Saturday, January 31, 2009

There's no safe place in Gaza

SALAM FROM GAZA! Walking among the ruins of Gaza reminds me of the tsunami ravages in Aceh and Sri Lanka, where Yayasan Salam did relief work four years ago. Those memories still haunt many of us. It's the same with Gaza. The only difference is that Gaza is man-made. When I read quotes in the newspapers about how no one felt safe in Gaza, I couldn't imagine what it's like. Having seen the destruction with my naked eyes, I can understand why this was so. It's still the same. No one is really safe in Gaza. Police stations have been bombed. Mosques have been flattened. Hospitals and schools have had their share of the destruction. But the people of Gaza are resilient. They go on with their daily lives, selling fruits, going to schools, working in offices and enjoying chai (tea) by the roadsides. Only the nights are dark and quiet after 10 or so...

"Life has to go on, my friend..."

WE WERE IN A MOSQUE waiting to meet a Hamas leader when we were jolted by a loud explosion. I was sure the explosion wasn't that of firecrackers. Could be a rocket or some explosives, I thought. The congregation had just finished their maghrib prayers. No one looked alarmed. Some latecomers proceeded to perform their prayers. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that the mosque was dark just before the explosion and everyone took out the handphone and used it to find their shoes and the exit door. I asked a young man if he had heard the explosion. He said yes. Was it a bomb, I asked. Could be, he said and left. I asked an elder person and he just shook his head. When I finally got hold of the Hamas leader, he said it must have been a rocket or a bomb but didn't bat an eyelid after that. I remarked to him that the people in the mosque didn't seem worried or fearful when hearing the explosion. His response was simple: "Brother, we are used to this. This is our life. You know that we went through hell these last few weeks. We live in fear all the time, but what choice do we have? Life goes on my friend..."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

"I'm a prisoner in my own land..."

I ASKED A UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR whether he intend to travel abroad to raise funds for his flattened science lab following repeated bombings by Israeli jets in the 22-day war on Gaza. I suggested to him that he may be able to rebuild the lab if he passes the hat around among his colleagues in other universities. But he would have to launch a campaign whereby he goes to meet his counterparts in other countries. Speaking in English, the professor said: "My dear brother, I'm not like you. You can travel freely in the world. Nobody stops you from travelling overseas. It's different for a Palestinian in Gaza. I have valid visas to visit two countries to attend conferences and improve networking with others in the big world. I've not left Gaza for two years, despite getting invitations to attend and give lectures; or participate in other academic pursuits for the sake of my students and university. My dear friend, I don't know when and where I can travel next. I'm a prisoner in my own land, deprived of the freedom of movement and many other civil liberties. But my spirit is free and my mind roams the earth in search of an enduring peace and freedom for my people. Help me, help us..."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Israeli jets gave free airshow over Gaza

A COUPLE OF ISRAELI FIGHTERS gave foreign visitors to Gaza an air show on Tuesday norning, thus encroaching into Palestinian airspace. I asked our guide from the Foreign Ministry, Ahmed. He just shrugged his shoulders and said that this so-called airshow has been a regular feature in the Palestinian sky. My team and I stood in silence watching the fighter pilots flaunting their skills. The show was so high up that we couldn't hear the roar of the jets, but the display stopped many people in their tracks. As it turned out, there was reportedly some kind of explosion which killed an Israeli soldier in south Gaza. The jets could very well have been sending a message to Palestinians that the death of the soldier could trigger a military action from the Israelis. As for me and my team of Yayasan Salam volunteers, we were taken on a tour of some of the residential locations that were bombed and destroyed. Some 5,000 homes were apparently completely destroyed. The locals went about their business in the usual manner, according to Ahmed, the ministry official who is just 25 and recently married. Ahmed promised to share more background information on the recent war in Gaza, insisting that the Palestinians' will to survive will prevail.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Plastics replace glass windows in Gaza

SALAM from Gaza! Crossing the Rafah Gate into Gaza is like winning a lottery. Scores of people at the gate try daily to get past into the checkpoint, and then final clearance into Gaza. Not everyone succeeded. Often, it's a case of so near yet to far. Gaza itself showed almost no outward sign of people living in fear. Small busineses goes on, making kebabs and selling mint tea by the roadside. "Business looks normal in Gaza," I remarked to the Palestinian Health Minister Dr Basem. "Yes, we are like that. We've been under siege for the last three years. We've been like this since '48. We are resilient, and that's one strength that we draw from each other over the years. We now appeal to the world community of nations to help us, physically and morally. Do what you can please. I know it requires courage, sacrifices and strong political will," Dr Basem said in an interview at the Shifa hospital in downtown Gaza.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Crossed border amidst chaos at the Gate

