Syrian Television Airs Confessions of Two Terrorists

Local Editor
Syrian Official TV channel aired Tuesday the confessions of two people involved in killing and torturing Syrian citizens, security forces, and police men in the last period.
After capturing the two criminals and investigating with them, the Syrian authorities exposed the confessions before the public opinion to reflect the conspiracies being made against the regime.
The Syrian television aired the confessions of the criminals as well as documents that reassured their involvement.
Youssef Chaalan Al-Youssef was one of the criminals that admitted his involvement in the crimes against the security men.
Al-Youssef said that a security man was in the neighborhood he lived in, and after learning about that, he, along with other people from the neighborhood, burned the house which the man was in .
The security man, Ahmad Salman Hasan, was later forced towards the roof, and one of the conspirators threw him off it.
Al-Youssef said that after the man fell off the roof, hundreds of people were holding arms on the street, and so they started stabbing and torturing him, and assured that he also took part in stabbing the soldier until he was killed and torn into pieces.
In addition, the Syrian television aired the confessions of another criminal Ammar Taleb Ma’ath, who also said that he, along with other boys, assaulted a squad of security forces in Jisr Al-Shoughour, killed its members, and tortured their bodies.
In parallel, SANA news agency quoted a Police Commander as saying that an armed group kidnapped Monday Attorney General Adnan Bakkour in Hama, along with his driver and bodyguard.
“Judge Bakkour and his companions were kidnapped upon their arriving to Karnaz village, where they were intercepted by seven gunmen with rifles and machine guns,” Bakkour said.
Source: Websites

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

The reason why Egyptians hate Israel

by Dr. Ashraf Ezzat on August 30, 2011

Israeli embassy in Cairo

“Peace with Egypt, which is considered an asset, only when it is at risk, was a peace that Israel toyed with and breached from the beginning.”

By Gideon Levy, Haaretz

The Israeli flag that was taken down by a young Egyptian from the window of the Israeli Embassy in Cairo was faded and worn, flying from an old, nondescript office tower, invisible from the street to the naked eye.

A great deal of murky water has flowed through the Nile since the flag was first unfurled; people who think that the hatred for Israel that is now boiling over is a divine edict, fate or the wrath of nature, should think back to the early days of peace between Israel and Egypt.

Then, in the carefree 1980s, tens of thousands of Israelis streamed to Egypt and were welcomed with open joy. It was a pleasure to be an Israeli in Cairo in those days; sometimes even a great honor.

The masses demonstrating against Israel now are the same masses who once welcomed the Israelis. Even if Friday’s “million-man rally” against Israel only became a thousand-man march, the hatred has sparked. But it does not have to be this way.

The fact that it has not always been this way should be food for thought in Israel.
But as usual, the question of why does not come up for discussion here. Why is there terror? Because. Why is there hatred? Because. It is much easier to think that Egypt hates us and that’s that, and divest ourselves of responsibility.

Peace with Egypt, which is considered an asset only when it is at risk, was a peace that Israel toyed with and breached from the beginning.

It required recognizing the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and granting it autonomy within five years. Israel conducted ridiculous negotiations, headed by its interior minister (Yosef Burg ) with the intention of making the negotiations go away, and never met its obligations. The invasion of Lebanon the day after the treaty was completed in 1982 was dangerous and impertinent. Against all odds, Egypt withstood this baiting.

People who ask why Egyptians hate us should think back to these two pivotal actions by Israel.
Public memory may be short-lived, but hatred is not. Its flames have been fanned since then.
People who want to understand why the Egyptians hate us should recall the scenes of Operations Cast Lead and Defensive Shield, the bombing of Beirut and the shelling of Rafah. If Israelis were exposed to scenes in which some country acted in the same way toward Jews, such hatred would burn within us toward that country as well. The Arab masses saw terrible pictures and its hatred increased.

New game ahead with brand new rules

Thousands of Egyptians rallied in front of Israel emabassy in Cairo calling for the expulsion of the ambassador

That hatred had fateful significance with the arrival of the Arab Spring. The rules of the game in the new Middle East changed. Peace and cease-fire agreements to which the tyrants in the old Egypt, Syria and Jordan held with much gnashing of teeth, could no longer be preserved in democratic or partially democratic regimes.

From now on, the people are speaking; they will not stand for violent or colonialist behavior toward Arabs, and their leaders will have to take this into consideration. The occupation, and Israel’s exaggerated shows of force in response to terror attacks are now being put to the test of the peoples, not just their rulers.

There is a positive side to this in that it may rein Israel in, as has already recently been seen with regard to Gaza: If not for the new Egypt, perhaps we would already be in the throes of Operation Cast Lead 2. But in the long-term, this will not be enough to hold back our forces and hold our fire.

It is becoming exhausting to reiterate this, but it is now truer than ever: Israel no longer has the option of living only by the sword.

The dangers inherent in the new reality that is emerging before our very eyes are not of the type that military prowess alone can overcome for years. We cannot gird ourselves forever, no matter how protected and armed we are.

The Arab Spring has placed the Arab-Israeli conflict on new grounds

The new Arab leaderships will not be able to ignore the desires of their peoples, and their peoples will not accept Israel as a violent occupier in the region. Not only does an Operation Cast Lead become almost impossible, the continued occupation endangers Israel – the longer it lasts, the stronger the resistance to Israel’s very existence.

It is not difficult to imagine how things could be different. It’s enough to recall the first days of peace with Egypt, or the early days of Oslo – until the Arabs recognized the fraud.

It is not difficult to imagine peace agreements that would lead to the end of the occupation and a response to the Arab peace initiative.

The only way is to create a new Israel in the eyes of the new Arab world. Only if this happens can we return to Cairo’s Khan el-Khalili market and be accepted there.

Let us not waste words over the alternative; it does not exist for Israel.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Charity Begins at Home, Uncle Sam!

