Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Aqoul's Review On "Infidel"

Very interesting review by Aqoul did on the latest book called "infidel", written by former Dutch MP, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a woman who is known to many for her controversial stand against Islam and Muslims!

I am not planning to buy the book or read it, for various reasons: First because it won't serve any purpose in reading (and profiting the author by buying it in the first place) a book of someone who continuously exploiting freedom of expression granted to everyone in the Netherlands to achieve political or personal gains. Second, I won't support anyone using / attacking any religion to acheive political and personal gains. I consider that as the dirtiest attempt to reach fame and glory. The third reason is generalization; In the Netherlands there is a big Muslim community living in every single village and town. This community consists of people coming from the east and west of the Muslim world i.e. practice of Islam differs from one country to the other. Conclusion, Harsi Ali's problem with her traditions has nothing to do with women in Egypt or Iraq, for example, therefore, women from Egypt or Iraq won't have sympathy or support for "the cause" that Harsi Ali is "fighting for".

Bush Visit To Dubai

I didn't think that such a fiasco has been created during the last visit of the American president to Dubai. Adventures in Dubai blog summoned everything up here

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Another Change In Iraq's Flag

After the fall of the Saddam’s regime, news broke out of adopting a new Iraqi flag instead of the current one, which became a taboo after Saddam put Allah Akbar “God is Great” on the flag on the eve of 1991. The flag caused big opposition and rejection, mainly because of its similarity to the flag of Israel! Today the parliament discussed a draft legislation related to the same issue with the recommendations (from the Kurds) to change the font to Kufi (Arabic font) and the color of the word “Allah Akbar” from green to yellow. The parliament also discussed a new legislation to make each star of the three centered in the Iraqi flag to represents Peace, Tolerance and Justice, instead of what has been perceived for decades as the three principles of Ba’ath party: Unity, Freedom and Socialism. A few days ago, I read in the news that a competition is in the preparation to come out with a new anthem and design for the flag! Does the discussion in the parliament means that no competition will go on and that the flag will go through face lift only?

Iraqi TV After 2003

It is really amazing to find out that there are 28 Iraqi satellite channels exists today. At least this is what I managed to count so far. All these channels were launched after the end of war, and the fall of the Iraqi regime in 2003. The former Iraqi regime used to prohibit the use of a sattelite dish - Anyone caught owning a dish on the roof of his house will face punishment and imprisonment, one of them I heard had such a fate was an old neighbor of mine. The Iraqi government had two ground channels and one official satellite channel. The sattelite channel has been bombed by the US during the last war. I still remember the final images from that channel, particularly, the repetition of a song by young Iraqi singer, Qasim Al Sultan, carrying a golden Klashinkof, standing in the middle of old and young soldiers, and singing for Iraq - after the war there were many romurs that this singer was shot dead for singing that song! After the end of the war, the wave of "independent" channels began with the launch of Alsharqiya TV, a channel made and still managed by Saad Al Bazaz (former head of Iraqi TV and owner of Azzaman newspaper). The channel also sponsored financially by Sheikhs from the United Arab Emirates. When Alsharqiya began broadcasting, it brought a smile on the faces of many Iraqis, especially those living abroad for so many years, because it carried the same spirit Iraqi TV used to have during the 1970 and the 1980s (if I can describe it in such a way correctly).

However, Alsharqiya became one of many channels, when the US government decided to have its own media means in Iraq, by launching AlHurra, which runs on the same frequency the ex-official Iraqi satellite TV used to run on before the fall of the regime. Al Hurra was clearly a CNN but in Arabic, so the effort was put to launch another channel, Al Iraqiya, which became the official TV station for "new Iraq"! With the flow of money coming from all directions into Iraq - regardless of the financiall or political profit can be gained, the number of satellite channels increased rapidly. We have now Al Furat, which is sponsored by Abdel Aziz Al Hakim. There are other Shiite orientated channels, such as Al Zahara, Ahl Al Beet, Karbala and Salam TV. However, other ethnic groups in Iraq decided to follow suit and have their own echo heard through the ether: Some of them were there before the fall of the regime of Saddam, such as Kurdistan TV, and KurdSat - The latter began during the late 1990s advertising late night half naked girls, and a telephone number with Arabic and Kurdish text on top of the screen!

