Laurie KingWashington, DC, United States10 January 2009
For exactly half my life, I’ve been angry and outspoken about the tragedy of Palestine. It seems like I’ve been shouting at a wall for the better part of three decades. The Electronic Intifada co-founder Laurie King reflects from Washington, DC. Read more about Hitting the wall
This week marks the 26th anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila massacre, one of the bloodiest events of the second half of the twentieth century. A Google search for recent news reports on this year’s commemoration of the atrocity, however, brought up very little. The Electronic Intifada co-founder Laurie King comments that the failure to hold massacre perpetrators accountable has let the atrocities continue. Read more about And so it continues: 26 years after the massacre
There are lots of “One Issue Voters” out here: those who decide to support a candidate based on the sole criterion of abortion, or taxation, or gun control, or crime. For those of us who fall into the “Pro-Palestinian Rights” category of One Issue Voter-hood, it’s a particularly lonely and dispiriting time. It’s as though there’s this big progressive celebration going on, but we haven’t been invited. Laurie King-Irani comments. Read more about The loneliness of the One-Issue Voter
Finally, an international tribunal will be tasked with investigating and prosecuting murder and mayhem in an Arab country. For human rights activists who have railed against continuing impunity for grave crimes in the Middle East, whether committed by Israelis or Arabs, whether orchestrated by states or non-state actors, this should be an occasion for unalloyed celebration, or at least relief. However, EI’s Laurie King-Irani writes, there are worrying aspects of the unprecedented legal initiative of the UN-mandated tribunal charged with investigating the 2005 assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and other recent crimes. Read more about Tribunals, Trials and Tribulations in Lebanon?
Simplistic and knee-jerk reactions to Lebanon’s current travails are too easy, and not up to the standards of good and responsible journalism. I’ve spent much of the past 48 hours trying to get a better grasp on what is really going on in Tripoli. It’s not easy to do, and it occured to me this morning that this may, in fact, be the story: the difficulty of interpreting these events stems from the lack of a comprehensive understanding of the ways that dramatic changes throughout the region, and indeed, the world, are echoing through Lebanon’s war-damaged sociopolitical landscape. Read more about What is happening in Lebanon?
News reports from Iraq, Iran, and Lebanon harp on and on about the emerging “Shi’a Crescent,” which now poses an allegedly mortal danger to the West (whatever that is!). In the last 60 years, we have seen the Red Scare, the Green Scare (politicized Sunni Islam), and of course, the Axis of Evil, which still gets a lot of air time. The political “flavour of the month” danger now is clearly Iran, which, after the events of the last two weeks, is increasingly in the cross-hairs of those who believe that traditions, societies, and histories can be collapsed into a catchy soundbyte or a caricature of the Evil Other. Read more about On that so-called "Shi'a Crescent"
It cannot be happening again. But of course, it is happening again — the recurring nightmare from which I cannot awaken. The Lebanon I last visited in 2003 has suddenly been transformed into the Lebanon of 1983. Israel made good on its promise to “bomb Lebanon back 20 or 30 years into the past.” In just two weeks, the death toll is four times higher than the number of those killed in Israel’s 16-day “Operation: Grapes of Wrath” of 1996. It has taken two full weeks for the sorrow, horror, rage and exhaustion of the war in Lebanon to knock me off the rails; two weeks for me to really grasp that this is happening again. The nightmare has returned. Read more about The nightmare returns
The Israeli Defense Forces have named their relentless military operation in Gaza “Summer Rain,” which is cruel and sarcastic given the political, historical, and environmental context of the Eastern Mediterranean. From early May to mid-September, one can expect clear skies and no precipitation. What is raining, though, is fire and metal, along with leaflets bearing chillingly familiar threats. The Middle East is in dire need of the refreshing rains of law, justice, sanity, and wisdom. The clouds on the horizon, though, are full of fire and death, not life-giving water. Read more about A hard rain's gonna fall
As people return to former war zones, global numbers of refugees are falling. The most protracted and largest of all refugee problems in the world, however, remains unresolved, says UNHCR in a major report on refugees published on Wednesday. UNHCR’s report, “The State of the World’s Refugees: Human Displacement in the New Millennium,” examines the changing dynamics of displacement over the past half decade. In 2001, former UNHCR Commissioner Ruud Lubbers stated that it is neither morallly acceptable nor politically sustainable to ignore the plight of refugees who have been confined to small areas and a legacy of poverty for nearly four generations. Read more about UN refugee report: Most protracted and largest of all refugee problems in the world remains unresolved