Sunday, November 27, 2011

Podcast: Fatawa, 27/11/11 with English Interpreting

There is a lot of work to do for the new mufti. Parties, organizations and their leaders, Muslims and non Muslims all want to see what this shiny new position holder can do. Is he like the old ones ?  will he make a difference ?

One way Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammad is trying to reach out to his community is by holding these programs called Fatawa (plural of Fatwa), and so far I can see, he's holding out his hand to whoever wants to benefit the community, no exclusive alliances, no old generation vs new generation politics etc..

We are trying to make Dr Ibrahim's knowledge available to as many Muslims in Australia as possible, hence this new push for Islamic Q&A sessions with English Interpretation.
We started out with 1 session a month in English, but Alhumdulillah since today we couldn't get through all the questions. We may increase that to twice a month, maybe even more if the need arises. Allahu A3lam.

Please provide your feedback, or questions, or contributions. Let us know what you think and what you would like.

A special thanks to Brother Ahmad Killani of Muslim Village for contributing an important question and for offering his skills and assistance to the Mufti.

Postcast download here

I would like to thank the brothers and sisters who have contributed, and apologize to those whose answers we were not able to answer. Inshallah next session we will leave an extra half hour as buffer to be able to answer all questions.

As always, there are a number of ways to submit a question to the mufti.

1- Comment here with your question
2- email the mufti
3- post on the fb group  
4- Call in on the day 02 9724 3355
5- you can also tweet me or message me on my fb account

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Friday Night Live: White Ribbon Day

White Ribbon is an organisation that is working to prevent the most common and pervasive form of male violence – that towards women. All forms of violence are unacceptable. White Ribbon believes the prevention of violence against women will change society for the better.

I hosted two muslim professionals and community leaders to discuss the importance of this great initiative

We also discussed a local initiative called "Domestic Harmony" that aspires to gather a collection of community and religious leaders to raise awareness of Domestic abuse, and to establish a support network for those suffering domestic abuse. 

Guests: Maha Najjarine and Zainab Hawa as well as Danny Nikati from the Bankstown Police Command.

Or you can download the podcast file here 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Stories Stranger than fiction

Ever hear a story so outlandish you don't believe it could be true? Something that often touches your heart and breaks your wall of indifference? Well I heard a story from my sister today which is just that, I was so touched by it I decided to blog about it so as not to forget it, and to give credit where it's due.

For many practicing muslim women in the west life is quite challenging. That simple piece of cloth over their heads has defined them and caused them trouble even more than other women who may choose to ONLY wear a small piece of cloth. There is a widely held belief that all non muslims hate muslim women and their hijabs. Especially since there are so many stories supporting this. Such stories build a divide and a misconception towards non muslims as being racist, xenophobic and lacking in humanity.

This story took part at Auckland University in New Zealand, about two or three years ago.

As part of a marketing campaign for a website relating to Arabs in New Zealand, a number of Arabs were congregating at the quad during the clubs and societies day. The girl who went to the podium to speak about this website also happened to wear a hijab, we'll call her Fatima. A man from the crowd started yelling at her to go back where she came from etc... She didn't pay much attention to him. And faced the crowd and was about to speak...

When all of a sudden this same man lunges at Fatima and starts to grab at her hijab and tries to take it off, and eventually succeeds at doing so.

Such actions, when seen AND when imaged, slow down time so that you are aware of every single emotion and thought in your head. To be assaulted in this way, in the middle of a crowded area, to have some strange demented man's hands over you. While others sit there watching, apathetic, smoking and looking on.

I mention this because the narrator spoke about this explicitly. The fact that during this horrible moment, she looked towards the only people she looked at for help. The Arabs. Her own kind looked on and did nothing. Writing about this fills me with pain at the state of those people.

This moment is still going on. Panic, struggle, embarrassment, anger. What happens ? Who rises to the occasion ? Well, I'm getting goose bumps even thinking about what happens next.

The organizers from the beer and wine ALL jump to Fatima's help, they pull the man from Fatima and pin him to the ground (and according to some narrations, bash him).

While AT THE SAME TIME a group of Islander boys boys form a protective circle around Fatima so she can recompose herself and put her hijab back on.

If you're an Arab or a Muslim. I want you to think about this incident. This is a REAL incident that occurred three or so years ago. I've no doubt other incidents also took place in which non Muslims come to the aid of Muslims without need for shared ideology or faith. This is what happens in the modern secular democratic west. Shared values of humanity and doing good, and it doesn't mean that we Muslims undervalue or dilute our Islamic beliefs. Where in Islam does it say that we can't do good or help others or be friendly to our neighbors?

It makes no sense for either peoples to isolate themselves from each other. Isolation has always caused distrust, fear, xenophobia and hate.

This issue is important to me and should be to others as well. Please comment and let me know your thoughts, and if you've also encountered similar stories, tell me about them.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Friday Night Live: Islamic Education in Australia

Tonight's episode (Friday 18th November 2011) is going to cover the first Islamically driven accredited tertiary level Islamic Studied Course. ISRA (Islamic Science and Research Academy of Australia) is holding an information evening on the second year of its Islamic Studies program. Date: Sunday 27 November 2011 Time: 6 pm - 8 pm Venue: ISRA Academy, Level 3, 128-136 South Parade Auburn I met with sister Makiz Ansari (apologies if it's spelled wrong) and brother Ahmad Hasan. We discussed the importance of islamic education and especially in Australia.

You can also download the podcast here

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Burmese military's campaign and terror

What did you do when you woke this morning ? probably had breakfast, enjoyed the day, hung out with friends/family  etc...

In the Burmese Arkan state, the men and killed and the women are raped on a daily basis. R

Sayed Kasem is  a dear friend of mine who is a Burmese Muslim. He comes from a place in Burma called Arkan. He had to escape death and torture from his home town, he was in limbo for more than 10 years with his wife and kids until he was finally able to come to Australia.

I don't usually publish media releases (or whatever this is) but Sayed requested it so here it is.


BURMESE MILITARY CONTINUOUSLY RAPING AND KILLING THE ROHINGYA, By Sayed Kasim, contact no:             04-6930-3342    

Recently, on 1-11-2011 at 3:30 pm three Military (nasaka) entered to 2 Rohingya families, in Serakparang Village, Rathidaung township, Arakan state Burma, raped 2 women, shot death 1, brush fire a round 30 people and arrested more than 40 people, who are being tortured at Anguma custudy, while almost the entire male population have gone into hiding, leaving all the females.

The military routinely raping women, seizing the village for last 2 weeks. Injured people die with the lack of medication, the rest are starving, there is no information on those arrested

My 16 years old cousin was brutally injured in the head and taken into Anguma custudy, my elder niece husband 26 years old was killed, my 23 years old sister in law was inhumanly kicked on forehead and victimized, robbed of all her belongings.


Curently hiding people are hungry, feeling sick dying in the jungle. No one dares to return home to see family members. When the Military finds anyone, they arrest and brutally torture them.

