Category Archives: Human Right

Saudis Reject Swedish Monkeys, Recall Their Own………

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“Saudi Arabia has refused to accept four tiny Amazonian monkeys from a Swedish zoo because of a diplomatic row, Swedish media report. The pygmy marmosets at Skansen zoo in Stockholm had been destined for a Riyadh zoo. “They didn’t want the monkeys anymore because of the political situation,” said Skansen zoo boss Jonas Wahlstrom. Last month the Saudi ambassador to Sweden was recalled, after Sweden ended an arms deal in a human rights dispute. Weighing just over 100 grams (3.5 oz) each pygmy marmosets are the smallest primates in the world. “It’s a little comical. I’ll just have to wait until they grant visas to Swedish businessmen again. Maybe monkeys will get visas then too,” said Mr Wahlstrom………….”

It started when the Saudis vetoed a scheduled speech by the Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallström to an Arab League meeting. The princes, who fancy they own the Arab League (they do), feared that the female minister would remind the Arab potentates and their minions of the HR words, Human Rights. So the dispute started and escalated.
The Saudis have not only refused to grant visas to the Swedish pygmy monkeys as well as to Swedes in general, they have also recalled their own marmoset ambassador from Stockholm, who is not a pygmy. Besides, my incredible source report that one famously loquacious traveling prince snorted, tongue-in-cheek, that “We don’t need them and their f–king monkeys. We have thousands of our own within the family”.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Potentates of the Gulf Unite! (Against Human Rights)………

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“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recalled the UAE ambassador to Sweden in wake of comments the country’s foreign minister made about Saudi Arabia. In addition to recalling the ambassador, Sultan Rashid Al Kaitoob, the ministry also summoned the Swedish ambassador to the UAE, Jan Thesleff, and delivered a formal memorandum of protest over Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallstrom’s remarks, state news agency Wam reported. Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, highlighted the “condemnation by the UAE of strong statements made by the Foreign Minister of Sweden to the Swedish Parliament against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its judicial system”. Dr Gargash stressed that these statements violate the principle of sovereignty……………..”

This show of outrage by the princes and potentates and their minions. Supposedly ‘sisterly or brotherly’ outrage as Gulf media and officials like to call it. This outrage would be funny if it were not outrageous. Coming from Persian Gulf potentates who meddle in Libya and Syria and Iraq and Lebanon and Bahrain and Egypt, among other places. Who paid billions to crush the Tahrir Uprising by the military and help repress Bahrain even as they claim to seek to liberate Syria and steer it towards the joys of Wahhabism.

So why would the Abu Dhabi potentates protest a diplomatic issue between two other countries? Maybe it is a case of “If the shoe fits, wear it“. In Arabic it would be “He who has a bump on his head will reach and touch it” (اللي على راسه بطحة يتحسسها).

Likely it has to do with a (non-mathematical) principle of transfer. They also do it, so maybe they expect the Swedish diplomats to mention them as well at some point. They feel entitled to certain consideration and accommodation, because they can threaten to block lucrative contracts (some may consider it a sort of blackmail). You never see the British or French governments talk about human rights in these countries. Why do you suppose that is so? Certainly it has nothing to do with principles: both these European governments leave their principles on the other side of the Mediterranean before they hit our shores. They always have.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Swedish-Saudi Wars: Arab League as Chopped Liver……..

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Sweden is one of a few ‘Western’ nations that has had good relations with almost all Muslim or Arab countries. They even recently recognized “a” palestinian state, whatever that may happen to be. That is not to say that I like all their successive governments. Sweden has even started dabbling in arms-for-money deals with despotic absolute Arab regime, including Saudi Arabia, in recent years.

The foreign minister of Sweden was invited to speak to a meeting of the Arab League (actually it is a Saudi-UAE League) a few days ago. The Saudis decided to prevent her from speaking, and they did. Shows you who “owns” the Arab League. The rest of the Arab delegates were as silent as chopped liver. They were afraid that, being a Suédoise, she would mention the unmentionable: “human rights”, “corruption”, and maybe even worse. The shaikhs may have fatwa-edd that uttering some of these words would send anyone straight to the fires of hell.
Now Sweden has decided to review its policy of supplying arms to the Saudi regime. Which pissed off the Saudi princes, who usually feel entitled because they believe their money makes them entitled to a lot of special European ‘consideration’. The princes have recalled their ambassador to Stockholm. Which has depressed the ambassador, since he will have to spend not only St. Patrick’s Day and Easter, but also the coming beautiful Swedish summer in the arguably the most boring capital in the whole wide world, Riyadh.
That is where things stand now…..

