11
Apr
08

Blank Page No.2

Your Blank Page hosts this weekend are Brett in Virginia and Lubna in Iraq. All yours you two…


72 Responses to “Blank Page No.2”


  1. April 11, 2008 at 21:00

    Hi Precious Ros. THANKS A MILLION for giving me and Brett this wonderful opportunity. Hi to all of you my Precious friends. I’m feeling really so excited about this weekend, and I look very much forward to reading all your comments and seeing you all participating in the global conversation. With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  2. April 11, 2008 at 21:24

    Good Afternoon everyone!
    I look forward to this weekend and the conversations to be had. While speaking with Lubna earlier she mentioned a very interesting point and something we thought we would try and see what everyones ideas and opinions are.

    A few weeks back, I read this time article:
    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1595248,00.html

    And was astounded at the limited number of refugees which the United States government was assisting in light of the war which it has waged in Iraq for the good of the Iraqi people.
    With the government of Sweden letting in 11,000 refugees since 2005, the United States has been slow to open its doors to assist the four million refugees of Iraq, 2 million of which have fled the country. Many refugees have fled in fear of their lives after helping the US military.

    When speaking with Lubna this afternoon, she brought up:
    http://baghdadpups.com/
    And was rightfully concerned that pets are getting such great coverage and being rescued from violence in Iraq; But the human beings whose lives have been uprooted and brought to pieces in Iraq remain refugees.

    So aside from the intentions of the War in Iraq and whether or not it has gone to plan or was a good idea, what should be done about the current humanitarian crisis at hand?

    Please feel free to chime in with ideas and comments on anything you would like to see discussed.

    Regards,
    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

    P.S. As many members already do, when replying to someone and their idea for a discussion or their point, please refer to the person or topic which you are replying to. This may make reading the various discussions all on one page a bit easier, enjoy 🙂

  3. 3 steve
    April 11, 2008 at 21:34

    I have a couple ideas:

    (1) Elton John’s comments saying that if Hillary isn’t elected it is becuase Americans are misogynistic, and the applause he got from the crowd.

    (2) Without any directive in a will, a spouse of a dead us soldier had sperm removed from the soldier’s corpse so that the spouse could have a child. Is this a good thing or a really, bad, incredibly selfish thing?

  4. April 11, 2008 at 21:41

    Also, in light of the current media frenzy around the Olympic Games and China. I have been thinking more and more if this is the beginning of the end for the Olympic Games or the Spirit of the Games at the very least.

    In the past (and it may just seem this way because of my age, please correct me if I am wrong, I have not lived through all that many Olympic Games); In the past the Games seemed to be much more about the athletes, the competition, the anticipation of the spectacle of so many nations together at once.
    Yet these 2008 games seemed to be quite different. At the beginning, the debate was whether or not politics should be brought into the Olympic Games because of China’s questionable past and present politics and policies. Then it shifted to who was planning on boycotting the events. It started with a few select figures and then seemed to transform into an avalanche of criticism. It seems now that more attention is being given to protests than the up and coming Games themselves.

    So with the unfolding of the China 2008 Olympic Games and all of the controversy surrounding it, is this the beginning of the end of the Games being “Just a Game”?

    2012 will see London hosting the Games. Will the media attention to protests and human rights groups in 2008 give rise to grievances abroad with the UK and its past and present politics and policies?

    This thought was mentioned on the program surrounding the games, and I just can’t help but note the incredible difference in these Games to the others I have witnessed. Is this just a one-off fluke, or are the future Games in jeopardy due to disagreements amongst so many nations and their diverse populations and opinions?

    Regards,
    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  5. 5 steve
    April 11, 2008 at 21:46

    The games are different from more recent games, but in 1980 and 1984, there were major boycotts for political reasons. In 1972, there was terrorism. How many Olympics have had teams get killed for political reasons? 1936? Germany used it as an attempt to show off how great Nazi Germany was. To deceive the public, the nazis temporarily lifted some of the restrictions on the Jews, allowed more freedoms, and the world got duped. Honestly, the stuff that is going on today is peanuts compared to what has happened, though I do think that it’s the wave of the future if they continue to have torch relays. You realize there will be no protests AT the olympics because the Chinese won’t allow it. However, in Britain, the next olympics, if the Iraq war is going on still, you will of course see the anti war people there.

  6. 6 Will Rhodes
    April 11, 2008 at 21:46

    The refugee situation and international law has specific notations as to whom can be accepted as a refugee and where the claim for refugee status is implemented all under the Geneva convention.

    The USA, as far as the history that I have read, has never had a really good reputation for accepting refugees. But on that point I am willing to be corrected.

  7. April 11, 2008 at 22:29

    Hi to all of you my Precious friends. Has anyone of your heard of an American (humanitarian:) organisation named “Operation Baghdad Pups” ?! Two months ago I heard a story on the World Today programme on the BBC World Service. That story was about “Charlie”, a young Baghdadi puppy who was “rescued” from Baghdad and moved to the US by an American (humanitarian:) organisation named “Operation Baghdad Pups”!! As so many of you surely know, the total number of Iraqi refugees who had to flee Iraq and travel abroad because of either security concerns or sectarian threats ranges from 1.5-2 millions. The plight of Iraqi refugees is undeniable, and they’re suffering a great deal and going through horrific humanitarian conditions on daily bases. All neighbouring countries have just got fed up with them, and they’re being humiliated daily on the borders of Syria and Jordan and other neighbouring countries. Coalition countries are putting very strict conditions on the immigration of Iraqi refugees. And as an Iraqi I do find the attitude of the American and British governments towards Iraqi refugees pretty condemnable and very disappointing. The Coalition countries do have a moral responsiblity of receiving large numbers of Iraqi refugees because simply the coalition forces are partly responsible for creating this horrific mess in my Iraq. So it looks like “Charlie” is pretty much luckier than many Iraqi “human” refugees who are battling to draw the world’s attention to their fair cause, but……. With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  8. 8 George USA
    April 11, 2008 at 23:05

    Brett & Lubna-

    “U.S. leaders calculated that the country’s national interests trumped its moral responsibilities”

    Both the Jewish population in pre-WWII and Viet Nam refugees posed zero threat to the USA, yet our nation rejected both.

    There is no way any significant Muslim population is “Coming to America” today if the officials who deal with national security can help it.
    …………………………………

    If you think the national interests of the past were rough on refugees, today’s world is rougher still:

    1, Muslim riots in the EU and other nations make Muslim populations a direct threat to the national security.
    Argue all you want, there is no escaping the effect that alone has on US leaders views of national interest.

    2. The cartoon riots around the world did a great deal to chill US officials on immigration of Muslims.

    3. The Call to Caliphate – rule by Muslim law- is central to national security threat analysis.

    “One of al-Qaeda’s clearly stated goals is the re-establishment of a caliphate. Bin Laden has called for Muslims to “establish the righteous caliphate of our umma.” Al Qaeda recently named its Internet newscast from Iraq “The Voice of the Caliphate.”