The world would be a better place if the US put an end to its adventurism and manslaughter and buckled down to combating poverty in its own country.
'Broken America'
‘Broken America’ courtesy:

(TEHRAN) – As the United States is caught up in a number of conflicts and military expeditions around the world, the economic situation of the North American nation is deteriorating on a daily basis, unfolding a devastative crisis with repercussions that go far beyond the tolerance of the U.S. citizens.

The hands of the American politicians are smeared with the blood of Iraqi and Afghan women and children and they are complicit in the sufferings of the Palestinian, Kenyan and Haitian people; still, they’re trumpeting for new military adventures in the Middle East, especially the much-favored war with Iran which they have long been talking about. This clearly shows the top echelons of the US government are not prone to learn from their past mistakes but rather opt for plunging into the quagmire they’ve created for themselves.

The economic situation of the United States in these days brings to mind the bitter and unforgettable days of Great Depression which began in 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s and early 1940s. The global economic depression in the years preceding the World War II started from the U.S. with the stock prices suddenly falling on September 4, 1929 and followed by the Wall Street Crash of October 29, 1929 known as the Black Tuesday.

Now, the U.S. which is spending millions of dollars in the wars which it has waged in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya is entrapped in an exacerbating economic situation which is reminiscent of those days; a situation which rings the alarm bells for the White House officials who are increasingly losing popularity with the U.S. citizens. The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for August 28 shows that only 23% of the nation’s voters strongly approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Forty percent strongly disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -17. This widespread unpopularity is indicative of the fact that Barack Obama has failed to realize his promise of “change” both in domestic and foreign policy and erroneously trod on the botched path of his hawkish predecessor George W. Bush.

The economic indicators of the United States relate a sad story: the whole country is rife with poverty, unemployment and social inequality. Economic organizations predict a black future for the Wall Street and the ordinary citizens are seriously feeling the pain of economic meltdown.

According to the World Hunger Education Service, there has been a dramatic increase in hunger in the United States in the three years, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

The 2008 statistics of this institute show that 14.6 percent of the U.S. households (approximately one in seven), were food insecure, the highest number ever recorded in the United States.

As reported by the U.S. National Center for Law and Economic Justice, one out of seven people in the U.S. are living in poverty. “In 2009, 43.6 million people – 14.3% of the population – were poor according to the government’s definition of poverty,” the report says.

Due to the prevalent injustice among the racial and religious minorities in the United States, Blacks and Hispanics are more likely than whites to be poor, and to be in deep poverty. “Although blacks represent 13.3% of the general population, they represent 24.2% of the poor population. Hispanics, who make up 15.9% of the population, represent 28.3% of the poor population,” the U.S. Consensus Bureau reported.

Child poverty is also sadly rampant in the United States. As some independent sources believe that 25% of the U.S. children are living below the poverty threshold, the U.S. National Center for Children in Poverty based in the Columbia University Mailman School puts this number at 21%, saying that 15 million children in the United States live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level. However, these are official and state-sanctioned figures.

The U.S. Census Bureau believes that one in five U.S. children under age 18 lived in poor families whose income is below the federal poverty level. The Census Bureau made this announcement in September 2009; however, the Brookings Institute researcher Julia B. Isaacs believes that the government is not telling the whole truth. The 2009 statistics of the U.S. Consensus Bureau “lag considerably behind current economic conditions,” Isaacs writes. “Job losses and wage reductions occurring in 2009 were obviously not captured. In addition, many adverse events in 2008 were only partially captured.”

In an article co-written by Nikolai Barrickman and Kate Randall for Global Research, the results of a study carried out by the U.S. Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) on the state of children after the “Great Recession” of 2008 and 2009 have been cited, showing a significant and remarkable inequality among the different social classes in the United States, especially the children.

“The CDF report notes the tremendous growth of social inequality in America. Since the late 1970s, the incomes of the bottom 90 percent of the population have stagnated or declined, while the incomes of the top one percent in particular-the ultra-rich-have soared,” the article mentioned.

“In 2008, the average income for the bottom 90 percent of US households was at its lowest level in more than a decade. In the face of this growth of poverty, however, income assistance programs have been slashed and are ill-equipped to deal with the serious rise in social need,” the report added.

Despite all this sad account of rise in poverty and child poverty in particular, the US officials do not seem in the least worried. While the reports of the whopping rate of poverty are surfacing, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a joint interview, have blatantly said that large new cuts in defense spending would “terribly weaken” U.S. national security, arguing that the US cannot “afford to keep playing partisan chicken with its finances.” The big question is are they really capable of human sympathy at all in view of the poverty enveloping their country?

Now, the U.S. is drowning in an economic quagmire. The Iraq War has thus far cost the U.S. the lives of more than 4,000 soldiers and $3 trillion, as the Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz has noted. Andrew S. Natsios, the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development believes that reconstructing the dilapidated Iraq will cost the American taxpayers $1.7 billion. The National Priorities Project also established the website “Cost of War” which shows that the Afghanistan war has hitherto cost the American taxpayers $448 billion.

By following a warmongering policy in the world particularly in the Middle East region, the US government while creating havoc on a tragically global scale also seems to be taxing a collective punishment on its own people, namely that the wars which Washington officials have mounted so far and will mount in future, have cost the US public purse billions of dollars which could have been used instead for empowering the American people and ameliorating the deplorable economic situation in the country.

The world would surely be a better place if the US put an end to its adventurism and manslaughter in the region and instead buckled down to combating poverty in its own country before the creeping phenomenon erodes the very fabric of its society. Indeed, the old saying ‘charity begins at home’ well suits and applies to the US government.

This article was co-written by Dr. Ismail Salami and Kourosh Ziabari. Dr. Ismail Salami is the chief editor of Press TV website. Kourosh Ziabari is a freelance journalist from Iran.


Kourosh Ziabari is an Iranian media correspondent, freelance journalist and the author of Book 7+1. He is a contributing writer for websites and magazines in the Netherlands, Canada, Italy, Hong Kong, Bulgaria, South Korea, Belgium, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. He was once a member of Stony Brook University Publications’ editorial team and Media Left magazine’s contributing writer, as well as a contributing writer for Finland’s Award-winning Ovi Magazine.