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
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Arabian Reich: Arbeit Macht Frei, Public Flogging Macht Frei, Tear Gas Macht Frei………

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It is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The Nazi concentration-death camp was liberated by the Soviet Red Army as it swept across Poland toward Germany in January 1945.

Sometimes I think the 1960s terms used by JFK “Let them come to Berlin“, “Ich bin ein ‘Berliner'(?)” must have sounded naive and absurd to an average Russian in Leningrad or Stalingrad or to anyone in any Soviet village east of Poland. Barely 15 years after WWII and the horrors of Operation Barbarossa. By the 1980s, however, Reagan’s “Tear down this wall…..” sounded more reasonable and plausible.

Anyway, my focus is the Middle East. The Nazis posted a cruel slogan at the entrance to their concentration camps, which housed mostly Jews but also dissidents, leftists, and other undesirables. The absurd slogan was “Arbeit Macht Frei“, something the cotton plantation owners never thought of in Old Dixie. In the Middle East, one can imagine new slogans based on that one. The Saudi princes can erect “Public Flogging Macht Frei“, or “Absolute monarchy Macht Frei“. The Egyptian regime can erect “Bullets Macht Frei“. The Bahrain rulers can erect “Tear Gas Macht Frei“, or “Kleptocrats Macht Frei“. They and the rulers of UAE can both quite reasonably erect “Foreign Mercenaries Macht Frei“. The caliphate of ISIS might put up “Concubines Macht Frei”. Tony Blair might add to his letterhead “Oil Oligarchs Macht Frei”. No irony intended………..

BTW: did you read that the British Ministry of Justice “is hoping to profit from selling its expertise to the prison service in Saudi Arabia, a country notorious for public beheadings, floggings, amputations and courts that regularly violate human rights.…………”?

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

From Cuba to the Arab World: America and the Dissidents…….

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Reports tell us that American diplomats in Cuba met with Cuban dissidents yesterday. They shared a meal together and talked. That is in Communist undemocratic repressive Cuba. The Cuba that restricts its people from coming to the USA even more than the USA restricts its people from going to Cuba.

Now to U.S. allies, non-communist anti-democratic allies:
A few months ago an American undersecretary of state was kicked out of Bahrain because he talked with some opposition leaders. Three years earlier another American diplomat was hounded out of Bahrain because he talked about human rights.
Can an American delegation meet and talk with local dissidents of whom there are many (in and out of prison) in Saudi Arabia? Or in the United Arab Emirates? Or even in Egypt? Would they dare?

Of course it is possible that because Cuba is in the Western Hemisphere, geographically and culturally, we should expect more of her. Which is like saying that Arabs (and Muslims) either do not deserve or don’t want democracy and freedom of expression. Which may not be as bigoted as it sounds. I know that, based on painful experience, most Arabs (outside Lebanon) are wary of the freedom of expression: mostly it gets you prison, torture, premature death, exile, or a combination of the above.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Generalissimo Al Sisi Opines on the Tooth Fairy and the Opposition………

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Generalissimo Field Marshal President Al Sisi of Egypt came to power in 2013 as a result of military coup he staged against the man who had promoted him to minister of defense and army chief. He was “elected” with almost 98% of the sparse vote last year. He ran against a token phony opposition.
The Generalissimo has just opined that “there are no political prisoners in Egypt“. He also said that “making peace with the Muslim Brotherhood is not my decision, it is not in my hands“.
He was not talking about the tooth fairy in his first statement; there are tens of thousand of political prisoners in Egypt. His second statement about the MB might be true. He probably can’t reach a deal with the MB, not unless he wants to lose all that Saudi and UAE oil money that has been promised to him if he keeps a lid on free speech and on the the opposition of all stripes.

In the meantime, he seems to have lost control of a chunk of the northern Sinai Peninsula to groups of Jihadis, kidnappers, and smugglers.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

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Saudi Arabia Goes on a Rampage, Merlin the Magician Beheaded………..

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Have Yourself a Merry Little——-> Kenny G. Holiday 

“Saudi Arabia has executed at least 19 people since August 4, 2014. Local news reports indicate that eight of those executed were convicted of nonviolent offenses, seven for drug smuggling and one for sorcery. Family members of another man, Hajras bin Saleh al-Qurey, told Human Rights Watch on August 17 that they fear his execution is imminent. The Public Court of Najran, in southern Saudi Arabia, sentenced al-Qurey to death by beheading on January 16, 2013 for allegedly smuggling drugs and attacking a police officer during his arrest…………….”

