An Intervisit - Morning Coffee (1)


I have a neighbor. We cross each other's paths occasionally...
We sometimes wave hello and sometimes stop and exchange a few words from across our "garden fences."
I know that my neighbor, who also lives in Iraqi land, is an editor/publisher of some sort.
The other day, driven by both curiosity and an eagerness to get better acquainted with my neighbor, I invited her over for a virtual cup of coffee.

And since she lives in Uruk Land, I naturally, wanted to find out more...So we chatted a little... I will let you in on our conversation.

First let me introduce you to her. Her name is Paola Pisi and she is the editor of Uruknet.info.

And the following are bits and pieces of our meeting over a virtual cup of coffee...
Since what she had to tell was quite important. I will share it here with you, in its entirety.

So get yourself a cup of coffee, tea or your favorite drink and read on...




I have noticed you've been in the virtual uruknet land for quite a few years now. How did it all start? And today, with so many years of experience being in that virtual land, what are your feelings, impressions, thoughts...


Uruknet started in the spring of 2003, just after the invasion. Its goal was and still is to offer our readers news, comments and analysis from a wide range of sources. With so much propaganda, disinformation and fog of war, it seems to us the battle for information on the issue of Iraq in particular and more in general on the Middle East is paramount in these tragic years.

When we started, it seemed to us that almost everybody was against Iraq, in a way or in another. Four years later that impression has been reinforced by our experience.

Already at the time of the First Gulf War and then during the genocidal embargo, we assisted to a psychological war; even those who condemned the sanctions were at the same time condemning the Iraqi government and Saddam Hussein. In the West this psychological war resulted in a complete isolation of Iraq and after many years it has certainly helped the 2003 invasion of the country.

The US-led war of aggression against Iraq has been an illegal war according to international law and the UN Charter, the Nuremberg’s supreme international crime. All the following effects coming from that invasion are therefore illegal and outside the UN Charter.

All the crimes following the invasion have to be seen as the result of that invasion and ascribed to it. Opposing that war of aggression, that supreme international crime, should have meant calling for the respect of international legality and the UN Charter.

The anti-war movement and generally the left never demanded respect of legality and international right. In that case, they would have struggled for the only solution aligned to international law i.e. restoring the status quo ante the unlawful and criminal Anglo-American war of aggression.

Rejecting the illegal aggression carried out against Iraq should have involved the refusal of all its effects as a logical result, first of all the unlawful removal of the legitimate Saddam Hussein's government; and this whatever opinion one has on President Hussein and on the Baath Government.

By all standing international covenants, Saddam Hussein was Iraqi Republic's legitimate President until his assassination. Instead, the so-called anti-war movement and the so-called left have never drawn this logical and legal consequence.

Even those opposing the war have not called for the respect of international law and all its consequences. The legitimate government of Iraq, the only legitimate government of a country illegally invaded and occupied, has been abandoned by the international community while the sectarian Quisling forces were lynching Saddam Hussein and the other members of his government.

Yes, there have been protests on that scandal known as the trial and its many Kafkaesque absurdities. But the only real, serious point to make should have been the international illegality of a trial where the supreme international criminals and their collaborators put on trial their victims. The international community and the so-called anti-war movement have ignored this gargantuan scandal.

Instead, the so-called progressive anti-war movement backed uncritically, almost without exceptions, demonizing campaigns carried out by imperialist propaganda against President Saddam Hussein and the Baath Government.

They never inquired about the soundness of accusations without proofs coming from the same sources that had been spreading falsehood on WMD and on connections with al-Qaeda. On the contrary, "progressive" not only believed - or pretended to believe - to alleged Baath Government’s "crimes", but added to all this another absolutely false slanderous accusation, according to which Saddam Hussein was a servant of the USA and had been put in power by the CIA.

All this was based on anonymous rumors skillfully spread in order to lessen support to the Baath Government, and also based on a picture of Saddam and Rumsfeld together, that has been high-pressure posted millions of times until, although the picture itself doesn't prove anything, ends up by taking the place of missing evidence.

On the occasion of President Hussein's lynching, the only concern for most of the so-called progressive (besides defending legitimate Iraqi President's executioners, Moqtada al-Sadr and the Mahdi army) was to insult the assassinated President, writing that he always carried out USA orders, accomplices in his "crimes". Many "left-wing" websites even published this obscenity, signed by Marc Ash, entitled "Puppet kills puppet": http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/010107Y.shtml

Now we got to the shameful point to read on the alternative websites the protest because the Americans haven’t allowed yet the lynching of Ali Hassan al-Majid, Sultan Hashem al-Tai and Hussein Rashid Al-Tikriti. http://www.counterpunch.org/amiri11032007.html

There is no need to comment of course.