Kourosh Ziabari was named the winner of winners in the category of media activities at the National Organization of Youths festival. He was honored by the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, receiving the honorary mention signed by him and the silver medal of Iran’s Superior Youth. The media activities category did not award the Gold and Bronze medal to any participant.<

As a young Iranian journalist, Kourosh has been interviewed and quoted by several mainstream mediums, including BBC World Service, PBS Media Shift, the Media Line network, Deutsch Financial Times and L.A. Times. Currently, he works for the Foreign Policy Journal as a media correspondent. He is a member of Tlaxcala Translators Network for Linguistic Diversity and World Student Community for Sustainable Development. You can write to Kourosh Ziabari at:

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Ma`a as-salaamah Mohammad….. May Allah protect you!

Frank send this from Tripoly, as usual I did the graphic, and got his permision to publish.
Like usual, many “respectable sites” will take  and remove the link to UP. His last article was taken by Activist post, and circulated by then Via What really happened with Active post as the source.

Franklin Lamb


My roommate left our hotel and hopefully Libya last night for his village near Arlit, Niger thanks to the assistance of one of Tripoli’s Christian Churches. I shall miss him a lot.
It was a recently formed human rights group from the Coptic Orthodox (Egyptian) Church in Tripoli, working to protect blacks from the still lawless Tripoli streets that enabled my roommate to depart this hotel. The Coptic Church, according to their Prelate here, has the largest Christian communion in Libya with normally 60,000 parishioners and has roots in Libya going back hundreds of years before the Arabs spread westward from Egypt.
Mohammad departed none too soon since “security personnel” arrived at the Corinthia Hotel close to 1 p.m. this afternoon (8/28/11) with gunmen and two “Generals”in fine new uniforms complete with epaulets. Their surprise visit was to check the hotel rooms for Kaddafi supporters. They claimed they had received “reports.” 
The Copts did a good job in getting Mohammad to safety. Most observers here agree that for the immediate future there will be a whirlwind of wild speculation, accusations and even some serious examination of Moammar Kaddafi’s leadership of Libya these past four decades. One fact however is incontrovertible to this observer and it is that under Kaddafi, Christians, whether Roman Catholic, Anglican Catholic, Russian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox or Greek Orthodox, the main Christian sects here, have been well treated and allowed virtually complete freedom to practice their beliefs and to celebrate their traditions with some restrictions placed on campaigns to proselytize Muslims of which they have not been any since the Mormons and the “Way of the Cross” evangelicals left some years back.
Most of the churches here currently have volunteers working to help their Muslim sisters and brothers during this cataclysmic period. My friend Mohammad is one whose life they may have saved.
Mohammad and I have been secretly sharing my room for more than a week since I accidently discovered him hiding and trembling in the hotel’s garden bushes shortly after the rebel entrance into Tripoli. It was easy to calm Mohammad down and I brought him a shirt from my room, as his was filthy. 
MissingMohammad is a black African devout Muslim and one fine man. When I saw him looking up at me and trembling my thoughts instantly turned to 21-year-old black Mississippian, James Chaney, and the date could have been June 21, 1964. That was when Neshoba County’s law enforcement and the Ku Klux Klan hunted blacks to kill and did kill James and his white companions Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner
The reason Mohammad was hiding outside the Corinthia hotel is that he feared for his life as so many, if not most, black Africans and black Libyans (roughly one third of Libya’s population) do these days. Bands of young rebel “freedom fighters” are still roaming some of Tripoli’s streets, itching it seems, to kill some “African mercenaries”, meaning, it appears, any black man they can find. Although the apparently politically contrived rumors of African mercenaries raping Libyan women which helped NATO get the UN Security Council to green light its bombing and regime change campaign, have been debunked as fake by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and a UN fact finding group, some of the macho young rebels in Libya still insist the smear campaign is true.
Mohammad explained to me that he was never a fighter for anyone in Libya but rather that his employment background, like his father, uncles and brothers, was in Niger’s uranium mines which only the past few years have begun to recover from the late 1980’s collapse. Mohammad’s brother Said was killed in the Tuareg Rebellion of the 1990’s and his father sent Mohammad to Libya to work in construction.
I agreed with Mohammad that he could stay secretly with me until we could get him into safe hands. The hotel has never been the wiser to my knowledge although my friend Ismail, who works behind the front desk when he is not doing a dozen other jobs during his frequent 16 hour shifts, probably suspected something was going on because he would give me knowing glances as I disappeared toward the elevator with a table cloth covering a big plate of food and contrary to hotel rules of no hotel kitchen food in the rooms. Luckily Ismail is a black Libyan and, if he knew, he did not rat us out.
With no security at our hotel until the day before yesterday and now packed with journalists, Mohammad took extra precautions and never left room # 1185 except for one night when someone from the Coptic Church came to meet with him in another room and I gave his floor spot to a French activist from Beirut whose boat to Alexandria was delayed again.
Housekeeping, no longer exists at this hotel, and so no one has entered my room for almost two weeks since the staff fled. In any case Mohammad and I had a good cover story ready in case events demanded one. Mohammad, we would explain if caught, was a driver for the Italian Embassy before the Italians temporarily pulled up stakes back in March.
I got pretty good at fixing plates of food for Mohammad from the nightly “Iftar buffet.” Because we are both fasting for Ramadan, smuggling Mohammad food only once a day was easy enough, especially as some of the new hotel guests, being journalists from the Rixos Hotel or rushing here to cover the “Fall of Tripoli” from around Libya, are now in the habit of fixing their dinner plates and sitting around the abandoned hotel restaurants. This way they have more space and privacy from the cramped conditions in the rapidly deteriorating “dining room” or their working area. 

Personally, this Ramadan, the Iftar feast no longer has appeal for me because we have the very same food every Iftar which now comes almost entirely from cans. At noon today, the Hotel Front Desk posted the most recent Dear Guest Notice. It reads: “Dear Guests: Please be advised that there will be no lunch today due to absence of water supply in the Hotel. We hope for a water delivery this afternoon and hope to serve dinner tonight at 18:30. Thank you.  The Corinthia Hotel Management.” No water arrived and when I and an American lady who works for the Sunday Times returned from driving thru Tripoli’s center, at 7:50 p.m. just in time for Iftar, mine consisted of walking through the dining area picking leftover food bits from plates where diners had eaten and left.

