Stuff you should read

May the next year not suck

Posted on Saturday 31 December 2005

So Today is the last day of the year 2005, one of the new millenium’s worst years so far. There was so much bloodshed, mayhem and death to last 5 years in this year, which is why I am glad it’s over and why I am hoping that next year things get better. I am hoping, but not really expecting it, cause honestly, the Future holds more of a threat than a promise these days. Oh well….

Since none of us can do anything about it, I say we stop worrying about all that could possibly go wrong or will go wrong for just one night and one day. I say we celebrate today with one another, be merry and enjoy the one night in which everyone in the whole world gets down and boogeys. Whether it’s a fifth of tequila or non-alcoholic champaigne you are toasting when that clock hits midnight, I say drink it, and wash away all the crap that this past year inflicted on all of us. This way, even if WWIII starts tommorow, we will at least face it with a clean slate and a cheery disposition, you know?

Happy New Year people! :)

The Sandmonkey @ 8:45 am
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The US to strike Iran in the new year

Posted on Saturday 31 December 2005

This is the latest rumor boys and girls: The US and NATO are planning a surprise secret attack against Iran in 2006. How do we know about it if it’s a surprise secret attack you say? Well, it’s in the media and if it’s in the media it must be true, no?

The Bush administration is preparing its NATO allies for a possible military strike against suspected nuclear sites in Iran in the New Year, according to German media reports, reinforcing similar earlier suggestions in the Turkish media.

The Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel this week quoted “NATO intelligence sources” who claimed that the NATO allies had been informed that the United States is currently investigating all possibilities of bringing the mullah-led regime into line, including military options. This “all options are open” line has been President George W Bush’s publicly stated policy throughout the past 18 months.

But the respected German weekly Der Spiegel notes “What is new here is that Washington appears to be dispatching high-level officials to prepare its allies for a possible attack rather than merely implying the possibility as it has repeatedly done during the past year.”

I say attack on New Year’s eve. That would be taking them by surprise, ya know?

Not to mention: Bombs, explosions and fire= Fireworks and what’s a new year celebration without Fireworks?It would be like taking part of their New Year’s celebrations! They might even welcome it! No? They wouldn’t? That doesn’t change the point though, and the point is that fireworks are awesome. Yay for fireworks.

The Sandmonkey @ 12:36 am
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Our National Shame

Posted on Saturday 31 December 2005

The stand-off between the Egyptian security forces and the sudanese refugees ended up being more deadly than originally imagined: At least 20 sudanese died in the clashes. This is the kind of violence that took place:

In a showdown played out during the first five hours of Friday, the protesters dismantled their plastic sheeting and cardboard, but most refused to leave on buses brought in to take them to camps elsewhere in Cairo.

Shortly before dawn, thousands of riot police encircled the camp, set up near the refugee agency to draw attention to the refugees’ demands. Police fired water cannons at the protesters, then invaded the park when the Sudanese refused to leave.

Protesters could be seen fighting back with long sticks that appeared to be supports for makeshift tents.

Police beat the unarmed migrants with batons, continuing to hit them even as they were being dragged to the buses. One officer carried a girl of about 3 or 4 years old who was unconscious. An ambulance worker said the girl was dead.

A policeman clubbed a Sudanese man with a tree branch as two officers hauled the refugee away.

And what’s the response of the interior ministery?

The Egyptian Interior Ministry said it had acted in part after the UNHCR asked for protection because it had received “threats to attack the commission offices and its members.”

The Interior Ministry blamed the violence on the Sudanese and said the dead and injured were victims of a stampede.

Of course. The Police is never at fault huh? I bet the Sudanese government will have something to say about this:

Sudanese Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ali Ahmed Kerti, speaking to reporters in Cairo before returning to Khartoum, joined Egyptian authorities in blaming the refugees, some of whom “sought to escalate the situation with no regard to the consequences,” Egypt’s MENA news agency reported.

Oh. Nevermind! And don’t develop any conspiracy theories either: Just because the refugess were christians and the government is controlled majorly by muslims has nothing to do with its blaming their own people response or anything. After all, the sudanese government isn’t secterian or biased against the christians or anything. Right? Right? Riiighhht!

Sigh…

Nora Younis has a first hand eye-witness account of the clashes with pictures that’s a must read. Make sure you check it out!

The Sandmonkey @ 12:16 am
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Former Syrian VP confirms that Syria threatend Harriri

Posted on Saturday 31 December 2005

Not everyone in Syria tows the protect Bashar line anymore:

Former Syrian Vice President Abdul-Halim Khaddam, a one-time stalwart of the ruling Baath Party, said on Friday that former Lebanese Premier Rafik Hariri was threatened by Syria months before he was assassinated.