Military are robbing, raping, torturing and commiting crimes against Rohingya villagers. I confirm this thorough information from the most reliable source who managed to scape from danger. Victims are appealing to the world to save their lives.


Villawood November update: A three act play

My friend at Villawood had his birthday on Friday (11/11/11). I couldn't see him then because of work so I decided to drop by on Saturday.

It must be said that the visits I (and may others) make are just as much for our benefit as it is for the asylum seekers'. We end up feeling good about ourselves for just visiting someone. It doesn't actually offer or contribute to any solutions, but I digress.

I call this visit a three act play because of the way it unfolded with new experiences and new people to meet. I felt I should share it.

ACT 1; The evangelists: 

Let me first begin with reciting the mandatory "some of my best friends are Christian" spiel just to clarify that it's not the the religion or the act of evangelizing that I abhor, but the dirty tricks done in their name.

Some of best friends are christian....
moving on..

So I see my friend, he actually looks happy because apparently since yesterday he's been getting lots of calls and visits from different people sending him good wishes. Also his friend had sent him some clothes from Iran, so he looked quite colorful. It was a nice couple of minutes we sat talking and catching up.
Then he tells me that some Egyptian Christians are coming to have a little birthday party for him. I  was a bit skeptical -Adult arab men don't usually celebrate birthdays- but didn't say anything- who was I to call into question the intentions of others.

They come in, they're pretty friendly and smiley and they're bearing food aplenty,  and a cake !
It's what happens afterwards that leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.
They're singing the birthday song to the birthday boy, happy birthday to you and all that, and then start singing it in Arabic.

In Arabic it should be سنة حلوة يا جميل  which roughly translates to "Have a great year, good looking" I don't know why but that's what's sung in Arabic during birthdays.

They however were singing سنة حلوة مع يسوع which translates to "Have a great year with Jesus"

But I continue sitting eating my cake because it would have been rude to to just get up and walk away.

Then they start asking us to repeat their prayers after them, asking "the Lord" for help and using all churchy songs about Jesus, giving out printed out lyrics to their songs so everyone can sing together.

I wouldn't usually care or even mention Christians congregating at Villawood, I'd seen them a couple of times before so this wasn't the first time.

I was just unhappy that firstly: They're blatantly Evangelizing under the guise of a birthday party, and secondly: That they're taking advantage of the fact that those asylum seekers are jailed, desperate and depressed. Selling them religion, ideology or even socks is very unethical and it's an almost unspoken rule by the other activists that these visits are for the sake of those inside.

Eventually when the singing got too much, we scurried away and pretended to smoke outside, well he smoked for real .


ACT 2; The artists: 

The Refugee Arts project is an amazing initiative by Safdar and Anton, students from Sydney uni and UTS. Those guys (with other brilliant volunteers) visit Villawood on a regular basis with drawing pads, paper and painting and drawing instruments, thus giving the asylum seekers at Villawood an artistic outlet.

(you can hear some of their project details in my Friday Night Live podcast)

The resulting work is exhibited in different halls and galleries at different times. The work pieces range from simple crayon drawings of boats in water to amazing coffee bean illustrations of women (have a look here for some of the work).

So I saw Safdar yesterday with Miri (I think it's Miri, apologies if it's something else) another awesome volunteer in this project. They were there with 7 afghan asylum seekers drawing. Their doodlings were funny shapes and circles (one of them drew a duck looking thing with a massive belly, turns out it was me, lol)

For the time those guys are there visiting there is almost a halo of excitement and happiness around them because they themselves are such good people, and because of the therapeutic effects of art.
As always it was great seeing them and laughing and having a good time. Safdar told me there was a new gallery of the art in Parramatta. I'll post the information once he sends it to me.


ACT 3; The theologians:

So while I was talking to the birthday boy, we met another of his friends (an iranian asylum seeker) and we were trying to hold a friendly conversation in arabic/farsi when all of a sudden the conversation turned serious and fast paced, as fast paced as a multilingual conversation can be. The man believed in a God but was unsure of whether Islam was the right religion for him or not. It was a lively debate with a lot of sensitive no go areas such as the fact that I didn't want to push religion on him- specially since my very recent pushing religion experience-, I didn't want to get into the shia/sunni thing -since I am Sunni and my friend was shia- and I had to leave in 20 minutes.

We all enjoyed ourselves because this discussion was more philosophical than theological and so it was more about the idea of God and the concept of worship and the master plan for the universe. I actually did not want to leave (also I was kicking myself for not speaking farsi).

All in all, yesterday's visit was... different. I was glad to see happiness on my friends' faces, albeit it was in a jail mixed with other stories of explosions, decapitated body parts and unknown futures.


Friday, November 04, 2011

An explanation of the workings of neo-colonialism through the example of Indonesi

An amazing article that clearly shows the destructive ongoing effects of colonialism.