Before Mohammad left, he helped me with my infected leg and told me about a nearby Dr. which made me happy since no others have been available this past week. But as dear reader may come to understand, I soon became reluctant to seek treatment from the Dr. who Mohammad recommended although by very great coincidence I have known her wonderful granddaughter, an Arabic-English language interpreter named Aya, for several weeks.
My most recent best bet for immediate medical assistance was my new friend Dr. XX, “Consultant Urological Surgeon” from the British Medical Center here in Tripoli (formerly the Swiss Medical Center until Hannibal Kaddafi had that unfortunate problem with Swiss authorities last winter and his Dad wanted to abolish Switzerland and all things Swiss), hence the fast name change on the Clinic building. Dr. XX is from New Delhi but studied in England and now normally resides in Sheffield, England. He spent the past year working here in Libya, loves the people and the country and was most willing to help me. The problem was that he had to rush to catch the boat out of here for Malta yesterday. Anyhow, he said I had a couple of days left before I would possibly have major leg problems and he gave me the phone numbers of two of his colleagues, one an Indian dentist. So far the phones still don’t work well in Tripoli.
Just a word of background about Dr. Fatima, recommended by Mohammad now that I am resigned to get treatment late today, come what may, following my brief meeting with the good Dr. this morning.
Dr. Fatima is very thin, quite tall, has an unusually large head and a red scarf covers part of her face which is stained blue. Aya explained that while Dr. Fatima is by background Muslim, her Saharan tribe retains some pre-Islamic rites and customs and is genealogically connected with the Delvar Nar. Yet Aya also told me that Fatma’s tribe claims that they are linked with the Angels mentioned in Luke 24:4 where Christ’s apostle describes the scene at Jesus’s tomb when two angels appeared to Mary. Anyhow….
Aya says Dr. Fatima is capable of teleportation, telekinesis and ESP and while I don’t need any of that stuff just now, but could later, Dr. Fatima fortunately is also expert in Saharan medicine including leg infections. So the good news is that I am very soon to be in experienced medical hands. I have no doubt about that and I shall always be grateful to my friend Mohammad for the referral.
The down side may be what Aya told me about what her grandmother must do to make me well. This may be the tough part for someone who nearly collapses if some nurse even hints that she wants to stick a needle in me. Aspirin is about the only medicine I have ever taken because my half German sainted Mother did not believe in her large brood getting sick and we all minded her over the years.
Dr. Fatima’s “clinic” is in the Medina not far from my Hotel and the area is coming back to life as some citizens are beginning to peak out and emerge from their homes. Hundreds of shops and outdoor tables with all kinds of new and used goods have been closed for more than a week. Even the lovely Chadian hospitality ladies who I have good reason to believe rent themselves from dirt floor rooms off the ancient streets of the medina for ten Libyan dinars an hour (about $8) or 16 dinar ($ 12.80) for two hostesses, (three additional dinars per hour for air conditioning in the room –highly recommended!) have vanished. This sad fact alone, according to one of the guys from the UN delegation that ten days ago got permission from NATO to fly from Tripoli airport to Tunis for R & R and to assess their “findings,”is reason enough for the UNSC to immediately end NATO’s carnage in Libya. 
I admit to being a little apprehensive because Aya told me one of the Chadian ladies, who recently returned and works as a nurse for Dr. Fatima, must first slice my wound in narrow lines and then rub and wash it thoroughly with Saharan sand and some nasty looking green paste of Sarahan vegetation and insect fluids.
While I sat thinking how that is going to feel, Aya seems to have read my expression and assures me that everything will be ok because her granny also makes a strong alcoholic drink out of Saharan cactus and I will drink some and feel fine.
“Well, why not we just use that drink rather than sand to cleanse the wound”? I ask.
Aya gave me one of her, “You stupid American!” glances that communicates, “Please don’t bother to question we who know what’s best for you!”
Aya also promises me that after my“treatment” the now returning Chadian ladies will take care of me for the expected three day recovery period. I immediately feel better.
If fate rules that these next few days in fact comprise my last chapter, and never having had much interest in being with virgins, the company of these angels will certainly be as close to Heaven as this hayseed from rural Oregon will likely get.

Franklin Lamb is doing research in Libya. He is reachable c\o

He is the author of The Price We Pay: A Quarter-Century of Israel’s Use of American Weapons Against Civilians in Lebanon.

He contribute to Uprooted Palestinians Blog

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Since you have chosen to make a public comment at the top of this article, rather than send us a private message to discuss, we will respond in kind. We have not “taken” the article, as you suggest. We have corresponded with Dr. Lamb directly on many occasions, and he has stated clearly that we may re-post his work as a contributor to our site. His work appears on many other sites, and we were not aware that you had an exclusive arrangement. We greatly value the work that you do in raising awareness. That is our goal as well, which is why we post Dr. Lamb’s excellent work and distribute as far and wide as possible. Please feel free to contact us directly at

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River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

America, Watch This!!! (must watch)

DateSunday, August 28, 2011 at 3:50PM AuthorGilad Atzmon

Amazingly made video-dealing with America’s No 1 problem i.e Israel and its lobby.
America’s massive support for Israel has cost trillions of dollars and multitudes of lives. It has diminished USA’s moral standing in the world, lessened its domestic freedoms, and exposed it to unnecessary and growing peril.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Learn more about Nato

Learn more about Nato

DateSunday, August 28, 2011 at 12:47AM AuthorGilad Atzmon

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

SAMs for Uncle Sam

From the Book
RADICAL PEACE: People Refusing War
By William T. Hathaway
Published by Trine Day

Merna al-Marjan is a young Iraqi who is currently in Germany studying European history. We talked in her dormitory room, a spartan but functional cubicle in a building that embodies a hopeful change in European history: it was constructed in the nineteenth century as an army barracks but now houses university students. That’s progress.

