Category Archives: Racism

Inshallah: a United States of Political Paranoia on Social Media?……..

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KuwaitCox2                 Me1 (2)

“An Iraqi student at UC Berkeley was removed from his Southwest Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Oakland earlier this month when a woman overheard him speaking in Arabic and reported him to a Southwest employee…..

UPDATED: Adds new @SouthwestAir claim eavesdropping passenger said she spoke Arabic – not yet clear that’s true.
The Intercept @theintercept
Iraqi refugee kicked off plane for speaking Arabic says Islamophobia boosts ISIS http://interc.pt/1SgOIQB by @RobertMackey

Wajahat Ali Verified account ‏@WajahatAli Apr 17
I explain “inshallah”after this #SouthwestAirlines fiasco where a Muslim kid was kicked off for speaking Arabic……….”

And so it went. But the fact can’t be denied: a young man, apparently an Arab, was kicked off a flight because a fellow passenger heard him speak what she thought was Arabic and “reported him” to the crew. The kind of stuff you’d read in old thrillers of Nazi Germany (no exaggeration here).

Inshallah: God Willing……… Every Muslim and Arab  says this when asked to do something or when asked if he/she will pass her exam or succeed or….. I suspect even some Arab Christians say it, since it means God Willing.

All this precedes the current poisonous Republican election campaign of 2016. Many times people, families, Arab and/or Muslim, some of them possibly Christian, have been reported removed from flights across the USA for suspicion of speaking Arabic (it could be Hindu for all the other passengers know). Since when is the suspicion of a language grounds for serious discrimination?

And does that make everyone who speaks Spanish an illegal? Or anyone who speaks Chinese (Mandarin…..) a spy? Or any unarmed black teenager who speaks and dresses a certain style a life-threatening thug that should be shot immediately?

This is not about one airline. I must add that I and my family here in the USA have had dealings with Southwest Airlines in the past three years with no problem. No signs of prejudice whatsoever. Nor have I experienced any form of prejudice in other venues or with other institutions and businesses. Even with my first name which is the most Muslim of names.

No, I am not blaming the social media for rapidly spreading, embellishing, or  magnifying the news. Not yet.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Obama’s Middle East Doctrine: How Familiarity Bred Contempt……..

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KuwaitCox2

Familiarity breeds contempt……….

The American and Middle East media have made a lot of President Obama’s recent long interview with columnist Jeffrey Goldberg for The Atlantic magazine.

The result has been called the Obama Doctrine. In the series of interviews he complained, correctly, that much of the problems of the Arab states, especially those on the Persian Gulf, are the creation of their ruling elites. He also complained how the princes and potentates (he named Saudi Arabia) have tried to drag the United States into their sectarian campaign, and to drag him into another Gulf war against Iran. The coup de grace for the princes and potentates was his suggestion that they have to ‘share’ the region with Iran. This only further enraged the American neoconservatives, the hawks of both parties who have not heard of a new Muslim war that they did not like or encourage.

Back to Barack Obama. For years Mr. Obama has been facing a three-front war of warmongers: Gulf allies, Israel’s dominant right wingers, and American hawks in the Senate and in some think-tanks. And the lobbyists funding most elected officials. All pressing him to launch a couple of new wars of choice in the Middle East: a big one against Iran and a smaller one in Syria.

I believe that his other problem with some of the above has been partly racial. Not only with some Republican-Tea Party types at home, but also with some Arab leaders and with Netanyahu of Israel. The fact is that these Arab leaders, most of them, are used to dealing with white American leaders. Most of them have deep prejudices, even as they themselves are quite swarthy. A form of nuanced racism that lingers across the Arab world toward foreigners other than Westerners.  These potentates grew up seeing men like Eisenhower, JFK, Reagan, Clinton, Bush, even John Wayne bring order (or mayhem, depending) to countries or to towns like Abilene or Dodge City on the screen. Then suddenly John Wayne of Rio Bravo is replaced with Cleavon Little of Blazing Saddles.

It is partly psychological and partly racial. Suddenly and unexpectedly the leader of the Free World is a guy who looks to them like a neighbor or a cousin, albeit a lot smarter, more cultured, and better looking. How can you expect a Saudi king or prince or a UAE potentate to defer to someone who looks like one of his nephews, or even one of his many black servants who are barely this side of slavery? Well, much better looking and much smarter, but…….

Mr. Obama, on his part, got to know the princes and potentates well over the past years, too well for their good. Inevitably he developed a deep and healthy degree of contempt for them. And who wouldn’t? In that case familiarity was bound to work as the famous saying goes.

To add insult to injury, the failed Arab uprisings of 2011 uncovered how naked the  Arab emperors, the ruling elites, were. From the giant emperors in Cairo and Tripoli and Damascus to the little wee emperors in Sanaa and Manama. For a few glorious weeks the Arab masses pulled off the sheets to show how naked their leaders were underneath.
It was a brief spring that was followed by an even colder winter than ever. That was when the worst of them, the oligarchs, the moneyed kings and princes took over after the protesters were killed, imprisoned, exiled, cowed, or bought. They bought the Arab uprisings, from Egypt to Syria to Yemen. In fact they have bought the whole Arab League, which they now mostly own. With a couple of exceptions plus Tunisia, and Algeria.

