Monday 31 December 2012

Ringing in 2013

To quote Charles Dickens in "A Tale of Two Cities"  (1859),   the year 2012  :

".... was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of  Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way."

A lot of the time it was like the salmon's journey - upstream against the torrents and losing good friends along the way.

But there were also blessings - like the warmth of new friends ........

 ....... Zarina and her three boys, husband Ken and sons Daniel and Haiqal and Kakak Zainon the mother and grandmother.   And as always, stalwart companions Irene and Jailani.

In Leicester,  there was little  Wania, Yasir's and Rafiah's new and first born bundle of joy.

Happy mum, Rafiah and little Wania.

Proud Baba (Dad)  Yasir.  He could , off the top of his head, inform me that Wania's  " date of birth is 28 November 2012, Wednesday, 1620 at Leicester General Hospital, delivery room number 7"!
So we now have a new title in Urdu, Dada for grandfather and Dadi for grandmother.  In future, each time we come back to Leicester we will have someone under 21 to catch up with.

A big 'teh tarik' thank you to Maria for helping us through many hurdles and crossings - and just for being there - when we were in Kuala Lumpur and even while we are here in Leicester.

This ex-student of mine.....

..... gave up three days of his time to drive me to Singapore and back  -  to enable me to see Lely -  as the spouse was not well enough to make the journey.  Thank you Din from us two and Lely.

Another year, another journey and  I wish for all who pass my way and AsH's blog a happy and peaceful 2013  and a big thank you.

Sunday 30 December 2012

Six Geese a Laying or The Sixth Day of Christmas

As part of the treatment for his battered discs and his osteo-arthritis, the spouse has been doing his walking exercise - about 2 kms each day and every day - at Victoria Park, whatever the weather.  The weather today was chilly and blowy but the spouse kept his feet firmly on the ground.

Daft and Dodgy  DIB   (Donald Iain Buchanan)
This morning I kept him company - to walk off the great dinner  I cooked the night before for our good friend Jack.

 Despite the cold and the wind, the day was gloriously sunny and  bright.  Such cheerful light always makes me a bit loopy and dopey.  I thought a photo of AsH cuddling a tree would prove my green credentials.

Buchanan's Daft  Green Malay Wife
I could not miss this photo opportunity of a  female Malay OAP  (Old Age Pensioner)  sunbathing on a bench in sunny Leicester!

Buchanan's Daft Malay Wife
But all that morning I could not keep out this Christmas Carol  "God rest ye merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay, for Jesus Christ our saviour, was born on Christmas day"  which kept on ringing in my head.  In fact for the past two weeks a barrage of Carols has been inundating my waking world - in the City Centre and on the radio and TV ... together with all the advertisements for Christmas and New Year Sales!     It's to be expected in this secular and Christian country at this time of year.

But Iain would shake his head in dismay at the breakfast and lunch table (when the radio is on), - not only at the endless Carols but - especially when his wife breaks into a song with each ( or most) of  the Carols.
I could warble for him Good King Wenceslas, Silent Night Holy Night, It Came Upon the Midnight Clear, Away in a Manger, The first Noel, God Bless ye Merry Gentlemen etc, etc.

He asked, "Where did you learn all that?  I don't even know the lyrics to most of those carols."  He shuddered when I replied, "In Pasir Panjang  Primary School during Music Periods!  We also learned them on our Recorder ( somewhat like a flute). "

For good measure I elucidated on the nature of my Music Education in Secondary School.  Other than the usual repertoire of traditional English songs like The Wraggle Taggle Gypsies, The Grand Old Duke of York, I Vow to Thee My Country and God Save the King and God Save the Queen, (when the King died in 1953), we had a jolly old time raucously singing Christmas Carols.  But we were not happy when Miss Scharenguivel our music teacher threw in  a couple of Gospel songs -  too sombre and dirge-like for us red blooded teenagers.

I revel in seeing the spouse's look of disgust when I 'entertain'  him with :

Nobody knows the trouble I've seen
Nobody knows but Jesus.
Nobody knows the trouble I've seen.  Glory Hallelujah.