On Merna’s small table sat a pot of peppermint tea and a plate of baklava. She’s short and plump with smooth skin the color of clover honey and deep anthracite eyes; she was wearing a long skirt of light cotton, a long-sleeved blouse, and a green paisley headscarf. We spoke in German, then later reworked the interview from my English translation.

Hathaway: “Headscarves have become a controversial item of clothing here in Germany.”

Al-Marjan: “Yes, you can’t teach in the schools if you wear one. It’s OK for a teacher to wear a Christian crucifix but not a Muslim headscarf. I didn’t wear a hijab in Iraq, but I’ve started doing it here to show solidarity. It’s ridiculous to ban an article of clothing, a simple piece of cloth. What sort of freedom is that?

“The West has such a distorted view of Arab women. Well, of men too, but since I’m a woman, I notice that more.

“What really makes me mad is when Westerners use the way women live in the Muslim world as a justification for invading it ― either with their armies or their ideas. They’re convinced we should be like them. If they were happy, that would be one thing. They could say, ‘Here, follow our example.’ But they’re much unhappier than most of us are. Their marriages and families fall apart, their children commit terrible crimes, commit suicide. Their society is fragmented into these isolated individuals who have to compete against one another. It’s a wreck, but they’re trying to force it onto us.

“Western women are convinced they need a career to be fulfilled, as if that’s some magic thing, much better than being just a mother. But if you look at the things people actually do in their careers, most of them aren’t very fulfilling. The work gets routine, then boring. I may get to be a professor, but I’ve been around enough of them to know that’s no big deal. They just juggle ideas in the air. What people do in their jobs is trivial compared to raising a family.

“The work of being a mother is devalued here, but to be the emotional center of a family, to keep everyone in balance, to know what they need on so many different levels and to give them some of that, well, that requires a much subtler intelligence than business does. It’s a deep knowledge of human beings, far more important than a job. Mothers are the real CEOs of civilization, and we need to give that power back to them, including the power to have a career, if that’s what they want.

“A family needs money, but the getting of it is dominating our lives. People are either unemployed and terribly poor or they have a job and are totally exhausted. But if we took the work that needs to be done and spread it around so everyone could work a few hours a day, then we’d have time for our families and also make some money. Life would be more balanced. Some people might end up less rich, but they’d enjoy life more. They think they need so much now only because their jobs have fixated them on that. Money has become a substitute for life. There’s never enough of it, because the things it can buy aren’t really satisfying. They just distract us from the emptiness of our lives spent chasing money. We’ve become shrunken down to coins.”

“It’s unusual to hear a young person say things like this. Where did you learn this?”

“From my mother, of course, from talking to her and watching her. Women in my country, and probably most non-western women, understand this.

“That doesn’t mean we’re content with our situation. We want to change it, but by strengthening the family. Family should be the power center of the society, rather than business. In the West, home life is subservient to the outer world of work, but that’s destructive. Work should serve the needs of the family, not the other way around.

“We definitely have to change the power between men and women. It has to be more equal. We need to make sure men don’t harm women. But we don’t need help from the all-wise Westerners to do that. Their model doesn’t work even for them, so it sure won’t work for us.”

“How did you come to be studying in Germany?”

“I won a scholarship with an essay I wrote comparing King Faisal I and Marshal Pétain. Both of them came to power by serving imperialist conquerors. Faisal helped the British take over Iraq, and Pétain helped the Germans rule France. Both were hated by their people as traitors. The current puppet president of Iraq ― he’s not worth naming ― is playing the same role for the Americans. But I didn’t mention this last part in my essay.”

“Why not?”

“Because I wanted to win the scholarship. The Germans don’t mind if you criticize them, but they’re very nervous about offending the Americans. They’re still an occupied country. Plus they’re not about to give a scholarship to someone they think might be a ‘Muslim extremist.'”

“Are you a Muslim extremist?”

“No, but that doesn’t matter. The Germans are running on fear now. They try to pretend they’re independent of the Americans, but they’re helping them in all sorts of ways to kill Iraqis and Afghans. And they know that’s going to lead to revenge attacks in their country, so they’re wary now about letting Muslims into Germany. To them, we’re all potential terrorists.”

“How is Germany helping the USA in the war?”

“One example came out in the news recently, although it happened before the war started. Back then the Germans had spies in the Iraqi Defense Ministry, and they managed to steal a copy of the plans for defending against the US invasion ― where our troops were going to be stationed, where anti-aircraft batteries would be placed, where supplies would be stored. The Germans gave those plans to the Americans, so they knew exactly where to bomb. That caused the death of tens of thousands of our soldiers. Now their families need to avenge them.

“The Germans are also helping train this new army and police in suppressing the people. And they’re sending military equipment to fight the insurgency. Iraqis are being killed with weapons made in Germany. German politicians call that peace keeping, but it’s actually war making. We don’t forget things like that.”

“Do you know people in the insurgency?”

“Of course … some of them very well. In the West all resistance fighters are portrayed as fanatics, but many of them aren’t even religious. They just want to throw the invaders out.

“Even fanatics like al-Qaeda aren’t really aggressors. They’re fighting a defensive war. Have you read al-Qaeda’s demands?”


“I’m not surprised. The Western media never publish them because the demands are so reasonable. They basically come down to, ‘Go home and leave us alone. Pull your soldiers, your CIA agents, your missionaries, your corporations out of Muslim territory. If you do that, we’ll stop attacking you.’ Nothing about destroying the West or forcing it to become Islamic. Just that the West should stay in the West.

“If people knew this ― knew how easy it would be to stop terrorism ― they wouldn’t want to fight this crazy war. That’s why the media ignore al-Qaeda’s demands. Western leaders don’t want people to see that the war’s real purpose isn’t to stop terrorism but to control this part of the world ― my home. They actually want the terrorism because that gives them the excuse they need ― the threat of an evil enemy.”

“But how about Israel? Is that Muslim territory?”