    In Pakistan the Tanzeem-e-Islami, an Islamist organization founded by Dr. Israr Ahmed, calls for a Caliphate.

    The Muslim Brotherhood advocates pan-Islamic unity and implementing Islamic law, it is the largest and most influential Islamic group in the world, and its offshoots form the largest opposition parties in most Arab governments. Founder Hasan al-Banna wrote about the restoration of the Caliphate, but officially sanctioned Islamic institutions in the Muslim world generally do not consider the Caliphate a top priority and have instead focused on other issues. Islamists argue it is because they are tied to the current Muslim regimes.”
    ……….
    …………

    911 was in fact an extension of Caliphate doctrine.

    Emotional appeals are very much like non chess players in a first time chess game.
    The emotional reactions are to the last move, never considering moves ahead to see what can happen if different moves are made.

    The people who practice national security do think moves ahead, do game out the outcomes.

    Muslim immigrants from any part of the world today are a threat and that threat has nothing to do with them personally, individually, professionally, or due to their family members.

    If there is any time or people in history who were threats to this level by nature of doctrine I cannot think of it.
    The politicians may say one thing, but behind the politicians there is a whole world you do not see, and that world says Muslim immigrants are a threat, and need to be treated as threat rather than refugees.

    Those are the cards baby sister.
    Say all you will that is the hand on the table.
    Muslims declared and dealt it.

  9. 9 Enas
    April 11, 2008 at 23:22

    Hi all,
    Good catch Lubna, even myself as an iraqi didn’t know this tip though i poke my nose into every little thing of such a kind issue… Please allow me here to say one thing”How hypocritical!!”… regards & respects to all. urs

  10. 10 Xie_Ming
    April 11, 2008 at 23:52

    Lubna:

    It seems that there are two choices for an Iranian:

    (1) Go into exile, or
    (2) Go into Iranian politics

    Please comment on the choices.

  11. 11 Xie_Ming
    April 12, 2008 at 01:52

    Correct “Iranian” to Iraqui!

  12. 12 stevencoran
    April 12, 2008 at 02:57

    I would think there’s a third option, work towards national reconciliation, which doesn’t necessarily mean getting involved with politics.

  13. 13 Count Iblis
    April 12, 2008 at 03:34

    Brett:

    So aside from the intentions of the War in Iraq and whether or not it has gone to plan or was a good idea, what should be done about the current humanitarian crisis at hand?

    The misguided plans are actually the key thing here. One could argue that Iraq was invaded because of an unfounded fear. A few months into the war the US and Britain found themselves fighting an insurgency. And like in case of the WMD issue, they again saw a problem that wasn’t really there. I.e. the fact that you get an opposition to an occupying force and some terrorism.

    But somehow the US thinks that you can have 150,000 soldiers in Iraq, a democratic government and no violence. This is simply an impossible combination.

    Any plan that takes into account the reality of how people actually behave will bring an improvement. Perhaps the best way forward would be to suspend the constitution, parliament and all other institutions.

    The US military should then make agreements with the people who hold actual power, i.e. the militias. This will bring down the violence in Iraq much faster because you are dealing with the people who are the direct cause of the violence.

    The US can then leave Iraq. Only then should the Iraqis start to organize themselves and make laws, write a new constitution, elect a parliament president etc. It is then not possible to create a system in which small minorities will be motivated to use violence. Therefore the only outcome can be one of almost unanimous consensus.

    People will be able to agree to disagree and not resort to violence. There will always be some people who will want to use violence. The key thing is the willingness of the vast majority of the people to report even their best friend to the police if he wants to use violence. This attitude of the population is what makes most Western countries safe.

    So, this is the situation Iraq needs to evolve to. This is exactly the opposite of the curent strategy of “defeating insurgents/terrorists” using force, training more and more Iraqi army and police forces. That can never work.

  14. 14 savane
    April 12, 2008 at 04:14

    Hi all

    Wow! Let me see if I’ve understood this correctly:

    The US-led invasion didn’t start because of SH’s massive cache of WMDs and the threat of terrorism led by fanatical Muslims post 9/11? Nor was it to liberate my sister Lubna and other Iraqi citizens from SH’s tyrannical rule and lay down the foundation for a liberated democratic Iraq? And as a result of the war, the number of Iraqi human refugees allowed for asylum-consideration and humane treatment are heavily vetted and subjected to a quota system? I’ve read numerous reports of the abandonment of Iraqis who worked with the Allied Forces whose promise for asylum (for them and their families) was reneged, and now stand alone to be terrorised and killed for the role they played. And their ‘liberators’ have a quota system?

    And all of this time, the war was really about the liberation of dogs? Owned by Iraqi Muslim human beings who’ve lost everything and are being treated like trash?

    It was for the dogs?

    Seriously?!!

    Now that’s an ‘endorsement’ for the positive value that a war/invasion can add to a country!

    Lubna, I know my country Kenya’s not perfect, but my door is open! Unconditionally!

    Savane

  15. 15 Xie_Ming
    April 12, 2008 at 04:59

    Having destroyed the Sunni rule and fostered the Sh’ia, the USA is currently bribing and arming Sunni tribal chiefs, while letting the Kurds have their own (de facto) republic.

    Clearly, there will be conflict over the ownership of oil.

    The question for Lubna: how best can Iraquis put their country back in order? Is the presence of the American occupying forces really necessary?

    Can political action be taken toward unity now?

    Or, must civil war settle things?

    Do the more civilized folk have to flee as exiles?

    Is the split-up into three different regions inevitable?

  16. April 12, 2008 at 12:54

    Hi to all of you my Precious friends. Thanks a million for all your comments, and I’m so sorry for the late reply. My Precious Goerge : There’s a very big difference between EMOTIONS and MORALITIES. I said it before, and I say it now : Since the coalition countries are partly responsible for creating this horrific mess in my Iraq, then the coalition countries do have a moral responsiblity of receiving large numbers of Iraqi refugees and asylum seekers. It’s as simple as that. Iraqi refugees and asylum seekers are fleeing their Iraq and running away from the same people who are threatening the security and the safety of the US and Europe. Let’s be clear about that too. Hi Xie-Ming. The immigration of Iraqi refugees to the outside of Iraq isn’t a part of the solution to our problem, in fact it’s a part of the problem itself, or maybe a complication of the problem. And as for Iran, all our neighbours(Iran, Turkey, Jordan, Syria, and Saudi Arabia) are all playing a negative and inflammatory role in my Iraq, and all of them are inflaming sectarian tensions and encouraging security instability. More later. With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  17. 17 Xie_Ming
    April 12, 2008 at 13:30

    “Iraqi refugees and asylum seekers are fleeing their Iraq and running away from the same people who are threatening the security and the safety of the US and Europe. Let’s be clear about that too. The immigration of Iraqi refugees to the outside of Iraq isn’t a part of the solution to our problem, in fact it’s a part of the problem itself, or maybe a complication of the problem”- Lubna

    This says that religious fanatics are the force driving the refugees out and that the departure of refugees reduces the moderating influence in Iraq.

