The Next Step

It has came to my attention that the reasons of my quitting were not clear for some people, which is probably due to the fact that I didn't exactly elaborate on why I did what I did or what it means. This is an effort to remedy that. This is not me coming back to blogging though: this wasn't me crying wolf or a publicity stunt, so fans and haters, don't raise your hopes up or don't get disappointed, respectively. This is a clarification, more than anything.

  1. While it is true that I am currently in the States , it doesn't mean that I have "escaped" Egypt or have no intention of going back. On the contrary, come next week I will be gracing the Cairo International Airport with my fabulous presence again. I have no intention of letting those goons get me out of Egypt so easily; If I am to leave it will be on my terms, and not theirs. Me traveling to the US right after shutting down the blog was purely coincidental: the trip was planned for months in advance and the decision to shut down the blog was more of a spur of the moment decision. In retrospect, it probably would've been better and smarter- or at least less rumor inducing- to do this after I came back from the States, but alas, what's done is done. However , to make it clear once and for all, I maybe down, but I am not out.
  2. I have stated two reasons for quitting, and the majority of the people took the first one and ignored the second one, even though for me the second one was one of the major reasons for doing what I did. The truth of the matter is, the secuirty situation and intimidation aside, this was a protest, my way of telling the Egyptian blogosphere that we need to focus. That we now have the media attention, the people's admiration or at least interest, and the "zeitgeist' is ours if you will, so it's time we use it wisely. Blogs actually allowed the world to listen to us, so now that we have this tool, the question is : what do we have to say exactly? It's personally depressing to see that very few, handful really, from those who command the attention, have anything to contribute to the debate, and even those are censoring themselves now. I am not saying that we should take ourselves too seriously, or start going on ego trips over our importance and role and believe that we are leaders and influential, but there are things to be done that we can easily do. At the end of the day, a blogger is purveyor of information: we can supply people with the information and the lessons they need to affect change and reform. Just think about it: None of the things we are demanding or calling for are exactly new. There has been countless civil rights movement, democracy movements, nonviolent activism movements, very successful ones, all over history and all over the world. We should learn from them. We should provide their lessons to the public, think about how to apply their strategies to our situation, and see which things that they did are applicable to our situation and which aren't. We are not inventing anything new here: the knowledge is available and many amongst us know it already. Maybe it's time to share it.

    And even if you do feel disheartened about the apathy or the lack of interest or activism on the part of the average Mo in Egypt, well that too needs to be examined and worked on. Let's face it, the average Egyptian is scared of political reform, and shies away from religious reform, so how do you get them involved? Well, there is still social reform, and they have shown keen interest in that. Take the anti-sexual harassment protest for example: For the first time ever you have had a protest that included foreigners, AUC students, regular University students, Hijabis, liberals, alongside your run-of-the-mill activist. Finally, something we could all agree on: Let's capitalize on that. The question becomes: Why did the campaign stop? Why didn't it go forward? We should've. If you draw the people in using social reform, than sooner or later they will become interested and active in political and religious reform as well, because it is all connected. That's an example of how to reel them in. And it can be done, easily. But do we do it? Nope! Some of us were too busy picking up cute AUC girls at the protest instead. It's shameful. It's time for us to stop being distracted about such things and focus: All of those people could've been mobilized , and instead the opportunity got wasted. We shouldn't allow this to happen again.

  3. That being said and thus out of way, I am not saying that first reason is irrelevant either: Our security situation is dire, and not only in Egypt, but rather all across the middle-east. Bloggers have been intimidated by the authorities in Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, Syria, Iran, Bahrain, just to name a few. It seems like the period of hope and reform that the bloggers of those countries have pushed for and represented in the past 2 years is now coming to an end, with the authorities more and more focused and intent on shutting us up, using everything from intimidation to imprisonment. And we have no defenders, no one to protect us, or champion our causes or lobby for our rights and safety. There used to be the Committee to Protect Bloggers, but that went defunct due to lack of funding, media-pressure- only strategy and too large of a scope: To champion the causes of every single persecuted blogger all over the world takes incredible time and effort. Not to mention they relied heavily on the media, and the media is selective of which stories to publish and which don't, and even when they do mention it, there is heavy doubt on how effective the media is as a pressure tool against repressive regimes. But it's the only tool we had, and god bless them for trying in the cases in which they did. God knows that without the media and the pressure they applied, Alaa probably would've stayed a lot longer in jail. So don't get me wrong Media, it's not that I am ungrateful, thanks for all you have done, but it's starting to be not enough, and the Abdel Karim case has proven that so far.

