Showing posts from August, 2008

The Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon: Victims of Legal and Social Discrimination

What do the famous singer Majida Al Rumi, Fatah commander Sultan Abu Al Aineen and Hanan Ashrawi have in common? They are Palestinians but have key differences. Majida al Rumi is the child of a naturalized Palestinian refugee and has become a major singer who sings patriotic Lebanese songs. Sultan Abu Al Aineen is a Fatah commander and a Palestinian refugee residing in Lebanon. Hanan Ashrawi is a Palestinian from the West Bank and Gaza and a member of the Palestinian parliament.
Hanan Ashrawi lives under occupation and has lived under occupation since 1967 when Israel occupied and began the process of colonization of the West Bank and Gaza. Majida Al Rumi is a well off and accepted Lebanese citizen who makes a good living singing classic music and patriotic Lebanese songs. Sultan Abu Al Aineen is a Palestinian refugee denied of the most basic of human rights in the democratic republic of Lebanon.
An estimated 400,000 Palestinian refugees live in Lebanon. They live in a number of refugee…

Coptic Priest Zakaria Botros: Holy War of Words

Driving from Ann Arbor today, I felt like listening to the ethnic programming radio station 690 AM.
It happened that an Egyptian Coptic priest I read about in the Arab American News, Zakaria Botros, was speaking about Islam. I listened to the whole show. He brings up controversial topics on Islam, from Islamic texts, to argue that Islam is a false religion and that (Coptic Orthodox) Christianity is the one true faith. After poking fun at their faith with his Egyptian humor and demeanor that is ideally fit for entertaining, he invites his Muslim listeners, to embrace Christianity!
In his demeanor and self righteousness he has no air of doubt about the supremacy of his faith. He reminded me of another Egyptian that mixes humor, promotion of one's faith and ridicule and attack of others' faith- the Egyptian Al Qaeda # 2 terrorist Ayman Al Zawahiri when he goes on rants against Christianity and the West.
What Zawahiri (who is a medical doctor by training) and the priest have in commo…

The Criminal Attorney and the Blogger: You Call that Evidence?

The blogosphere is the wild west of journalism. Anyone can have a blog. Barriers to entry are almost nonexistent. There is no editor to do any kind of quality control. This is good and bad.

It's good because it allows an unfettered exchange of ideas. It can be bad because it's easy to unfairly focus negative attention on a cause, a person, or a group, making allegations that sully reputations. If no other evidence to the contrary is out there, the negative information end up defining a cause, a person or a group.

In the balance between freedom of speech and reputation, freedom of speech trumps in the US- unlike for example, in the UK. Therefore, legal recourse is very hard.

The other day a friend of mine involved in a high- profile case told me that his lawyer approached him with a stack of printouts from a blogger's site. This blogger is known for being a rabid Islamophobe and a zealous Zionist to the right of Ariel Sharon. She has no credibility and her mental fitness is se…