    My question: What can Iraquis do about it, except to flee?

  18. April 12, 2008 at 13:52

    The bagdad pups site is not currently the only case study of international support to rally round to get animals or pets of platoons out of Iraq.

    Crufts (international dog show based in the UK) every year gives away an award to a dog and human partnership who have defied all the odds. This year one of the runners up was 2 dogs who joined a royal marine unit and were eventually brought back to the UK thanks to public donations.

    Animals tend to cross the political devide and as a result there are circumstances where they are more welcome than refugees.

    In a sugguestion for a new topic on a slightly more light hearted vein?
    My flat mates and I come from all very different parts of the UK but we all tend to agree (except the vegetarian) that a Sunday Roast Dinner is the best meal we can make.

    There is a program on BBC 2 at the moment which talks about British cooking and the contestants keep on saying how british food is really a mixture of influences from the continent.

    So my questions are – what is your favourite food ( that you can cook)?
    and how does it represent your culture/ nation?

    I think a roast dinner is so popular in the UK because as well as being a BIG meal it is also an opportunity for people to sit down together and enjoy food.

    love h xx

  19. April 12, 2008 at 14:07

    Hi again to all of you my Precious friends. Back to answering your questions Xie-Ming. Iran is a significan part of the problem, but surely isn’t the whole problem. And it’s unfair that we focus on Iran alone and turn a blind eye to the inflammatory and unrest-provoking role played by other good neighbours of ours and especially by Saudi Arabia (the homeland of the Wahabi ideology). There’s another story that I’d love to discuss with all of you guys. A few days ago the US state department has renewed the contract of the private security American company ‘Black Water’ to operate in Iraq for another year without taking a permission from the Iraqi government (as Iraqi officials have pointed out). As so many of you have heard, last October 17 innocent Baghdadi civilians (including my colleague Ahmed and his mum Dr Mahasin) were shot dead by ‘Black Water’ employees in Al Nisoor square in Baghdad. An inquiry carried out by the US state department indicated that ‘Black Water’ employees were only responding to an attack by gunmen. But an inquiry carried out by the Iraqi government indicated that ‘Black Water’ employees were not under attack when they started to shoot randomly on innocent Baghdadi civilians. The inquiry carried out by the Iraqi government relied on the testimonies of Baghdadi eye-witnesses who were there at the scene when the shooting took place. So in the end of the day those involved in the shooting incident were left unquestioned by neither the Iraqi nor the American law. Right now there’re strong calls in Iraq on both the official and the popular levels that all private security companies must operate in Iraq under that Iraqi law. With my love. Yours forever, Lubna. PS, Savane my love, THANK YOU.

  20. 20 George USA
    April 12, 2008 at 14:11

    Lubna-

    National Interest is what is best for the nation.

    Protecting the nation is the moral imperative.

  21. April 12, 2008 at 14:31

    Hannah
    So my questions are – what is your favourite food ( that you can cook)?
    and how does it represent your culture/ nation?

    I love asian stir-fry, also international soups. Being that I am a vegetarian, that leaves almost ever ‘American” dish out of the question haha. But seeing as how the US is an ever-growing melting pot of cultures, maybe it represents my nation quite well 🙂

    Regards,
    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  22. April 12, 2008 at 14:49

    We have all discussed rising food costs as a result of crop supply and fuel costs, GM crops, and everyones feelings on them, but after reading this article / blog yesterday in the New York Times, it got me wondering how the world will react and what benefit GM engineered meat will bring… And not just GM engineered meat, but In Vitro meat production.

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/04/11/can-people-have-meat-and-a-planet-too/index.html?ref=science

    In a world with finite land and resources, is this the future for being able to mass produce and feed the world meat?

    Yesterday marked the first In Vitro Meat Symposium. How do the WHYSers feel about their chicken nuggets being grown in petri dishes? With ever increasing environmental concerns and resource concerns on the meat industry and its perceived inability to adequately feed the increasingly affluent world population with a diet higher in meat products, is this the silver bullet to help minimize environmental impacts from meat production and at the same time produce enough meat for everyone, and even stop animal rights activists concerns on animal cruelty?

    Feel free to read the above link, let me know your thoughts. The article jumped out at me since we had just been talking about rising food prices and rising population, and the conversation seemed to primarily focus around crops and plants.

    Regards,
    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  23. 23 Xie_Ming
    April 12, 2008 at 15:16

    Lubna:

    Perhaps we can hear from more Iraquis?

    Bush is bad, Blackwater is bad, outside covert-ops are bad, etc., etc.,

    The basic question is remains:

    What shoud IRAQUIS DO about it?

    Get your friends to contribute their suggestions here!

  24. April 12, 2008 at 15:23

    @brett

    Call me old fashioned but I really don’t like the idea of my meat being grown in a petri dish any more than I like the idea of my carrots being GM modified to go purple.

    If everyone in the world turned vegetarian there would be no point for commercial animal production. For me if an animal has been raised well, (i am not a great fan of battery farming methods) then their is no harm in eating it. In commercial farming if something doesn’t make a profit or have a purpose their is no point to it.

    I come from a rural community, and my next door neighbours are sheep farmers. One meat eating friend of mine refused to eat the lamb roast my mum was preparing because she could see the lambs in the next field over. I don’t think we should let ourselves live in denial about where meat comes from, but I do think we should care about the quality of the final product, which only comes as a result of the quality of life the animal has had.

    Louis Theroux has recently done a documentary about big game hunting in South Africa where farmers raise wild game for hunters to shoot as part of their holiday. As a result of this practice wild animals and rare species have been brought back from extinction. Its not a great thing to say but in the modern world if something doesn’t make a profit then over a period of time it will die out.

    xx keep it up guys 🙂

  25. 25 George USA
    April 12, 2008 at 15:28

    Lubna-

    You keep bringing this topic up but never answer my response to it.
    I refer you back to my previous responses to it.
    ,,,,,

    “But an inquiry carried out by the Iraqi government indicated that….”

    There is a very strong motivation by officials skimming millions, perhaps billions, in the Iraqi government
    to undermine US State Department oversight to their activities. The State Department Security protects
    State Department officials movement in that oversight activity.

    The current Iraqi government use of death squads, police participation with insurgents, and a vast number of other less than reliable activities and statements make any inquiry that may be motivated by money questionable at best.

    Your friends driving at a security convoy that was under attack had automatic and tragic results.

    Embracing the protection of corrupt Iraqi officials using your friends deaths is also tragic.
    You lay the blame on the State Department Security Force that was under attack, discounting the events that led up to the attack.
    You even deny there was an attack based on an inquiry carried out by the same officials who stand to benefit by restricting State Department officials movement.

    This is tragic because you are rewarding the people who staged the attack that lead to your friends deaths.

    Every time the lights go off, you have no water, and every other thing that has not been fixed in five years, ask yourself- Did I protect the people who stole the money to fix this? Is this the reason my friends died?