So what now? What's the solution? Well, here is what I am proposing:

I am proposing creating an organization that deals with championing the causes of blogger and freedom of speech in the middle-east, at least as the first step, since it seems that 90% of the cases of blogger intimidation and oppression comes from this region anyway. This new organization / committee / coalition / whatever would exclusively bring focus to our causes, champion them and push for our protection. It would do so by utilizing a strategy that doesn't only rely on bloggers and the media to pressure governments. This new coalition would include 1) prominent bloggers from the US on both sides of the political divide (cause one of the few things that I think the left and the right can agree and co-operate on is the importance of free speech), who will bring light, focus and attention of the American public and the media to the plight of those bloggers, and help mobilize their readers to start letter campaigns and pressure against those governments who do oppress bloggers, 2) prominent bloggers from each and every middle-eastern country, who will provide us with the news of who is getting arrested or persecuted, and help mobilize their local blogosphere and media to come to aid of those who are being persecuted, 3)Human rights organizations and interest groups, local and international ones, to help with the legal, physical and moral support for those imprisoned or charged with crimes due to what they wrote, and 4) Members of American and Europeans Think Thanks and Interest groups, who will help with spreading the word and lobbying their respective government or the select lawmakers who do care about freedom of speech to apply pressure on our governments to leave us the hell alone. This way we would cover all fronts and apply pressure from everywhere: The Media, the blogosphere, both legally and physically on the ground , internationally through lobbying governments and lawmakers, and not to mention, most importantly, through the campaigning of the thousands of caring people world-wide that do give a damn about our freedom and spend their time and effort writing e-mails to our embassies and their government respresentitives, forwarding letters and informing others, and raising money through online donations to support those bloggers affected and in need. If something like this gets created and gets operated correctly, the playing field would be drastically changed in favor of the side of the middle-eastern bloggers, and eventually persecuted bloggers everywhere. It would eliminate a huge part of the worrying associated with blogging and would stop people like me from quitting, and even eventually get me, and others like me who quit, started on blogging again. Such an entity is essential, necessary and its time has come.

Pursuing such an organization this would be the logical next step, for me, for us, to take. This will be my focus in the few remaining days I have here in DC: How to make such an organization real. If you are interested, if you think this is a good idea and would like to help, or have suggestions or ideas or input to help improve or facilitate this, please contact me and let me know. I am all ears, and open to all suggestions.

To risk sounding cliché and trite, let's light and candle instead of cursing the darkness.

We can do this!

The Sandmonkey

PS: I am overwhelmed on the incredible amount of love and support shown in the blogs all over, the comment section of my previous post and all over my Inbox. It's really humbling, and in many ways depressing, because my decision has seemingly caused a lot of people pain and that was the last thing that I wanted to do to any of you. You have my love and sincerest apologies for any grief or disappointment my decision has caused any of you. Thank you so much for your kind words and your best wishes. I honestly do not know what I could've possibly done in my previous life to deserve such fantastic readers, but I must've been a freaking saint or something. Anyway, hopefully, if this works out, One day you will find me ranting over here once again.

Here's hopin!

Comments

  1. Kimberly says:

    Are you really in the States? Any chance you will be coming to DC? If so, send me an email – I’d like to get to know the famous Sandmonkey (and ask him a few questions) before he’s gone for ever!

  2. Good luck! I think something like this will do a tremendous amount of good in the Middle East. If you need any help or advice on starting an NGO, send me an email. The Project on Middle East Democracy is just getting off the ground (see website link) but it’s beginning to have an impact.

