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.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Muntader AlZaidi's speech after his release

 I would like to start by thanking Khaled Jarrar of Tell Me A Secret for first sharing this, I'm copying from his website. Here is the original link 

I remember first time I saw the video of Muntadhar throwing the shoe at Bush, I remember thinking this has has some balls doing what he did and that he'd probably die. Only later on did I realize how this was one act has galvanized the whole world.

More than a word, less than a bullet. That thrown shoe was the epitome of anger, the desperation and the rejection of all the romantic lies peddled in the media of the new free Iraq.

I took a taxi in Ajman in the United Arab Emirates, the driver, a Baluchi Pakistani spoke to me in the Urdu/Arabic/English mix that subcontinentals speak so well in the Gulf countries.

Hatha nafar Iraqi ? Are you Iraqi  ?
Na'am, Nafar Iraq, liesh inta yi'al ? Yes I am, why do you ask ?
Hatha nafar munthadhar Zaidi throwing jooti 'ala Boosh, hatha nafar wayed zien That man munthadhar Zaidi who threw the shoe at Bush, he is the man !

since then the same stunt has been "thrown" across the world, once even being likened to that brave mans standing infront of a tank at Tianmen square.
At an episode of QandA in Australia a war activist threw his shoes at then Australian PM John Howard

When I met Muntadhar's cousin at Villawood detention center a few weeks ago I hugged and kissed him like a long lost friend. In respect to the courage and honor of that man.

PS, when I met that nephew person, he wasn't detained at Villawood.