The reality of colonialism, its goals and its methods, is well-known by most people. During colonial times the European countries used brute military force to subjugate peoples in usually faraway lands, predominantly Asia and Africa, and then organized these lands for the purpose of exploitation. The role of the colonized land became to provide cheap raw materials to the industries of the colonial nation, and to serve as a market for the end products of these industries.
The era of colonialism ended during the 1960’s, as in the West the view that colonialism was morally unacceptable became public opinion and as in the colonized lands resistance against the foreign occupiers strengthened. Independence followed for most of the colonized nations.
Ever since, however, not much has changed for most people in the formerly colonized world. They have remained poor as the wealth of their lands has continued to flow towards the West, instead of towards them.
Therefore today most people in the formerly colonized world realize that “independence” has merely meant the substitution of colonialism for what is now known as neo-colonialism. Under colonialism they had been physically occupied for the purpose of exploitation. Independence had removed the physically occupation, but the exploitation remained – neo-colonialism.
So that neo-colonialism exists is clear to most people, because it can be seen and felt around the formerly colonized world. But how exactly neo-colonialism works, how the West can maintain exploitation of the formerly colonized world without a physical occupation remains a mystery to many. An analysis of the post-colonial history of Indonesia provides important insight into this matter.
“Independence” for Indonesia
Resource rich, the lands of South-East Asia became a target for the Europeans as soon as they realized their existence. Great-Britain ended up occupying what is today Malaysia and Singapore. The lands that make up the Philippines went from the Dutch to the British to the Spaniards before ending up in the hands of the Americans. And Indonesia consists of the lands that remained occupied by the Dutch throughout the era of colonialism.
World War II saw The Netherlands coming under the control of Germany (1940 – 1945) and its colony Indonesia coming under the control of the Japanese (1942 – 1945). This greatly helped the Indonesian nationalist movement headed by Sukarno and Mohammed Hatta, as the Japanese saw for Indonesia a future as a client-state in the then still to be formed Japanese Empire in South-East Asia. The Japanese therefore actively supported the nationalist movement on the main Indonesian island of Java, to the extent that they even provided military training to Indonesian youth in preparation of a national army for Indonesia.
The eventual Japanese surrender in World War II on, August 15 of 1945, caused a temporary power vacuum in Indonesia because at that time the Dutch, who had been liberated from German occupation on May 5 of 1945, had not yet reorganized their colonial occupation of Indonesia. Sukarno and Hatta set out to make use of this power vacuum. They quickly organized the preparation of a Declaration of Independence on the day following the Japanese surrender. And then had this read out loud on August 17, marking Indonesia’s claim to independence.
But the Dutch had different plans for Indonesia. The Dutch economy was thoroughly destroyed by the war and the plan was to exploit Indonesia as much as possible in order to pay for the recovery. So the Dutch organized an army and sent it to Indonesia to suppress the independence movement.
But the war between the Dutch and the Indonesian freedom fighters dragged on, without any side developing a clear advantage over the other. Until, one day, the Americans intervened. Under the Marshall plan the Dutch were receiving large loans from America to finance the post-war restoration of the country. America therefore threatened the Dutch that unless they halted their efforts to bring Indonesia back under their control, the Marshall aid would be stopped [1]. This left the Dutch with no choice but to accept Indonesian independence. And following long negotiations, in 1949 the Dutch finally recognized Indonesia’s independence.
Indonesia’s post-Independence economic history – the Sukarno era
Economically, Indonesia was in a poor state following independence. For one, during colonialism the Dutch had systematically under-invested in the Indonesian economy. Because the aim of the Dutch was never to develop Indonesia but to exploit it, so any Dutch investment in Indonesia was to make this exploitation more efficient and effective. By the start of World War II in 1940, Indonesia had still seen only very little industrialization. World War II took an additional toll on Indonesia’s economy, and as a consequence by 1945 average Indonesian income is estimated to have been not much more than 100 USD annualy [2].
The Americans then placed an additional burden on Indonesia when, as part of the terms of the Round Table agreement between Indonesia and Dutch which the Americans brokered, they forced it to pay the Dutch for independence – 4.3 billion guilders to be exact, and using the gold price as a base this is worth around 150 billion in today’s dollars [3].In addition, the terms of the Round Table agreement stipulated that the Dutch would maintain control over all “modern” sections of Indonesia’s economy, such as industry, mining, plantations, finance and banking, and large scale international trade [4]. This caused the establishment of a “dual economy” in Indonesia, in which the Dutch and Chinese Indonesians controlled the most important and profitable sectors of the economy, with little to no participation of other Indonesians. The new Indonesian government controlled only small scale farming and handcraft, which, due to the usage of outdated modes of production, was barely profitable [5]. Little to no change compared to the times of colonialism, therefore.
In the immediate aftermath of independence one of the main goals of the economic policy of the new Indonesian state was to address this issue and “Indonesianize” the nation’s economy. But because there was no clear understanding of how this was to be achieved, most attempts at it failed. Most of the time because proposed and executed plans turned out to be bad ideas. But very often also because of government incompetence and corruption – how a familiar story.
So by the late 1950’s, little to nothing of this Indonesianization was achieved. Indonesia had only became more indebted internationally, as foreigners doing business in Indonesia avoided paying taxes and the native Indonesians were too poor to pay tax. This caused the Indonesian economy to remain in shambles throughout the 1950’s, with inflation running as high as 30% annually. In the 1960’s things got even worse, as hyperinflation appeared destroying whatever was left of the national economy [6].
This failure to achieve any improvement in the economic situation of Indonesia in the first decade following colonialism had two important consequences. Firstly, it turned political attention away from a liberal, capitalist oriented economic development program to plans more inspired by communism / socialism. For instance, following the examples set by the Soviet Union and China, in 1955 Indonesia too presented a “five year plan”. Secondly, it motivated the Indonesian government to confiscate and nationalize foreign interests in Indonesia. Starting in 1957 Dutch interests in Indonesia were seized and nationalized. Starting in 1963 British firms were nationalized. And starting in 1964 American firms as well. Ultimately, in 1965 foreign investment in Indonesia was completely disallowed with the repeal of the Foreign Investment Law of 1958. The ultimate consequences of these steps remain with us today.
Indonesia’s post-Independence economic history – the Suharto era
This was too much to bear for the Americans. During the height of the Cold War Indonesia’s flirt with communism could not be accepted, and neither could the seizure of American firms. So they began organizing “change” in Indonesia.
Neville Maxwell, a Senior Research Officer of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, Oxford University, had the following to say on what happened: “A few years ago I was researching in Pakistan into the diplomatic background of the 1965 Indo-Pakistan conflict, and in foreign ministry papers to which I had been given access came across a letter to the then foreign minister, Mr. Bhutto, from one of his ambassadors in Europe (I believe Mr. J.A. Rahim, in Paris) reporting a conversation with a Dutch intelligence officer with NATO. According to my note of that letter, the officer had remarked to the Pakistani diplomat that Indonesia was ‘ready to fall into the Western lap like a rotten apple’. Western intelligence agencies, he said, would organize a ‘premature communist coup … [which would be] foredoomed to fail, providing a legitimate and welcome opportunity to the army to crush the communists and make Sukarno a prisoner of the army’s goodwill’. The ambassador’s report was dated December 1964.” [7]
Tim Weiner in his Pulitzer price winning book “Legacy of Ashes: The history of the CIA” explains how this plan was organized: “(The CIA) had precisely one well-situated agent: Adam Malik, a fortyeight-year- old disillusioned ex-Marxist who had served as Sukarno’s ambassador to Moscow and his minister of trade. After a permanent falling-out with his president in 1964, Malik had met up with the CIA’s Clyde McAvoy at a Jakarta safe house. (…) ‘I recruited and ran Adam Malik’, McAvoy said in an interview in 2005. ‘He was the highest-ranking Indonesian we ever recruited’. (…) Then, in a few terrifying weeks in October 1965, the Indonesian state split in two. The CIA worked to consolidate a shadow government, a troika composed of Adam Malik, the ruling sultan of central Java, and an army major general named Suharto. Malik used his relationship with the CIA to set up a series of secret meetings with the new American ambassador in Indonesia , Marshall Green. The ambassador said he met Adam Malik ‘in a clandestine setting’ and obtained ‘a very clear idea of what Suharto thought and what Malik thought and what they were proposing to do’ to rid Indonesia of communism through the new political movement they led, the Kap-Gestapu. ‘I ordered that all 14 of the walkie-talkies we had in the Embassy for emergency communications be handed over to Suharto’, Ambassador Green said. ‘This provided additional internal security for him and his own top officers’ – and a way for the CIA to monitor what they were doing.”
General Suharto then sent his soldiers to arrest the leaders of the Indonesian Army, and had them killed. He blamed the killing on the communists in Indonesia, and used this as an excuse to eventually push aside president Suharto and take power for himself. He then proceeded with killing Indonesian communist leaders using a list of names provided by the American embassy [8], as well as hundreds of thousands of other suspected communists throughout Indonesia. Ambassador Green later told then American Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey that “300,000 to 400,000 people were slain” in “a blood bath”  [9]. And speaking in Australia in 1973 he said: “What we did we had to do, and you’d better be glad we did because if we hadn’t Asia would be a different place today”. [10]
One of the first acts of general Suharto following his grab of power was to send a team of economists to a conference held in Geneva, Switzerland, named “Indonesian Investment Conference: To aid in the rebuilding of a nation”. The conference was organized by Time Life Corporation of America and, in addition to the Indonesian economists, was attended by representatives of mostly American multinational corporations. Professor Jeffrey Winters of Northwestern University in Chicago studied the conference papers and described the proceedings at the conference in the following manner: “They divided up into five different sections: mining in one room, services in another, light industry in another, banking and finance in another. And what Chase Manhattan did was sit with a delegation and hammer out policies that were going to be acceptable to them and other investors. You had these big corporate people going round the table, saying ‘this is what we need: this, this and this’; and they basically designed the legal infrastructure for investment in Indonesia. I’ve never heard of a situation like this where global capital sits down with the representatives of a supposedly sovereign state and hammers out the conditions of their own entry into that country.” [11] In 1967 the demands of international business were translated into law by Suharto through the passing of the “Law regarding Foreign Investment”.
Indonesia’s post-Independence economic history – the “Reformasi” era
Suharto ruled Indonesia with an iron fist until in 1998 America decided it was time for “democratic change”.
Ever since the situation has only worsened for Indonesia. In 2007 the democratically elected government of Indonesia adjusted Suharto’s “Law regarding Foreign Investment” from 1967 by lowering income tax on earnings from Foreign Investment in Indonesia, exempting Foreign Investment in Indonesia from VAT, and extending the maximum term on land leases (very important in mining and oil & gas operations) from 70 to 95 years.
In 2010, eventually, the democratically elected government of Indonesia introduced a completely new legislation for Foreign Investment in Indonesia replacing the 1967 law, regarding which the American government had the following to say: “An updated Overseas Private Investment Corporation investment agreement that better serves the needs of U.S. businesses was signed [with Indonesia] in April 2010. This agreement replaced a 1967 agreement” [12].
Since1967, in other words, America has consistently been writing the Indonesian laws regarding Foreign Investment in Indonesia, ensuring it meets her interests perfectly.
The outcome – America’s benefit, Indonesia’s loss
Although it is well known that Indonesia is “resource rich”, the massiveness of the Indonesian mineral wealth is often underestimated. The country produces close to 1 million barrels of oil per day; around 72,000 million cubic meters of natural gas per year; around 360 million short tons of coal per year; around 65,000 kilos of gold per year; around 610,000 metric tons of copper per year; and around 200,000 metric tons of nickel per year.