The reason of so-called left and anti-war movements' behavior is surely a complex problem. All got mixed up: hired informers, opportunists who had never wanted to be marginalized by politically correct left, and also many people who are acting in good faith but have fallen in traps drawn up by imperialist propaganda (I myself know people absolutely above suspicion who firmly believe that Saddam was a CIA asset, and don't want to understand that the falsehood of "Saddam man of the Americans" has been the winning card the USA played since the first war in order to prevent Western left approval to the Baath government).

A certain role has been played by many opponents to Saddam living in exile in Western countries, who have been working promptly inside several movements, in order to direct them towards a "No to war No to Saddam" line (obviously, I surely don't want to blame all Saddam's opponents who live in exile: there are many of them who are worthy of respect and esteem, like Imad Khadduri or Iraq solidarity-al-Thawra group and many others).

Still, if anyone wants to go to the root of the matter, I think the real reason is that part of the anti-war movement and of the so-called left do not represent a real opposition to imperialism, but they rather represent the other face of imperialism itself. Her Majesty's Opposition, necessary and subsidiary to the system preservation.

All these reasons explain why the so-called anti-war movement – with just a few exceptions – has never supported the Iraqi resistance. Not only that, but a large and important part of the so-called anti-war movement has expressed sympathy and solidarity with the occupation troops, “our troops”, an occupation army responsible for more than one million Iraqi deaths and four millions Iraqi displaced.

This obscene contradiction is not even perceived as such by the “anti-war”.
It’s as if a pro-Palestinian movement needed to express solidarity and sympathy to the “Israeli” army or as if one of the moral and political imperatives of the anti-Nazi resistance were to express sympathy and solidarity to the Nazi army and the SS.


There have been in these past few weeks a little debate on why the anti-war movement hasn’t supported the Iraqi resistance.
As I said before, the so-called anti-war movement – from the first moment of the illegal war of aggression – has never asked for the respect of the UN Charter, for the restoration of the status quo ante bellum, the respect of international legality, in the case the restoration of the legitimate government of Iraq.

Instead, when the legitimate president of Iraq was captured by the illegal Occupation, one of the founding fathers of this Left, Noam Chomsky, wrote an article that started with the following paragraph:

“All people who have any concern for human rights, justice and integrity should be overjoyed by the capture of Saddam Hussein, and should be awaiting a fair trial for him by an international tribunal.” http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=4736

(Then he continues with the usual lies of Saddam Hussein man of Washington, and therefore the responsibility of the USA in his “crimes”).

On this basis, how could anyone think that THIS anti-war movement, incapable of the most bashful babbling in favour of international right, could ever support legitimate Iraqi national resistance?

To all this we could add that since the very beginning Zionist and imperialist propaganda started speaking about "Sunni" and not "national" resistance (after having falsely described as "Sunni" the Baath Government, when under Saddam Hussein deputies were predominantly Shiite and vice-prime minister was a Christian), and many people fell into this trap too.

The head-on collision between resistance on one side and occupying and collaborationist sectarian militia on the other was described as a Shiite/Sunni civil war. Now many believe - or pretend to believe - that resistance places anonymous bombs that massacre thousands of innocent civilians.


If you are given only a few sentences to describe the Iraqi "experiment", how you would qualify it?


The “experiment” is completely succeeded; Iraq doesn’t exist anymore. The country has been completely destroyed, its People is still being exterminated through a genocide ignored by the international community and even by part of the “progressive left”. It’s difficult to find precedents of such barbarity in recent history. Iraq doesn’t exist anymore, maybe one day…


Being editor in charge of Uruknet.info and working around the clock, I am sure you have seen tons and tons of articles, news clips, papers on Iraq. Bearing that in mind, what are your views on both the mainstream media and the alternative media?


It’s obvious that in an imperial system the mainstream media are in general functional to that system. There are good exceptions and of course many good journalists and writers who still do a very decent, honest work.

More problematic is the situation in the so-called alternative media. Here we have many good websites that offer excellent articles and analysis but there are also many other alternative websites that are the face of a fake opposition to the system they claim to oppose.

It’s evident that a fake democracy needs a fake opposition, based on weak ideas, if any. There are also too many alternative websites that seem to have the goal to distract their readers, with a conspiracy theory after the other.

