Rebels Despair That Anti-American Protests Overshadow Syrian Struggle

A mention in the Daily Beast:

“To Assad, the rallies spurred by the Islam-bashing film were heaven-sent: they have given credence to his claims that the Arab Spring is at heart an Islamist spring and that al Qaeda and its affiliates will be empowered as a result,” says Ammar Abdulhamid, a Syrian activist based in America. “Meanwhile, the rallies have also distracted international attention from the current mayhem unfolding in Syria, and they might give pause to any calls for intervention.”

Syria is not ready for an uprising

The groundwork for Egypt and Tunisia’s days of rage took years. In isolated Syria, there is much grassroots work to be done.

guardian.co.uk, Monday 7 February 2011 11.00 GMT.

A “day of rage” called for by Syrian opposition members living abroad and scheduled for last Friday and Saturday came and went: the only mass presence detected on the streets of major cities in Syria was that of security forces. Continue reading

Protests in Egypt continue despite government shut down of Internet

Quoted in Deutsche-Welle:

The ramifications outside of Egypt are troubling as activists and journalists struggled to understand the situation there, as Ammar Abdulhamid, a Syrian dissident and human rights activist in the United States, told Deutsche Welle.

“The Internet, and the Tunisian precedent made the world take notice of events in Egypt from day one, whereas it took months for them to notice the importance of developments in Tunisia, but even there, the Internet played a crucial factor,” he said. Continue reading

A Few Heresies in Honor of the Ramadan Season!

Ramadan. The most hedonistic time of the Muslim year. So, hedonistic, in fact, it might as well be called the Muslim Christmas or Hanukah. Indeed, human nature, when given the chance, tends to bastardize all rituals and observances meant to celebrate our loftier desires and yearnings. So be it. I really don’t have much problem with this particular human contradiction. I much rather the heterogeneity of individualized bastardization than the homogeneity of collective ritualistic observance.

Continue reading

Diversity and Turmoil

First posted on my short-lived blog Tharwalizations. 

Diversity in our region creates certain dynamics that are simply too complex to be tackled through some facile generalizations. In this regard, and while Arabs across the region and the world seem to stand in solidarity with Hezbollah, the Bedouins in Israel seem to have a different opinion on this matter. Indeed, the Bedouins seem to “bitterly resent Hezbollah,” since of its Katyusha rockets tend to fall at them. Also, and contrary to how many Arabs feel with regard to the US, the Bedouins of Israel “don’t think the U.S. is engaged in a war against Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and elsewhere. They think Arab anger around the world can be laid at the feet of dictators who spread misinformation to distract people from inept rule.”  Continue reading

The Arab Freedom Rally 2006!

Much has been taking place behind the scenes with regard to my call in a previous post for a rally designed to help support the cause of human rights and democracy activists in our unfortunate part of the world. Indeed, we are now ready to announce a tentative date for the rally, and to open the floodgate for any suggestions in this regard, suggestions that can help the organizers in making this event a success. The rally will focus in this initial phase on the situations in Syria, Lebanon and Egypt, which are very serious indeed, as we all know. But the invitation for participation is open to people from all over the region. Continue reading