Unit of Measure
barrels per day
cubic meter
short ton
metric ton
metric ton


Using 2010 average prices, on international markets this is worth no less than $95 billion. The oil production is worth around $27 billion per year; the natural gas production is worth around $36 billion per year; the coal production is worth around $20 billion per year; the gold production is worth around $2.6 billion per year; the copper production is worth around $5 billion per year; and the nickel production is worth around $4 billion per year.

A review of the Indonesian State Budget for 2010 makes clear that only a small part of this massive amount of wealth ends up at the disposal of the Indonesian government. In the 2010 budget taxes on oil & gas industry, levies on oil & gas, levies on mining and the income from state owned enterprises totals just Rp171 trillion, namely, or $19 billion. This is less than 20% of the mineral wealth produced.

2010 Indonesian State Budget
Taxes on oil & gas industry
Levies on oil
Levies on gas
Levies on mining
Income from state owned companies

The remaining $76 billion is pocketed by foreign companies, most of whom American. This is roughly 8% of 2010 Indonesian GDP. Repatriation of profits resulting from Foreign Investment in Indonesia is also tax free, it must be noted.

Main players
Texaco (US), Chevron (US), Total (France), CNOOC (China)
ExxonMobil (US), HUFFCO Group (US), Total (France)
Bakrie Group (Indonesia)
Freeport (US), Newmont (US), Aurora Gold (Australia)
Freeport (US), Newmont (US)
Inco (Canada), Sumitomo Metal Mining (Japan)

Contemporary economic research into colonialism indicates that during the height of British rule over India, the British “drained” around 1% of Indian GDP and repatriated it back home. The Dutch drained between 8 – 10% of Indonesian GDP [13]. These figures make clear that from an economic perspective at least, independence has failed to achieve any meaningful improvement to the situation of Indonesia. Economically, Indonesia is as if colonized still.
Idries De Vries is an international management consultant, and an international speaker and author of several publications on geopolitical, economic and Islamic affairs. He is also  a guest contributor for New Civilisation.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect New Civilisation’s editorial policy.

[1] “Background Note: Indonesia”, U.S. Bureau of State – Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs,
[2] “Sukarno’s Guided Democracy and the Takeovers of Foreign Companies in Indonesia in the 1960s”, William A. Redfern,
[3] See: In 1949 a troy ounce of gold was worth 31.69 USD. Today it is worth around 1,600 USD, a difference of a factor 50.
[4] Ibidem note 2.
[5] Ibidem note 2.
[6] Ibidem note 2.
[7] “Killing Hope: US Military and CIA interventions since World War II”, William Blum.
[8] “Legacy of Ashes: The history of the CIA”, Tim Weiner.
[9] Ibidem note 8.
[10] Ibidem note 7.
[11] “The New Rulers of the World”, John Pilger.
[13] “Angus Maddison and Development Economics”, Adam Szirmai,

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Update from Villawood, October 29

I visited Villawood yesterday. It was a nice sunny day, I had fun.

There are some things I constantly have to remind myself when I'm putting away all my valuables and walking through the airport like metal scanning machine.

1- This is not a jail. Which leads to a second realization; those people did not do anything wrong.

This is actually a jail. There are criminals in Villawood who are from overseas. Their last few weeks or months they're kept in Villawood before being deported to their home countries.
Why on earth would this stupid government keep criminals with Asylum seekers ? They are not the same! They should not be treated like criminals. The very fact they're kept in detention FOR YEARS goes against the UN conversions on refugees of which Australia is a signatory.  It's wrong if you don't know the plight of these people, and it's evil if you know them. If you visit them week in and week out. When you grow, get married, have kids, get a job, buy a house. And they're just there ! just waiting for a visa or a security check or just some paper work slowed down by Political sensibilities.

2- What is a good day in Villawood ? It was a beautiful day, my friend (who I'll call Ali) is not ever allowed to forget that he's being kept in this detention center like an animal. He used to remember the exact number of days he's been in detention. Now he doesn't care to count any more. He sleeps for 10-15 hours at a time and stays away for 30 hours after. It doesn't matter, It's not like he's going anywhere.
Imagine being stuck in a bus stop for an extra 20 minutes, or at an airport for 10 hours, how lost do you feel? image 2 years of this. Those guys don't know how much longer they're going to stay caged like this. It could be another 10 days or 10 years. At some point it ceases to matter for them.