Other websites publish all and its contrary, without a vision, a political line, without some ideas on priority and hierarchical importance. Too many go just after the mood of the day, the coup de theatre, the sensationalism, maybe just to have more readers.

In many cases the panorama is quite depressing, a postmodernism used to hide its emptiness. Again, as I said, there are many excellent alternative websites and many important writers, journalists and analysts in the alternative media (and sometimes even in the mainstream media).


So what do you think has been one of the major worst faults of the Western Left and anti- war movement?


To all the above, I add that maybe this is the worst fault of a substantial part of western left and anti-war movements: their tendency in favor of Moqtada al-Sadr, presented to the Western public as the great leader of the Iraqi resistance.

It’s a detail that all the Iraqi nationalist websites that support the Iraqi resistance write just the opposite about al-Sadr (often his Mahdi army is called the Anti-Christ army), one of the main enemies. Basically, all Iraqi bloggers, (right, left, centre, pro-Saddam, anti-Saddam, pro-resistance, anti-resistance) denounce continuously the monstrous crimes of al-Sadr’s Mahdi army.

All one has to do is to read the testimonies of the Iraqi displaced in Jordan and Syria; many among them stated that they fled Iraq to escape the persecutions by the Mahdi Army. But in the West, many among those who claim to defend the Iraqi people, praise continuously the virtues of al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army, responsible for the ethnic cleansing and co-responsible for the Iraqi genocide.

Therefore, most of the Western left and anti-war movements have done worse than non supporting the Iraqi resistance: they backed with all their forces Moqtada al Sadr and his death squads, engaged not only in fighting resistance, but also in Iraq ethnic cleansing: in this way many of self-styled progressives made themselves accomplices in Iraqi genocide.

A fake opposition from within the imperialist system can’t but support a fake opposition within the Quisling Iraqi government, as the al-Sadr’s movement.

In some cases there have also been some exiled opponents of Saddam Hussein, like Sami Ramadani in the UK Stop the War, the most Sadrist group of the antiwar movement in the West, whose demonstrations have seen the presence of Sheik Zangani, one of the many spokespersons of al-Sadr. Obviously the work of these Iraqi exiled have been possible because of the more general orientation pro-Iran and pro-Sadr of the most part of the so called left in the west.

From the beginning, the western left allied with al-Sadr since the so called Najaf uprising. Sadr had all the characteristics to become the hero of this left: he had welcomed the US as liberators and after the invaders had captured the Iraqi president, Sadr organized a popular demonstration to ask for Saddam Hussein’s killing without trial (and at last he’s been given what he had asked), and all the media in the West would write that Sadr was the son of a Shiite ayatollah killed by Saddam (obviously this is not true, there is no proof that the Iraqi government killed Mohammed Sadeq al-Sadr). Supporting Sadr for the left meant to not being accused to support the Baath or the Saddamists, which is to say, the resistance.

When finally al-Sadr got into the political process, the support from the western left has increased; in this way the left could support the quisling government and the big lie of an Iraqi government independent or quasi-independent from the occupation. Since after Najaf the Mahdi army didn’t fight the American occupation but focus on the killing of thousands of Iraqis, the western left didn’t have any problem; it could support our troops and the fake "Iraqi resistance" at the same time.

But the worst had still to come. At least from the first attack against the Samarra’s mosque, it’s been clear that the Mahdi army didn’t participate just to the killing of some few targets but it was doing a bloody ethnic cleansing in Baghdad and in the South of Iraq, slaughtering Sunni, nationalists, secular Shiites, and more in general anyone who would dare to oppose the occupation. Only in the three days immediately after Samara attack, the Sadr’s death squads massacred more than 3,000 innocent Iraqi civilians in Baghdad and occupied and destroyed more than 100 Sunni mosques.

On many Iraqi websites and blogs appeared hundreds of testimonies, photographs, videos of these crimes committed by these sadistic Sadrist psychopaths.
We’ve seen photos of children and babies massacred, with their eyes pulled out, just because they were Sunni.

In spite of the atrocious job made by the western mainstream media, some information about the Mahdi army was available for all to know and understand. We have all read stories of the sadrists killing people inside their own ministries, in particular the minister of health and the cruel and revolting persecution of the Palestinians living in Iraq by the Mahdi army.

What have the western left and antiwar movement done in front of all this?
They have given their support to this monster. The most absurd conspiracy theories started to appear in the so-called alternative media. The crimes that all the testimonies and the Iraqi victims denounced as committed by the Mahdi army were instead the work of improbable American death squads. Known and unknown alternative writers wrote that the western media wanted to criminalize al-Sadr, when actually the western media was doing quite the opposite.