Not quite a merry little holiday season in the realm of the absolute princes. This is not the first magician or sorcerer to be executed by beheading in the Kingdom Without Magic (KWM). There have been others. He will not be the last one.
Just think about it: Al-Qaeda Wahhabi terrorists are offered rehabilitation, provided with jobs and even dowries for brides. Harmless sorcerers have their heads chopped off. It is against Islam of course. Those who take a life are supposed to be executed, if you feel the need to spill some more blood, not sorcerers or charlatans. Come to think of it again, and speaking of charlatans: not even palace clerics nor fake pastors should be executed.
Not even corrupt absolute princes who loot whole countries’ resources and do so much harm should be executed. Probably not even with pitchforks………

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

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America Divided over New Lynchings, but the Song Remains the Same……..

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It is a common headline, it has been for some time. The new media and technology makes it impossible to cover up most of it. A black teenager or a black man, almost always unarmed, is shot or killed otherwise by the police who are on-duty or off-duty. It is never one bullet, it is never two bullets. Mostly a whole magazine of a gun is emptied in a living body, sometimes more. Occasionally some civilian idiot takes the law into his own hands and follows and shoots an unarmed black man for being in the ‘wrong’ neighborhood. Or a black child is riddled with many police bullets while playing with a toy gun in a park.
In all cases, at least those cases that are publicized, the killer(s) get off free. Always. We are told that ‘race’ has nothing to do with it. So what then? Is it the economic class that dehumanizes some? Which brings us to the same point.
Soon after every killing, Republicans, at least those who express an opinion, and their media side with the police or with the vigilante who killed the unarmed black boy or man. Democrats wait briefly before jumping in by obliquely criticizing the police. There are protests, complaints, handwringing, bluster, investigations, even some singing of kumbaya………

Then bang! It happens again, the widely-accepted modern equivalent of lynching………

The beat goes on. The song remains the same………
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Takhabur: a Potent New Orwellian Arab Weapon……….

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Egyptian media can be some of the wildest in the Middle East, bar none, when it comes to toeing the official line. Remember when the once-venerable Al-Ahram, the big banana of Egyptian newspapers, doctored photos of world leader to put Hosni Mubarak at the front? They are doing even more now.

One headline I saw yesterday: “Muslim brothers caught with ‘certificates’ of Takhabur (تخابُر) with Hamas”.  (تخابُر is a broad Arabic word that can have any of several connotations: communicating; contacting; exchanging information).
‘Certificates of Takahbur‘: imagine how far you can go in telling your people how stupid you believe they are, maybe not in so many words. This “Takhabur” in Arabic is a recent twist of the term that Arab regimes (and their controlled media) have been using against their foes and against those they don’t like or suspect.
Takhabur: “communicating, exchanging news or information but also perhaps ideas” or “talking to”. You can get arrested for takhabur with The Onion or with Mad Magazine or with the CIA or the Mossad or Dhahi Khalfan, even with your next door neighbor, if they want to get you.
Anyway, they twist things to make it sound so sinister in a way that some regimes can do with impunity. The Egyptian military regime has even brought the charge of “takhabur” against president Morsi, and he was the president of the country! He was supposed to do “takhabur” with leaders and countries, just like any other head of state! Imagine how much ‘takhabur‘ Generalisimo Field Marshal Al Sisi is doing now with oily princes and potentates? How else could he do his job?

Now they are piling on Caliph Erdogan of Turkey, but that is okay: the Turkish Caliph ensconced in his billion-dollar palace deserves it. Suddenly the Egyptians are strongly pro-Greek on the Cyprus issue and on any other issues that come to their mind. They might even award ancient Troy to the Greeks, again. The Greeks must be amused.
Takhabur. A simple Arabic word has acquired terrifying connotations and meanings in the hands of Arab depots and potentates and their security agents and kangaroo courts. Journalists, former officials, dissidents, and doubters can spend many years in prison because of that word. From the Persian Gulf to the stagnant Nile, from Manama to Cairo, the regimes are using it to get you.
Remember the word: takhabur. Other non-Arab regimes in the Middle East (Iran, Turkey, Kurds, maybe Israel?) also use their own version of it to intimidate, but it sounds so pregnant with meanings and connotations in the Arabic language. So threatening on multiple levels.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Great News: Egypt to Export its Expertise in Repression……….

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Egypt’s foreign minister is quoted in local media as asserting that Egypt is keen on transferring her expertise and experience in security issue to “sisterly” countries. He is quoted that Egypt is seeking to enhance the capabilities of “these countries” in matters of “internal security” with the overall goal of serving all our peoples.

Cute. Glad tidings for any Arab people who have not yet been subjected to arbitrary arrests, torture, summary death sentences, midnight knocks on the door, tear gas, and disappearances. If there is any rare Arab people that have not been subject to these, er, official diversions. Egypt has one important thing she can now export: the Sisi type of law and order, which is slightly nastier than Mubarak’s version of law and order.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com