I really hope Chris Bowen or Julia can come see the desperation and the breaking down of innocent human beings that they're the cause of. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

MILIBAND: Gaza represents ultimate failure of politics

This article was sent to me by Australians for Palestine. An amazing organization with a wealth or resources and op eds about Palestine and Zionism in the middle East, Australia and the world.

I suggest you follow their work or subscribe to their email list

MILIBAND: Gaza represents the ultimate failure of politics


by David Miliband  -  The Guardian  -  12 October 2011
Government is all about statistics. But life is about people, and the disjunction between the two explains a lot about the cynicism and disaffection with politics. This is true for domestic policy, but also in international affairs, where the confusion and fatigue induced by distance is increased by the seemingly intractable nature of many of the problems.
The people who suffer are those who most need the attention of the world. This is notably true of the 1.5 million people crowded into the Gaza Strip, locked between Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean sea.
The statistics say that 80% of the population are on UN food aid. The youth unemployment rate is 65%. The website of the United Nations office for the co-ordination of humanitarian affairs has a comprehensive database where you can see how many trucks, containing different kinds of supplies, have been allowed in by the Israeli authorities.
The situation of the people – or rather the fight about their situation – is periodically in the news, most recently when violence broke the otherwise reasonably effective ceasefire in August. But Gaza has become the land that time – and the wider international community – forgot.
It is for this reason that I took up the offer from Save the Children to visit the Gaza Strip. I had not been able to visit while in government for security reasons. Now I wanted to get a sense of life, not statistics. The purpose of the visit was not to meet politicians or decision-makers, but to get a glimpse, albeit brief, of life for the people.
And there is real life. Boys in western football shirts – mainly Lionel Messi of Barcelona. Restaurants overlooking the Mediterranean. Girls in white headscarves wherever you look coming back from school. Barbers, clothes shops, fruit stalls. And a good deal of traffic – with new cars smuggled in through tunnels underneath the Philadelphi route that runs along the Egyptian border.
But although life is real, it is traumatic and limited. We saw buildings – not just the former Hamas headquarters – still reduced to rubble. There are houses riddled with bullet holes. The electricity supply cuts out for up to eight hours a day. There are not enough schools or teachers, so there are classes of 50 or 60 and the school day is restricted to a few hours to allow for two or even three shifts.
The consequences of war are everywhere, nowhere more so than for those caught in the crossfire. We met the niece and son of a farmer caught in the “buffer zone” between the Israeli border and Gaza. She had lost an eye and he a hand to Israeli shells in the war of 2008-09.
Save the Children, obviously, is most concerned about the 53% of the Gaza population under 18. The statistics say 10% of children are “stunted” – so undernourished before the age of two that they never grow to their full potential.
We saw what Save the Children is trying to do about it, at a nutrition centre serving mothers and children in Gaza City. The needs are basic: promoting breastfeeding, health boosts for young children through food supplies, medical attention for mothers. But not all those who need help are coming to get it, so Save the Children funds outreach workers to go and encourage families to use the services.
There is remarkable work to create opportunity as well as prevent catastrophe. The Qattan Centre for the Child is a privately funded library, drama, computer and youth centre that would grace any British community. The director told me it was dedicated to a philosophy of “building people not buildings”. The centre is a true oasis.
The situation in Gaza represents the ultimate failure of politics. Nearly three years ago, after the Gaza war, the international community was preoccupied with opening up Gaza. Three years on, there is a stalemate – to match the wider stalemate in the wider search for a Palestinian state that can live alongside Israel.
The first responsibility is with Israel. The international call in the UN Gaza peace resolution, which Britain authored, on the Israeli government to open up the supply lines has been heeded only in small part. That is why the tunnels do such a roaring trade – which Hamas then taxes to fund its activities. So there is a real boomerang. In return, the Israeli government would retort that the parallel call in the resolution for the flow of arms into Gaza to be stopped has not been delivered. That’s true, too.
Yet the international pressure is muted. The focus has shifted. But the needs and the people have not moved on.
This is not a party political hit on the British government. The Department for International Development is the second biggest donor to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. The prime minister spoke up about Gaza early in his term of office. There is room for a genuine cross-party drive to make sure that the children and adults of Gaza are not forgotten.
To make the situation even more infuriating, the status quo is actually irrational. It is not in anyone’s political interest. Israel doesn’t become safer, or Hamas or Fatah more popular.
One young mother at the nutrition centre told me that she was just completing her accountancy degree – but there was no work. Yusuf, nine, working on a computer at the Qattan centre, told me he wanted to be a pilot. These people are not a threat to peace in the Middle East. They are actually its hope. But for that they need a chance to shape their own future.
David Miliband is the former UK foreign secretary.


Sunday, October 02, 2011

Interview with new Australian Mufti- pocast

So I finally managed to grab Mr Ibrahim Abu Mohammad for an hour to interview him about his new position as Australia's new Mufti.

What is a mufti you ask ? Well according to wiseGeek a mufti is an Islamic scholar who has the authority to issue legal opinions known as fatawa about fine points of Islamic law. The issue of Mufti has been a divisive and controvertial one over the last few years for a number of reasons.

Within the Muslim community there were a lot of questions over the authority of a person (Sheikh Taj Eldin Elhilali at the time) who knowns little about Australia outside of Lakemba. A large segment of the community did not recognize or acknowledge the role or authority of a mufti. Hardly anyone outside of Sydney had met or spoken the Sheikh Taj, who didn't speak English. Similarly the later Mufti Sheikh Fehmi was based in Melbourne and due to his age and health, he was not able to travel much outside of Melbourne and therefore access to him was limited by those outside Melbourne.

Within the wider Australian community there was largely very little knowledge about the role or position of the Mufti, referred to as the highest Islamic religious authority in Australia (and sometimes likened to a Pope for Australian Muslims) many controversies erupted over the position of the Mufti and the persons filling it. Not least of course because of some Muslim organizations publicly criticizing or rejecting the authority of the Mufti.

Well how exactly is a Mufti chosen ? What does he do ? and what can we as Australians and Muslims except from him ?

This interview lasted about an hour and I tried to ask the most pertinent question within the time I had. I hope It's been beneficial to my listeners.

I would greatly appreciate your feedback on this issue, as I will be conveying any concerns, questions or comments you may have on this issue to the Mufti.

If you have any questions for the mufti, you can also contact him directly at 

This interview was conducted at the QKradio studies in Fairfield Sydney.

Or you can download the podcast file here 

Finally there is a short video of some of the interview for your viewing pleasure 

Monday, September 19, 2011

A poem for your thoughts

I maintain an Art Group in the popular art sharing website DeviantArt.

I saw this piece and thought to share it. I love the poem. Again you have to speak Arabic to understand, sorry.

