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Showing posts from 2018

The Orlando Pulse Club Massacre and the exoneration of Noor Salman

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Attorney Charles Swift: “The more we learned, the better Noor Salman looked”
On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen entered Pulse club in Orlando and killed 49 people and injured 53 others. He was killed by the police. Mateen was survived by a wife, Noor Salman, and a child. The US government charged Noor with crimes arising from that massacre committed by her late husband. After a jury trial in Orlando, she was found not guilty on all charges. On social media though, Noor Salman gets a lot of hate because most people are not familiar with the case beyond the soundbites. A lot of people have questions about the case. Below are a number of questions about the case and my answers:

-Why did the government charge Noor when none of the wives or girlfriends of other mass shooters got charged criminally? That is a very good question. Some people think it is a result of anti-Muslim, anti-Arab bias. Other people think it is because of the nature of the crime and the fact that it is classified as terroris…

Lebanon: History and Civil War, Myths Debunked

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The Lebanese movie The Insult re-introduced the Lebanese civil war as a subject of interest. The movie offered the Lebanese right narrative that blames the Palestinians for the civil war. That narrative is important. I visited Abraham Lincoln’s Presidential Library last weekend and one of the frames read, as to slavery, in part: “At its most personal level, it [slavery] was a demeaning and barbaric institution that destroyed families and lives. Racism was a logical outgrowth of slavery, as slave holders tried to find moral justification for their behavior.” The last part, “moral justification for their behavior” is key. The myths and the lies the Lebanese right, Muslim and Christian, tells and promotes, is anti-Palestinian racism, used as “moral justification” for the butchering, the besieging, the starving as in Tal el- Zaater and Sabra and Shatila or as justification for continuing state violence against them by denying them the most basic of human rights. Below is a number of common…

Lebanon and the Palestinians: Myths and reality

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Lebanon and the Palestinians: Myths and reality
The late Palestinian ambassador to Lebanon, Ashraf Dabbour, once responded to a question about the Lebanese civil war years and the responsibility of different Lebanese factions in massacres against the Palestinians by saying that the Palestinians want the war behind them and want to keep friends with all Lebanese.
Civil wars carry painful memories. The Lebanese Civil War is not exceptional in that sense. Last January, I was driving from Kentucky to a conference in New Orleans. On the way I saw a sign that read “Shilo, Six Miles.” I did not know much about the American Civil War at the time but I have heard of Shilo. So I decided to take a detour and visit the famous Civil War battlefield site. That visit, and the controversy over Confederate monuments, created an interest in learning about the Civil War and its aftermath. It is not possible to overestimate the importance of the Civil War on American history since. I have since listened to…