“It’s been Muslim since the time of the Prophet and continues to be, despite invasions by the Crusaders, the colonialists, and now the Zionists and Americans. We drove out the first two, and we’ll drive out the second two. None of them have the right to take what belongs to the Arab people. The barbarians keep descending on us from the north, and we keep throwing them out. It’s an old story.

“Just because the ancestors of the Jews might have lived there two thousand years ago doesn’t give them any claim to that land today. It’s absurd for them to say it belongs to them after all this time. We’re not going to let them get away with it.”

“Would you consider yourself a resistance fighter?”

“To the extent that one can fight with ideas, yes. I don’t believe in setting bombs, though. But my brother does. He didn’t start out that way, though. He used to be pro-American. He got his PhD in physics there. He likes the people and still has friends there. But he’s come to hate the government.”

“What happened to him?”

“Well … it happened to our whole family.”

“Tell me about it.”

Merna glanced away, grimaced, and chewed on her cheek for a moment. “One night very late I woke up to a huge crash. The house was shaking. I thought it was an earthquake, then I thought it was a bomb. I heard shouts downstairs. Someone was in our home. All I could think was, ‘They’ll kill us! I don’t want to die in my pajamas.’

“Then I thought, ‘Better in pajamas than naked.’ I was afraid whoever it was would rape me and then kill me. I wanted to jump out the window, but it was the second floor and I was too afraid. Then I thought, ‘Jumping is my only chance. If I don’t break my leg, maybe I can run away. Where, though? Anywhere, just away.’

“I put on a robe and shoes and went to the window. Men with guns were standing in our yard, soldiers with little American flags sewn on their sleeves. Their truck was parked in front of our house. I couldn’t run away.

“Inside the house men were stamping up our stairs, shouting something I didn’t understand. One of them kicked my door open, and another one shined a flashlight on me. The flashlight was on his rifle, which was pointed at me. I screamed and prayed ‘Allahu Akbar.’

“The door kicker ran at me, grabbed my hand, and dragged me downstairs. I fell onto the stairs, but he just kept dragging. My father, mother and brother were in the living room, all of them in pajamas. My mother was shaking and crying. The door to our house wasn’t there anymore. They’d blown it off. The air was smoky.

“While two soldiers pointed their rifles at us, the others searched us. They made us raise our arms and spread our legs, then they patted all over our bodies. One of them stuck his hand between my legs and smirked. Another squeezed my mother’s breasts.

“My brother shouted and lunged at the man, but the Americans grabbed him. I heard a shot ― so close it hurt my ears ― and thought they’d killed him, but then pieces of the ceiling fell down ― one of them had shot into the air. They pushed my brother to the floor and kicked him in the head and stomach and between his legs. He tried to kick back until one of them put the barrel of his gun to his head. My brother stopped, and they punched him in the face, yanked his arms behind his back, snapped handcuffs on him, and kicked him again, calling him a sand nigger. Then they handcuffed my father to keep him from defending us.

“‘Now they’re going to rape mom and me and make my father and brother watch, then kill us all,’ I thought.

“My father is a gentle man. He’s a professor of Arabic literature, retired now. Seeing him so helpless and humiliated … it broke my heart. And I’d never seen hatred on his face until that moment.

“After they searched us, they demanded to see our identity papers. Imagine ― they break into our house and demand to see our identity papers, as if we don’t belong here. When we gave them the papers, they compared our names to a list they had. ‘Where is Ahmad al-Marjan?’ one of them shouted at us. ‘I am Ahmed al-Marjan. I don’t know any Ahmad,’ my father answered. ‘You’ve got the same last name, you must know him. Where is he?’ the American demanded. ‘There are thousands of al-Marjans. I do not know them all. You have the wrong house. You have attacked the wrong family. You have ruined our home for nothing,’ my father said.

“In fact Ahmad was our cousin, and he was in the resistance. We knew where his parents lived, but he’d gone underground, sleeping in different houses, striking at the Americans and their puppet police whenever he could find the opportunity. I was terrified the Americans would torture us into giving information on him. How much did they already know? If they knew he was our cousin, then they would know we were lying to them, and they would torture us more. What would the torture be? Whatever it was, I didn’t think I could take it. But if I told about him, and they arrested him or killed him, how could I live with myself? I’m sure our whole family was having similar thoughts.

“‘Are any of you in the resistance?’ the American demanded. “No,’ my father answered. ‘Who do you know in the resistance?’ ‘No one that I know of. People do not tell such things.’ ‘Do you have any weapons or explosives or information about the resistance?’ ‘No.’ ‘If you have any, and you tell us now, we’ll let you go. But if you say no and we find it, we’ll take you to prison.’ ‘We have nothing.’

“They made us lie on the floor, then searched the house ― dumping out drawers, knocking books off shelves. They pulled up the rug, I guess to see if we had a trap door, turned over furniture and cut open the cushions on the divan. All the while one of them was pointing his rifle at us.

“These men stank. Their bodies were dirty, their clothes were dirty. They were disgusting. Muslims are very clean people, and it was an insult just to have these filthy soldiers in our home, let alone that they were destroying it. You could tell they were afraid, but they covered it up by being mean. They threw cigarette butts on our rug and smeared them out with their boots. They spat on the floor.

“Some of them went into my parents’ bedroom and started tearing it apart. They threw clothes out of the closets and ripped off the boards joined to the wall. Threw their mattress onto the floor. I could hear others tearing up the kitchen and my brother’s and my rooms upstairs.

“When they didn’t find anything, they tied bags over my father’s and brother’s heads and took them with them. Outside, the neighbor’s dog, a big German shepherd, came running up, barking. The Americans shouted at the dog to shut up, and when it started snarling at them, one of them shot it. But didn’t kill it. The dog was squealing and writhing on the ground as they drove away.

“My father told me later the soldiers drove for about twenty minutes, then unloaded him and my brother into a group of other men they’d rounded up. He couldn’t tell where they were. The men had to sit on the ground for five hours with the bags on their heads, no water, no food, no toilets. When some of them finally had to go to the toilet in their pants, the Americans called them stinking Arabs. Then they loaded them onto another truck and drove them to a prison, not Abu Ghraib, but somewhere on an American base.