Iraq by *Ahmed-ALSamraee on deviantART

Here is a video of the very respected poet Tameem Bargouti reciting the poem. I recomend you watch it even if you don't speak Arabic. 

The poem is here

قفي ساعة يفديك قولي وقائله
ولا تخذلي من بات والدهر خاذله

أنا عالِم بالحزن منذ طفولتي
رفيقي فما أخطيه حين أقابله

وإن له كفّا إذا ما أراحها
على جبل ما قام بالكف كاهله

يقلِّبني رأسا على عقب بها
كما أمسكت ساقَ الوليد قوابلُه

ويحملني كالصقر يحمل صيده
ويعلو به فوق السحاب يطاوله

فإن فر من مخلابه طاح هالكا
وإن ظل في مخلابه فهو آكله

عزائي من الظلاَّم إن مت قبلهم
عموم المنايا ما لها من تجامله

إذا أقصد الموتُ القتيلَ فإنه
كذلك ما ينجو من الموت قاتله

فنحن ذنوب الموت وهي كثيرة
وهم حسنات الموت حين تسائله

يقوم بها يوم الحساب مدافعا
يرد بها ذمامه ويجادله

ولكن قتلا في بلادي كريمة
ستبقيه مفقود الجواب يحاوله

ترى الطفل من تحت الجدار مناديا
أبي لا تخف – والموت يهطل وابله –

ووالده رعبا يشير بكفه
وتعجز عن رد الرصاص أنامله

على نشرة الأخبار في كل ليلة
نرى موتنا تعلو وتهوي معاوله

لنا ينسج الأكفانَ في كل ليلة
لخمسين عاما ما تكلُّ مغازله

أرى الموت لا يرضى سوانا فريسة
كأنا – لعمري – أهله وقبائله

وقتلى على شط العراق كأنهم
نقوش بساط دقَّق الرسمَ غازلُه

يصلى عليه ثم يوطأ بعدها
ويحرف عنه عينه متناوله

إذا ما أضعنا شامها وعراقها
فتلك من البيت الحرام مداخله

أرى الدهر لا يرضى بنا حلفاءه
ولسنا مطيقيه عدوا نصاوله

فهل ثم من جيل سيقبل أو مضى
يبادلنا أعمارنا ونبادله

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Being Challenged

I reached this epiphany just now and thought to share it because it ought to be told.

The most challenging woman I've ever met is my wife. Not challenging as in difficult, but as in gets my mind working all the time. I don't tell people this because I'm afraid of 7asad.

mashallah mashallah mashallah mashallah mashallah mashallah mashallah mashallah mashallah

I talk to her about things, I have a strong clear point of view, and she rebuts with her own ideas. All of a sudden my brain feels like a full speed train hitting a mountain. F@#K ! 30 years old and I've never thought of it like this !  

And that is why I love my wife.

mashallah mashallah mashallah mashallah mashallah mashallah mashallah mashallah mashallah

Monday, September 05, 2011

الويل لإيران من شر أقترب..؟

A powerful article written by a Saudi commentator about the current situation of moral corruption and hypocrisy in the Gulf states. Very interesting, I will endeavour to translate it when I get the chance. In the mean time just make sure you speak Arabic.

qأقوى مقال سياسي من كاتب سعودي
- لا أعلم كيف تم نشره -
الويل لإيران من شر أقترب..؟