Of course there are also US death squads in Iraq, but the existence of the death squads created and funded by the Occupying power cannot and must not be used to deny any involvement of the Badr Organisation and the Mahdi Army in the current Iraqi genocide. The civil war is clearly the aim of the occupation forces that try with any means to incite sectarian fights, to destroy the Arab, Iraqi national identity, so as to finally carry out the project of the tripartition of the country and one of the main means used by the Occupying power to create a civil conflict in that country is exactly the use of the sectarian militias.

One of the worst lies coming from the left was that al-Sadr was seen by the Iraqi nationalists and the Iraqi resistance as the leader able to unite the country against the American occupation. The most sectarian, and extremist of the Iraqi politicians was sold to the western public as the progressist, nationalist al-Sadr, the hero of the western antiwar crowds. In this way the left has promoted the genocide of the Sunni, nationalist Iraqis and made a true propaganda campaign, worse than Fox news.

It’s obvious that many of the promoters of al-Sadr in the West cannot be in good faith. The information on what was happening in Iraq was available to everyone.

As I said, the Iraqi websites supporting the Iraqi resistance have always been full of information denouncing the crimes of the Mahdi army and the resistance sees the Mahdi army as an enemy more dangerous than the occupation. It’s true that most of these websites are in Arabic but the translations were available on the internet.

There have also been several Iraqi bloggers, from all political tendencies and all agree on one thing: the terror coming from al-Sadr’s death squads. Why? Everybody in Iraq knows a friend or a relative or a neighbor who has been kidnapped, tortured and killed by the Mahdi army. Naturally many Western writers, journalists and bloggers who are not specialized in the Iraqi situation have been defending al-Sadr in good faith as a result of the many years of propaganda and disinformation that brought to a compete mystification of the reality on the ground. But whoever directs this choir surely is not in good faith.

When Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was lynched and assassinated by the Mahdy Army, the western left had to explain to its public opinion, completely disgusted by what had seen on TV, that what they had seen was actually the result of fantastic theories, circulated by the western progressists and antiwar campaigner to once again brainwash the population. It was not the al-Sadr movement who lynched the Iraqi President, as we all had watched on TV. No, it was... (you can fill this space with whatever you like: Americans, anti-Sadrists, everyone but the real responsible). The antiwar movement’s intellectuals had to cover once again the responsibilities of this monster.


Do you personally have any concrete examples that points to the above and would like to share ?


Just two episodes that I can tell you since I was directly involved.

Last year Gabriele Zamparini and I wrote a little piece on the kidnapping, torture and killing of one of President Saddam Hussein’s lawyer, Kahmis al-Obeidi. Providing qualified testimonies, we indicated as probable killers the Mahdy Army.

The BRussells Tribunal published an article by one Max Fuller where the author accused Zamparini and I to "do exactly what the occupation wanted". The aim of the BRussells Tribunal and Fuller was to defend the Mahdi Army and the Badr Brigades and to accuse whoever dared to expose to do exactly what the occupation wanted.

We replied with a long, detailed article where, one by one, all the lies of this Fuller and his supporters were unmasked and exposed for what they were. An inept attempt to hide the truth, defend the horrible crimes of the Mahdi army, the Badr brigades and obviously Iran. This Fuller had never written anything on Iraq before emerging as an expert on the Iraqi situation. His only goal was to provide a smokescreen to hide what the Shiite militias were doing in Iraq. The Brussells Tribunal is still selling Fuller’s lies to the four corners of the planet.

The second episode is even more revolting, if possible.

After the lynching and assassination of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, very few groups and internet websites expressed any real criticism and condemnation.

Among these, two linked websites: Workers World and International Action Center (the latter being the organization of Ramsey Clark, one of Saddam Hussein’s lawyers). These two organizations have also organized a protest demonstration for the occasion. This would have been a great job if the first preoccupation of these people had not been to defend the assassins of the Iraqi President!

Workers World issued a statement a few minutes after the lynching of the Iraqi president; http://www.workers.org/2007/editorials/saddam-hussein-0111/

“...The Pentagon, which in fact is against any Iraqis who fight for their sovereignty, has also launched an offensive against the Shiite-based Mahdi Army. The Bush gang is scrambling to come up with a way of sending more troops to Iraq than those available in the U.S. Army and Marine Corps, National Guard and Reserves...”