Now, like some here in the USA, they can’t wait to go back to dealing with a “real American” leader. One who looks like the previous ones. It would be a great divine justice if they get Bernie Sanders, whom they will dislike for more than one reason and these reasons are all obvious.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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Donald Trump and the Pussycats: from Washington to Jerusalem……

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KuwaitCox2

Everybody has been following the debates, arguments, and food fights between Donald Trump and “others”. From his Republican rivals to the Pope to the Bush family to the Clintons and former Mexican leaders/oligarchs. He certainly does not back down from a fight, he usually doubles down. In the process, he calls his detractors and rivals some choice words (some of them well-deserved).
Tsk, tsk: politics were supposed to be served discreetly, like a slow Borgia poison, not so bluntly as a broadsword or Roman gladius.

Can you imagine Senator Mitch McConnell, majority leader, saying of a President Trump what he has been saying of President Obama for seven years? Trump would almost certainly call him what he exactly thinks of him: a pussy from Kentucky at best.

Can you imagine Israel’s Benyamin Netanyahu coming to a joint session of the U.S. Congress in order to openly sabotage American foreign policy as he did last year? A right-wing foreign leader? A President Trump would openly call for his deportation, adding the “pussy” and “liar” epithets as well.

Can you imagine a President Trump bowing down to some tribal autocratic  kleptocratic prince? Or walking around holding his hand as Bush did in Crawford?

Can you imagine him politely, too politely, deferring to a foreign leader, be they Chinese or Russian or Middle Eastern?

This is not to endorse him or overlook the tools of bigotry he has been conveniently using against easy targets like Muslims, refugees, and desperate Latin workers that his own businesses probably hire. Cheap shots he takes, but that has become one tool of American politics these days.

As for the nonsense he utters about Obamacare and the Iran Nuclear Deal, it is just political posturing. The horse has already left the barn on these issues, as all Republican candidates know but pretend not to know.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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Tale of Two Civilized Cities: Stockholm vs. Riyadh…….

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KuwaitCox2 ا

“Is there a sharper knife that tears at the fabric of society than the threat of physical violence on the basis of ethnicity, nationality, gender or political affiliation? The recent images of young men, wearing hoods and dressed in black, roaming the streets of central Stockholm looking for “north African street children” to “punish” for their mere existence reminded Sweden and the world of the worst elements of European history. People immediately took to social media to express their shock that this could happen in a country like Sweden. Or, to be more accurate, Sweden as they imagine it to be………..”

Media reports increased incidents of physical attacks on “dark” people or people who look “foreign” in some European cities. Even in Stockholm. Especially in Stockholm, capital of Sweden. The latest was a report of a hundred or so masked people beating up people who looked foreign at train stations. Which means it was probably organized, premeditated.
Now let’s go to Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia, a country I often criticize strongly for its human rights abuses and intolerance. A country most Europeans consider so different that it is “barbaric” to them, even as they happily take its money as they forget their own much more barbaric recent past.
Nobody gets attacked by mobs of masked men at a bus station for looking “different”, not even in intolerant Riyadh. Unlike cities in Europe, where foreigners are being assaulted from Paris across to Budapest and Athens. Nobody wears funny bed sheets and burns crosses in front of “others” homes in Riyadh either, even if crosses are banned.
Could it be that instinctively bigoted Europe is going back to its old habit of a few hundred years ago, especially when times are hard? When “others” were persecuted, tortured, and killed for being “different”? It could, it could.
Civilized” is truly a relative term, it is in the eye of the beholder………
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
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Fatwa on Donald Trump and the Republican Dilemma of Arab Princes………

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KuwaitCox2 ChristmasPeanuts

It is no secret that most Arab princes and potentates would prefer a Republican administration in Washington. That is based on long-standing oil and other mutual business relations as well as on the warlike statements of Republican politicians toward Iran, Lebanon, and others. Most of them believe a Republican would have attacked Iran years ago, something the Saudis openly urged as the Wikileaks cables exposed, although George W Bush declined to do so. On several Middle East issues, they take the same stand as the Israeli Likud rather than the Obama administration.

Yet Mr. Trump presents them with a dilemma in the aftermath of the recent Wahhabi terrorist attack in San Bernardino. Actually even before that attack. You see, they don’t realize that he is unlikely to win the GOP nomination, and if he did he will not win the presidency. Americans have never elected to the presidency a gambling boss with a big mouth who is openly bigoted. Not in the past hundred fifty years anyway. And they are not about to do so now. So the princes worry about his Muslim-baiting and Nazi-like proposals on how to treat Muslims in the United States.

The potentates have not heard of my tweeted Fatwa that by March or April Mr. Trump will be back in the trash-bin of history or on reality TV (both, since he needs the money).  They actually believe he has a chance of winning, and therefore they can’t afford to antagonize him. Hence their official silence from Riyadh to Doha and Abu Dhabi toward his outrageous, politically-motivated, public uttering against their faith.