Most of Iraqi channels are trying so hard to be colorful with the variety of shows they broadcast; Al Diyar TV, for example, focuses on domestic issue in Iraq more than anything else. Also, there is Al Fayhaa TV, a channel launched first from the United Arab Emirates after the fall of the regime, and played a big role during the last elections and during the trail of Saddam in the past two years, by broadcasting live interviews and live phonecalls with ordinary Iraqis from around the globe, which I think put the cast of that channel into problems and caused it suddenly to diminish with its popularity later on! Worth noting other TV channels trying so hard to boost their popularity among the wave of Iraqi and Arabic satellite channels, such as Afaq, alsumaria and Baladi. In addition, there are regional satellite channels, such as Salah Il Dien TV, which gives news and information on the activities taking place in that province.

There are some other channels launched with the help of other countries, such as Turkmen TV (with the support of Turkey of this ethnic group), and to ensure the rights of other minorities, other ethnic groups, such as Christians launched their own TV stations, such as Ashur TV, Bet Al Nahrain TV, and Ishtar TV stations, which shed some light on the activities of Iraqis abroad as well as inside the country.

Other channels were directly hostile towards the US troops, such as Al Zawra, did not have anything but low quality fragments of attacks by armed groups against US forces in Iraq, mostly taken from the internet, mainly, and with a news bulletin running horizontally below the screen announcing the latest news and messages coming across on latest "victories against the occupier". The channel used to broadcast from Egypt, and caused some sort of crisis between Egyptian and US government because the latter wanted to close that channel forever. One other TV channel broadcasting from Egypt, known for its use of advanced TV technology is Al Baghdadia TV. This channel remains the center of attention and in my opinion the only one that can compete with Alsharqiya regarding the nature of shows and news update it brings to the viewers.

By the end of 2006, different types of Iraqi channels were launched. The variety which established competition among TV channels pushed some to launch specialized TV channels. We now see Iraqi channels limited to sport events and news, such as Iraq Sport. In addition, music channels showing young men and women never seen before as singers in video clips now can be seen 24 hours a day. One of these music channels called Vinus - I heard that it is broadcasting from the United Arab Emirates.

One might ask the question: does such channels feed the separation of Iraqis taking into the consideration the ethnic and political crisis we have in Iraq? Some argue that this is the consequences of decades of dictatorship, which resulted now in a chaotic atmosphere, even in the media. Others argue that this democracy and every Iraqi have the right to express his opinion and point of view the way he or she sees suitable. But would that enlarge the gap between anarchy and freedom?

Kuwaiti Analyst View On Al Sahwa

I heard many says that the US has the main role in putting security in Iraq, esepcially, with the clearly witnessed decline in violence, particurly in Baghdad. One Kuwaiti analyst was interviewed on Al Jazeera TV channel today said that the emergence of Al Sahwa, a movement started from the western provice of Anbar, and spread into other Iraqi provinces, such as Mousel and Baghdad to fight Al Qaeda, is mainly due to US support and encouragment. I don't know if this is the same support and encouragment the US offered, which empowered the Shiite militias couple of years ago.

However, this Kuwaiti analyst is entitled to his own point of view but he is in fact denying Iraqis the credit of trying to make their country's future better! This to include reconsuliation and free its cities and villages from outsiders and occupiers. One other thing, this analyst is forgetting that part of the problem in Iraq is the US itself, so how can a problem can be solved with the use of another problem?

An Opinion

Artist's Comments:
this is clearly a street sign and a stop sign but when you look at them at a sertin angle you read them like this!!!War: A useless invention and tool of man...well I think you no MY opinion... it is a statement but also a work of my clever mind... any who there you have it!!!!