Sara Flounder, a co-director of the International Action Center immediately after Saddam's lyinching, posted a shameful article in defence of al-Sadr and his drill boys http://www.workers.org/2007/world/iraq-0111/ ):

"It is also suspicious that an unofficial video was released showing alleged Mahdi Army members taunting Hussein. Hussein’s assassination follows news that the U.S. has stepped-up attacks and arrests of members of the Mahdi Army, led by Moqtada al-Sadr. This offensive too is part of a desperate attempt to further divide the country and cut off any avenues of negotiation or phased withdrawal for the U.S. forces.
According to sources who monitor Iraqi resistance web sites, these have contained messages warning resistance fighters that the U.S. occupiers are trying to provoke battles between the resistance and the Mahdi Army. These messages urge fighters to make the main target the U.S. occupation forces, and where possible to convince Mahdi Army militia forces to join the resistance against the U.S."


In the same article, Mrs. Flounder insulted President Hussein and sang the praises of the Iranian mullahs:

“In the 1980s Washington was ready to collaborate with the Saddam Hussein government when it wanted to use the Iraqis against the Iranian Revolution with the Iraq-Iran war. Saddam Hussein was not executed because the U.S. occupation forces considered him a dictator. Although he had in the past been willing to make deals and to maneuver with imperialism, Washington saw his real crime as his refusal to hand over sovereignty or the control of the rich resources of Iraq.”

( After all, not only the ultra pro-Iran Workers world but the most part of the western left has always taken the side of Iran against Iraq; when they had the choice between a reactionary theocracy and a socialist government, the western left had no doubts. Iran has become the symbol of the fight against imperialism and capitalism. )

Workers World website is strictly linked to Ramsey Clark organization. After three day this shameful article was reposted on IAC (Ramsey Clark's OFFICIAL website
http://www.iacenter.org/Iraq/hussein-execution01052007.htm

Mrs. Sara Flouders and IAC center " organized protest demonstrations on Dec. 30 against the execution of Saddam" Hussein" (and in support of his executioners? ).

After Saddam's assassination Workers world and IACenter posted other articles in defence of his assassins, Moqtada al-Sadr and the Mahdi army.

But Sara Flouders went indeed beyond every limit. She wrote that the resistance websites praise Moqtada and the Mahdi army. Of course it's a lie: all the resistance websites hate that monster. Maybe they hate more al-Sadr than they do the occupiers themselves. So doing, Mrs. Flounders is besmirching the National Iraqi Resistance.

After having read Mrs. Flounders article, I sent her the following letter. Obviously I did not receive a reply.

Sent: Friday, January 05, 2007 1:41 AM
Subject: For the attention of Mr. Sara Flounders
Dear Mrs. Flounders,
I've just read your article "Bush prepares to escalate Iraq war".
http://www.workers.org/2007/world/iraq-0111/
It reads:

"It is also suspicious that an "unofficial video" was released showing alleged Mahdi Army members taunting Hussein. Hussein's assassination follows news that the U.S. has stepped-up attacks and arrests of members of the Mahdi Army, led by Moqtada al-Sadr. This offensive too is part of a desperate attempt to further divide the country and cut off any avenues of negotiation or phased withdrawal for the U.S. forces.
According to sources who monitor Iraqi resistance web sites, these have contained messages warning resistance fighters that the U.S. occupiers are trying to provoke battles between the resistance and the Mahdi Army. These messages urge fighters to make the main target the U.S. occupation forces, and where possible to convince Mahdi Army militia forces to join the resistance against the U.S.”

We too monitor Iraq resistance websites, and we have found only articles and messages blaming Mr. Moqtada al-Sadr and his genocidal gang for having assassinated the Iraqi President in a sordid sectarian lynching and for mass murdering iraqis. Probably we are monitoring different resistance websites.

This is indeed the first time that I see an article condemning an assassination and praising the assassins. Moreover, as far I as know, the Mahdi army fights against the Iraqi National Resistance.
Could you be so kind to tell me which are those resistance websites that defend Mr. Al-Sadr, so that I too can monitor them?
Many thanks.
Paola Pisi
Editor, www.uruknet.info

PS: These are some pictures from Sadr City:
http://uk.news.yahoo.com/30122006/323/photo/iraqis-ride-streets-sadr-city-effigy-saddam-hussein.html
http://uk.news.yahoo.com/30122006/46/photo/iraqis-hang-effigy-former-iraqi-president-saddam-hussein-baghdad-s.html
http://news.yahoo.com/photo/061231/photos_en_afp/02024f7b7ef2785d146cb10d26c16bdc
http://news.yahoo.com/photo/061230/photos_wl_afp/ec0b76cafc79205e49fddc6919083046
http://news.yahoo.com/photo/061230/ids_photos_wl/r3567300170.jpg


And as I said, I have not received a reply to this day.