  3. Good idea, SM. Do talk to Nora Younis about the protest she organised in DC and to the folks who organised the Free Kareem protest. Email me and I can put you in touch with some others too. A coalition of the kind you describe is long overdue.

  4. Mona Sympathizer says:

    Dear Sandmonkey & coveted readers,

    It is an honour that to be one of the first ones to leave a comment on your much anticipated “Next Entry” after shutting down.

    May I ask you this sir, “Regarding this Coalition you want to start for the protection of Middle East Bloggers, do you for one minute believe the mainstream M.E. will play along even though it badly needs reform when it’s our governments that need the changing not the people without tackling the Israeli Palestinian Problem?”
    The issue must be broken down & tackled accordingly because you need the support of mainstream opinion & you shouldn’t necessarily come off as pro Israeli just to be in their good favor, be in their good favor without pissing them off nor pissing 99% of the Arabs off. Do that & I will be a true reformer & champion of peace & freedom & I will eat my shoe & call you the hero of hero’s, regardless of sect, denomination or creed.

    Thank you

  5. Bleepless says:

    Whatever you do, please stay active. The world needs you, good Sandmonkey.

  6. Olive Picker says:

    I am sad to see you go, even though I couldn’t keep up with your posts lately.

    I wish you a world of success in organising this coalition and in every endeavour in your life.

  7. Renée says:

    Ah, I kept checking this site everyday, just hoping you’d post again. Thanks for the clarification because it did help explains some things better. Your ideas sound good. I’ll be watching for updates about this…

    God bless you Sandmonkey.

  8. SM you are a trully awesome dude. I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now here in Australia. You are clear, articulate and hit the nail on the head every time. I’m amazed the crooks, shysters and spinmeisters working for your government haven’t got you yet. You are the kind of dude they are most afraid of. You expose them. Your truth hurts and offends them. You threaten their house of cards. This is the first time I have contributed a comment to your blog. Unlike you I guess I’m lazy and could appear apathetic but I really do care about things like truth, freedom of expression and FUN and it inspires me and gives me hope to know that there really are still one ore two sane people out there. SM I salute you. I think you may be destined for great things!

  9. brooklynjon says:

    I would caution that those who favor their own freedom of speech do not necessarily favor freedom of speech for others. Anyone who disagrees is welcome to walk around my fair city with a sign expressing support for a right-wing idea, just to see how long they last.

    Mona Sympathizer is probably right in saying that most of the ME has no interest in improving their own lot so long as Israel still exists. Quite sad for them, really.

    bj

  10. Hannah says:

    First, glad to hear you’re not in jail.

    Second, having read your extended explanation, I could not disagree more with your decision to quite blogging. A protest by means of silencing one voice only serves to silence that voice. If this coallition is really what you’re going for, then what you need is to get your blog, as well as the blogs of others, in the news. OK, maybe you feel that egos have gotten out of control. It happens. Martin Luther King jr had any number of affairs… because he could. A little bit of an ego, but in the long run, we don’t remember that.

    If I were you, I would consider looking at how cultural revolutions start. Frequently, they do start with the youth, and move into an accepted norm. During the 1960′s, students got college credit for participating in civil rights marches. Obviously, it’s difficult for you to organize speaking engagements when you’re worried that you’re going to be taken to prison for just saying what you think, but that’s why the blog is important. You can keep talking here, you can say what you want to say and voice your ideas for the future. When you have enough people supporting some of those ideas, consider other options. There are plenty of books on how to start a grassroots movement, even while keeping a full time job.

    Additionally, you may consider contacting some grass roots orgs and seeing how they work. Maybe study how they organize and motivate people. It may not happen next week, but if you keep at it, it *will* happen. The US went from “Whites” and “Colored” bathrooms, to integrated. It’s not perfect, it’s a work in progress, but it’s working.

    If you’re interested, I can get you in contact with several groups. Let me known and I’ll send you some names. But to stop blogging because you’re a bit disillusioned doesn’t help anyone but the people who want to silence you.