[...]

Khaddam made the claim as he declared a formal break with President Bashar Assad in a television interview from Paris, criticizing the regime and citing corruption and its failure to reform.

“Hariri was subjected to many threats from Syria. …Serious things were said. Once he was summoned to Damascus … and spoken to in extremely harsh words by President Bashar Assad,” Khaddam said in the interview with Al-Arabiya, the pan-Arab satellite broadcaster, his first since he left Syria several months ago.

[...]

He quoted the Syrian president as telling Hariri, months before he was killed: “You want to bring a (new) president in Lebanon. … I will not allow that. I will crush whoever attempts to overturn our decision.”

The Syrians , in turn, have responded. Well, kinda…

In Syria, government officials could not be immediately reached for comment. But pro-government observers were quick to criticize Khaddam’s disclosures.

“It is strange that he’s criticizing government behavior when he was part of it,” said George Jabbour, a legislator for the Baath party. “Why now? … And how an official who dedicated his life to his country makes these statements?” asked political analyst Ahmed Haj Ali.

I smell a conspiracy. Someone is behind this. Must be the Jews!

Update: Raja thinks this couldn’t have happend at a better time. I agree.

The Sandmonkey @ 12:03 am
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Planet of the Arabs

Posted on Friday 30 December 2005

You have to watch this movie and tell me what you think: Quicktime version here, Mediaplayer version here.

The Sandmonkey @ 8:54 pm
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More Mayhem in Gaza

Posted on Friday 30 December 2005

The situation in Gaza is getting worse by the minute:

Palestinian policemen went on a rampage over the killing of a colleague and seized the Gaza-Egypt border crossing for several hours Friday, forcing European monitors to flee in the latest sign of growing mayhem in the coastal strip.

[...]

Friday’s border takeover and the kidnapping of the Britons fed worries that chaos in Gaza may be spreading to outsiders brought in to help develop the area following Israel’s pullout.

Gaza has experienced a wave of shootouts, kidnappings and armed takeovers of government buildings in recent months, undermining Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ efforts to impose law and order in the wake of Israel’s withdrawal from the area in September.

In new violence, a 14-year-old boy was killed Friday when a powerful Palestinian family attacked a local police station for a second straight day. Their assault the previous day caused the death of the police officer that set off the furious eruption by police Friday.

About 100 policemen stormed the Rafah border terminal in the morning, firing in the air and taking up positions at the crossing, security officials and witnesses said.

OK, so one of their own gets killed by this family, and instead of attacking the family they attack the checkpoint? Ok, cause that makes sense!

The Police is out of control, Abbas is losing control and Hamas seems to be getting more popular by the day amongst the palestinian population. If this ends up with an inner revolution and Hamas takes over, well, you can say goodbye to any peace plans in the near future.

Oh well..

The Sandmonkey @ 8:45 pm
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2005 ends on a dry note for Bush

Posted on Thursday 29 December 2005

After all, the White House has been oral-sex-free for the past 5 years. This calls for a celebration.

The Sandmonkey @ 10:34 pm
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Munich movie review in two sentences

Posted on Thursday 29 December 2005

Too long, has no ending, tries to please all sides and fails msierabely at that. The few and far between cool scenes of violence are worthy of the admission ticket’s price though.

The Sandmonkey @ 10:30 pm
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The Face of Evil

Posted on Thursday 29 December 2005

This is how it looks like:

A man on December 25 allegedly killed his four daughters by slitting their throats while they slept in their home in eastern Pakistan, after the eldest married a man of her choice, police said.

“The man came to a police station to court arrest after killing his four daughters on Saturday,” senior police officer Mukhtar Iqbal Tikka said.

Nazeer Ahmed, who worked as a laborer near Burewala, some 110 kilometers (68 miles) east of Multan, had resented his eldest daughter’s love marriage and killed the three others, fearing they might follow her, Tikka said.

Ahmed apparently told police his eldest daughter Muqadas Bibi, 25, had married a man of her choice against his wishes and her act had tarnished the family’s honour so he plotted to kill her and his other daughters.

While she was asleep with her sisters Bano Bibi, 12, Sumera Bibi, 8, and Humera, 6, he allegedly cut their throats with a sharp knife, Tikka said.

Disgusting..

The Sandmonkey @ 10:26 pm
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You won’t believe this

Posted on Thursday 29 December 2005

The Year 2005 strangest stories are here. Check them out

The Sandmonkey @ 10:20 pm
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Overachiever

Posted on Thursday 29 December 2005

An american teen from Iraqi origin decides to travel to Iraq by himself for a school assigment. He better get some extra credit for this.