This visit will be continued in Part 2 over a cup of afternoon tea. So do you join us, again.

Painting: Iraqi artist, Ahmad Sheyban.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Layla,
You have read this before. But for your readers who have not, here is a link to one of the best pieces I have come across on the villification of President Saddam Hussein. I believe it is a must read.
Best.

http://www.freearabvoice.org/articles/Dictatorship.htm
Anonymous said…
"...the mainstream anti-war movement (including large parts of its left wing) in the west is the well concealed left boot of western imperialism, the conscience of the conqueror."

Read entire article below:
Kola Odetola: "Saddam's Execution : The Western Anti-war Movement - the Left Boot of Imperialism?"

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=4272
Anonymous said…
Paola states:
"Chomsky, wrote an article that started with the following paragraph:

“All people who have any concern for human rights, justice and integrity should be overjoyed by the capture of Saddam Hussein, and should be awaiting a fair trial for him by an international tribunal.” http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=4736

And another stalwart of the Left, Tariq Ali, wrote:

"My first reaction to the capture of Saddam Hussein was both anger and disgust. Anger with the old dictator who could not even die honourably. He preferred to be captured by his old friends than to go down fighting, the one decent thing he could have done for his country."
http://www.counterpunch.org/ali12162003.html

And where was/is Tariq when President Hussein displayed unprecedented courage and dignity while being lynched?
Anonymous said…
Layla,
You have absolutely no right to appreciate anyone, be it writings-art-music, on the net. You should stop all communication with Paola or else....
the men with tinfoil hats will hunt you down.
Anonymous said…
This is an excellent, lucid, essay as to why even the alternative media has fallen prey to Imperialistic machinations.
Bravo to Paola Pisi.
Am looking forward to part.2
Anonymous said…
Dear Layla,
Morning coffee was great, just the way I like, looking forward to afternoon tea, please don't make it at 17:00.
I have a question, either of you can help me with. There was an article yesterday on uruknet by an authornamed Pepe Escobar, I tried to comment, to no avail. Do you know this person? And why he is stuck with his two favorite comments? Every way I turn, he/she is saying this;' Tel Aviv coddles racist, Kurd-hating Turkish Generals.....
'For any Turk with an Ottoman Empire memory, Mosul's oil fields, only 120km. from the border, should belong to Turkey....'
I could comment on informationclearinghouse, several times, no reply??!! What nationality and what political agenda is this person?! Can't we even challenge people on alternative media?! Ziyade olsun, coffee was great, I donot want to 'Drink' anything else, thank you. But I'll have tea.
All the best.
Anonymous said…
Layala, as a website purporting to record modern history (www.thehandstand.org) as it arrives on the internet or newspapers I can tell you that I will evaluate material perhaps better now after lessons from yourself and Paola. I remain ignorant in so far as I regard my experience completely inadequate to make best judgements - but I set up my website in horror at the violence, lies and criminality of illegal war. That is the only way I can recommend myself to you, ie, getting your permission to use your diary texts. I am not actually writing a comment to draw attention to my own efforts; I am forced, since I received contact with your texts to realise that they should be very widespread in Europe and USA. I am hoping that the background of The Handstand enables a serious reading of your material by my readers - because I do realise that the groups of protest are infact groups, political or sometimes just band-wagons of righteousness. There are thousands of Mexicans in USA armies and many must have been killed that have not been recorded atall - because Bush will only give them citizenship if they return to USA alive! I am old enough to remember the WW2 and in the last six years I have learnt that our western civilisation is a great dumb beast only obsessed with its living standards, and peurile social attitudes.
sincerely, to you good women, my regards, jocelyn
Anonymous said…
Blessings to you, Paola!!! And Layla, too, of course. KarlMarxwasright, may he rest in peace, which is dubious considering recent events. He must be turning over in his grave many, many times.
Layla Anwar said…
re.Kofi,

Thanks for the links. I have read them.
I held Tariq Ali in esteem, but had not seen this one on counterpunch before. I am having second thoughts about him.
As for Chomsky, well, I guess everyone knows by now, how much I disrespect this guy.
Anonymous said…
I have been reading this blog for several months now. I have been absolutely befuddled by the constant rantings against the 'left wingers' and the 'anti-war movement'. It was not the anti-war movement (such as it is) that invaded Iraq, killed hundreds of thousands of people, ethnically cleansed neighbourhoods, and destroyed a nation's infrastructure. We are your natural allies, and far from being your enemies.