JUST CROSSED checkpoint into Palestine. Still waiting for full clearance. Hadi and Mikaeel got us through. We learn new things. IT costs US$10 to xerox one document here! Hj Anuar, Dr Baba, Zul B, Zul Rambo, Hasshim Suez Canal aka Hasshim Blog and I prayed hard to get through. But we were not allowed to bring relief items and medicines. Nonetheless, we'll do what we can. The items are being taken back to our embassy in Cairo, another 5-hour journey for driver.

We are just outside Rafa with food, medics

SALAM FROM PALESTINIAN BORDER. My team of Yayasan Salam volunteers (Salam Relief) are now at the border checkpoint just outside Palestine. We've been waiting four hours to get across, after our van brreakdown last night. It's 10am local time. Truckloads of food supplies are waiiting in line to get across. We had tea at a small shop here which is doing brisk business as relief workers from Turkey and many others wait in line to go beyond. We have blankets from MAS, medicines and food from various companies for the victims. Our friends in Gaza are waiting for us. I hope to cross over and start doing some real relief work.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Am off to Palestine, and with luck, to Gaza.

INSYAALLAH, a team of volunteers from Yayasan Salam Malaysia will fly off to Palestine Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. With the help of some kind donors and friends, we managed to raise some funds to make our way to join other relief workers to Palestine. We'll touch base with our embassy in Cairo before making our way to the Palestinian borders to find our way in.

A call this evening from Azlan in Cairo, a seasoned relief worker representing Global Peace Malaysia, gave some indication that we may be able to get into Gaza, but subject to negotiations and collaboration at the border. "Our friends in Gaza are anxiously waiting for us brother," Azlan said.

Azlan is a terrific relief worker, having initiated a small dam to help a local community to start a farm in an Afghanistan village. An engineer by training, Azlan did some excellent work in the war-torm country a few years ago. Now, his attention is focused on Palestine, Gaza to be exact.

My team includes a medical doctor who's seen some real war action a few years ago. Being shot at has certainly not discouraged this Malacca-based doctor. Two other colleagues have been on relief missions in Acheh, Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other parts of Indonesia. I'm also bringing a photographer, yet another relief worker who's been doing a lot of humanitarian work among the orang asli community and in Acheh and Pakistan.

We hope to meet up with NGO friends from Mercy and the Malaysian Red Crescent and work closely with them. There are other Malaysian relief workers who have made their way to the conflict area. I hope to meet up with them too and coordinate our operations.

I hope to update my blog along the way, but am told that this is easier said than done. This trip would not have been possible if not for the help of Datuk Rashid, Datuk Seri Rais, Datuk Dr Latif, Datuk Radha, a Cool Cat, Sdra Hamdan and his bosses, Datuk Jamaludin, staff of Yayasan Salam, and other friends for their contribution, doa and words of encouragement.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Tiada maaf bagi mu BN-Umno!

TIADA SIMPATI untuk Umno dan BN - inilah yang jelas dilihat setelah parti terbesar itu kalah dalam pilihanraya kecil di Kuala Terengganu akhir minggu lepas. Kekalahan calon yang menyandang jawatan Timbalan Menteri itu amat memalukan, dan sekaligus mengekalkan persepsi bahawa BN dan Umno semakin kurang mendapat tempat di hati pengundi.

Persepsi ini memerlukan Presiden Umno yang baru nanti, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, mengambil langkah drastik jika beliau mahu memulihkan BN dan Umno. Setelah kalah di pilihanraya kecil Permatang Pauh, dan sekarang di Kuala Terengganu, Najib tiada pilihan lain kecuali menunjukkan taringnya jika parti yang bakal dipimpin mahu kekal berkuasa.

Bagi Najib secara peribadi, mungkin kekalahan ini ada hikmahnya. Setelah begitu lama "dilindungi" bayang-bayang tiga Perdana Menteri dan PresidenUmno, iaitu arwah ayahandanya Tun Razak, dan seterusnya Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad dan Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, masa sudah sampai bagi MP Pekan ini menunjukkaan belangnya sebenar.