Of course no U.S. president would do what Trump is proposing, nor would he in the prohibitively unlikely event that he is elected. But going public with such proposals eggs on many people into more violent Islamophobia, especially many Republican voters of the historic know-nothing inclination. In other words the Trump bullhorn makes those so inclined ever more hateful.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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Palmetto Hustler: How Lindsey Graham Bin Jingo Learned about Iranians………..

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KuwaitCox2

“Senator Lindsey Graham, the first speaker Friday morning, appearing from Washington via video, spoke of losing his parents as a teenager, working in a pool hall and having to help raise his younger sister – and how it relates to his leadership style. “Everything I learned about Iranians I learned working in the pool room,” he said. “I met a lot of liars, and I know Iranians are liars.”………….”

Pool halls and liars. He worked in a pool room and discovered that Iranians are liars, unlike many senators and others who work in pool halls. This is where Senator Lindsey Graham Bin Jingo learned that Iranian are liars (apparently there are no exceptions). This senator Graham sounds like an unlikely Paul Newman in one of my favorite old films.
Unless some of his pro-democracy kleptocratic autocrats on the Persian Gulf told him so. We all know they never lie.

    

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

The Farce of Selective Free Speech on Public Transport……..

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KuwaitCox2

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority has banned all political advertising on its subways and buses, allowing it to refuse to display an ad about Muslims killing Jews. The resolution passed Wednesday night at the MTA board meeting. The decision comes after a federal judge earlier this month ruled that an anti-Islamic ad which includes the statement “Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah,” is protected speech under the First Amendment and said it must be run on public transportation……….  U.S. District Judge John Koeltl on April 21 rejected the MTA argument in rejecting the ad that it could be seen as a call to violence against Jews and could incite terrorism. The ad is sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which is headed by blogger Pamela Geller and is known for its sharp anti-Muslim rhetoric. The ad has run in other cities, including Chicago and San Francisco, without inciting violence……………

“A US appeals court ruled on Wednesday that Seattle-based King County officials did not violate free speech by prohibiting local buses from displaying anti-Israel advertisements. The ruling came in reference to a 2010 advertisement on a bus reading,”ISRAELI WAR CRIMES YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK.” ………..”

A court rules that it is okay to advertise on public transport against Islam: it is free speech to put bigoted ads against Muslims. Another court rules that it is not okay to advertise on public transport against Israel: it is not free speech to have anti-Israeli advertisement on public transport.

So, whenever there is a proposed advertisement on a public transport that criticizes Israel, it is banned. It is not free speech. Yet anti-Islamic ads by islamophobic bigots are allowed by judges like this one in New York. They are free speech. Proposed anti-Israel (not anti-Semitic) ads on public transport in Seattle and other cities were banned in the past. So much for the farce of selective free speech.

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

The Taliban Invade the Rose Parade……….

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KuwaitCox2     ChristmasPeanuts

Woke up early, too early today on this very cold first morning of 2015. Watched the Rose Parade in Pasadena (on TV from the Northwest of course). Getting ready to watch the Ducks beat the WTF they’re called in Florida State (maybe the Seminoles that they killed off?). One nice float had a Sikh motif, with a bunch of Sikh people on it. Sikhs of India, and maybe elsewhere, wear turbans, sort of like some of us Muslims. Sort of like the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
I switched quickly to Fox News, expecting one of their Five, or is it Six, geniuses complain about the Taliban or other Muslim terrorists taking over the Rose Parade.
It has a ring to it if you are a regular watcher, occasionally with tragic results…………

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

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

Enter the Ayatollah as Spoiler: New Bi-Partisan Fascists of America…………

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Saban     Adelson
   Haim Saban                               Sheldon Adelson
“Major Democratic donor Haim Saban said on Sunday that if he were running Israel he would “bomb the living daylights” out of Iran if the current nuclear negotiations produce a bad deal for Israel. Speaking at a conference of the Israeli American Council at the Washington Hilton opposite Republican casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, Saban said that if he were in the shoes of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the event of a deal with Iran that he judged to be dangerous with Israel, “I would bomb the living daylights out of these sons of bitches.” Saban, a major Obama donor in 2012 and Hillary Clinton supporter in 2008, also expressed deep skepticism of Obama’s policy towards Iran………..

I had written, just minutes ago, that:
“Even the wildest of the Iranian mullahs never say ‘bomb the hell out of Israel’, except maybe as retaliation’. These are two not-so-new faces of fascism in America: the new phenomenon of ‘ethnic’ fascists. They are jingoistic and racist and they don’t belong to any one political party. They are bi-Partisan”.
Of course just after penning this eloquent comment of mine, and before posting it, who should intervene but the big banana of Iran? I saw the following ‘inconvenient’ tweet by Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei: “Why should & how can Israel be eliminated? Ayatollah Khamenei’s answer to 9 key questions……….”

Which makes you wonder which side are all these guys on, and do they deserve each other? Blogging can be frustrating sometimes, no? No further comment for now………..
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com