I  like to sing this when I'm doing my housework chores - giving him a nudge, nudge, wink, wink at the same time.

A few days ago I looked up this particular Gospel Song on YouTube.  Paul Robeson,  Sam Cooke and Louis Armstrong sang the second line as "Nobody knows my sorrow"and not "Nobody knows but Jesus" as we were taught by Miss Scharenguivel.  I reckon they had to water down the Jesus factor for public consumption.  But oh boy, we learned the genuine article!  All part of the British (secular?)  Colonial Education.

Was I deracinated by this English language Colonial Education?  I don't think so.  Thanks to my English educated father and my  unschooled mother.  It's ironic that the younger generation of Malay-Muslims in Singapore and Malaysia are more anglicised/americanised despite their uncolonial education.  They are being colonised by the seductive onslaught of western music, culture, food and fashion and the imported media.  When, years ago, I saw this copy-cat   popular art -caption :

......  I  cringed.  Enough's said.

Here's another Gospel song I was taught in school.

All night, all day, angels watching over me my Lord
All night, all day, angels watching over me.

As angels seem to abound at this time of year, - other than night and day - why not listen to the Dawn?

One  thing my education taught me.  Search and discover and learn.

Sunday 23 December 2012

Cull of 2012 - Part 3c (1987-2012) - Finale

9.  With the Arab nations more or less emasculated by this time and the breakup of the USSR following Gorbachov's Glasnost and Perestroika in the late 1980s, Yasser Arafat and the PLO were now on their own.  The Russian Army had to withdraw from their 'adventure' in Afghanistan (1979-1984) and the symbolic fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 left the world with only one superpower.  This strengthened Israel: now with guaranteed support from secular and Christian Zionist US, it had a freer hand in the Middle East.

      The Uprising or the First Intifada against the Occupation of Palestinian territories went on between  1987 - 1993.  It was basically a battle between Israeli tanks and Palestinian stones.  Despite the imbalance in military might between Israel and Palestine, Israel had no problem in winning the hearts and minds of the western media.  It was very easy for Israel to get moral support following "attacks" by Palestinian "terrorists" on its citizens at home and abroad.  Such "incursions" on the health and safety of the Israelis were picked up by the Western media to demonise not just the Palestinian cause but Islam as a whole.  Israel's brutality in the Occupied Territories went unnoticed.

      But if we look back in history, is there really any  difference between the Palestinians' tenacity to fight against  Israeli occupation  and Britain's determination in the Second World War when the Nazis got close to their doorsteps and  they lived in fear of German occupation?

      In 1938, David Ben Gurion observed:

      Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves ..... politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves ...... The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country.
                                                                        (quoted in Chomsky: Fateful Triangle, p. 91-92)              

      And 51 years later, Benyamin Netanyahu, then Israeli Deputy Minister, said this to students at Bar Ilan University:

      Israel should have exploited the repression of demonstrations in China, when world attention focused on that country, to carry out mass expulsions, among the Arabs of the territories.
                                                                   (quoted in the Israeli journal Hotam, Nov.24,1989)

10.  Arafat and Yitzak Shamir signed the Oslo Accord in  1993.  The Israeli PM was soon after assassinated by an  'extremist' Israeli for signing the peace treaty.

11.  Then in 1994, another domino dropped out.  Jordan signed an agreement with Israel.  Also in this year Dr Baruch Goldstein, a New Yorker  Jew, went on a killing spree and shot dead 29 Palestinians at prayer and injured 125 at the Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron.    He was not at fault, of course: he was of "unsound mind".

12.  The Second Intifada  (2000 - 2005 )  witnessed a marked escalation of violence.  It saw a tit-for-tat sequence of attacks and counter attacks.  Suicide bombers, hand grenades, light arms, and Qassam rockets were pitted against Israel's tanks, tractors, helicopter gunships and (from May 2001) warplanes - last used in the 1967 War.