تـنبعث في الأفق إرهاصات "تحدي" بين إيران ودول الخليج العربي ولو غضبت إيران وزمجرت فالويل لها ثم الويل لنا!! لقد أعلن التحدي مع إيران بنيرة الشاعر العربي المفوه:
ألا لا يجهلن احد علينا .. فنجهل فوق جهل الجاهلينا!!
 (بالكلام فقط وما زلنا "كلام نواعم")!!
 فهذه باكستان الفقيرة التي فتحها غلام من غلمان الطائف امتلكت القنبلة النووية ووضعت لنفسها مركزا في موازين القوى)!!
 يا ليت شعري يا أبن كلثوم بماذا ستواجه دول الخليج التحدي الإيراني؟ هل تجد الحل في خنجر عماني مذهب مصنوع في كلكتا؟! أم بأكبر وأطول "بيرق" في العالم مصنوع من قماش مستورد؟!!
أم أن الحل يأتي من عاصمة البغاء العالمية -دبي المدينة النموذج - (لنا النموذج دون العالمين أو القبر)؟!! فهناك في مدينة ناطحات السحاب العربية جيش جرار يعمل على قدم وفخذ من اجل تأسيس صناعة!! للجنس والفجور على أرض الخير والحبور (أهكذا تشكر النعم يا غشم)؟؟! جلبوا العار باليورو والدولار ولم يرحموا الأخلاق والفضيلة بل ولم يرحموا الإنسانية؟!! هاهم قد مسحوا العنصر النسائي الجميل فقط!! من قرى طاجيكستان واوزباكستان (ولأن عربستان محتلة من إيران فقد حمى الله بناتها من تجارة الرقيق الأبيض!!) وانـتقلوا إلى رومانيا وهنغاريا ثم ومن لزوميات الحمية العربية المخلصة عبثوا بالطول و"العرض" في بلاد (من أحرق السفن وقال قولته الشهيرة "العدو من أمامكم والبحر من وراءكم وانتم اليوم يا عرب أضيع من الأيتام على مأدبة اللئام")!! ثم أتوا بالعربيات الماجدات!! يجرجن أذيالهن!! إلى حيث ألقت رحلها الموبقات والمسكرات والمخدرات!! أسطورة مدينتهم هذه أنها قلبت المعادلة فأصبح نسل مضر هم مصدر الجواري والقيان والراقصات والمومسات وجاء المتفرجون على اللحم العربي الأبيض المتوسط؟! من كل حدب وصوب الفرنج والخرنج والعلوج والهنوج .
المدينة النموذج أنـتجت لنا النوع الثالث؟!! من العرب الذين تمنيت أن أموت قبل أن أراهم (العرب العارية- عرب بدون هدوم)!! نموذجهم هذا وصل إلى العالمية من أوسخ الأبواب وقد عمّر صرحاً من خرسانة فهوى في قاع كلخانه (تكرمون)؟!! صدق الوعد يا غثاء السيل، هاهم العرب الحفاة يتطاولون في البنيان ويتفاخرون بأطول برج وأجمل برج وأغرب مبنى وأجمل بناية وإنما في أحشاءها الفجور والخمور وكل ما في العالمين من شرور: 
أن الأبراج أن طالت مبانيها.. في أحشاءها عند مسيان العطب!!
وكل ذلك على بعد فراسخ!! معدودة من ارض عاد وأرم ذات العماد التي لم يخلق مثلها في البلاد وذهبت في صبيحة واحدة لتكون اثأرا مندرسة تحت الرمال؟!!
ويل لإيران فلدى دول الخليج قناة العربية وأسلحتها الفتاكة الرمحي والقيسي وعيدان و... (لكم الله يا أخوال الرسول)!! وعندما تـنتفض هذه المسماة .. ري.. ري.. (وش اسمها هذي حقت صناعة الموت)!! هذه المدعوة ريما خربانه ؟! فلن يـبقى في إيران حجر على حجر!! وسيشعر الإيرانيون بالحرج الشديد ويمتـنعون عن القتال مخافة أن يتم تصنيفهم مع أطفال حماس الذين يصنعون الموت لجنود العدو الصهيوني (استغفر الله هل قلت العدو الصهيوني!! جل من لا يهمل)!! ثم هناك "العربية نت"، ويلكم يا فارس جاءكم الموت على رأس فأره؟!  ويقف خلفها عدد من "مجاهدي النت" وهم رجال!! أشداء على المؤمنين رحماء على الصهاينة؟! تراهم في المعركة سكارى وهم سكارى وسيلجمون التحدي الإيراني السافر بإحصائيات  مهولة عن الشواذ والسحاقيات في دول الخليج وربما دعوا إلى الدفع بهم وبهن إلى الصفوف المنبطحة في المعركة المصيرية!!
ولن يهدأ للعرب العارية هذه بال ولن يرتاح لهم سروال؟!! حتى يحشدوا مراكزهم ونواديهم وانجازاتهم الثـقافية لمواجهة التحدي الإيراني؟!! وفي الخط الأول هناك "مركز المسيار الوطني" (ولو نزعت نقطة من تحت الياء فلن يتغير المعنى)!! وهو المركز الوطني الوحيد في العالم وربما في التاريخ الذي يجمع معلومات ويعمل دراسات عن أسرار الوطن وخفايا الوطن وخبايا الوطن وثغرات الوطن (يا عزتي لك يا وطن)!! ثم يـبيعها بالدولار الملعون للاستخبارات الأمريكية والبريطانية والإسرائيلية والروسية واستخبارات سيرلنكا المركزية!! وربما يزود الاستخبارات الإيرانية ببعض المعلومات عن قضية "انـتهاك حقوق الشيعة" في الخليج!! ومشاكل تزويج القاصرات وقصص ظلم القضاة وتسلط الهيئات ولن يتحدث أحد عن تكميم الأفواه وخط الفقر الذي يضغط تحته نصف الشعب الذي يمشي حافيا وتحت قدميه أضخم الثروات في تاريخ الاقتصاد؟!! لعنك الله يا دولار كيف جردت أبناء الوطن من الوطنية؟!!
ويل لإيران فلدى العرب المهووسة ذلك الموقع الالكتروني "إيلاف" (ملاحظة: النقط تحت الياء مع إن وضعها فوق الياء لا يغير المعنى)!! هذا الموقع  سيكون حجر (غرشة)!! في طريق الأطماع الإيرانية!! فهم في إيلاف لا يعترفون بالموت ويقولون أن الله يأخذ إجازة (تعالى الله عما يقولون)!! ويعتقدون أن محمد (صلى الله عليه وسلم) كان مقاتلا دمويا تحركه الأطماع السياسية (بأبي أنت وأمي يا رسول الله)!! وعندما تدخل إتلاف ساحة الوغى ضد العدو الجديد فسيدوخ!! الإيرانيون من صور هاي رزلوشن!! لكل ما لذ وطاب من الفنانات والمطربات المائلات المميلات النامصات المنمصات ومعهن جوقة من (حليقي الشنبات)!! ولا عزاء للغيورين فقد رفعت المدينة الحجاب عن قاذورات إتلاف استعداد للمعركة ومنعت المواقع الاباحيه.والصداقات، وهي لعمري أرحم!! على الأقل الواحد ينظر إلي صور البنيات!! وعقله في رأسه وليس في رأس الماسونية؟!! وقلبه في صدره وليس في صدر البيت الأبيض!!
وأين ستذهب إيران من صحافتـنا وكتابنا ورسامي الكاريكاتير وروايات السح الدح امبووو!! وحتى شعبان عبد الرحيم سيقلب الموازين (بكرهك يا إيران أنت وكل العربان العريان انين.... ثم نهيق متـقطع)؟! الويل والثبور لإيران الغبية عندما تـتولاها سياط وأنياب هؤلاء الذين عندما تسلموا ملف "الهيئة" جعلوا الناس بالكاد تنسى (كنتم خير أمة أخرجت للناس تأمرون بالمعروف وتـنهون عن المنكر)!! وعندما تولوا ملف السينما جعلوا من صالات الأفلام متطلب حضاري تـنافسي تـقني سيصعد بنا إلى مصاف موزمبيق؟!! وعندما حشدوا أقلامهم القذرة ضد حماس أصبح الواحد يلعب الكرة بهدوء مخافة أن يأخذ به "حماس" زائد فيصنف (ضد السامية)!! اعتقد انه سيقضي على إيران في ليلة حالكة!! من ليالي العرب الحمراء وسيلاحقهم المخرجون بإنـتاج أول فيلم سينمائي فيه ممثلة خليجية تمتـنع أمام الملأ عن أكل الكباب الإيراني (مرة واحده، يلعن أم التحدي)!! وستهبط النكات على الإيرانيين في "عيال قرية"؟! وليس من المستبعد أن تـنقطع عنهم "روتانا" فيصبحوا على ما فعلوا فرحانين؟! (وهنا نقترح أن تعطي إيران فرصة فليس لها قبل بكل هذه المصائب)!! خلاص، إيران انـتهت ويستعد بعض المثـقفين العرب لعقد ندوة عالمية
هل تذكرون ذلك العربي الجاهلي الذي قاد قومه بني وائل (عنزه) وواجه جيوش كسري وحقق أول نصر عربي واضح لم يأت لتحريك المفاوضات أو لجبر الخواطر!! وكل ذلك من أجل امرأة عربية أهينت في بلاط كسري؟!! وهل تذكرون ذلك العربي نحيل جسمه رثة ثيابه دخل على كسري في قمة عنفوانه ورد على سؤاله (ماذا تريدون يا عرب؟)  فقال تلك المقولة التاريخية "أتـينا لنخرج العباد من عبادة العباد إلى عبادة رب العباد"!! هذه عرب هلكت، وابتليـنا نحن الذين نعيش في عصر العرب العارية!! برجال رضوا وهم بكامل قواهم العقلية أن يكونوا عبيدا في مزرعة بوش الأب وبوش الابن وأخيرا أوباما الأسود (ليس عنده مزرعة ولكنها شقة ديلوكس في شيكاجوووو)!! وصدق عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه عندما قال "نحن (العرب) قوم أعزنا الله بالإسلام ومهما ابتـغينا العزة بغيره أذلنا الله"!!
د. صنهات بدر العتيبي
رئيس قسم إدارة الأعمال جامعة الملك سعود

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Politically Inconvenient Suffering of a Diaspora Minoroty

I submitted  this article to The Intifada Magazine, part of the Students for Justice in Palestine group, in New Zealand.