As for Saddam, there is really no reality-based argument to be made on his behalf. The man was as ruthless as Dick Cheney, is responsible for the deaths of thousands, and purchased the precursor chemicals for Halabja from western countries. (And yes, I've read the CIA planted apologia implying it was done by Iran, and I don't believe it.) He was not a Nice Man, and unless one is a complete moral relativist, Chomsky's and Ali's opinions are not unreasonable. I imagine they are also eager to see Bush, Blair, Cheney, and the rest in the dock, as am I.HOWEVER, holding the opinion that Saddam was not nice is NOT the same thing as approving of regime change, or applauding his semi-legal lynching, a site that truly appalled me.

I have spent hours every day since the run-up to March 2003 gleaning information and opinions from the internet regarding the war in Iraq, and must admit that until today had not encountered a single example of 'left-wing, progressive, anti-war' pundits lauding Moqtada al-Sadr. And what do we have for evidence that the mighty Anti-War Movement (RIP) is in the mullah's pockets? A gentlemen named Max Fuller, who apparently represents no one but himself (I'd certainly never heard of him before), and a woman named Sara Flounder, who writes for a Maoist website. Pardon my skepticism, but Fuller and Flounder DO NOT REPRESENT MUCH OF ANYTHING. To accuse the 'left' in general of having the hots for al-Sadr because of these two is an absurd generalization!

Every day I read sites like Needlenose, Antiwar.com, Informed Comment, Free Iraq (Imad Khadduri), Asia Times Online, Gorilla's Guides, and many others to try and understand what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. I've never seen pro-Sadr opinions expressed on any of these sites. Perhaps you need to broaden your horizons, and stop paying attention to what the Workers World Party thinks about anything.

The idea that Iran and the U.S. are somehow in cahoots whilst occupying Iraq is also laughable. Why do you think Rumsfeld shook Saddam's hand? Because Saddam was America's bulwark against Iran. When faced with a choice between backing a secular dictatorship and a theocractic republic, America has NEVER chosen the republic, and to imply otherwise is impressive chutzpah.

Incidentally, Uruknet is very poorly regarded by the reality-based community, and are not considered a reliable source of information regarding much of anything.

Finally, I would urge you to stop the name-calling and start building some bridges to the anti-war left. Unless, of course, you'd like the US to bomb Tehran...in which case, you may want to invite a neo-con over for coffee next time instead of Paolo Pisi.
Layla Anwar said…
Nur Aris,

See, I beat you to it. Arab generosity. You had no coffee to offer.
As for the comments on uruknet. Am not sure how it works, you need to get a password first - I think.
I do not read Pepe Escobar anymore. I read one article by him and that was more than enough...
What is this business about Mosul belonging to the Ottomans?
A new record, I need to get used to hearing or what?
See for tea soon, good Samovar tea.

Regards
Layla Anwar said…
Hi Jocelyn,

You may use my writings but please do provide the source i.e the blog.
I hope they do find an echo among your readers.
Frankly Jocelyn, I keep on writing but deep down I believe it is a hopeless case insofar as the West is concerned.
As for the Arabs, its another ball game but as hopeless.
As for Iraqis, they are too busy buying small bottles of water for 3 dollars each or dying from lack of it - and living on candlelight.
My only hope is the Iraqi Resistance but I don't see it happening tomorrow either.
Gosh this is so fucking depressing.
Layla Anwar said…
anonymous,

Am not sure if KarlMarx is or is not turning in his grave. He was also known to be one of the most Eurocentrics around and had a lousy understanding of what he called "eastern societies".
One of the reasons of my taking my distances with Marxism and Karl Marx.
Layla Anwar said…
John Seal,

Another one in bad faith. So bloody typical. Either you can't read or have serious problems with your reading skills.
I can't even be bothered to reply further to you.
Too classic - too predictable.
Anonymous said…
Jon Seal just wants to tell us that he belongs to the stupidity-"based comunity" of the now-so-in-vogue so-called lefties ...
Anonymous said…
"He was also known to be one of the most Eurocentrics around and had a lousy understanding of what he called eastern societies."

Absolutely correct.