  11. you will be truely missed…. hey if you are in the states and wanted to check out what katrina left behind, let me know i can show you around the big easy….. hope everything works out for you… always here if you need anything….. so sad, i’m going to miss your blog….

  12. I’m so glad you did this cuz the main reason why you quit was actually being overshadowed by the minor reason. Even though the security issue is, and always have been an obstacle to blogging freely, it really is the decay of the blogsphere that got you thinking – i believe. I really do support your suggestion of creating an entity that is for the soul purpose of protecting free speech.

    Thank you so much for clarifying what made you stop – again – you’re making a statement by quitting, hope everyone got it this time….

    And as for that NGO – you have my utter and unconditional support, let me know if there’s anything I can do.

    Who was picking up cute AUC girls at the demo huh??

  13. Why don’t you just start a Daily Kos type blog for the Middle East, where you’d have one site with contributions from a variety of sources, regardless of position. More or less a blog – community of freedom of speech individuals. My suggestion would be to have this server located out of the M.E. as it would be too easy to shut down (like in the U.S.). There’s a lot going on over here and you probably could have a newsworthy assortment of commentaries and reports regularly that could be sorted by region, topic, etc. In addition, not sure you knew this, you were mentioned in the Christian Science Monitor today, but you could also provide a feed or reference for articles of note from various newsapers. If you align together, as many of the bloggers in the U.S. have done, I think the shut down will be more evident to other M.E. and worldwide countries, but you’d also have a “community” hanging in there together. You’d also be providing a website that was all inclusive – a site that would get attention throughout the M.E. instead of drips of interested individuals here and there. Of course you’d need a voluntary staff. If you’re interested, I’d be interested in helping out.

  14. ok sandmonkey,

    althoug this has been a reaalllllllllllly long close up mail, but i couldn’t agree more with you, you have said exactly the points i was looking for, please tell us what to do to help you make your proposals possible, i also suggest that we need to make workshops to enhance the manifestation of the target to intellectual non active people, we can make it as a fun day, we can have plenty of thoughts if we made a good brain storm….just one comment..why are you writting in english…???

    i guess you may be loosing lots of readers by not writing in Arabic..if you allow me i ll summarise your blog and translate into arabic and publish on my blog…if you gave me green light ofcourse…

    if you are closing your blog from today, then please write me on my email so i can start on…

    sorry for the long comment

    regards

  15. I’ve only recently found your site, but I just felt compelled to send on my good wishes for your future. You sound motivated and as if nothing is impossible. I sincerely hope you are right and will look for ways to do my part from an ocean away.

  16. You mean something like the one on my link? Maybe you should join them.

  17. Monkey just get ur ass back to Egypt and stop bumming around in America I miss u and I have been waiting 4 this damn post 4 the entire day. grrrrrrrrr. Neways yeah its a cool idea I think M would like it. But serious come backkkkkkkkk we miss u and dnt b too naughty…..

  18. James M says:

    I only have one useful contribution: It sounds like the coalition/committee/whatever you’re proposing is less of an entity and more of a plan of action for already-existing entities. Focussing too much on the organization, rather than the tasks, carries the danger that it may degenerate into the sort of new agency that governments create to “solve” problems.

  19. I can understand your reasons for stepping back from the blog, although I hate that you’re doing so. I know it has to be frustrating to risk your own hide when there’s such fear and apathy in others. I think you’ve got exactly the right idea with wanting to move forward with this project. Maybe that fear and apathy in others will be lessened somewhat, once they feel secure in knowing there are more people willing to stand up for them. And you’re right–it HAS to be an international effort, or else it’ll be too easy to silence it.

    Lots of good suggestions in the comments here. I wish I knew the right people to put you in touch with, but I know there are countless others who do and who will be equally happy to point you in the right direction. But whatever I can do, I will!

    I’m glad you’re getting a break in the States, a bit of time away from it all. Have a great time in DC, and stay outta trouble! ;-)

  20. good idea!

    but “grief” and “pain” marra wa7da! lick us.

    can you bring me back trivial pursuit, or failing that, cranium?