My Flower to Bush, the Occupier
The Story of My Shoe By MUTADHAR al-ZAIDI
Mutadhar al-Zaidi, the Iraqi who threw his shoe at George Bush gave this speech on his recent release.
In the name of God, the most gracious and most merciful. Here I am, free. But my country is still a prisoner of war. Firstly, I give my thanks and my regards to everyone who stood beside me, whether inside my country, in the Islamic world, in the free world. There has been a lot of talk about the action and about the person who took it, and about the hero and the heroic act, and the symbol and the symbolic act. But, simply, I answer: What compelled me to confront is the injustice that befell my people, and how the occupation wanted to humiliate my homeland by putting it under its boot.And how it wanted to crush the skulls of (the homeland's) sons under its boots, whether sheikhs, women, children or men. And during the past few years, more than a million martyrs fell by the bullets of the occupation and the country is now filled with more than 5 million orphans, a million widows and hundreds of thousands of maimed. And many millions of homeless because of displacement inside and outside the country.We used to be a nation in which the Arab would share with the Turkman and the Kurd and the Assyrian and the Sabean and the Yazid his daily bread. And the Shiite would pray with the Sunni in one line. And the Muslim would celebrate with the Christian the birthday of Christ, may peace be upon him. And despite the fact that we shared hunger under sanctions for more than 10 years, for more than a decade.
Our patience and our solidarity did not make us forget the oppression. Until we were invaded by the illusion of liberation that some had. (The occupation) divided one brother from another, one neighbor from another, and the son from his uncle. It turned our homes into never-ending funeral tents. And our graveyards spread into parks and roadsides. It is a plague. It is the occupation that is killing us, that is violating the houses of worship and the sanctity of our homes and that is throwing thousands daily into makeshift prisons.
I am not a hero, and I admit that. But I have a point of view and I have a stance. It humiliated me to see my country humiliated. And to see my Baghdad burned. And my people being killed. Thousands of tragic pictures remained in my head, and this weighs on me every day and pushes me toward the righteous path, the path of confrontation, the path of rejecting injustice, deceit and duplicity. It deprived me of a good night's sleep. Dozens, no, hundreds, of images of massacres that would turn the hair of a newborn white used to bring tears to my eyes and wound me. The scandal of Abu Ghraib. The massacre of Fallujah, Najaf, Haditha, Sadr City, Basra, Diyala, Mosul, Tal Afar, and every inch of our wounded land. In the past years, I traveled through my burning land and saw with my own eyes the pain of the victims, and hear with my own ears the screams of the bereaved and the orphans. And a feeling of shame haunted me like an ugly name because I was powerless.And as soon as I finished my professional duties in reporting the daily tragedies of the Iraqis, and while I washed away the remains of the debris of the ruined Iraqi houses, or the traces of the blood of victims that stained my clothes, I would clench my teeth and make a pledge to our victims, a pledge of vengeance.The opportunity came, and I took it.I took it out of loyalty to every drop of innocent blood that has been shed through the occupation or because of it, every scream of a bereaved mother, every moan of an orphan, the sorrow of a rape victim, the teardrop of an orphan. I say to those who reproach me: Do you know how many broken homes that shoe that I threw had entered because of the occupation? How many times it had trodden over the blood of innocent victims? And how many times it had entered homes in which free Iraqi women and their sanctity had been violated? Maybe that shoe was the appropriate response when all values were violated. When I threw the shoe in the face of the criminal, Bush, I wanted to express my rejection of his lies, his occupation of my country, my rejection of his killing my people. My rejection of his plundering the wealth of my country, and destroying its infrastructure. And casting out its sons into a diaspora.After six years of humiliation, of indignity, of killing and violations of sanctity, and desecration of houses of worship, the killer comes, boasting, bragging about victory and democracy.
He came to say goodbye to his victims and wanted flowers in response. Put simply, that was my flower to the occupier, and to all who are in league with him, whether by spreading lies or taking action, before the occupation or after. I wanted to defend the honor of my profession and suppressed patriotism on the day the country was violated and its high honor lost. Some say: Why didn't he ask Bush an embarrassing question at the press conference, to shame him? And now I will answer you, journalists. How can I ask Bush when we were ordered to ask no questions before the press conference began, but only to cover the event. It was prohibited for any person to question Bush.And in regard to professionalism: The professionalism mourned by some under the auspices of the occupation should not have a voice louder than the voice of patriotism. And if patriotism were to speak out, then professionalism should be allied with it.I take this opportunity: If I have wronged journalism without intention, because of the professional embarrassment I caused the establishment, I wish to apologize to you for any embarrassment I may have caused those establishments. All that I meant to do was express with a living conscience the feelings of a citizen who sees his homeland desecrated every day.History mentions many stories where professionalism was also compromised at the hands of American policymakers, whether in the assassination attempt against Fidel Castro by booby-trapping a TV camera that CIA agents posing as journalists from Cuban TV were carrying, or what they did in the Iraqi war by deceiving the general public about what was happening. And there are many other examples that I won't get into here.But what I would like to call your attention to is that these suspicious agencies -- the American intelligence and its other agencies and those that follow them -- will not spare any effort to track me down (because I am) a rebel opposed to their occupation. They will try to kill me or neutralize me, and I call the attention of those who are close to me to the traps that these agencies will set up to capture or kill me in various ways, physically, socially or professionally. And at the time that the Iraqi prime minister came out on satellite channels to say that he didn't sleep until he had checked in on my safety, and that I had found a bed and a blanket, even as he spoke I was being tortured with the most horrific methods: electric shocks, getting hit with cables, getting hit with metal rods, and all this in the backyard of the place where the press conference was held. And the conference was still going on and I could hear the voices of the people in it. And maybe they, too, could hear my screams and moans.
In the morning, I was left in the cold of winter, tied up after they soaked me in water at dawn. And I apologize for Mr. Maliki for keeping the truth from the people. I will speak later, giving names of the people who were involved in torturing me, and some of them were high-ranking officials in the government and in the army.
I didn't do this so my name would enter history or for material gains. All I wanted was to defend my country, and that is a legitimate cause confirmed by international laws and divine rights. I wanted to defend a country, an ancient civilization that has been desecrated, and I am sure that history -- especially in America -- will state how the American occupation was able to subjugate Iraq and Iraqis, until its submission.
They will boast about the deceit and the means they used in order to gain their objective. It is not strange, not much different from what happened to the Native Americans at the hands of colonialists. Here I say to them (the occupiers) and to all who follow their steps, and all those who support them and spoke up for their cause: Never.Because we are a people who would rather die than face humiliation.And, lastly, I say that I am independent. I am not a member of any politicalparty, something that was said during torture -- one time that I'm far-right, another that I'm a leftist. I am independent of any political party, and my future efforts will be in civil service to my people and to any who need it, without waging any political wars, as some said that I would. My efforts will be toward providing care for widows and orphans, and all those whose lives were damaged by the occupation.
I pray for mercy upon the souls of the martyrs who fell in wounded Iraq, and for shame upon those who occupied Iraq and everyone who assisted them in their abominable acts. And I pray for peace upon those who are in their graves, and those who are oppressed with the chains of imprisonment. And peace be upon you who are patient and looking to God for release.And to my beloved country I say: If the night of injustice is prolonged, it will not stop the rising of a sun and it will be the sun of freedom.
One last word. I say to the government: It is a trust that I carry from my fellow detainees. They said, 'Muntadhar, if you get out, tell of our plight to the omnipotent powers' -- I know that only God is omnipotent and I pray to Him -- 'remind them that there are dozens, hundreds, of victims rotting in prisons because of an informant's word.'They have been there for years, they have not been charged or tried.They've only been snatched up from the streets and put into these prisons. And now, in front of you, and in the presence of God, I hope they can hear me or see me. I have now made good on my promise of reminding the government and the officials and the politicians to look into what's happening inside the prisons. The injustice that's caused by the delay in the judicial system.Thank you. And may God's peace be upon you
The translation is by McClatchy’s special correspondent, Sahar Issa.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Comparative Interpratations and Blind Applications