“My father was put in a big cell with twenty other older men and one broken toilet, only the floor to sleep on. Every couple of days they would interrogate him again, asking who he knew in the insurgency, where weapons were stored. Sometimes they would try to scare him into thinking he’d be tortured if he didn’t give names. They tied his hands and blindfolded him and turned on an electric saw next to his ear. The sound was terrifying, he said, but they didn’t actually cut him. He kept insisting he didn’t know anything and the raid on our house was a mistake because of the mix-up of names.

“After two weeks they let him go and offered him a job as an interpreter because his English was so good. He wanted to scream at them, ‘Get out of my life, get out of my country,’ but was afraid to. He just said no.

“The Americans tortured my brother, maybe because he’d fought back at the house. They stripped him naked, tied wires to his toes, and sent electric shocks through him, then asked him for names of people in the resistance. When he didn’t give them, they stepped up the current. He said it was a kind of pain he’d never experienced before. It took over his body like an invading force and sent his legs and arms wild, making him thrash around the floor while the Americans laughed at him. He felt as if his blood was boiling and his skin would explode. Then they threw buckets of ice-cold water on him. That almost gave him a heart attack. When he still wouldn’t talk, they told him would tie the wires to his penis. But they didn’t. They just sent him back to this big crowded cell and brought in the next man.

“My brother was actually expecting to be tortured more, but there were so many prisoners, and the Americans had to concentrate on the ones they most suspected. Those poor guys really got it ― attacked with dogs when they were naked, no sleep, almost drowned, hung from hooks on the wall, beaten, drugged. He saw some of them afterwards ― shattered, half crazy, the only things holding them together were hatred of the Americans and love of Allah.

“After a month they let my brother go. He came back different, much more quiet and distant. A tenderness he’d had before was gone. In its place was a bitter determination and a hard-earned pride that he hadn’t given in, they hadn’t broken him, he hadn’t told about our cousin. He was harsh, and I didn’t feel as close to him. But I loved and respected him.

“I could tell the humiliation our family had suffered was weighing on him. In our culture such things demand retaliation. That is how their effect is undone. Otherwise they remain a stain on the soul. My brother knew it was his duty to restore the family’s honor as well as his own. My father is old and my mother and I are women. We cannot be expected to make the reprisals ourselves.

“A few days after he was released, he went searching for our cousin, to join him in the resistance. Ahmad had heard he was in prison, and he said as soon as he saw my brother, he knew that he hadn’t betrayed him. Ahmad had seen many men come back from torture. The ones who didn’t break were proud and wanted to become long-term fighters. The ones who had talked were crushed and wanted to become suicide bombers to redeem themselves. The insurgency needs and honors both men. The ones who talked under torture are accepted back without accusation because everyone knows it could be them next time. Their desire for martyrdom is respected.

“My brother had no military training. I don’t think he’d ever fired a gun. Ours isn’t that sort of family. But firing a gun is a simple thing, and he got good at it. Baghdad now has so many gutted buildings, and those give good cover for snipers. But it’s very boring work, he said. You have to wait and watch for hours before you get a target ― some days you never get one. The best targets are the convoys, but they’re always changing their routes for protection. Because of their fear, they tear through the streets at top speed, forcing other cars off the road, running over pedestrians, never stopping. He talked about how good it feels to spray the trucks with your Kalashnikov and see the invaders falling over. You have to shoot and run, though, because they sometimes have helicopters with them, and they’ll blow up your building with a rocket.

“When he’s out on the street, he carries a hidden pistol. A couple of times he’s been able to follow an American patrol and shoot into their backs, then disappear into the crowd. The Americans open fire in all directions. He’s sorry about the killed civilians, but this is the only way to drive out the invaders.

“The other reason he carries the pistol is to keep from being taken prisoner. If he’s ever surrounded, he’ll kill as many soldiers as he can and save the last shot for himself. He’s determined not to be captured and tortured again because he knows next time will be worse, and he’s not sure he can take it.

“He doesn’t know how many he’s killed and wounded, but it’s enough so that the family’s honor is again intact. But he wants to continue the battle. He’s now fighting the Americans on a larger scale where he can use his education. He’s in Iran working as a physicist. They are developing smaller, cheaper heat-seeking missiles to shoot down US aircraft.

“He says the main advantage the Americans have is their air force. Their soldiers don’t really believe in what they’re doing and don’t want to take risks in battle. Their main motivation is just to survive and go home, and you can’t win wars that way.

“But the USA controls the air. Their planes and helicopters can destroy a whole area, and they don’t mind killing everybody in it.

“Heat-seeking missiles are now bulky and expensive, but he and the other scientists are researching ways to micro-miniaturize the sensors and mass produce them in guidance systems. He says being able to shoot down their planes will totally change the balance of power. They’ll have to fight us face to face, and they’ll lose that way.

“I haven’t seen my brother in a year and a half. When we said good-bye, he seemed like someone else. His gentleness had been replaced by hatred and the need for vengeance. I love him and feel sorry for what he’s been through and worry he’ll be killed, but I don’t feel very comfortable with him. Violence warps people.

“He calls his project SAMs for Uncle Sam and thinks it’s a great idea. But I call it the ongoing insanity of the arms race and think it’s a terrible idea. It’ll just force the Americans to develop some new kind of horrible weapon that will kill even more people.

“We somehow have to get out of this whole way of thinking. We have to realize that war doesn’t solve problems, just creates new ones. It generates more rage that then breaks out again in violence. With all the atomic weapons, we’ll end up turning this lovely planet into a mass graveyard, not just for humans but for everyone except radiation-resistant insects.”

“Some people say fighting these small wars is a way to prevent a nuclear war. Or attacking another country is necessary to prevent them from attacking us.”