Courtesy of ~random-shadow

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Press Conference In Egypt

In his latest visit to Egypt at the end of last year, and during a joint press conference with Egyptian president, Mubarak, French president Nicolas Sarkozy called on Syria to act using its influence to end the ongoing presedential crisis. The tone used by the French president angered the Syrian officials, and two days later the attitude backfired when Syria decided to cut communication channels regarding Lebanon with France.

The press conference started when Egyptian President Mubarak read slowly from a paper his speech welcoming the French guest, and as in any speech he emphesized on strong economic and political ties with the Republic of France and its president, and gave his compliments to the French effort in restoring peace and security in the middle east generally. However, Sarkozy was different, he was swift and straight forward in his speech. He did not read from the paper before him - maybe he had only some points written about what he want to talk about. He improvised from the way he was addressing the journalists. He showed big pride in the way his government using in dealing with the different issues world wide, and gave big gratittude and tribute to the efforts made by his foreign minister, Kouchner, in this regards.

Of course he focused on considering dialogue the only means in dealing with all issues concerning the middle east, and nothing but the dialogue between conflicting parties in that region. He rejected the concept of showing power and strength! Sarkozy reminds me of two invistegators trying to get confessions from someone in a police station; one enter the room where the detainee sitting alone, he start shouting, cursing, and sometimes beating that detainee. He exit the room to let the other investigator enters; the other one speaks calmly and softly. he put his hand on the detainee's shoulder to calm him down and put his fears into peace! Does Sarkozy and his ties with the United States (which he publicly proud of and vow to improve further) allow him to play the role of the second investegator?

Maybe, but at the same time we see some else in the tactics used by the French President, esepcially after his latest visits to countries bordering the Medeterranean region, in particular, north african countries. One thing for certain, Sarkozy want a new France, a new France in the region, a new and powerful France in the region. This has been clearly illustrated during his visits to North African countries. The aim is economic ties with these countries, and ensure that these countries can be a good candidate to be economically dependent on France. However, this time the tactics is different and the product is not food or military or goods; it is nuclear technology. During the press conference with Egyptian president Mubarak, the second or the third point the French president made in his speech was how Egypt can benefit from having French nuclear technology for peaceful means. Any observer realize that Egypt was not the first North African country to receive such an offer, Lybia is another example.

Interesting, though, that after decades of the west is depending on energy source from the east, the west, this time, is within the initial steps to be the source of energy for the east, among many other things! Will the future hold for us a new phenommenan?

Monday, January 07, 2008

Know Your Enemy

Human Weakness

During an interview conducted on Al Baghdadiya satellite TV station with Faisal Al-Yasiri, known Iraqi TV director and former head of Iraqi Television station before the fall of Saddam's Regime, he shed some light on his days during the making of the controversial political show "Al Malef" (the dossier, in English), which is a weekly show consist of an interviews with ministers and government officials from Saddam's regime. Al-Yasiri explained how some ministers were dead afraid of their own answers they used to give to their host on the show. They even asked Al-Yasiri more than once after the recording of the interview to edit them and erase some of their answers so they "won't be misunderstood by others"!

Sadoon Hammady and Mohammed Al Sahaf were the most difficult to interview, according to Al-Yasiri, because both were not happy to be interrupted while answering certain quesiton.

Al-Yasiri described the behavior and attitude of those government officials and ministers at that time as "human weakness". He tells how each minister used to come with stack of papers carried with them behind by their employees accompanying them. These papers were referenced to most frequently when needed during the interview. All this to avoid giving the "wrong" or "inappropriate" answer which might anger Saddam and other people very close to Saddam. They didn't want to trespassing the boundaries Saddam has put before them!

Happy New Year!

Its good to be back, for almost three weeks didn’t do anything related to computers and the internet – even I a feeling of awkwardness when my finger tips touches the keys on the keyboard.

It might be a little bit late, but want to say Happy New Year and wish the world, east to west, north to south healthy, happy and easy 2008.