Sebenarnya, sudah tidak ada cara lain bagi Najib. Jika beliau ingin terus relevan dalam politik tanahair, dan jika mahu menentukan halatuju agenda nasional dan perjuangan parti yang didokongnya, Najib wajib bertindak tegas. Malah, dia juga wajib dilihat supaya bertindak, dan bukan hanya sekadar membuat janji akan merubah keadaan.

Di KT, segala bala tentera BN/Umno tidak dapat menahan PAS dan sekutunya. Himpunan pembesar-pembesar Umno khasnya tidak terdaya mempertahan kerusi yang dimenangi pada Mac tahun lalu. Penolakan calon BN Datuk Wan Farid menjadi satu tamparan kuat kepada kerjaya anak muda kelahiran KT ini. Kehadiran bosnya sendiri tidak dapat membantu, dan ada pihak yang mendakwa kehadiran bosnya itulah antara punca kekalahan.

Pelbagai tanda bahawa Umno berhadapan dengan tugas berat di KT mula nampak sebelum penamaan calon lagi. Pada hari penamaan calon, kemewahan yang ditayang oleh bala tentera Umno menjolok mata pengundi tempatan. Maka tidak hairanlah jika mereka menolah tawaran demi tawaran, janji demi janji yang ditabur oleh pembesar Umno sepanjang berkempen.

Pemerhati politik membuat kesimpulan bahawa kekalahan kali ini membuktikan penolahan terhadap calon dan parti. Pengundi menolak calon yang dijanjikan akan terus dilantik sebagai timbalan menteri jika menang. Apabila begitu ramai pembesar Umno turun padang ke KT, maka isu nasional menjadi besar dan sekaligus mengalih perhatian pengundi.

Kemarahan dan kebencian kepada Umno di peringkat nasional akhirnya "singgah" kepada Calon di KT. Maka berkecailah cita-cita Wan Farid dan Umno untuk terus menawan KT. Kebencian dan kemarahan ini juga dizahirkan oleh ahli Umno sendiri, yang berkumpul di sana sini membuat analisa "kedai kopi" mereka sendiri.

Dalam satu rancangan televisyen disiarkan pada malam keputusan diumumkan, pemanggil semuanya mengecam BN-Umno. Mereka membuat kesimpulan bahawa Umno tidak belajar dari kesilapan Mac 8, 2007 dan Permatang Pauh. Mereka sudahpun membuat telahan bahawa Umno akan berkubur jika tidak mengambil langkah drastik sebelum pilihanraya yang akan datang.

Kekalahan di KT boleh menjadi azimat kepada Wan Farid dan penyokongnya. Perubahan diri dan pendirian parti itu sendiri akan diperhatikan dalam bulan-bulan mendatang. Masih ada masa untuk menebus kekalahan itu, tetapi ia bukan mudah dan memerlukan suntikan "ubat yang pahit" sebagai penawar.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The killing fields of Gaza..

I RECEIVED an email from an Australian activist who wrote about what she described as the Killing Fields of Gaza. One wonders what's really going on in the minds of the perpetrators of this crime. I've converted the email to a posting in my other blog palestine.blogspot.comThe writer spoke about the fun Israeli-backers had in New York a few days ago.

History of Palestine on MindaCergas

GET A QUICK history lesson on Palestine by visiting because the issue has dragged on for so long that people may have forgotten or confused.Check it out.

Pak Samani died yesterday - Al-fatihah

SAMANI MOHD AMIN, 78, who served as a journalist and news editor with Utusan Melayu, Berita Harian and had a short stint with the Star, died yesterday of a heart attack. A short sms I received alerted me of it last night. Pak Samani, as I used to call him, was fond of inviting friends to his house off Batu Tiga, Klang for snacks and makan-makan. He had a small fishing pond around his house and I remember my kids trying their best to catch the tilapia. Pak Samani would often keep in touch with friends via e mail. Together with the late Pak Samad, Pak Samani was detained under the ISA and released at about the same time as the former. "Take the Alfa Mat...aku tak pakai lagi. Kau tengoklah apa yang kau boleh buat dengan dia," Pak Samani's words echo in my mind. He's referring to a white Alfa Romeo 1.3 Giulia parked in his house. I used to drive one in the '70s, giving me much agony and ecstasy. Pak Samani would drive his and we would compare notes about our common passion. And he would then show me his fishing rods taken from the car, yet another common liking for the two of us. I read with sadness the demise of yet another hardcore journalist who served the trade well and passionately. Moga-moga roh mu dicucuri rahmat. Al-fatihah.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Jom bersama kami di bawah langit Gaza