“Those are murderous lies. Every war is sold to us as a preventive war. That’s a favorite claim of tyrants, and I think some of them really believe it, that we’re being threatened by savages and have to strike against them. It’s a projection of their own personality. Hitler said he was protecting Western civilization from the Russian hordes. Saddam demonized the Iranians to scare us into war with them, just as Bush demonized the Iraqis. I’ve been reading about the Vietnam War. The hawks kept saying, ‘If we don’t fight the communists in Vietnam, we’ll have to fight them in California. They’re trying to destroy us any way they can.’ But it wasn’t true. The opposite was true. The communists were trying to build a different economic system, so the capitalists wanted to destroy them any way they could. Warmongers have always portrayed themselves as the only alternative to the brutal beasts out there. They generate fear to stay in power.

“One favorite trick of the USA is to secretly support the reactionary side in a civil war with arms and money. If their side starts to lose, they suddenly get upset about this awful war and all the people who are dying. They say they need to intervene for humanitarian reasons, to bring peace and prevent a holocaust. Then they jump in openly and try to crush the other side.”

“The war that’s going on now, how do you see that ending?”

“Disaster for the Americans. They started this war, and they deserve to lose it. They think they can win with all their money and weapons, but our people are stronger than that. We will continue to fight and resist for as long as it takes to defeat the invaders and their figurehead government.

“These so-called Iraqi Security Forces are only there for the money. They don’t believe in the cause. They won’t fight and die for the Americans, they’ll just take their money and run.

“The more people the Americans kill, they more enemies they create. They can’t kill all the people. The people are stronger. We have them surrounded, and they’re afraid to come out of their bases, just like in Vietnam. We’re going to drive them out of the country, get rid of their Arab pawns, and take back our land ― oil and all. We are a patient people, and the Americans are impatient.

“One reason they are impatient is because deep down they know what they’re doing in Iraq is wrong. They can ignore that for a while, but not forever. It eats away at them. They are human too. They know they would react to an invasion they same way we are. They don’t have the heart for this fight, but we do. This is our home. We will win.

“But the tragic thing is that it won’t end there, either for Iraq or America. The violence the USA has unleashed will continue in both countries. That’s the way of barbarity. It doesn’t just stop, it keeps going on in different ways. The war may be over, but people on both sides have been infected with the disease of cruelty, and it spreads. It gets passed on, finding new victims who then turn into attackers and contaminate others with it. Violence really is a plague, and since the American inflicted it on us, they must bear the brunt of it ― killings, crime, chaos in their society. They must suffer as much as the suffering they have caused. That is the divine justice.”

“Do you see any cure to this disease?”

“Sure. Give the UN the power to keep the peace. For instance, the American invasion of Iraq is a clear violation of the UN Charter, but the UN can’t do anything about it. They need enough power to outlaw invasions and other acts of war and to enforce that with economic and political sanctions strong enough to work. They could outlaw the manufacture and possession of military weapons ― from assault rifles to nuclear bombs. Governments could take some of the money they spend on the military and put it into an international peace fund that would inspect world-wide for weapons and destroy them. No more military training. Send the soldiers home.

“I’m not saying there wouldn’t be problems and conflicts, but they would end up killing far fewer people. We would need to expand the World Court and give it jurisdiction to settle disputes between countries and groups of people. Conflicts would be decided by laws, not force. That’s called civilization, and it works pretty well within countries. Now we need to make it work between countries. That’ll be difficult, but we can do it … we have to.”

“Would you make people give up their personal weapons?”

“With a license they could have a pistol for protection and a simple rifle for hunting. You can’t kill huge numbers of people with those.”

“Your idea sounds definitely worth trying.”

“Think of the lives and money that would save. But the politicians and corporate executives don’t want it. They want to use the military to build their empire and hold on to power. That’s more important to them than peace. Their children don’t die in the wars.

“Governments and corporations have become enemies of the people. We need to take their power away. We can’t let them keep killing. All of us are their potential victims now. Having gone from being ruled by Saddam Hussein to George W. Bush, I can tell you we need a whole other approach to politics. There’s no real difference between those two men. They’re both murderers.

“That’s why the USA helped Hussein into power in the first place. They knew he would control Iraq with an iron fist and would never nationalize the oil. They kept him in power with massive military aid. Hussein was just a marionette of the USA who had the audacity to cut his strings and act on his own, so naturally the USA had to string him up.

“This kind of interference is the main reason America and Britain are so hated in the world. That’s why there’s terrorism. People are sick and tired of being abused, of having their politics manipulated and their economies controlled from the outside. Arabs have had it up to here with this new colonialism that the West is using to control our oil. We refuse to be dominated anymore, and we’re resisting with the only weapons we have ― guerrilla warfare.”

“What about the Arab leaders who are on the US side?”

“These so-called leaders represent only the comprador elite in their countries. They serve Western interests and are hated by the people. They stay in office only with their Western arms.

“But it can’t last. The USA and the rich Arabs are doomed. Bush blew the whole show by creating too many enemies. Billions of people now oppose the USA. The USA can’t kill them all. Before Bush, the American goal of a world empire was camouflaged with diplomacy, harder to see. But his stupidity turned out to be a boon to humanity. He made the plans obvious to everyone, so mass resistance coalesced. Obama’s job is to restore the camouflage, but it’s too late.

“I’m proud to be an Arab because we’re at the forefront of this opposition. We’re standing up to the most powerful military machine the world has ever seen … and defeating it. Forty years ago the Vietnamese did it, and now we’re doing it.

“Maybe finally the Americans will learn not to try to rule over other countries. That would be a big step towards peace.”

“SAMs for Uncle Sam” is a chapter from RADICAL PEACE: People Refusing War, which presents the experiences of war resisters, deserters, and peace activists in the USA, Europe, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Recently published by Trine Day, it’s a journey along diverse paths of nonviolence, the true stories of people working for peace in unconventional ways. Other chapters are posted on a page of the publisher’s website at

William T. Hathaway is a Special Forces combat veteran turned peace activist. His other books include A WORLD OF HURT (Rinehart Foundation Award), CD-RING, and SUMMER SNOW. He is an adjunct professor of American studies at the University of Oldenburg in Germany. A selection of his writing is available at

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

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