Thursday, August 24, 2006


I had a dream last night. I dreamt that I had posted something on this blog. I came here this morning to see if there were any comments. Nothing!

I looked at the date and realized that I had forgotten his birthday. On 13 August 2005, I wrote the first entry of this blog about Ganji and the opposition. Since then I have had an interesting relation with this blog, nurturing, as well as neglecting it for long periods of time. I love it, because it provides me a channel to express my opinions, hopes and frustrations about a large number of things. The subjects of my entries were predominately focused on world news and politics. As these subjects often affect me more than my own personal frustrations, I hope to be able to continue this line of writing in the future.

In the past year, I have had the honor to get to know a number of other bloggers whose writings were genuine, inspiring and challenging to me. Some have left the blog world, but most are still active. I, hereby, want to thank them all for their input, comments and encouragements.

Friday, August 11, 2006

See how they treat our scientists

Zharf weblog has posted a disturbing account of a Sharif University alumni who, together with other Sharif graduates, was jailed and deported upon arrival in the U.S.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Israeli PR Manual

A new war has begun, and the Israeli public relation services are running 24/7. During the last weeks, a whole bunch of Israeli spokespersons have appeared on CNN and BBC, representing the army, as well as the Ministries of Defence and Foreign Affairs. Of course, not everyone is qualified for such TV appearances. Candidates need to follow extensive training. Recently, a small part of a training manual, issued by the Joint Security Forces (Ministry of Defence and the Moussad), has leaked and circulated among a small group of journalists and anti-war activists.

A section of this manual contains the following instructions for Israeli spokespersons:

- Keep looking into the camera, and smile at the beginning and the end of the interview. Be very serious, and even upset during the interview, as our nation is under attack by fundamentalist militants.

- Do not forget that, under all circumstances, we are right. Never admit to cruelty, mistakes or miscalculations.

- Hezbollah is a TERRORIST organization. Never refer to it as a ‘resistance movement’.

- Emphasize that our struggle is solely against Hezbollah, and not Lebanon, or its people. Never mind the fact that almost everyone out there is supporting them, and that Hezbollah is part of a democratically elected government. Use terms, such as ‘state within a state’ and ‘hijacking Lebanon’ as much as possible.

- Our mission is to free Lebanon from Hezbollah fundamentalism, and to defend our innocent citizens. Do not mention anything about the two soldiers who were taken hostage by the Hezbollah (what were their names again?). We cannot afford to tell the world that we have been killing hundreds of people, and wiping off entire neighborhoods and villages, just for two Israeli soldiers.

- “We have the right to defend ourselves”. Use this phrase whenever you have nothing else to say.

- Make sure that everyone believes that Hezbollah actually started the war, and our struggle is completely reactive.

- When asked why Israel attacks public areas in Lebanon, emphasize our military objective to destroy Hezbollah ‘infrastructure’ (another term you may use very often). Our main argument is that, as Hezbollah militants may use all available infrastructure in Lebanon, such as roads, non-military buildings, hospitals, etc, we have therefore the right to destroy pretty much everything we want. However, try to formulate this argument in a more diplomatic fashion.

- It is important that Israeli people and politicians are viewed as innocent, civilized and enlightened folks, whereas Hezbollah and its people as hairy savages. Hence, it is essential that you are cleanly shaven, wear official cloths, and have a Euro-American appearance. The more people in the civilized world (North America and Europe) identify themselves with us, the higher the chances that they would accept our truth. If you are originally from the United States, or you can imitate the American accent well, that is even better.

- The world should see our little Jewish state as the frontier of freedom and democracy in the Middle East. Hezbollah, and it superiors (i.e., Iran and Syria) want to destroy us, because they cannot stand our freedom and modern democracy. This hatred has not been generated by the fact that we have killed Arabs and occupied their lands, as some may suggest.

- Whenever faced with critical questions regarding the ‘disproportionate’ acts of violence by Israeli forces, draw an analogy with the Second World War in which the allies destroyed entire cities. In most cases, this strategy would make them quiet.

- Never appear on Arab televisions. They may ask too many difficult questions.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


- You've been very rude to them.
- It's as if you don't live here.
- You are a good researcher.
- When will you quit being a kid and get a life?
- I miss you.
- Yeah, I think it's a good idea too.... to break up.
- Sir, have you packed your bag yourself?
- I know, things are a bit hectic now. But it will get better.
- Focus on your work.
- How's it going?
- You MUST take a vacation.
- So you're from Ghana?
- I'm sorry.
- Why are you talking to me like that?
- You look like a fucking communist with your hair, glasses and army uniform....
-... Whatever "flight jacket".
- Did you finish the report?
- I love you!

I heard these words in the period between January and July this year. It's amazing how one's life can turn upside-down, and then arises once more from underneath the ruins of its existence.