    If you ask those questions, eventually you will start to look for facts.

  26. April 12, 2008 at 15:51

    Hi Xie-Ming. Before answering your question let me be clear about 2 points here : 1-Iraq must remain united 2-The American and British occupation forces must stay in my country until they clean up the mess they’re partly responsible for creating there. If we wanna deal with a particular problem, maybe we should start by identifying the real cause of the problem. The whole political and electoral system in Iraq is massively corrupt, and needs urgent radical reforms on all levels in order to be brought back to the right pathway. In Iraq we do have the worst type of democracy i.e. SECTARIAN DEMOCRACY, where Iraqi Muslim Shiites usually vote for Shiite politicians, Iraqi Muslim Sunnis usually vote for Sunni politicians, and Iraqi Kurds usually vote for Kurdish politicians. All that must be irradicated. New IRAQI political parties must be established within which all the components of the Iraqi mosaic must be included. So in brief, the ultimate solution for the Iraqi crisis : Tackling massive corruption on all state levels plus irradicating sectarian democracy. Hope that answers your question Xie-Ming. With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  27. April 12, 2008 at 15:57

    Brett,

    If your a vegetarian you are living in the wrong place. Come to Seattle where there are all sorts of vegetarian places to eat.

  28. April 12, 2008 at 16:04

    Lubna,

    The US should do more for Iraqi refugees. As far as the middle east goes I think two major things have to happen in order for peace to gain a foothold: 1) Major muslim clerics have to reject violence in any form ( as well as all major religions) and 2) All the middle eastern arab states have to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Without this there where always be angst in the region.

    For its part Israel has to clean up its own human rights violations and work harder at being a better neighbor.

    Thanks

    Eric -Seattle

  29. 29 stevencoran
    April 12, 2008 at 16:07

    Hey Brett: I saw the question mark guy walking down Wilson Blvd in Arlington last night. He really dresses that way. How sick.

  30. April 12, 2008 at 16:34

    Good point Lubna , and with a sincere taught
    and all those conspiracy theories , and as a Muslim i begin to believe that for some persons in charge the only reason to go to irak is to bring a civil war there ( a real mess which will last for decades ) that’s why for me Mister bush may be satisfied considering the job is done , so as Lubna said , we demand that the coalition stay there to clean up the mess , and if its wisely done (asking for Arabs countries to help the coalition since the us got little problems with funds, im pretty sure that in that case, the Arab mass people would believe and even help their government in actions truly believed, for the liberation of Iraq ) this could be the beginning of sweet cooperation between the occidental and the Muslim and Arab worlds
    Deep respect to both of you Brett and Lubna

  31. 31 Xie_Ming
    April 12, 2008 at 16:48

    The MIT Opencourse ware offers some 300 entries concerning the reconstruction of Iraq, the History of Iraq, etc.

    http://search.mit.edu/search?__EVENTTARGET=&__EVENTARGUMENT=&site=ocw&client=mit&getfields=*&output=xml_no_dtd&proxystylesheet=http%3A%2F%2Focw.mit.edu%2FOcwWeb%2Fsearch%2Fgoogle-ocw.xsl&proxyreload=1&as_dt=i&oe=utf-8&departmentName=web&courseName=&q=Iraq&btnG.x=2&btnG.y=8

    These courses are free for downloading by anyone, anywhere- I should think that students in Iraq would want to grab them quickly!!

    Let me know if you have difficulties. If so, I will post individual URLs.

  32. April 12, 2008 at 16:56

    Hi Precious Goerge. Thanks so much for your comment. Well, nobody’s hands are clean right ?! As I said it before in my reply to Xie-Ming’s question : All Iraqis are aware that there’s a massive and endemic corruption on every state level in Iraq. Our politicians and state officials have let us down. They have put the interests of ordinary Iraqis at the bottom of their priorities list. But the US government and the US occupation forces have let us down too, and were not honest with us neither. I’m so sorry to say that the credibility of both the Iraqi and the American governments among ordinary Iraqis has been severely damaged. So I’ll say it to you simply : I don’t believe neither my government nor your government ! I demand an independent inquiry by a 3rd, neutral, and a trust-worthy party. And I’ll be satisfied with the outcome of that inquiry, no matter that outcome will be. With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  33. 33 ZK
    April 12, 2008 at 17:20

    Lubna and Brett, congrats on having the privilege of being our Blank Page hosts!

    I haven’t read through all of the above (scanned through it briefly) but I’d like to suggest a discussion:

    Following Thabo Mbeki’s comments today about Zimbabwe, perhaps international pressure should be switched to Mugabe’s allies like Mbeki? If international pressure is piled on Mbeki surely he will in turn have to pressure Mugabe?

  34. 34 Xie_Ming
    April 12, 2008 at 17:27

    For Iraquis, there is an MIT mirror site in Baghdad:

    Baghdad University Mangala Sunder mangal @ iitm.ac.in.

    that should make downloading of any of those free course materials easier. There are mirror sites in Iran and elsewhere, also.

    ________________________________-

    Let me repeat a question: what can university students do, now, to advance Lubna’s idea of:

    (1) forming non-religious political parties in Iraq?

    (2) reducing corruption?

  35. April 12, 2008 at 17:50

    Reading this coversation I’m tempted to give Ros the day off on Monday and get Brett and Lubna to present with maybe Hannah reading the texts and e mails..
    It’s only a matter of time.

  36. April 12, 2008 at 17:58

    ZK
    Following Thabo Mbeki’s comments today about Zimbabwe, perhaps international pressure should be switched to Mugabe’s allies like Mbeki? If international pressure is piled on Mbeki surely he will in turn have to pressure Mugabe?

    ZK, thanks alot! and great idea for a discussion.What sort of form should international pressure on Mugabe’s allies take the form of though? Most international pressure in the form of actual actions seem to take the form of sanctions or restrictions or revocation of international aid. If this would happen I could see it hurting only the people of the nations involved. What sort of pressures would you suggest? What sort of ideas do all the other WHYSers out there have on pressures being redirected to allies of Mugabe?
    It certainly seems like that is a route that should be taken in concert with continuing pressure on Mugabe.

    Thanks for the participation guys and gals!

    Regards,
    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  37. 37 Xie_Ming
    April 12, 2008 at 18:05

    Lubna has advanced the idea of some international entity supervising the reconstruction and reunification of Iraq.

    As she wisely notes, the Anglo record (dating from 1916 to today) indicates that they are untrustworthy for this function.

    Rahouti yacir says that Muslim people would be glad to aid the repair of Iraq.

    Would any university people be willing to approach the Norwegian Foreign Ministry or a personality like Hans Blix to discuss the undertaking of such supervision of the reconstruction?