Start of preamble:

We've always tried to acknowledge that within islam there are different opinions and schools of thought. Even with the interpretation of the Quran. I remember the incident when Ali (r.a. k.A.w) sent Ibn Abbas (r.a.) to negotiate with the khawarij he was reported to have instructed

" لا تحاججهم بالقرآن وحده فإنّ القرآن حمّال أوجه ، حاججهم بالسنّة"

Roughly meaning "Do not debate them using the quran for it can be interpreted in different ways, rather use the sunnah"

Also worthy of note is Imam Shafi3i changing many of his verdicts when he travelled from Baghdad to Cairo, because of the differences between the two places in terms of people, geography, politics etc.... This was acceptable and afforded by the complexity of the Quran. As the hadith says that every hundred years there will come reformers of the religion who work within the confines of the Quran and sunnah for the benefit of the Muslims.

Now that I'm done with my preamble, I will tell my story:

I recently received an email from a salafi website. in regards to interpreting the following verse:

لاَّ خَيْرَ فِي كَثِيرٍ مِّن نَّجْوَاهُمْ إِلاَّ مَنْ أَمَرَ بِصَدَقَةٍ أَوْ مَعْرُوفٍ أَوْ إِصْلاَحٍ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ وَمَن يَفْعَلْ ذَلِكَ ابْتَغَاء مَرْضَاتِ اللّهِ فَسَوْفَ نُؤْتِيهِ أَجْراً عَظِيماً (114)

Rough translation: "There is no good in most of their secret counsel except (in he) who enjoins charity of goodness or reconciliation between people, and however does this seeking Allah's pleasure, we will give him a mighty reward"

SO: The commentary of this verse according first to the salafi site

This verse shows that there is no goodness in the majority of talk among people. This is either because it is an idle talk, or because it causes evil and harm, such as gossip, backbiting and all sorts of
prohibited talks.

It then follows with the exceptions, such as gathering to speak about charity or about reconciliation....

That didn't make a lot of sense to me. This was basically saying that if you wanna hang out with your friends, you're only really recommended to speak about these two topics ? and if you don't, then you're counted amongst those who are no good ? I hang with friends all the time ! Muslims, and non muslims. And we talk about a range of things, from history to politics to refugees to TV shows to whatever else. It just didn't sound like such a carpet statement would come from the Quran, Allahu A3lam.

And who are "They?"

Well fortunately I can speak arabic and have access to the commentary of Sayyid Qutb and I looked up HIS commentary for the same verse. It was incredible how different his take on this verse was, how in depth and within context it was. It made sense !

I'm not going to translate the whole thing, just the important bits.

First Sayyid Qutb refers to the previous verse.

وَلَوْلاَ فَضْلُ اللّهِ عَلَيْكَ وَرَحْمَتُهُ لَهَمَّت طَّآئِفَةٌ مُّنْهُمْ أَن يُضِلُّوكَ وَمَا يُضِلُّونَ إِلاُّ أَنفُسَهُمْ وَمَا يَضُرُّونَكَ مِن شَيْءٍ وَأَنزَلَ اللّهُ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَعَلَّمَكَ مَا لَمْ تَكُنْ تَعْلَمُ وَكَانَ فَضْلُ اللّهِ عَلَيْكَ عَظِيماً (113)

Rough translation " And were it not for Allah's grace upon you and His mercy a party of them had certainly design to bring you to perdition and they do not bring (aught) to perdition but their own souls. and they shall not harm you in any way, and Allah has revealed to you the Book and the wisdom, and He has taught you what you did not know, and Allah's grace on you is very great"

From the commentary " Allah cites His favor to the prophet pbuh in regards to protecting the prophet from those who sought to conspire against him. Because they may hide their secrets from people but not from Allah. 
Allah then cites His favor on the prophet pbuh in sending him the Book (Quran) and the wisdom, having taught him what he did not previously know. Ending with the words "Allah's grace on you is very great"
Sayyid then continues that this was one effort of many, by the enemies of Islam then to conspire against the prophet. Every time Allah swt would foil these plans and conspiracies. 

