set off formal negotiation talks. A similar process was put into motion in 1999, following the capture of Ocalan by Turkish forces, but failed and, as a result, the Turkish army severely attacked the group. The second failed effort reached the 2010 "Os