  21. Mona Sympathizer says:

    BROOKLYNJON,

    I never said there should be no Israel, just that a pallipable solution found. See my post on the last thread, you invited me to respond & that I did, plus this name is bugging me I’m gonna change it real soon once I hear what you have to say back.

  22. Mona Sympathizer says:

    It wouldn’t post on the last thread so here it is BROOKLYNJON

    BROOKLYNJON,

    Just a quick note, I have nothing against Jews just as you have nothing against Muslims as long as they are not hurting me nor my people either & there is no doubt in my mind that there is an excess of over 10, 000, 000 God fearing human beings of Jewish faith, I know all of Jews are not bad.

    Is Israel bad?

    Ask yourself this, are all black people bad? No, but the really bad apples in American society are mostly black, therefore they have been branded & labeled as such in a way that affects all black people living from Brooklyn to D.C. in a terribly negative way.

    The same goes for what a handful of Jews who fought for an independent Jewish state called Israel did in the 40′s. Now “Well-to-do” black people have learned to distance them selves from such elements as Afro-American thugs & that is why they have excelled in American society. I know it is not that easy to distance yourselves from an entire nation & leave them to drown amidst hostile Arabs. Even Jews who don’t believe in a state of Israel will come to the rescue, as every Arab in the Middle East will for sake of Palestine regardless of whether or not they agree with Palestinians just for the simple fact hat they are their brethren. It is a ludicrous situation. God fearing Jews not blinded my zeal should see the problem & tell Israel to shape up.

    It wasn’t easy but it worked for Afro-Americans distancing themselves from the bad apples of their race & I strongly recommend that the 10, 000, 000 + good distance themselves from Israel which is the bad apple of Judaism. The only other alternative is for Israel to change it’s government & apologize & compensate it’s victim’s [as Palestinians should do as well/both ways] as you suggested & then just simply say “WE ARE ISRAEL, WE ARE HERE & WE ARE NOT GOING ANYWHERE, LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT!” Perhaps then a sit down for some kind of a solution to the 1967 border issue could be in place & a mutual concession found.

    However Israel will not do that because they have gone way to far already. The Arabs have gone way to far already. You say you support a Jewish homeland where Jewish rights can be protected, is that in the Torah- “NO” Israel is a run away state just s the concept of SHIA Islam is, they are a sect, an idea, a cult, IRAN being the capital. As Israel & Iran both claim to practice the most fundamental style of both their religions respectively, as a matter of fact the biggest Jewish community in the world after Israel is to be found in Iran, as I am sure as you already know.

    In the end even the word Arab relates to us both. The etymology for the word Arab is Abraham, hence the words HeBrew & AraBic, in your language & mine are pronounced the same Abri & Arabi, respectively.

    I am sure that some of the radical crowds are saying I have gone soft by trying to articulate my view to a supporter of the state of Israel, but it is just really sad & misfortunate to see such strife & carnage continue in the region.

    They would say perhaps consider a Jewish homeland not necessarily run by Jews ho0wver this would not work. As you said a Jewish state doesn’t necessarily exclude non Jews which would mean that they would undoubtedly be given their rights. However we both know that is not the case & as embarrassing as it may be, Israel doesn’t give Palestinians or non Israeli Arabs from so called Arab countries their rights, they have different health care systems, different roads to travel on as well as segregated bathrooms etc. it’s the world’s last apartheid, a completely segregated political system. So I presume the same would be true if the state was run by other than Jews, No?

    I believe any state has the right to exist if it is founded accordingly with the consensus of all it’s natural & indigenous inhabitants.

    Israel is very bold & hence boldness must be fought with boldness, this is impossible when you match state of the art weaponry with rock’s therefore they are a people pushed over the edge & entangled in a web of terror.

    By the way, it is easy to be overcome with emotion when brainstorming such a topic especially when so much blood has been spilled especially on my side yet I am still trying to stay positive & objective & obviously my name is isn’t Mona supporter, but I’ll stick with it for now.