The Sandmonkey @ 10:12 pm
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There will be spanking

Posted on Thursday 29 December 2005

The US ia warning Egypt’s government of causing damage to their relationship for the verdict against Ayman Nour. Apparantly there will be some harsh language involved and they maybe even send Mubarak a letter telling him that they are really really mad at him. And then Mubarak will say that he is sorry and the US will say “That’s ok sweetie pie. You know I can’t stay mad at you for long”. Or something like that!

The Sandmonkey @ 10:06 pm
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Egyptian Police vs. Sudanese refugess

Posted on Thursday 29 December 2005

The Egyptian Police finally clashed with the thousands of Sudanese refugees that have camped in one of Mohandeseen’s public gardens for more than 2 months, leaving 6 injured and a little girl dead. Here is what happend:

About 2,000 riot police stormed the camp site and beat the people inside with truncheons and sticks after officials failed to persuade the Sudanese to board buses to take them to another site.

About 4,000 riot police in total ringed the site in an affluent part of Cairo near the offices of the U.N. agency that deals with refugees.

The protesters had refused to clear the area after police fired water cannons on them, demanding that the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) arrange for them to be flown out of Egypt.

“Let the UN arrange to take us to another country,” said one Sudanese protester who gave his name as Wilson.

“Most Sudanese refugees have been subjected to violence in Egypt. We don’t want to be here anymore,” he said.

The only problem is this: They don’t want refugee status in Egypt; They want refugee status in the US/Europe or Canada and they can’t have that , because the civil war in Sudan is over with the new Peace agreemant. No more War = no overwhelming humane crisis that grants them such status. The UN already told them that, that there is no reason for any of those countries to give them assylum. Egypt , on the other hand, agreed to let them stay instead of bussing them all to an airport and deporting them back to Sudan. And now this happend.

Great, huh?

The Sandmonkey @ 9:55 pm
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The Holocaust contradictions

Posted on Thursday 29 December 2005

Zainab Al Suwaij wrote an excellent article called “Accepting contradictions as a means of survival” about how muslims and arabs cope with the world. The best contradiction in beliefs, and also the most classic one, is the way the arabs talk about the Holocaust. If you live in an arab country, you know you heard those 3 statements before and sometimes from the same person:

1) The Holocaust never happend.
2) Hitler is a great man for killing the Jews.
3) Sharon is as bad as Hitler.

You figure out how someone can have those 3 statements in their heads and feel utterly comfortable with believeing them despite their galring contradictions, and you will figure out how the mind of the average conspiracy-theory-obsessed jew-hating arab works.

Confused? Can’t find a way to make those 3 statements work together or exist in the same reality?

Imagine how I feel!

The Sandmonkey @ 9:43 pm
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The Sandmonkey Tour

Posted on Tuesday 27 December 2005

I am currently in Boston MA, and will soon fly to California, where I will be visiting LA, SanFran and the O.C. for 3 days sometime next week. I may also drop by NYC for a night or so. So If you are in any of those States and you wish to see me, drop me a line via my E-mail!

Ok?

Sweet!

The Sandmonkey @ 11:50 am
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I am moving to Planet Buffy

Posted on Tuesday 27 December 2005

Those who know me know that I am a whedon-head, which means I love everything that Joss Whedon is involved in, which includes : Buffy, angel, Firefly, and the movies Toy Story, Xmen, and Serenity. So for me, knowing that there is a planet Buffy now,like an actual planet in space and everything, makes me all kinds of excited. There is also planet Easter Bunny, a mini-world nicknamed Santa and has a moonlet named Rudolph. How awesome is that?

Okay, so I am a dork. Sue me!

The Sandmonkey @ 10:17 am
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Just for Sharon Haters

Posted on Tuesday 27 December 2005

Sharon apparently has a hole in his heart.

Make your own inappropriate Sharon-hating joke here!

The Sandmonkey @ 10:14 am
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Syrian arrested in Tueni’s murder

Posted on Tuesday 27 December 2005

Ok, anyone surprised at this? No? Didn’t think so!

In other news, Ghassan Tueni seems to share my views on Amr Moussa, by accusing him of setting up a federation of arab tyrants to prop up Syria’s regime.

Ghassan Tueni has blasted the mediation of the Arab League Secretary General as an attempt to break Syria’s isolation and form a federation of Arab tyrants to prop up the Damascus regime.

He also said that his call for burying “the grudges” and “revenge inclinations” did not mean compromising the “dignity” of Gebran Tueni, his slain son, An Nahar’s General Manager and Beirut lawmaker.

Asked about Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa’s mediation between Lebanon and Syria, Tueni said: “Moussa wants to create a federation of countries with tyrannical regimes to protect Syria.”