MALAM PUISI PALESTINE yang bertemakan Di bawah langit Gaza akan menemui anda sekelian akhir bulan ini atau awal Februari. Saya sudah berpakat dengan beberapa rakan sehaluan untuk pementasan ini yang mempunyai dua tujuan: meningkatkan kesedaran terhadap isu Palestine dan mengutip dana untuk Tabung Yayasan Salam. Butiran mengenai Malam Puisi Palestine ini sedang dibuat dengan kerjasama sebuah stesen televisyen dan sebuah pertubuhan penulis. Beberapa orang pembaca sajak ternama akan dijemput. Penuntut Palestine dari Universiti Islam Antarabangsa hari ini menyatakan kesedian mereka untuk mengambil bahagian. Ahli seni pertama yang menyahut undangan kami ialah Ramli 'Papa Rock' Sarip. Saya berkesempatan minum teh dengan legenda seni suara ini malam tadi di restoran Chawan di Bangsar. Sdra Ahirudin Attan (Rockybru) dan Aina Jln Sudin sempat bersama sekejap. Dua rakan saya yang akan menyertai missi kemanusian Yayasan Salam ke Timur Tengah, Mikaeel dan Hadi, sempat bergambar dengan Sdra Ramli. Mungkin Ramli dan 'adik kembarnya' si Rocky akan membaca sajak pada malam itu...

Save Palestine campaign on Sunday

IF YOU ARE FREE on Sunday Jan 18, do drop by at the Bangsar Sports Complex for a whole day activity highlighting the plight of the Palestinians. Organised by COMPLETE, the coalition of local NGOs against the persecution of Palestinians, the event will feature talks and a host of other activities including a photo exhibition. Complete had also organised a rally to advance the Palestinian cause last week. In a statement issued over the weekend, Complete chairman Adnan Tahir said the coalition is not a Muslim-based body but rather a humanitarian one. It so happened that the rally was held on a Friday afternoon after Friday prayers. For the full statement by Adnan, pl see

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Tun M live on TV1? You kidding?

I NOW KNOW how difficult it is to host a television talk show. With a bit of practise, it can be done well. The host has to look at a certain camera at a certain time, listen carefully to the instructions from the studio manager via the earpiece, focus on the guest and keep track of the questions and answers, relax and do all of the above at the same time. In a way, I was glad my 30-minute live chat over TV1 with the country's number one Blogger - Chedet - came through without any major hitches. I missed a couple of instructions from the studio manager but I was told they were not too bad. I focused on only two main issues - and the Palestinian issue, which explained why many questions were left out and not raised. Even on the two issues, there were plenty more questions to be asked, but there's only so much I could do within such a short time. As to the many suggestions that came from visitors to this blog, I'll compile them and email to for Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to take a look. Who knows, he may answer them in his blog. The Tun is not new to TV interviews, having done them many times with CNN, BBC, Aljazeera and other international TV network. He knows his stuff and is a cool professional when it comes to facing a live audience. He knows what to say, when to say and how to say it. He can be a charmer or he can be a ball-crusher, depending on the time and place. I've had my share of both ages ago. But it was obvious that he wasn't short of admirers. Many of the RTM staff came out to meet him after the show, taking pictures with him, asking for his autographs and to shake hands. Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek was also at the studio to be with the top blogger. I thought it was a good outing generally. Could be better, if you know what I mean!Many people "read" many things about his live appearance on TV1. In fact, earlier in the day, a friend, when told that Tun M was going to be live on TV1 remarked: "You must be kidding..."

Friday, January 9, 2009

Save Palestine - new kid on the blog

I'VE STARTED A NEW BLOG dedicated to highlight the struggle of the Palestinians. It's called SAVE PALESTINE and access is via Please feel free to drop in. I appreciate your views and comments. The Palestinian struggle is a long and difficult one, blackmarked by wars, unnecessary killings, sanctions and oppression. Will we be able to see a truly free and independent Palestine?

NGOs formed website on Palestine cause

FRIENDS WHO FORMED COMPLETE, the coalition of NGOs in the struggle to create awareness and highlight the Palestinian issue, has set up its website last night. It can be seen and visited at

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Questions for Chedet anyone?