  23. Sam,

    I understand your reasons, but let me tell you that, if all of you liberal arab bloggers give up, there will be no real hope for change. I mean, with all the media attention on you the liberal bloggers, you have a tool to slowly but surely take over and defeat, at least virtually, the Islamists.

    Dear Sam, although I understand your reasons, I hope you will reconsider them and will come back as a winner. Pls, don’t give up, remember that freedom is worth the risk.

  24. brooklynjon says:

    Mona Sympathizer,

    Thank you for responding. I think there is much we disagree on, but we also have much that we can agree upon. Can we build on that?

    Thank you for acknowledging that most Jews are not bloodthirsty savages. In fact, the reason I like to come to this blog is for reassurance that there are Arabs and Muslims who are not bloodthirsty savages. And by the way, I’m pretty sure your not a bloodthirsty savage too, which is why I’m happy to engage you in dialogue.

    Israel has plenty to apologize for, and plenty to compensate people for. So do the Arabs and the Palestinians (I say this not wishing to take a stand on whether the Palestinians are or are not Arabs). There were bad acts perpetrated in BOTH directions over the last 100 years or so. They ALL should be compensated. I agree.

    I do not agree that it is only Israel that owes apologies. I think, in fairness, both sides have some apologizing to do. Maintaining a scorecard of who has to apologize more is rather fruitless, as it only keeps people dwelling in the past, which is not especially helpful towards building a bright future.

    I also agree that Israel should treat it’s non-Jewish citizens better. But it is not correct to say that there is “Apartheid”. Your claim of different roads, different bathrooms, and different bathrooms is not correct. Nothing could be further from the truth. I know first hand, as I spent a month in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, taking care of Jew and Gentile alike. Everyone was treated the same. The roads in Jerusalem, in Tel Aviv, in Haifa, in Eilat are open to everyone. As are the roads everywhere. As are the busses and trains. The road signs are in the language of the people who usually use the roads. In West Jerusalem, in English and Hebrew. In East Jerusalem, in Arabic.

    I have spent many hours in busses with Jews and Arabs in them. I have chatted with Arabs, Beduins, and Druze in Israel. I have chatted with Arab, Beduin, and Druze soldiers. I have chatted with Israeli citizens of those communities while outside of Israel. While many may say that they would like more funding for this or that, no one has expressed particular displeasure with the Israeli political system, or with their treatment as minorities. The Druze towns, in particular, have more Israeli flags per square foot, to my eye, than anyplace else in Israel.

    Many towns and cities in Israel are mostly Jewish or mostly Arab, but there are also towns and cities, particularly in the north and most notably Haifa, in which everyone is mixed. There is no official policy dictating who can live where. People just tend to associate with their own ethnicity. Armenians can live wherever they want , but if I were a Armenian in Jerusalem, you can bet I’d prefer to live in the Armenian Quarter. It is absolutely not Apartheid. People like to throw that accusation around, but it is categorically untrue.

    I don’t exactly understand your points about Israel and the Torah. Israel is not a theocracy, at all. Israel is a secular liberal democracy. In many respects, America is more theocratic than Israel is, which is not much.

    I also don’t understand where you’re going with Iran having the largest Jewish community. In 2007 this is far from the truth. It may have once been true, but it is not now. The last data I have is from 2005, which is around 11,000.
    Here’s a link: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/jewpop.html

    “Israel is very bold & hence boldness must be fought with boldness”
    This is exactly what an Israeli would say, only replace “Israel” with “The Arabs”. Depending on when you start your history, both sides have been the victims of aggression from the other side. People tend to start their history when it suits them best. But clearly, and standing outside the conflict as it is easier to do from Brooklyn, both sides have been bold, both sides have responded boldly, and both sides have been both victims and perpetrators.

    I suspect that much of what you know about Israel is colored by where you get your news sources from. Have you been there? Have you taken a look at any of the mainstream English language Israeli newspapers online?

    “I believe any state has the right to exist if it is founded accordingly with the consensus of all it’s natural & indigenous inhabitants.”
    I believe a certain amount of explanation is called for here. Natural and indigenous as of when? 2000? 1948? 1492? 660? The dawn of time?

