When the ground is ready to burn, a small spark might be enough to start a fire.
Dominoes, the game presented to Chinese emperor Hui Tsung in the 12th century, traveled slowly before it finally reached the Middle East. These days, however, it appears to be the game of the hour – starting in Tunisia and Egypt, cascading through Yemen, Libya and Bahrain, and now in Syria.
The Middle East’s reality, however, is not a game, but a struggle for survival. Like the old emperors of China, the remaining old guards – the voices of the past – are desperately fighting against their own people, who seek a different future. And the voices of the past appear clearly aligned. It was Syrian Air Force pilots who were flying some of the MiG fighter jets ordered to attack rebel-held towns in Libya. An official Syrian funeral for one of them, killed fulfilling his “duty,” took place in Damascus against the backdrop of the anti-Syrian demonstration there. Turkey recently stopped two Iranian planes for “routine inspection,” only to find rocket launchers, mortars and automatic rifles intended to rearm Assad’s security forces and his Hezbollah allies in Lebanon. Assad, according to opposition sources, has approved the deployment of hundreds of fighters to Libya, as well as air and anti-tank munitions to Gaddafi. There were reports that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps has been seen working alongside the Syrian military to curtail the demonstrations. The Iranian assistance might have contributed to the increasing brutality of the Syrian security forces who managed to kill 50 more demonstrators this last weekend. But it did not stop the masses, about 500,000 of whom marched in about nine Syrian cities this past weekend. View full post…
Caspian Weekly, August 21st, 2009
Another report about torture in Iran just surfaced. This time it was 19-year-old Mohammad K. who was arrested during Iran’s post election unrest and was locked up in the Kahrizak detention facility. All but two of his upper teeth had been knocked out. His nails had been pulled out.
His head had been bashed in. His kidneys had stopped working. The stitches around his anus appeared to indicate a rape. He died shortly thereafter, at a Tehran hospital. But his story is still making waves.
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By Nir Boms, The Jerusalem Post
Aug. 21, 2007
The Internet – the free and open Web of ideas – has become the new symbol of freedom, or at least one of its more visible prophets. Howard Rheingold, a scholar of the early Internet era, predicted a utopian vision where the “electronic agora” would change the public space and create a free, global society, or an “Athens without slaves.”
But Rheingold’s vision remains utopian. Research shows that outside the Western hemisphere, it is the terrorist groups that have gained the upper hand on the Internet as they use its free virtual space to support radicalism and extremism rather than democracy and freedom. Today, there are more than 5,000 Internet sites affiliated with terrorist groups. View full post…
Europeans need to initiate dialogue on core values in order to define identity
Terry Newman, Nir Boms
Europe is rapidly growing. Facing immigration, new member states and continued enlargement talks, Europe finds itself asking an old question again: What is Europe about? The answer has to do with values – with core European values that need to be expressed in the positive in order for them to be a driving force in a renewing Europe.
Europe needs to initiate dialogue on its core values in order to define and defend acceptable interpretations from the vulgar. Without this dialogue, words like tolerance, individual freedoms or respect for reason might lose some of their meaning. The label on the wine bottle will stay but the wine will go sour.
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