YOU GOT A QUESTION FOR CHEDET? Well, why don't you email it to me at 'cos he's going to be my guest over TV1's revamped blog programme. It's now called Blog@1 and is aired at 1030pm every Friday night. RTM has asked me to host the programme, or rather host it for one night as a stand in for its regular host. The programme is now 30 minutes instead of 20 when it was shown just after the 8pm main news bulletin on Sundays. I'm not sure how many questions can be asked tomorrow night...

Plea for help from inside Palestine

ONE OF THE VOLUNTEERS from Yayasan Salam Malaysia received this cry for help from inside Palstine this morning. Writing hastily, the cry for help was conveyed via the Internet. The email was forwarded to me so that I can share it with all of you. Yayasan Salam is putting together a small team to respond to this cry for help. We will be working with other NGOs, Malaysians and foreign, to help ease the burden the Palestinians are suffering. I've edited the email for clarity purposes. It goes something like this: "Thanks a lot to you and all the Malaysians who think about us! We need your prayers through this. It is a real war! Electricity comes and goes for long hours. In some areas, like Gaza city itself, there has ben no electricity since 9 days and no water. We sleep on the sounds of bombings that shakes everything. No one and nothing in Gaza is safe! Getting into gaza is not possible. However, most of the help came that came from different countries is sent to the nearest border with Egypt. Sometimes, the Israelis bomb some areas near the borders to destroy the tunnels. So it is a little bit complicated. You ask me what is most needed here? Aactually everything is needed here, medical supplies , food, blankets. The priority are the medical supplies." Donations to Yayasan Salam can be made via our bank account Public Bank 3072-8793-02. Donations are tax exempted.


WHY DON'T WE JOIN FORCES and rally behind a humanitarian cause that hinges on justice and international laws. Palestine is about freedom and rights to a life in peace and the pursuit of happiness. But for decades, Palestine is about death, threats, might, destruction, tears, oppression. A group of Malaysian NGOs led the Malaysian Professionals Forum is planning a Palestinian Awareness Day on Jan 18. The organising committee has been busy burning the midnight oil to sort the logistics and programme for the day. I should have a clearer picture by the weekend. Meanwhile, please block your date for this purpose.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Want to help buy medicines for Palestine?

IT WAS WAY BACK IN MAY 1994 when the Malaysian mass media showed the kind of unity of purpose that made each and everyone of us proud and considerably satisfied. Editors of the newspapers, including the New Straits Times where I was the News Editor, got together and formed the Barisan Bertindak Bosnia (BBB). Not quite the PBB (Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu, or the UN), but influential enough to move the Malaysian public to be aware of and comprehend the ethnic cleansing that was going on in then Yugoslavia. BBB had the support of so many NGOs that crossed political borders and ethnic lines. Our aim was clear and direct: create and raise the level of awareness of the issue, and raise funds for humanitarian aid. We did well, even if I say so myself. We launched a RM1 fund-raising campaign, believing that if each Malaysian gives RM1, we'd have collected more than RM20 million. We managed to collect some RM5 million which was given to Bosnia-Herzegovina after the issue settled after a few years. In our awareness campaign, we did everything that one could imagine. We had roadshows, we send petitions to foreign ambassadors and high commissioners, we had poetry reading corners, we sold car stickers, we sat up collection centres all over the country. On May 9, 1994, we filled the whole Merdeka Stadium with more than 45,000 Malaysians of all walks of life, in a public rally of its nature that was the first and last. A white-dressed 10-year old Bosnian girl who had sought refuge in Malaysia read an English poem on Gorazde that was written by a South African poet. The whole stadium was pitch black save for a lone spotlight on the little girl. The football pitch was converted to a makeshift 'graveyard' with 'white tombstone' sticking out from the ground. Hairs stood on end that night. But all this was possible because the Malaysian mass media with the help of NGOs rallied to a cause that needed universal help and support. It's the same this time. But I must congratulate Utusan Malaysia and Mingguan Malaysia for their extensive coverage of the War in Gaza. The editors must be congratulated for devoting its page one on two consecutive days to highlight the bloodshed in Gaza. The mass media can do more. As for me at Yayasan Salam Malaysia, I'm trying to pull resources to help rally behind the Palestinian issue. I'm looking at it from the humanitarian perspective. I believe all NGOs should rally and work together to send aid to those in need. I understand that Mercy Malaysia is somewhere near the Egyptian border. We must support them in any way possible. Getting into Gaza may be extremely difficult, if at all possible. But there are many ways of lending a hand...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Save Palestine - know the issue