Actually what we might need is some sort of "Iraqocentric Arab Socialism"...
LostHere said…
I am always mystified by what is "left unsaid" in western news sources (and I said western because although I can read several languages, they are all western and romanic at that).
One credit I will give to Chomsky is his explanation of how to read the main stream press "...start at the bottom third of an article, and pay attention to what is not said by reason of what is said"... paraphrasing him, of course, but a very useful insight.

One of the many things I find missing lately when reporting "that violence in Iraq is down up to 80%" is the temporary "cease fire" from Sadr... Hmmm Does that reconfirm your often repeated assertion that the Mahdi army is one of the major problems in Iraq?

Your conversation with Paola is good, or at least interesting but nothing new... not that I am criticizing it, just asserting what I see. It's too bad that so many people have not idea how to read and think critically without being overly influenced by the blatantly obvious propaganda.

Here is a quote that was highlighted today with Doonesbury...
"I don't -- you know quagmire is an interesting word. If you lived in Iraq and had lived under a tyranny, you'd be saying, 'God, I love freedom,' because that's what's happened."
-- George W. Bush

It makes me think of what I often said (and more often think) that USAmericans would not recognize freedom if it hits them in the face... Freedom (and I am aware of how the word makes you feel) in this country is pretty much a Hollywood creation... a word with a meaning very "USAmerican", not exactly based in UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLES.
Anonymous said…
Layla , you absolutely beat me to it, about beating around the bush, I will not taste coffee that comes from Ymen, Saudi, and Iwill not drink it!
Anonymous said…
As for Marx being characterized as "eurocentric," that is the same pattern or methodology of disinformation or misrepresentation utilized BY MANY to discredit Marx as that above which your are chronicling regarding Iraq, the Baath, Hussein. I do not like to insult people's intelligence, so, I always assume they have read much or most of Marx's writings. If so, the above reductionist characterization of Marx's dense theoretical contributions to the study of history and society as simply or merely "eurocentric" is as ridiculous as those, again, about whom you are criticising, appropriately so, regarding the "Left." It is impossible to condense Marx's 3 volumes of "Capital" and then, in addition,his other philosophical writings and manuscripts from "commodity fetishism," class relationships, the labor theory of value, the methodology of "dialectical materialism" (MOST IMPORTANT) in relation to historical change, "primitive capital accumulation," feudalism to capitalism, the peasant revolts, his writings from/about the American civil war and on and on, AND, as well, a study which, unfortunately, he did NOT complete before he died on the "Asiatic" mode of production. His contributions, like that of Newton and Einstein, DID really change the world, both in theory and practice. Marx is on par with Newton and Einstein in breath and scope. The principles and concepts of modern day "Physics" are not devalued, discredited or eliminated as "eurocentric" even though MODERN day physics has its roots in what we would consider MODERN day "Europe." These physical concepts are applied universally. Indeed, that is what makes these concepts so brilliant. Likewise, the scientific principles and concepts that Marx illuminated for study/understanding and changing/affecting history and human society/organization are equally universal, which is what and why his contributions in this area are equally monumental.
Layla Anwar said…
Anonymous re Marx,

One can appreciate Marx's contributions yet still spot the pitfalls and traps when it comes to Eastern Societies.
I am not the only one who thinks along these lines. Many so called "third worldists" also view that Marx's theories however valuable they may be, fall short when it comes to understanding Eastern societies which you referred to as the Asiatic mode of production.

Furthermore, I find that taking Marx's writing as would be all Bible, a panacea for every ill, is the ultimate form of reductionism.

I don't have the time or space in this context, i.e blog comment section to delve into all the above, suffice to say, that I don't accept the other theoretical premise that you propose that of regarding Marxism as some exact science. I don't even view Science as an exact science either, for that matter.
Layla Anwar said…
nur aris,

my coffee is from Brazil but they call it turkish coffee here and it has cardamom in it too, scented and aromatic. You will not beat me to it either.
Anonymous said…
Dear Layla,
Thank you for your efforts.I have been reading your blog for sometime now but have not commented before,although I have wanted to on many occasions.
Your writings are not only of great quality but are also very informative; eye openers so to speak.
To anonymous above who said:"This is an excellent, lucid, essay as to why even the alternative media has fallen prey to Imperialistic machinations.
Bravo to Paola Pisi." I would like to add, AND A BIG BRAVO TO LAYLA ANWAR who,through her various writing styles, is leading us to the truth.
Layla Anwar said…
Hello Philippa,

Thank you for visitin and commenting. I appreciate it.

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