  38. 38 Katharina in Ghent
    April 12, 2008 at 19:31

    Hi girls and guys,

    I have no clue about what to do in Iraq, but I do have a favorite dish – or rather several! I have a multicultural family (I’m Austrian, my husband is Canadian and we live with our son in Belgium) and our favorite dishes reflect pretty much all three countries, and a few more because we also like Asian food. I think there are some dishes that have become so generalized like pasta and fries, that no one even knows any more where they come from (fries were invented in Belgium, by the way, bet you didn’t know that), but some things remain very local, eg “Schweinsbraten” (pork roast Austrian style) or French toast with bacon, which I only learned to cook when we lived in Canada.

    As far as the food crisis is concerned, if only we started to eat less meat (my family included), then much less produce would be needed because the animals that we want to eat need to be fed big time first… and receive lots of antibiotics and growth hormones because otherwise it’s not profitable. I don’t think that we will be eating petridish-chicken any time soon, the last reports that I’ve read told of a “tasteless, chewy jelly-like mass” with no resemblance to steak. And then again… did you know that half the population of Australia is overweight or obese? How many starving children could be fed there?

    Food for thought…

  39. 39 steve
    April 12, 2008 at 20:40

    God I miss Belgium Katharina. I spent 3 weeks in Waremme (near Liege) when I was 16. I had the pomme frites and tried all of these amazing beers. I’d be so fat if I lived in Belgium. I think with Australia, they simply have so many fast food restaurants. I was shocked how many there are there.

  40. 40 selena
    April 12, 2008 at 20:43

    Hi everyone and thanks to Lubna and Brett.

    I will respond to the food question. Would you believe I don’t have a favorite food? I have never really liked food and, as a consequence, my body is quite good at telling me what it needs, at any given time.

    You might laugh at this but when I was pregnant with my first child, I ate apple seeds. I used to buy dozens of apples and cut them open for the seeds. I have never head of anyone else who ever did that. Perhaps someone else has?

    That was a strange pregnancy thing but, throughout my life, my body has been telling me to eat different things at different times.

    With the pace of life and the desire to eat as quickly as possible, I fear not many of us take time to listen to our bodies.

    Another point, when I am eating it hurts me to think of others who have no food. I never forget how *lucky* I am. There but for the grace of *whatever* go I.

    I understand rescuing the animals. I respect all life and wouldn’t harm an insect. But to rescue animals before assuring children are fed seems a bit outside the pale.

  41. 41 Amy
    April 12, 2008 at 20:50

    Hello everyone. I agree with Lubna that an independent 3rd party might be the start of a solution. As an American, I really find it hard to trust anything that the current administration says. When it comes to Blackwater, I am more likely to believe the findings of the Iraqi inquiry than the US State Department. The employees of so many “independent” contractors are working with full immunity and no over sight. They can do whatever they want without facing any consequences. There are no easy or quick solutions but I hope that forums such as this can maybe begin to lay a foundation for the future. Lubna, as you know, our house here in Beaverton, Oregon is always open for you. All the best, Amy

  42. 42 George USA
    April 12, 2008 at 21:03

    And I’ll be satisfied with the outcome of that inquiry, no matter that outcome will be. With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

    …………..

    Will you Lubna?

    You have a great deal of emotional commitment to this.
    You have repeatedly called Blackwater guards muderers, they murdered your friends.
    You call them murderers on WHYS regularly.

    I honestly do not believe for you it has anything to do with how that firefight started or who started it or why.

    As long as the wife and mother is not responsible for her son’s death and her own death.
    Any outcome that supports that is acceptable, nothing less.

    She did panic and keep driving, it did get them killed, and calling the security column men murderers is not going to bring them back.

    She made a mistake in a combat situation Lubna, it cost her her life and her son’s life.
    She was not trained to react in combat.
    Even people who are trained to react in combat can panic and make the same mistake.

    Blaming the security column men does not help the father heal, you heal or anyone heal.
    You just make yourselves prisoners to it.
    She was in the wrong place at the wrong time and made a tragic mistake.

  43. 43 Thérèse in Germany
    April 12, 2008 at 21:26

    Lubna,

    I was interested in your comment that Iraq must remain united – why?? The borders are lines on a map, drawn by colonial powers, without regard to self-identification. Should these lines be more important than the wishes of the people?

    It reminds me of the plight of the Tibetans. It’s easy to say that Tibet is a historical part of China, untrue but easy to say. When Sadaam Husein said the same thing about Kuwait, Western powers went to war to “free” Kuwait but utter platitudes regarding Tibet while the culture is strangled. If Iraq must remain united, surely Tibet must be allowed to be Tibetan.

    Thérèse in Germany

  44. 44 Xie_Ming
    April 12, 2008 at 21:36

    Lubna:

    Furthering your ideas:

    The “University Committee for Iraq Reconstruction” could include faculty advisors from Political Science (2), Religion (3) and be composed of students committed to doing something for a unified, non-sectarian and corruption-free government.

    Once officially organized and documented, approaches could be made to the Norwegian Ministry of External Affairs, Hans Blix, local religious leaders and potential Muslim sources of funding.

    Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

  45. April 12, 2008 at 21:57

    @ Xie Ming
    Let me repeat a question: what can university students do, now, to advance Lubna’s idea of:

    (1) forming non-religious political parties in Iraq?

    (2) reducing corruption?

    I think that Iraqi students should engage in an international debate in a style of WHYS to develop understanding about other ideas of government. If the system is corrupt then it might be helpful to look at other nations for ideas which might be useful in developing a new system.

    to reduce secretarian democracy there needs to be discussion between all the different groups about what is best for iraqi. This should happen in parliament but it would be of general benefit to engage in this sort of cross divide discussion on a local level.

    @ Mark
    I am sure Lubna and Brett would agree with me in that if u gave us the opportunity to take over WHYS for a day then we would all gladly accept! Yet it might have a temporary negative affect on my dissertation.

    @selena
    My mum had a huge craving for grapes when she was pregnant with me…. that might explain why i like red wine…. does your first born have a passion for apple crumble?

    As to pileing pressure on Mugabes allies i dont think it would necessarily change the current situation. I think the president of South Africa is involved with Mugabe, and he must have some key interest with him which necessitates him staying in power. Unfortunatly i cannot see the Zim situation ending peacefully any more. The conference will have no dramatic affect since mugabe is not attending… i seriously doubt his neighbours will invade Zim which might be the only way of removing him from power.

    PS i didn’t know french fries or chips as they are called in the uk came from belgium, and i also didn’t know that OZ had lots of fast food restaurants. I had always thought it was the land of BBQs
    xx

  46. 46 Laura in Minneapolis
    April 12, 2008 at 22:35

    Thanks Lubna and Brett for some wonderful commentary and ideas, and the WHYS team for allowing this kind of open conversation to take place.

    Lubna- You live with the violence in Iraq everyday. I have the luxury of being concerned about the situation, but completely removed from it. The violence, fear, and uncertainly is apart of your daily life. I, like so many americans and citizens all over the world, can go about my (very busy) daily life and put my concerns for Iraq on the back burner. I have the privilege of prioritizing chemistry exams and paying for rent over my thoughts on the war.

    I guess my point is, Lubna, you and your friends must be applauded. You deserve a standing ovation for the constant struggle you face, while still keeping a positive attitude. I’m sure your response would be something like, “we’re used to it,” and that too deserves badges of bravery.

    My questions are these: What can I, only a 20-year-old college student working three jobs to pay for school, do for the Iraqi citizens who may not even be able to go to school or work for fear of their unstable environment? What can we do to help?

    What are the immediate needs of these refugees? Are there particular supplies that could be sent? What can we do to help?

  47. 47 Xie_Ming
    April 13, 2008 at 05:30

    Hanna & Lubna:

    It would be interesting to hear from others in Iraq, because Lubna”s ideas of unity and non-sectarian political parties may not be widely shared.

    Assuming the objectives of eliminating (reducing) corruption, I assume that publicity would be effective (but it might be dangerous).

    Islamic ideas of justice and charity could be effective against corruption, but imply publicity within a sectarian milieu.

    To gain support for a non-sectarian political party might (paradoxically) require the support of liberal sectarian clerical leaders.

    Any university clerics serving as advisors would need to willing to work with other sects- and that would probably be very hard to find.

    To have a non-sectarian political party without clerical support would be viable, but how much support would it have?

    One way to find out is to organize the “The “University Committee for Iraq Reconstruction” and ask for students who:

    (1) support the unity of Iraq
    (2) support non-sectarian political parties
    (3) who are willing to expose corruption

    Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

  48. April 13, 2008 at 07:57

    Hi to all of you my Precious friends. Wow Xie-Ming, thanks a million for your enthusiasm and sincerity. I as an Iraqi am so grateful for you. I do have some points to clarify to you : I don’t wanna Iraq to turn into another Turkey. Secularising Iraq will not solve our problems, it’ll only make them worse. If Iraqi Islamists wanted to found an Islamic political party then that’s absolutely fine with me, ON ONE CONDITION : Shiite Islamists and Sunni Islamists would be intermingled in that party together, with one unified Islamic agenda that concentrates on the principles that unifies Muslim Shiites and Muslim Sunnis together instead of concentrating on the principles that separate them from each other (How realistic !!! :). Those Islamic ‘unifying’ principles are there Xie-Ming, pretty obvious and do not need further explanation, but unfortunately totally ignored by everyone. The conflict in Iraq is too far away from being religious. It’s a political conflict on who will gain the real power, and religion is only being used as an excuse to justify one party or another’s horrific crimes against themselves and against Iraq as a whole. Xie Ming, keep this in your mind : At Saddam’s times, Iraqis were unable to express themselves at all. In today’s Iraq, Iraqis are able to express themselves and do have a voice. BUT, is it heard ?! Does it count ?! Does it have an influence ?! Is there anyone who’s actually listening to us and caring about what we as ordinary Iraqis think ?! Unfortunately the answer to all those questions is apparantly NO ! My two lovely young ladies Laura and Hannah : Thanks a million to both of you. Please don’t let our cause die. You raise the awareness about the ordeal of ordinary Iraqis both inside and outside Iraq among the people both of you know. The whole world must know about what we’re going through. And to Precious Goerge I say : Yes I will. Try me ! With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  49. 49 John in Germany
    April 13, 2008 at 09:00

    Hi All.
    Interesting reading, and instructive. Keep it up.
    One thing i cannot get out of my mind. One of the problems in Iraq are the worries of the different religious groups as to whom has the most say, and the controll over the oil. Preparedness to use violence is prevalent to state their case.? Please correct me if i’m wrong.

    Greetings to all
    Johm in Germany

  50. 50 Xie_Ming
    April 13, 2008 at 14:50

    John:

    Reality and the weight of historical experience can be overcome by the force of an idea whose time has come!
    __________________________________________

    Lubna:

    If South Africa could have had the “Rainbow Coalition”, why, certainly Iraq can have the SUNSHINE Party!!

    To leave out non-Muslims is a political decision- perhaps it would be better to refer to it as the “Sunshine Ecumenical Party”.

    To follow such a course will require the support of some leading Islamic clerics- do you think you can find them?

    Getting Shi’ia-Sunni cooperation is undoubtedly the critical factor. Technocrats are also important- do you know of anyone who is downloading the MIT Open courseware?

    Again, if we do not hear from others in Iraq, we may discover that the “University Committee for Iraq Reconstruction” is a one-girl band. Do get your friends to post some ideas here today!

    Then, their collective ideas can form the Statement of Principles of the Committee.

  51. 51 Will Rhodes
    April 13, 2008 at 15:32

    Xie_Ming – where your suggestion would work in a country that has come to a partial or residing peace in Iraq it won’t.

    At present you have the situation where one or the other party’s are wanting overall control, Sadr has said that the US will always be an enemy of his and Iraq’s.

    Which university students are going to put themselves in the way of a volley of bullets to reconstruct at this time?

    Iraq has separated herself into distinct areas over the last months – which in turn leads to further division. Everyone of us who does have a genuine belief that Iraq can come back from the abyss of civil war wants the whole of the combatants to come together and, with dialogue, bring about a peace where the students can begin reconstruction.

    The US and the UK are not going to stay in Iraq – that isn’t an option. Even if McCain gets into power the US forces will be brought home – it may be a longer process, but they are going back to the US and UK.

    Iraq has to start making decisions for the near future and not relying on the US – as is seen on CNN, that news outlet raised the matter of reconstruction costs and an Iraqi budget surplus. The propaganda machine is going to work in the US so Iraq has to say thank you and good bye to the US and UK troops.

  52. 52 selena
    April 13, 2008 at 16:43

    Hey Hannah, must ask the son if he especially likes apple crumble… 🙂

    I think about Iraq every day and wonder what I can do. So, Lubna, is there anything concrete that we can do to help the situation, which is unfolding in your country?

    You know the political machine is making plans to leave Iraq in the near future, no matter who wins the US election. If one listens to what they are saying, there is no doubt about that. The positive spin that Iraq is ready to look after itself is already in the birth throes.

    However, if one digs deeper, one can image that things are not good and you would have a better idea of that. We can only listen and read and form opinions, which more often than not bear no resemblance to reality.

    Can we organize something? Do you have any ideas how we, at this level, can mobilize change?

    There are resources on this list that are waiting to be used in a positive manner, it seems.

    So, how about it everyone, can we do something more than talk?

  53. 53 Xie_Ming
    April 13, 2008 at 16:48

    Will:

    I am well aware of reality, danger, history and probability.

    The discussion began with Lubna’s ideas about how Iraq could set its house in order.

    We have been talking about how to put those ideas into effect.

    Do you remember the line from “South Pacific”:

    “You gotta have a dream, else how you ever gonna have that dream come true”?

    University students need an action plan. Sitting and whining or running into exile do not move toward an ideal.

  54. April 13, 2008 at 17:13

    Hi again Precious Xie-Ming. And once again thanks a million for your message. Iraq should be for all Iraqis, no matter their religious or ethnic backgrounds are. In my “dream Iraq” Islamic as well as non Islamic political parties do have the right to operate freely and openly. But merely Shiite political parties ?! Merely Sunni political parties ?! NOOOOO! Zainab, Rania, and Julie, I invite the three of you ladies to participate in this fascinating discussion. May be we can make a further step forward by asking the opinion of the Supreme religious Muslim Shiite leader in the world Sayed Ali Al Sistani (based in the Iraqi holy City of Najaf), who once said to his followers : Muslim Sunnis are yourselves ! And no, I don’t know personally any Iraqi who’s downloading MIT open courseware. THANKS A MILLION to all of you my Precious friends for such a supermarvellous debate ! With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  55. 55 Will Rhodes
    April 13, 2008 at 17:56

    “You gotta have a dream, else how you ever gonna have that dream come true”?

    The first dream should be not worrying about having your head blown off, no?

  56. April 13, 2008 at 18:29

    Hi Precious Selena. Thanks a million for your comment. Well, the 1st thing that you, Laura, Hannah, and all of you guys should do is to never let our cause die. You guys must continue to raise the awareness about the ordeal of ordinary Iraqis inside and outside Iraq. The whole world must know of what we’re going through. And also you guys living inside the coalition countries must press on your governments so that they’d receive large numbers of Iraqi refugees temporarily until peace and stability return back to Iraq again. There’re also so many Iraqi humanitarian and medical organisations looking desparately for financial funding and providing opportunities for Iraqi patients (especially children) with critical medical conditions to travel to either the US or Europe and get the necessary medical treatment there, like the Iraqi Red Crescent organisation for e.g. I’ll try to provide you guys with a number of websites and email addresses at some time soon Inshallah. With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  57. 57 Xie_Ming
    April 13, 2008 at 19:06

    It’s 7:00 PM in Baghdad now, and still no input from other Iraquis!!

    Who will compose a set of objectives for the Committee and the approach to hh al-Sistani?

    Where are the Sunni who will join in and approach their leadership?

    Where are the males?

    Who is attending technical courses and wants to prepare plans and schedules?

    Lubna: you are doing a formidable job, but you must have others working with you!

  58. 58 Laura in Minneapolis
    April 13, 2008 at 19:33

    Selena

    I know where you’re coming from. You don’t want to sign another online petition. You want to do more, whatever little it is, besides the very important task of raising awareness. I’ve been thinking about it a lot in the last 24 hours, and here’s what i’ve come up with.

    The International Rescue Committee is a good place to start. They are one of the best in charity work, and 90% of donations go directly to help (6% to administration, 4% to fundraising). Here’s a link to their page to donate to Iraqi families: https://secure.ga3.org/03/iraq_restricted.

    Refugees International is another good place if you’re looking to donate. Here is the link. https://app.etapestry.com/hosted/RefugeesInternational/OnlineGiving.html Make sure to write “IRAQI REFUGEES,” in the comments section.

    Also, here is a GREAT website for the ladies: Women to Women. You can donate once or sponsor a woman refugee in the country of your choice- Iraq is an option there. http://www.womenforwomen.org/searchlp3/?gclid=CLqh4pfW2JICFQIgPAodDQJNlg

    If we all donated even just $10 or 10 GBP, it would add up.
    Other Ideas to get more Donations:
    -ask your church or religious venue to give one sunday’s offertory to one of these organizations
    -Talk about what you’ve learned here with people at the office and start a fund to donate to one of these organizations
    -If you work in retail, ask your boss if you can put up a collection box with some information for customers to donate if they wish
    -If you’re taking any kind of social justice class at school, talk to the class about what you’ve learned and start a collection
    -Simply talk to your friends and family, and encourage donations

    Just a few ideas. Always yours,
    Laura in Minneapolis

  59. 59 selena
    April 13, 2008 at 21:46

    Lubna and Laura, thank you for answering my post.

    Your ideas and suggestions are excellent and every little bit helps,
    when individuals are suffering.

    Thank you for the links.

    We should all try to help the organizations which exist and
    keep the flame of hope burning.

    As well as that, can we look at other ways of holding Iraq
    out as an emblem of change in global interactions.

    Iraq is a symbol of frustration for many people who feel
    that they did not have a voice when the war started.
    Frustration is a paralyzing emotion that denotes a lack
    of power.

    Powerlessness shuts down the mind.

    What I am asking is: can we channel world hopelessness, at the
    simple community level, into a movement for practical application
    of the basic tenets of all the world’s religions, as well as
    non-religious groups.

    We are a community and the only power we believe we have is the
    power of communication. Yet, there is a power here, which we
    may not realize. One we are a product of the BBC, two we are
    from all parts of the globe and three, we all want the global
    community to change for the better.

    Within this forum, there is scope for an international movement
    to promote, if not demand that leaders carry out the mandate of the
    values we profess to hold dear. We all know that under the present
    system leaders say one thing and do another. The future is too
    precious to be left entirely in the hands of the traditional leadership.

    Of course change would require a complete turn around in attitude,
    not just a change in words. Change would mean that the individual
    and not the system matters.

    Enough now because, as my friends say, I write Zen koans (probably a
    result of laziness). At any rate, we do have the right conditions for a world movement for change outside the existing system. A change that reflects the values of love your “neighbor” as yourself.

    My dream has always been a hope for serenity in war torn countries.

    Thank you for reading this, even if you think it is an impossible dream.

  60. 60 Xie_Ming
    April 13, 2008 at 22:18

    Selena:

    Jimmy Carter has gone to Damascus to meet with the leader of Hamas.

    He is a man of faitrh who acts on his faith and who has a Foundation.

    Consider him a possible contact, Selena.

  61. 61 George USA
    April 13, 2008 at 22:50

    Brett- and WHYS

    The BBC might rethink the wisdom of putting Lubna in this role here.

    The up side is some brain storming and discussion of possible solutions and actions.

    The down side is vanity can get someone into serious danger.

    Lubna is in ecstasy here, but there is a hitch:

    One example is obviously-

    If the people she calls murderers- US State Department Security (Blackwater) actually were what she says, she would be killed.

    There are people and groups in Iraq who ARE murderers, so she does not have the luxury of being protected by their own innocence while she is using WHYS.

    Seeking personal celebrity in Iraq is dangerous. No one knows what agendas such a person may tread on unintentionally, much less by playing to the crowd. Baghdad is not Hollywood.

    In addition, and perhaps even more dangerous-

    climbing on a soap box on some issue using WHYS to broadcast, that brings attention to her personally in Iraq is reason enough there to have her killed to lay blame on who she is opposing.

    In other words, life is cheap and attention seekers may be targeted by either side to silence or to lay blame on those she speaks against. The BBC is not students at the University: you reach the world.

    The BBC and WHYS might reconsider the danger they are placing someone in who seeks attention but may hurt themselves with it if they get it.

    This is a problem in other countries where drugs are the issue and becoming a public figure against them is dangerous, but the demonstrated violence of Muslim extremist who send their own to commit suicide make Iraq a delicate place for propelling anyone into public focus as an individual.

    As many voices as possible without a single focus seem a safer and more positive approach.

    That way no one is singled out and more importantly, no one runs the risk of being targeted, since they are voices, not a specific voice.

    If this is too cautious an observation I am very glad to be in error on this.

  62. 62 selena
    April 13, 2008 at 23:20

    Thanks Xie_Ming

    The Israeli leaders snubbed Jimmy Carter, apparently. Amy Teibel Associated Press today.

    What need to happen is all of us who are the “peace lovers” that President Bush talks about need to join together for real peace and not just the talk of it.

    You are right about Mr. Carter. He does seem to try. But the forces are against anyone who steps outside the norm.

    Can we step outside the norm? Who knows? But it would be good to try!!

  63. 63 Xie_Ming
    April 14, 2008 at 01:00

    Selena:

    You are doing so, with WHYS help, at the moment.

    Lubna (who should now be sound asleep) has a whole list of organizational things to do, but think of what she has accomplished in only 24 hours!!

    Brett has kept things on a very calm keel.

    Uri Avnery, via gush-shalom.org, is a marvelous source of fact and insight about Israel and surrounding problems. He is about 84 now, so one should tap into his wisdom soon.

  64. April 14, 2008 at 01:06

    Xie_Ming,
    Thank you for the kind comments, and for being such an avid participator in what seems to be the beginning of a very dedicated WHYS weekend group!
    I’m going to go read up on gush-shalom.org now!

    Selena,
    I completely agree with you that the “talks about talks on future talks for peace” are a bit silly and redundant. I cannot wait until the ‘peace process’ is over and true peace is actually accomplished!

    Regards,
    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  65. 65 Xie_Ming
    April 14, 2008 at 01:26

    It seems that Avnery has written a letter to President Carter:

    http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/he/channels/press_releases/1208110060/

    also

    gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1207434781/

  66. April 14, 2008 at 01:29

    Xie_Ming, out of curiosity what language tool do you use to translate texts such as the link you posted above?
    Or are you able to read it without translation?

    Regards,
    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  67. 67 Xie_Ming
    April 14, 2008 at 01:53

    When you see /he/, that means Hebrew.

    /en/ means English

    There should be a tab on the top left of the website that lets one pick the preferred language

    If you still have difficulty, I will post an English URL

    Anyone subscribing to their free newsletter can pick his language.

    Without trying it, I will guess that:

    http://gushshalom.org/home/en/channels

    will take you into English and then you may select press releases or Avnery’s essays.

  68. 68 Xie_Ming
    April 14, 2008 at 02:47

    Here are two tested English-language links that work:

    Avnery has written a letter to President Carter:

    http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/press_releases/1208110464/

    also concerning why there is no peace in prospect in Palestine:

    http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1208037443

  69. 69 savane
    April 14, 2008 at 06:56

    Hi

    All weekend we’ve talked to each other across the world….and powerful support is evident and great ideas have been suggested.

    Lubna, I can’t imagine what a day in your life feels like, the chaos, fear,danger – and yet you’ve found inner peace to sleep and face another day! What I’ve learnt from you is – the power of being real. You remind me of my daughters – and I keep wondering, why do we seem to lose that as we get older?

    Why do we look for something to go wrong, doubt our ability to make a positive difference, even if that means we can’t control everything?

    Lubna, you never do! Your ability to share and your warmth comes through your words! You remind me of many of the women ‘ve met in one of the IDP camps in Nairobi. We were strangers, they had seen their lives, property and families destroyed, and they refuse to give up! They aren’t politicians, but they are powerful influencers. A mother who lost everything in the violence, her son, her home and business, and was the one who led us back to where her home once stood because she was convinced that if she found one thing that she could keep, then that was a sign that she was supposed to be there, and carry on – not start again, carry on. She found one of her dead son’s report cards. After we all cried, and a group of rowdy youth came by, she stopped them and asked them to help her carry on. They agreed to! We rebuilt her kiosk with them, brought in supplies, and she carried on. And we did the same thing over and over again.

    We’ve talked/written all weekend. We ‘ve shared, agreed, disagreed.

    May I make a suggestion? This is something I try to do everyday: reach out and talk to someone you don’t know today. Take the time to listen, share, agree, agree to disagree, and before you walk away, smile and ask them to do the same! It works!

    Savane

  70. April 14, 2008 at 10:51

    It has been really good this weekend to share so many debates with lots of different people.

    There are only two small criticisms i have.
    1. Xie- ming and George are right, it is great that Lubna can participate in this international debate but if possible it would be great to hear from other Iraqies. This would reduce the danger that Lubna must be putting herself in by using WHYS.

    2. Could the moderators have a power to create smaller sub feeds on different topics. Some of the suggestions for debate such as talking about africa and different types of food have been a bit difficult to follow.

    Otherwise really good and thanks to Brett and Lubna for their hard work x

  71. April 14, 2008 at 16:08

    Hi guys. Wow, it really feels so good to be back as an ordinary WHYS listener again ! :). It’s been such a supermarvellous experience for me and Brett to moderate all your comments guys over the weekend. Well, I’d love to invite all of you guys to read the post “Letters From Baghdad” which was posted on the WHYS blog on the 20th of March 2008. In that post the WHYS listeners from all around the world reacted to 4 letters from 4 Baghdadi ladies : Julie, Rania, Lubna, and Zainab. Sadly neither Julie, nor Rania, nor Zainab were there with the rest of us on the Blank page no.2 this weekend, and I wonder why. Goerge, thanks a million for your comment. Well, I’m really sooooo proud to say that I’ve been a loyal listener and contributor to the WHYS programme since October 2006, and what I’ve been doing here on the WHYS blog and on the WHYS programme really matters alot to me, alot. It’s not because I am an attention seeker or because I want to be a celebrity. It’s because I do want my Iraq’s cause to always remain alive and never die. I’m not a hero. I’m not a star. I’m not a superwoman. I’m just a very ordinary young Baghdadi woman. In fact I almost worth nothing when compared to soooooooo many very brave and good Iraqi people who are in my opinion the real heroes and the real stars. What I’m actually doing is that I’m telling the untold story of those real heroes to you guys (like Sarah, Noor, Noor, Riyadh, Ali, Ahmed, Dr Mahasin, Uncle Riyadh, Uncle Mohammed, Ali, Dr Munthir Murhij, Shihab Al Tamimi, and many other “real heroes”). Yeah, that’s what I am. I’m only a story teller. I do consider the WHYS’ supermarvellous team and amazing listeners to be my big global precious family. And I do love each one of you guys alot. I do hope that each one of you guys would feel the same way towards me, Inshallah ! :). My Precious Brett, it’s been a very huge honour to work with you over the weekend. With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  72. 72 steve
    April 14, 2008 at 16:11

    Anyone in DC dreading this week due to the Pope’s visit? I would imagine the Metro will be “hellish” given all the vistitors that will be going to see him wherever he goes.


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