    Should Japan be given back to the Ainu, the “indigenous” people of Japan? Should all the Arabs clear out of Egypt? Should all the Chinese people return to China? Most English are either of Norman or Scandinavian descent. Should they all go back? Or is your point that they can stay but get no vote?
    And what about mixed-ancestry people? Where do you put them? And as of when?

    This whole “natural and indigenous” thing is a big part of what keeps people mired in the past, rather than looking to the future. My great grandfather was a slave, in essense, in Russia. I don’t want to go back there. Do I have to? Why?

    Can I conclude that you agree with my 11 principles?

  25. brooklynjon says:

    “In the end even the word Arab relates to us both. The etymology for the word Arab is Abraham, hence the words HeBrew & AraBic, in your language & mine are pronounced the same Abri & Arabi, respectively.”

    I don’t think so. I have no idea where, etymologically, “Arab” comes from. “Hebrew” comes from “Ivri” which means “from the other side” or “person from the other side”. Other side of what? I understand the Euphrates, which is where the Jewish Patriarchs and Matriarchs are from.

    Hebrew and Arabic in Hebrew are pronounced “Ivrit” and “Aravit”, which do not seem to be related words, although they are obviously related languages.

  26. castaway says:

    Actually it seem sthat some sort of dialogue has been opened here 7 before I forget yes I do read all the English Israeli news as I do Al-Jezeera. Both are biased.

    As for the apartheid, I have an American passport & yes I have been to Israel but didn’t stay a full month. The cities where you claim that everyone is equal for the most part seems to be true. The people were very warm & hospitable, Jews as much as Muslims, I had a great trip till I ventured out into the country side & the segrgated roads I am talking about do exist.
    I was travelling with a bunch of palestinian labourers when we were stopped by a patrol way before the checkpoint for travelling on the wrong road that is for israeli citizens only. The group thought it was alright becaus ethey had an American with them. When I confronted the soldier who had pretty decent English that there were no signs stating that this road could not be travelled by non citizens & asked him since he searched everyone including me & that we were doing no harm & plus since there ws no sign prohibiting us from doing so, he said: Are you crazy do you think we would put up signs so some journalist can take photo’s & try to tarnish the image of our beloved israel?

    So you see Brooklynjon, it might be thrown around a lot but it is actually true.

    About the part of a starting a state whether secular liberal I meant that all people Arabs, Jews, drews, Baath’s must agree on the erction of the state & I meant when the the state of Israel was first declared in 40′s, it has been shared since the dawn of time & Jerusalem has changed hands so many times one needs a bottle of anti-bacterial hand lotion just to be able to get his head around the idea.

    CIA fact book Iran has the biggest community living in the middle east after Israel.

    I didn’t say only Israel needs to apologize, but since thet are in the position of might, power & authority it would be best if they did.

    I got news for you if the Palestinians were to continue to argue after Israel withdrew from the 1967 border’s me & me & 120, 000, 000 other Arabs would be the first ones to kick their asses. Withdraw from the occupied lands & there will be peace. I am not sayinbg that even one Israeli would like that but that’s what needs to be done & since they choose not to do that, they choose not to have peace.

    Compromise, give an inch & get a foot.

    Besides the withdrawal part of my comment I think you should agree with me but check the stats before posting that you agree or disagree.

  27. mona sympathizer says:

    Craig,

    Worshipper’s in the middle east- muslims to be exact are awaiting your entry with an ak-47 to derail any hope of peace.

    Radical Jewish elements are rellying on it.

  28. coun’t me in and let me know how i can help
    sonnet12000

  29. Mona,

    You remind me of someone with the name of Abla Fakeeha. I miss her posts very much.

  30. oh for pete sake says:

    Withdraw from the occupied lands & there will be peace.
    —————————————————————–

    It might be good for you to remember HOW those lands fell under Israeli control. With the war the Arabs started.

    Sorry. When you lose a war you started, you don’t get your land back. When you lose war after war after war that you started, you don’t get your land back.