Monday, October 05 2015

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Listen to Syrians: The media jackals and the people’s narrative

Dr Ramzy BaroudImagine the Syrian war from the point of view of ordinary Syrians from a variety of backgrounds. They are most likely to offer a different perspective and to hold entirely different expectations than most other parties involved.


More symbolism at the UN, but is it enough for Palestine?

The Palestinian flag flies for the first time at the United Nations headquarters after a flag-raising ceremony in the Rose GardenOn Wednesday, 30 September, the Palestinian flag was raised for the first time at the United Nations headquarters in New York after the General Assembly voted overwhelming in favour of the move earlier in the month. “This is a day of pride for Palestinians around the world,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “It is a day of hope. It’s a reminder that symbols are important.” He added his wish that the raising of this flag might give rise to the hope among the Palestinians and the international community that Palestinian statehood is achievable.


With the rise of settler terrorism, can Israel still be described as a rational political actor?

File photo of Israeli settlers entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on September 9, 2015, under the protection of Israeli forcesBenjamin Netanyahu’s long pause as he addressed world leaders at the UN General Assembly in his inimitably disdainful manner will probably be the first image that comes to everyone’s mind in a conversation about Israel and its growing irrationality. As tempting as it is to focus on the cartoonish image of Netanyahu on the international stage, Israeli irrationalism goes beyond the idiosyncratic behaviour of one person, even if that person is the country’s prime minster.


As Saudi and Iran trade political insults over hajj deaths, focus on the loss of life

The Hajj pilgrimage to the city of Makkah is one of the five pillars of Islam. [file photo]

During the final days of this year’s hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Makkah last month, two large waves of pilgrims converged on a narrow road. The crowding was so severe that it caused people to suffocate and eventually to start trampling one another in their desperation to get clear. According to officials in Saudi Arabia, at least 769 people died and 900 were injured, but the governments of India, Pakistan, Indonesia and Iran have all disputed this, claiming that the real figure is far higher. The volume of people making the pilgrimage was not unprecedented; in previous years, more than 3 million have travelled to Makkah without any major problems.


Palestinian prisoners have the will to persevere in the face of the oppressor

Dr Fayez Rasheed

There are 17 Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli prisons. Altogether, almost 5,000 Palestinians are being held by Israel, including 20 women, 230 children and a number of elderly men. They are all subject to the worst types of cruelty and torture in prison. According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society in Ramallah, 95 per cent of Palestinian prisoners are suffering from a form of torture from the moment they are arrested until they are transported to Israel’s many detention and interrogation centres. Some have been sentenced to life imprisonment while others are serving sentences of more than 30 years. Over 1,000 of the Palestinians in Israeli jails are ill; 160 have chronic illnesses, including cancer. Eighty are being held under arbitrary administrative detention, based on a law left over from British Mandate days.


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