THEN we return to the verse in question.

لقد تكرر في القرآن النهي عن النجوى ; وهي أن تجتمع طائفة بعيدا عن الجماعة المسلمة وعن القيادة المسلمة , لتبيت أمرا

Translation: The Quran has repeatedly forbid people from Najwa. Which in this context means for a group of people to gather away from the jama'a and the Islamic leadership, to conspire, or to nurse a grievance.

The idea here is that if there is any issue or grievance a person has, he has to bring it to the prophet. If it is a personal matter then it would be done with private with the prophet, otherwise it would be in public. The idea from this was to avoid the allowance of small pockets amongst the recently established Muslim community. So that if there is an issue, it would not be addressed in isolation and separation from the main group. Which could plant seeds of dissent and fracture
وهذا الموضع أحد المواضع التي ورد فيها هذا النهي عن التناجي والتبييت بمعزل عن الجماعة المسلمة وقيادتها
This was one of the issues in which a ban was placed on conspiring or conferring in small groups away from the main group. 
Since the only way to ensure this doesn't happen is to ensure safety when airing grievances. This means what ?
freedom of speech ! yay !

This I thought was a brilliant way of taking theses verses in their proper context to explain them properly. While the first commentary seemed to have been made by a person who did not speak Arabic, did not know much about the seerah, and did not bother to read the verses before and after this verse.

Allahu A3lam, I'm sure their hearts are in the right place. It is dangerous I think to misinterpret or misunderstand verses of the Quran in this way and broadcast it out to people. A ban on just any group of people chilling out, or deeming them to be no good, is dangerous. It means whenever people hang out, they feel guilty because they think they're doing something wrong. It places pressure on human nature.

This becomes more of a problem when you have isolated areas like New Zealand where Islamic theology is limited and online scholarship is the best available source. So then any practicing muslim seeking to be a better person would avoid any type of hang out just because they're not about charity or reconciliation. That person would grow up mu3aqqad, and his kids will become mu3aqqadeen as well.

This is what I think, please let me know what you think.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

London riots: Is Australia next?! (by Jamal Dawud)

Jamal Dawoud is the president of the Social Justice Network in Sydney, Australia. A hard intense man with strong views and stronger words. I have a lot of respect for him and for his courage. This is his latest article, I'm not sure if I agree with all the points in it. Though it is a very worthy contribution


Opinion on London riots: Would Australia be next?!

I was refraining from writing about London riots for the last week. But the issue is very hot and attractive. And there are tons of questions to be asked about how “democracies” fail so miserably to the point of citizens looting public and private buildings.

My personal experiences for the last few months are clear example of reasons to reach the point of “let us take law on our hands”.

Today was the climax. I received a letter from the State Debt Recovery Office (the most hated state department in NSW) informing me that my drivers licence will be suspended sometime at the end of the month. The reasons were that I did not appear in the court, where I sought court review of parking fine. Then I failed to pay the money determined by the court. When I contacted the SDRO, I informed them that I never received notice to attend the court. I also did not receive any letter of the court decision. Not only this. I never received notice from the SDRO asking me to pay the money, ways to pay the money and how much I should pay.

It is not about the fine, anymore. It is about the system. The system where punch of politicians are using the might of the state (including many security agencies) to oppress the majority of population. All by laws they agreed to adopt and within “democratic” context.

The whole fine issue was about someone with authority has put a bus stop sign on telephone post, where not many people can notice it (as money trap to collect as much as possible for the council). Then the same authority sent rangers to issue fines. Then the same authority sent another office to punish the black goat that refused to put its head with other heads and give up. And if you do not accept the punishment, the same authority sends police to further punish the black goat and threaten with jail if it insists to stay rebellious.

Would this minor issue prompt me to accept the logic of rioters in London?

Let us go back few days in the week. Me and My friend Hussein went to obtain him a licence. Ordinary worker there who had prejudice against his ethnicity and against the unauthorised legal way that drove him to this country, told him that she will not do her job and facilitate achieving this mission. He can go and bang his head against any wall in the street, but no licence will be issued or tests organised. But he still has the right to shout, argue and get upset. But he cannot shout louder, as this would result into fines for “disturbing public peace”.

Is that all???