I said it once, I will say it a million times: Amr Moussa is a Hack and a Tyrant apologists. People who admire him are morons.

The Sandmonkey @ 10:04 am
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And the stockholm syndrome lives on…

Posted on Tuesday 27 December 2005

This is pirceless:

A former German hostage who spent 24 days in the hands of unknown captors in
Iraq said her kidnappers were not criminals and had demanded humanitarian aid for Sunni Arab regions.

Speaking to Doha-based satellite channel Al-Jazeera, Susanne Osthoff said her captors told her not to be afraid as her kidnapping was “politically motivated.”

“Do not be afraid. We do not harm women or children and you are a Muslim,” she quoted them as saying.

“I was so happy to know that I had not fallen into the hands of criminals,” she said.

Ok, so even though they kidnapped you and made a list of demands, they are not criminals. Allrighty…

She described her captors as “poor people” and that she “cannot blame them for kidnapping her, as they cannot enter (Baghdad’s heavily fortified) Green Zone to kidnap Americans.”

Ok, wait a minute. Hold on a second. Stop right freakin there. Did she just say what I thought she said? Are you kidding me?

Wow, so not only are you ok with them kidnapping you, you actually lament the fact that they can’t kidnapp americans? Lady, I am no psychologist, but I fear you suffer from a severe case of the stockholm syndrome. Just a wild guess.

Check out the Big Pharaoh on this piece. He tears the woman a new one.

The Sandmonkey @ 9:50 am
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Islam booming amongst European women…

Posted on Tuesday 27 December 2005

…And that’s making the anti-terrorism authorities there all kinds of uncomfortable, at least that’s what this piece by the CSMonitor says. The reasons behind the surge in conversions? Well…

Fallot laughs when she is asked whether her love life had anything to do with her decision. “When I told my colleagues at work that I had converted, their first reaction was to ask whether I had a Muslim boyfriend,” she recalls. “They couldn’t believe I had done it of my own free will.”
In fact, she explains, she liked the way “Islam demands a closeness to God. Islam is simpler, more rigorous, and it’s easier because it is explicit. I was looking for a framework; man needs rules and behavior to follow. Christianity did not give me the same reference points.”

Those reasons reflect many female converts’ thinking, say experts who have studied the phenomenon. “A lot of women are reacting to the moral uncertainties of Western society,” says Dr. Jawad. “They like the sense of belonging and caring and sharing that Islam offers.”

Others are attracted by “a certain idea of womanhood and manhood that Islam offers,” suggests Karin van Nieuwkerk, who has studied Dutch women converts. “There is more space for family and motherhood in Islam, and women are not sex objects.”

Ok..hold on a minute. Women are not sex objects in Islam? Are you kidding me? What are women but sex objects in Islam? Seriously. She needs to get married once she hits puberty, she needs to be coverd in order not to entice men, you can have 4 wives and Gawary (female slaves) and that’s cool. Hell, even in Heaven men’s reward is more sex with more women, while women, well, they get to be with their busbands and nobody else. Which Islam are these women converting to?

Listen, I am not against them converting (or reverting for that matter) to Islam, but the reality is, a lot of the western converts are given a waterd down version of Islam at first until they convert and after that their spirtual mentors bring on the heavy stuff and by that time it’s too late to go back. Your eagerness and ignorance make you a prey to a big slew of people, and this could really be trouble, because…

Others jump right in, eager for the exoticism of a new religion, and become much more pious than fellow mosque-goers who were born into Islam. Such converts, taking an absolutist approach, appear to be the ones most easily led into extremism.

The early stages of a convert’s discovery of Islam “can be quite a sensitive time,” says Batool al-Toma, who runs the “New Muslims” program at the Islamic Foundation in Leicester, England.

“You are not confident of your knowledge, you are a newcomer, and you could be prey to a lot of different people either acting individually or as members of an organization,” Ms. Al-Toma explains. A few converts feel “such a huge desire to fit in and be accepted that they are ready to do just about anything,” she says.

“New converts feel they have to prove themselves,” adds Dr. Ranstorp. “Those who seek more extreme ways of proving themselves can become extraordinarily easy prey to manipulation.”

At the same time, says al-Toma, converts seeking respite in Islam from a troubled past – such as Degauque, who had reportedly drifted in and out of drugs and jobs before converting to Islam – might be persuaded that such an “ultimate action” as a suicide bomb attack offered an opportunity for salvation and forgiveness.

Dagauque is the female belgian suicidebomber who died in Iraq, in case you didn’t hear about it!

“The saddest conclusion” al-Toma draws from Degauque’s death in Iraq is that “a woman who set out on the road to inner peace became a victim of people who set out to use and abuse her.”

Indeed.

The Sandmonkey @ 9:24 am
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