Wars are won and lost, and the victor takes the spoils. Sometimes the victor is just as devastated by war as the loser. Hence the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 was the biggest military blunder the US ever stumbled into, not JUST because of the haemorrhaging of trillions of dollars into a mirage of  a war that has brought the US economy to its knees. It’s not the more than 4 000 US soldiers killed in action since march 2003 (oh and the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilian deaths as well, everybody forgets that bit of trivia).
It’s not the chain of bogus claims for going into the war which has irreparably corrupted US credibility. It’s not even the fact that the new Iraq has become a proxy fighting ground for Israel, Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia.  It’s that today, Iraq has turned from an independent functional state with borders, a constitutional government and the rule of law; to a failed state, an ethnically fractured war zone where the only victors are the US corporatocracies gaining from Iraqi Oil, and the most violent brutal criminal elements of the Mesopotamian underworld.
Much could be written -and has been - about the failure of the Iraq war and the death and destruction it had brought on to the Iraqis. Wars such as this are so explosive, their damage goes much further than their immediate vicinity. This however is a story of blood and tears I was fortunate –or unfortunate- enough to see with my eyes. 
In January 2004 I returned to Iraq for the first time in 10 years. Entry into this new lawless state was easy, it took about 15 minutes for 7 people and a car full of luggage to cross the border. The two weeks we spent there were a bittersweet reminder of our roots and legacy and a constant adrenalin rush of bullets and explosions every hour of every day.
When leaving Iraq, we had to wait 17 hours on the Jordan border in Traibeel to be searched and have our papers checked, alongside thousands of others fleeing this dystopia.
The Traibeel border crossing is a most inhospitable wasteland of desert and hot dusty wind that was painful to our eyes and ears even from the safety of the GMC truck we hid inside.
I remember so vividly looking at the scores of Red Cross tents on the side of the road, shaking violently in the dark of the night that fell. Our driver told us those were Palestinians who had been living in Iraq in since 1948. After the invasion most of them had to escape  torture, harassment and targeted assassinations by various militia groups. Jordan would not grant them entry and they could not return to Iraq. So they had to wait along the border, indefinitely, a politically incorrect logistic that shouldn’t exist.
The history of the Iraq Palestinians is a long and arduous one reeking of political ploys and lost sentiment.
When the collective of Zionist gangs decided to proclaim the land they took by force as the new state of Israel in 1948. They forcibly removed almost 800 000 Palestinians from their homes by direct expulsion and threat of terrorism. Those ejected were absorbed by the Arab countries around them; Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and others. However because of the immense political, national and religious value Palestine held. This 800 000 could not be allowed to settle in any real way, they were given temporary residence or green papers, never offered a permanent solution as those same governments assured that they would be returning to their homeland once the Zionist invader is ousted.
Half a century of failed governments, failed wars and betrayals. There are now more than 3 million Palestinian refugees in vast ghettos, camps and shanty towns living the same limbo existence, waiting for an honorable reprieve from a whore monger government.
The situation in Iraq was a bit different though, according to Wikipedia
“The birth of the Palestinian community in modern Iraq dates back to 1948, when the Iraqi army, which had been fighting in Palestine, returned to Baghdad with a group of Palestinians who had been forced to flee their homes in Haifa and Jaffa. Following the 1967 War with Israel, a second larger wave of Palestinians sought refuge in Iraq. The third and final wave occurred in 1991 after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, when those Palestinians living in Kuwait and other Gulf states fled or were expelled due to Yasser Arafat’s support for the invasion”
What’s not mentioned here is that in a multiethnic Iraq where Saddam had fractured and brutalized every community and group, the Palestinian refugees were treated very well and given the best accommodation on Haifa street in Baghdad. No official papers were given to them since they were treated as temporary guests, otherwise they were heaped with gifts; subsidies, scholarships, exemptions from military service, and rent freeze in some instances. For a large of sector of the community, especially after the 1991 sanctions, the Palestinians were like Joseph to his brothers. Jealousy and resentment bubbled under the surface.
Fast forward back to the invasion of Iraq and the complete collapse of law and order in a country of 25 million people. A bestial vacuum came to fruition where reprisal attacks and account settling started taking place between different ethnic groups, tribes and even individuals. Where everyone had a tribe or group to back them up, the Palestinians had none. They were orphans, an easy target in a mad house of blind rage and guns.
In the years since the invasions, a relentless campaign killing, torture, rape, kidnapping, imprisonment and threats saw more than 25 000 of them escaping their homes of five decades to find refuge elsewhere. Most of them Palestinians only on paper –or lack thereof - . They otherwise were born in Iraq and spoke with an Iraqi dialect, most had not even been to Palestine.
I mentioned the Palestinian refugees to one asylum seeker being detained at Villawood detention center in Sydney, Australia. To my surprise he saw a perverse justice in their plight. “They lived in luxury off the backs of Iraqis during the Iran war and the sanctions, Iraqi children died and their children lived lavishly” This shocked me and forced me to reassess the war. All this anger felt by victims empowers the militias roaming Iraq to massacre and terrorize justly, creating an endless bloody cycle of vengeance.
The only routes out of Iraq closer to the homeland were Jordan and Syria. Mostly the beaten path of Traibeel, but Jordan wasn’t going to take a further contingent of paperless Palestinians in. They kept them at the border to wait further instructions or an answer from God. At some point they were moved to 4 camps at the Iraqi/Syrian border to reduce their visibility and plight.
For seven years no man answered,  nor God was heard.
This is one sad untold story of thousands, the very real chronicle of the nightmare that is current day Iraq. A quagmire so deep it shall soon prove to have brought to great United States to its knees just like Afghanistan downed the Soviet Union a mere two decades ago.

This is not the end of the story though, a most unlikely ray of hope springs forth like a fairy tale.
Enter Yousef Reemawi. A Palestinian Australian radio presented living in Melbourne. He runs a weekly radio show called “From the River to the Sea, news and views of Palestine”. During one show he presented a report about this sad story one day, of his listeners sent in a message, why don’t we do something about it ?
And so it started, a week later there was an organization, ASPIRE (Australian Society for the Palestinian- Iraqi Refugees Emergency). Supporters and members were found. Yousef travelled to the camps over in Jordan and the subsequent Syrian camps, he met the people, took in their stories, their hopes, their dreams and their humanity.
He came back, a submit an application for 147 of them for asylum into Australia.
A massive effort carried out by scores of volunteers, filling out forms, translating, legal wrangling and string pulling. Months and months of solid work.
16 families were approved.  68 of them are in Australia now.
He’s gone back again for another visit. A hero before the age of the Arab Spring. He’s leading the second campaign to bring in to Australia.
Unlike other stories of despair. This is one you actually join to make a difference. Contact Yousef or join his facebook group to take part in the next campaign. Or start your own campaign in New Zealand.