Of course not. I also remembered how I was treated like criminal when the minister for immigration lost control of his department when detainees in many detention centres decided that enough is enough. The minister so naively accused me of all these troubles and verbally asked the authorities to ban me from entering any detention centre. And racist police officers were leashed with full authority to humiliate me and oppress me to the point that I thought that I am living in Zimbabwe. And to date, I was unable to obtain written ban. And all my complaints against the racist police officers went unnoticed. And I also can bang my head against any wall. This is democracy: you have the right to bang your head against any wall, but not to the point of destroying this wall. That would be “damaging public or private properties”. And we are still in democracy.

And before that I was subjected to some of worst racist and degrading treatment at work. And because there are not enough evidences, the racism and Islamophobia went unnoticed but some very small amount of money to prove that it is still democracy, somehow.

All this in addition to the difficulty finding suitable accommodation, bad experience in public hospitals, expensive food, skyrocketing electricity and gas bills, block of access to decision making bodies, ....

But it is democracy: you have the right to ask, complain and criticise, but them they have the right to ignore you.

And now today at this moment, I wonder if I, as one of the highest law abiding citizen in this country who is doing all within his capacity (and even beyond that capacity sometimes) to help others and help building better society, is subjected to such humiliating treatment, what is about the rest of the society who are more marginalised than me (they are in millions)?

Was this the major reason behind London riots?

You feel humiliated, robbed by different organisations (including your own “democratic” government), cannot have decent life, expensive life style, high taxes, fines in violating laws or not violating any law, ailing health system where you can be humiliated by nurse or doctors for asking why you have waited for long time to see any professional, no decent accommodation .... All these while you can see that the common wealth is robbed by few people, including the politicians that punish you by either more taxes or fines for every move in your life.

And justice is very slow when you want something from them, they humiliated you, they denied your rights or when you need any vital service. They have the right to refuse your request. Then you have the right to appeal. This would take years. And the system is designed for your appeal to fail. Then you can go to higher legal system level. After all these accessed, you will be already lost more than what you will gain.

But the justice is very quick and decisive when they want something from you, when you make any small mistake or they discover that you have accessed more than is allowed for you. The justice fist at that time is very strong, even if they will destroy your life.

So in both scenarios, your life is destroyed. But in the first scenario, if you can prove that they hurt you or caused you any damage, they also do not care. Because they will compensate you from the tax you had paid during your life. Or maybe they compensate you from the taxes paid by your brother, sister, wife or neighbour. They do not lose anything.

Does this give grim picture? Can you imagine that 1 in every 4 Australians has mental health problems.

But all in democratic context. So we should be happy.

But why British were not happy within this democratic context. They are not happy with exercising their democratic rights to be humiliated, robbed and oppressed in democratic way.

Do you think that this is the reasons (or part of the reasons) that thousands of “hooligans” roamed London, Manchester, Liverpool .... in the last few days?

When people lose hope of being respected, listened to, cared for and participated in decision making, they will do this. And it is clearly that British had reached this point.

So the question here: is Australia too far from this stage?

I can declare very clearly here that I am not very far at all from this stage. But apart from me, are there many Australians feel the same?

The result of the last election where the informal vote was very high and people deliberately declared that “all politicians are the same, all are crooks”, is clear evidence that Australians (or large section of them) have reached close to the British state.

It is not British only. Few months ago, Greek, Italians, Spanish and Portuguese did similar things.

We lost the hope. Yes we did, where the laws became very blind, heavy handed and violate basic rights.

Would I participate in any riots if happened in Australia?

I am not sure if I have the courage.

But who cares about me: what about homeless (after the department of housing is telling them that there are cheap accommodation that they can rent, when the market is very dry), unemployed (who are tortured by Centrelink and authorities), marginalised in the suburbs (where laws turned them into criminals because they speed at some stage or they lost nerve at public department), former detainees who need to put up with prejudice and feel of guilt for the rest of their lives, sick people who are treated like trash in hospitals, students who needs big fortune to complete simple study, ....

Would they refuse to stand up for their rights, indefinitely?

After the uprising in most of Western countries, Australians will think about standing for their rights, their future and the future of their children. They are coming into terms with the bitter reality: The democracy will not stop politicians (who act mainly on behalf of big corporations) from taking away their rights and privileges.

Democracy needs power to protect democratic rights, especially after many of these democratic rights were already taken away in the last decades. 

Friday, August 05, 2011

My first video "bit"

So I have a $3000 camera with HD video which I wasn't using.

So I decided to use it.

Hence this video: