Archive for the ‘Terrorism’ Category

Paula Zahn’s attack on the Council on American-Islamic Relations

January 23, 2007

Here’s the letter I wrote to CNN’s Paula Zahn just now:

I’ve tried giving your features on racism a chance, but today was the last straw. The way that you attacked the well-spoken representative from CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) was highly objectionable. You also allowed the other two panelists to attack her, sadly leaving the impression that Muslims as a whole should accept “terrorist” stereotypes against them since they are not “vocal” enough in “condemning” terrorism.

CAIR and many other Muslim groups and mosques have done an excellent job of explaining that the vast majority of Muslims are NOT terrorists NOR do they support terrorism. Why should Muslims bear any additional burden in swearing off terrorism than the rest of us? Why shouldn’t all white southerners “be more vocal” about swearing off domestic terrorism because of Timothy McVeigh and Oklahoma City?

I’m sorry to say, Paula, tonight you were as guilty of what you say you are trying to expose. You owe CAIR and all American Muslims an apology. I’m posting this same letter on my blog and will avoid watching your sensationalist and racist show in the future.

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Salon.com editorial on Guantanamo

January 18, 2007

Here is an excellent Salon.com editorial by my friend Anant, one of the lawyers representing prisoners at Guantanamo.  Some of the letters in response make great reading and arguments on this issue as well.

Write to the White House – Law firms should be proud of representing Guantanamo prisoners!

January 13, 2007

As a lawyer myself, with a very good friend working on the Guantanamo cases pro bono, I find reprehensible Charles Stimson’s comments criticizing lawyers at big firms representing Guantanamo prisoners and his call for a boycott. The thing about being detained by America is that you deserve legal counsel. The thing about being a lawyer is that you donate some of your time to helping those in need of representation. Unless he wants to attack every public defender, every pro bono asylum lawyer, every legal professional in the U.S., Stimson and his followers ought to shut up. If right-wingers want to go on a witch hunt, they should steer clear of reputable lawyers who are giving of their own precious time to ensure that our system of legal rights is not affected by the present administration’s madness. It’s like J. Edgar Hoover all over again.

Write to President Bush right now and demand that he rebuke Stimson’s comments. Alberto Gonzalez and the DoD already did, but I’m afraid without our demands Stimson’s concerns will stay on the right-wing, nut-job radio stations for a very long time.

Oh, and apologies for the long absence, which may continue a bit longer – the New Year has arrived replete with many new projects here in Guatemala. I’m struggling a bit to juggle it all and prioritize… but this issue was too important not to post…

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Sad day for America…

September 28, 2006

Here’s the letter I wrote to John McCain just now, sitting in the library in Guatemala City, contemplating all that Guatemala has fought for to establish a democracy and honor human rights and dignity for all. I wrote my Senators – PLEASE take a moment to do so as well. Sometimes it seems like America is running in the opposite direction, away from new democracies like Guatemala and towards tyranny… (Check out Obama’s comments here):

Dear Senator McCain,

I just read the NY Times editorial about the torture-terrorism bill and was extremely disappointed that you would agree to such an extreme position in your so-called “compromise” with President Bush.

The bill – if it becomes law – will put our troops in harm’s way, allowing them to be raped, tortured, and mistreated with no way out – just the situation we have created for terrorism suspects here in the U.S.A., a place that used to be a haven for human rights and persecuted people.

These are not the ideals of the United States, and I denounce you, the President, and any Senators who vote for this un-American and inhumane piece of legislation. You are leaving a legacy that threatens the very core of our great nation.

Sincerely, Archana

PS – I had been impressed with your so-called “compromise” and your independence from the President, but now realize it was just a political stunt to put your face in the news…

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Ineloquent reflections on 9/11

September 12, 2006

Since its the fifth anniversary of 9/11 I guess I should have something profound to say. Well, I don’t, but here’s what’s on my mind right now, at 2:04 AM when I ought to be asleep:

I feel terrible for those who lost loved ones. I feel proud of those on Flight 93 who took matters into their own hands and kicked some ass. I feel sad that the heartfelt sympathy the world felt for us here in the US has probably disintegrated by now. I feel glad that firefighters get more respect now.

Its weird; I’d never been to NYC before 9/11/01, but I had been to such terror hotspots as London and Jerusalem. Being Jewish, terrorism wasn’t this abstract thing that happened oceans away, it happened to people just like me all the time in Israel, and occassionally in places like France, Russia and Argentina. I’m Jewish and I’m American, and those two facets of me usually blend cohesively. But before 9/11 I did think that the US was pretty isolated from the violence that routinely plagues the rest of the world. Americans didn’t seem to have much of a connection with terrorism.

Well, that seems to have changed. The way politicians (of all stripes) talk nowadays is of an impending and possible victory over terrorism seems a little naive to me. I don’t think we as a society will ever be able to stop terror. It’s certainly nothing new.

So with that in mind, hopefully we can do our best to recognize it, minimize it, and learn to live with it.

And on a more intellectual note, check out the Wikipedia entries on terrorism and 9/11. Pretty incredible that these rich articles were created by volunteers. Both are worth reading and reflecting upon.

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I wish President Bush did this all the time…

July 18, 2006

So two noteworthy and unusual things happened today regarding President Bush. First of all, he spoke candidly, as if no one was listening. But wait, they were.

I’ve noticed a stark contrast between the Republicans and non-Republicans that I’m around. The Repubs think that Bush’s greatest character trait is honesty and straight-shooterness. Liberals and radicals think he is usually misleading at best, and lying at worst. Today Bush spoke what he really felt. He used a the big bad “s word” because he was, frankly, tired of Hezbollah’s shit.

Which is understandable, because (here’s the second thing) I’m tired of Syria’s Hezbollah bullshit, too! President Bush and I agreed for once. It’s actually happened a couple of times, although only his trying to close military bases and more importantly, cut farm subsidies to huge agribusinesses come to mind as other examples.

Anyway, I found his talk refreshing. I wish he just told the public what was on his mind all the time and treated us as if we were his buddies. He always gets so much credit for being the loveable guy next door, but he rarely his. He always cloaks his comments in politicospeak. I like him a lot more when he’s not trying to talk the way that his handlers want him to talk. Why can’t he always call people/countries on their bullshit? I, for one, am very curious what he really thinks about many issues. I know he doesn’t think that Iraq is “Mission Accomplished”. I’d like to know what he really thinks. We bloggers pride ourselves on speaking from the hip. Why can’t our politicians do the same?

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The Syrian government is such a bitch

July 15, 2006

Way to go, Syria. First you financially and militarily support Hezbollah. Then you encourage them to get all uppity, which then causes them to invade Israel, capture a couple soldiers, and kill a few more. This enrages the Israelis, who are not known for their sense of humor and chilled-out-itude about such things. They go over-the-top bonkers. Then they take it out on all of Lebanon, fucking up the country because they won’t disarm Hezbollah (which they don’t have the will/desire/strength to do). Then, while your neighbor is getting its ass kicked because of someone else’s actions, you offer to help pay to rebuild.

In summary, Syria stokes the flames in someone else’s house, gives plenty of gasoline, and then once the house is burning, offers to chip in for the damage, while still giving more gas. Seems sorta hypocritical.

My advice (see Sara, I can give my opinion even when I’ll be ignored by who I’m talking to and still feel good about it): Israel: stop attacking Beirut and killing tons of civillians and fucking up infrastructure doesn’t convince Lebanon that Hezbollah sucks, they already know that. Syria: stop backing Hezbollah and causing devastation in other countries. Lebanon: duck and cover. Hezbollah: fuck off, you’re a terrible house guest.

Even though I joke a bit, my heart goes out to the families of those killed on all sides.

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Sad

July 13, 2006

My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families of the blasts in Bombay. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to lose a loved one to such a senseless crime. Let’s hope that people all around the world focus as much attention on this tragedy as they did on the London bombings last year, which claimed far fewer (although no less important) lives.

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