SAVE PALE STINE! Join the Palestinian Awareness Day (PAD) that's being planned for Jan 18. Time and place are being arranged and updates will be posted as soon as possible. It's important for us to really understand the Palestinian issue, a struggle that's been going on for many, many years. The PAD is being organised by the Malaysian Professionals Forum. Some of us may have received text messages asking for donations to help the Palestinian cause. My advice is simple - check out whether it's genuine or not. You may want to ask members or friends of PAD come Jan 18. This accompanying picture shows a rally in Melbourne where supporters of the Palestinian cause stage a peaceful demo to show their solidarity behind their Palestinian brothers and sisters. Will we see the same here?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Palestine Awareness Day Jan 18

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT by attending the proposed Palestine Awareness Day being organised by some friends on Jan 18, '09. The initiative is from the Muslim Professionals Forum, an association of like-minded individuals pursuing, in this instance, the Palestinian cause. Details of the event will be made known early next week after the organising committee meets. Watch this space.

Jewish Sabbath brings death to Palestine

I received an e mail from Melbourne, Australia which I thought I should share with you. The views belong to the writer, but I'm quite sure many may share the author's views as well. Read on...

Black, bloody Sabbath
by Jeremy Saltsent

31 December 2008, On Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath - the government of Israel killed nearly 300 Palestinians in Gaza. Its tools were pilots flying F-16 fighter jets provided by the US and munitions provided by the US. This is the biggest single-day death toll since the occupation of Gaza in 1967.

There is not a great deal left to say about the state of Israel. It was born in criminality and has lived in criminality since the day of its birth. It is a sociopathic, tribal state in a world of nation states, obeying no laws but its own, a state which lives in a state of cognitive dissonance, denial and self-delusion, a state which could not live without the arms, diplomatic protection and financial assistance of the United States.

Morally and ethically it is a failed state and through its violence and refusal to live within international law it is a rogue state. ‘Israel’ remains what it was six decades ago – occupied Palestine. No state that does not recognize the rights of people to whom it has done incredible damage has any right to claim recognition for itself.

There was no ‘war of independence’ in 1948. There was a war of conquest, to defeat and drive out the indigenous population. Ben-Gurion’s declaration of independence was no different from the unilateral declaration of independence by the colonial-settler minority of Rhodesia in 1965 but not even Rhodesia or white minority South Africa did to the indigenous population what the Zionists have done to the Palestinians.

Not even the Algerian experience of the French begins to compare.

There is scarcely a foot of Palestinian land that does not belong to the Palestinians, individually and collectively. The citizens of Israel live in cities stolen from the Palestinians, in houses stolen from the Palestinians and in settlements built on Palestinian land and over the ruins of hundreds of villages.

Time does not efface the crime. Yet none of this counts with the Israelis. They are outraged not at what they have done and continue to do but at the Palestinian response, totally feeble in comparison to any of Israel’s actions.

They are outraged because after six decades of brutality and two years of a genocidal siege the Palestinians are still firing their home-made missiles at towns and settlements near the Gaza Strip. Firing them, it needs to be said, at the towns of Sderot, Ashkelon and Ashdod, all of them built on the ruins of destroyed and ethnically cleansed Palestinian villages.

This is not a war in any sense of the word but yet another Israeli onslaught on a largely defenceless civilian population. It has numerous precedents going all the way back to 1948. Hosni Mubarak and Mahmud Abbas are actively complicit in the attack. So is the United States, condemning Hamas missile attacks which had killed two people by Monday but not the Israeli missile attacks which had killed 300 people by Monday.

Passively and duplicitously complicit, behind calls for Israeli restraint and an end to Hamas rocket strikes, is Britain and the European Union, which recently upgraded its relations with Israel in full knowledge of what it is doing to Gaza and the West Bank.

The Arab League, true to its abysmal form over many decades, has decided not to meet until Wednesday because of the prior commitments of some members. What could take priority over the massacre of hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza is hard to imagine.

By Wednesday, of course, hundreds more will have been killed and – so Egypt and other Arab accomplices in this evil act hope – the Hamas government will have been finished off, a process that may include the assassination of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and senior members of his cabinet.

This is not just about ending Hamas rocket attacks. This is not just about bringing down the Hamas government or ‘changing the rules of the game on the ground’ as Tzipi Livni has said. This is about ending the ‘Palestinian question’ once and for all.

Mahmud Abbas is eating out of Israel’s hands but Hamas continues to hold up the banner of resistance in Gaza. So the time has come for it to be destroyed. If the ‘international community’ does not finally live up to its responsibility and compel Israel to live within the law, and after six decades of irresponsibility and cowardice there can be little hope that it will, this situation can have only two outcomes.

One is the final destruction of the Palestinian people as a presence in history. This is not likely to happen, despite the preening and self-congratulations of Livni, Olmert and Barak at the great success of their ‘defence forces’ in bombing civilians.

The other is war.

No one should delude themselves. Arab and Muslim anger is boiling over and under the continuing hammer blows of this violent state, the dam must eventually break. No Mubarak, or Abbas or Abdullah will be able to stem the torrent when it does.

Note: Jeremy Salt teaches in the Department of Political Science, Bilkent University, Ankara, and is the author of the recently published The Unmaking of the Middle East. A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008).

Friday, January 2, 2009

BLOG@1 muncul dgn format & hos baru


Hos program Blog@1 semalam ialah Sdra Hamdan Ahamu, yang pernah menjadi hos program Selamat Pagi Malaysia kira-kira lapan tahun dahulu. Orangnya berpengalaman dalam bidang penyiaran dan bergiat dalam industri komunikasi. Selepas program semalam, kami berbual panjang sambil minum teh tarik di PJ. Gambar ini saya rakam di restoran itu.

Posting asal

SAYA KENA BLOG! InsyaAllah, malam ini saya menjadi tetamu dalam rancangan BLOG yang muncul buat pertama kali dalam bentuk dan persembahan baru. Waktu siarannya juga sudah bertukar. Mulai hari ini, dan pada setiap hari Jumaat, BLOG disiarkan pada jam 1030 malam di TV1. Waktu siarannya juga dilanjutkan dari 20 minit kepada setengah jam. Saya difahamkan hosnya juga orang baru. Macam gambar hiasan ini - saya tolong pukul gendang sahaja!

410 deaths in Gaza, and counting...

TODAY'S Friday. In seven days, the death toll from Zionist Israel's attack on Palestine have reached 410, and rising. Aljazeera reported that 2,000 are wounded. Numbers don't lie, as the statisticians would tell you. As do this photograph, courtesy of AFP. Wasn't it Jimmy Carter who said that there won't be substantive and permanent peace for any peoples in this region as long as Israel is violating UN resolutions, official American policy and the international road map" for peace by occupying Arab lands and oppressing the Palestinians...?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Fireworks in KL; fire works in Gaza (sigh)

I HOPE THE NEW YEAR WON'T BE JUST BLOOD AND DEATH. I know everyone is wishing each other Happy New Year and all that. In fact, as some of you may have countered, you may have received the same SMS from friends who had forgotten that they had sent you the same one earlier! They all mean well, that's for sure. And what's a few SMS sens among friends anyway! But amidst all the merriment we see around us, amidst the lovely fireworks that lit up our peaceful sky, we know that elsewhere the sky is being lit up with fires of death and destruction. As the accompanying Reuters picture show, these children are collateral damage in the unending violent and fiery feud between Israel's Zionist regime and the Palestinians. It's been going on for years. And it's going to go on for many years to come. As the Palestinian children awaits their burial after the senseless shelling over Gaza by the US-backed Israelis, we all know that the average national lifespan of Palestinians are being reduced by each burial. "My 12-year old cousin is a martyr," declared a Palestinian teenaged girl over Aljazeera yesterday. Such is the perspective of these children, I thought to myself. As for the other picture, taken using the Blackberry Bold, shows me and my chowkids. They include what is termed as street children (anak jalanan) and children of sex workers in the Chow kit area. Hence, chowkids. Cared for tirelessly by husband and wife team of Raja Aziz and Fidah, these children seek and are given shelter, guidance, motivation and help at Rumah Nur Salam, one of the sustainable projects of Yayasan Salam Malaysia. I spent a bit of time with these children yesterday during lunch, as 35 of them join three others in residential schools when school reopens next week. Not many people would give these children a chance of doing anything good. But we took them under our care, and the dedication, devotion and love showed by Raja Aziz and Fidah are beginning to show very encouraging results indeed. We do have 5A scorers among them mind you! It makes everything worthwhile! Everything really. It's on the back of these two pictures that I wish each and everyone of you a very happy and prosperous new year! Salams to all!