      Palestinians called this the Al Aqsa Intifada, because it was provoked by Ariel Sharon's "visit" to the Temple Mount.      But it was more than a visit:  it was a provocative act on Sharon's part to "assert the rights of all Israelis to visit the Temple". He came with his Likud Party supporters and armed bodyguards.    This triggered the 5 years of bloodshed in the West Bank, resulting in the deaths of 1,053 Israeli civilians and 4,789 Palestinians(according to Israel sources).      (Sharon, of course, was no stranger to dirty work: about this time, the Kahan Commission declared him responsible for the massacre at Sabra and Shatila.   He resigned as Defence Minister only after an Israeli died during a demonstration against his policies).

      As part of Israel's reprisals during this Intifada  ( Israel described it as "Operation Defensive Shield" ),  the refugee camp of Jenin in the north of the West Bank was invaded in April 2002.   The BBC reported that ten percent of the Camp was  'virtually rubbed out by a dozen armoured Israel bulldozers'.  Many residents, given no warning, were buried alive.  According to Human Rights Watch, 4,000 people, a quarter of Jenin's residents, were left homeless.

      The death of Rachel Corrie ( an activist from the US)  run down by an Israeli bulldozer in 2003 hit the world's headlines, a story that did not go down well for the Israelis.  But there were also other fatalities like 57 year old wheel-chair bound Kamal Zugheir who was shot and then flattened by IDF tanks and the quadraplegic Jamal Fayid who was crushed to death in the rubble of his home when the IDF bulldozer refused permission for his family to attempt a rescue.  I can imagine the media's attention if they had been Israelis.

      In 2004, Yasser Arafat died from a sudden illness - a big loss for a people who had depended on his leadership for three decades.     It was claimed that he was assassinated by poisoning - but it took eight years before this was taken seriously and Arafat's body was exhumed for tests.     (As for Ariel Sharon, he has been in a coma since January 2006).

      This period also saw the break between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.   A political fracture between the Palestinians was perhaps an expected consequence of a people, a country and an economy broken apart by wars and siege, and subjected to massive outside interference.     Hamas won the 2006 General Election in Gaza, but their democratic victory only sparked outrage and sanctions from the Americans and Israelis.

13.  Closer to our memory is Operation Cast Lead of  2008/2009,  which used as its justification  rockets fired into Israel from Gaza.

      But it is worth noting that just two months before this began, a crucial piece of legislation became the law in the US.    In October 2008, George Bush signed into law the Naval Vessel Transfer Act.  Behind its modest title, this Act had a momentous significance for Israel.  It placed every US President under a legal obligation to ensure that Israel maintains its military dominance in the Middle East.  Giving Israel its "Qualitative Military Edge" had been US foreign policy for at least 40 years - it had now become law. Where does that place President Obama?

The following graphs and image  illustrate the actual danger the Israelis were facing.

The impact on Gaza and her inhabitants was designed to be brutal and the viciousness of the Israelis was too much for even some of her allies and sympathizers.

14.  Then in November 2012 came Operation Pillar of Defence.  Again a brutal response to rocket attacks from Gaza but not before Israel had broken an informal ceasefire by assassinating Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari on 13 November 2012.  According to Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin, Jabari was murdered just hours after he had received the draft of a permanent truce agreement with Israel ."

      To punish their enemy, the Palestinians may blow themselves up as well - and sometimes innocents are caught in the event.      The Israelis are masters of the same objective, but with a very different modus operandi - and with far greater "collateral damage".    From the 1950s  to the 2010s, Israel's Mossad and other security agencies assassinated 78 people - mainly Palestinians -  in Palestine itself or overseas.  But thousands of others - in Gaza especially - have been the innocent "collateral damage".      But in the language of drone warfare, such innocent victims are mere "bug splats" - the Israelis, after all, view the Palestinians as  "cockroaches", to be squashed out of existence.

      Israeli contempt for the Palestinians is unconcealed.    Israel's Deputy PM and Foreign Minister said, "We must blow Gaza back to the Middle Ages."

      However, Ariel Sharon's son Gilad put it more eloquently,  "We need to flatten all of Gaza.  The Americans didn't stop with Hiroshima.  The Japanese weren't surrendering fast enough so they hit Nagasaki too.  There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles.  Nothing."

But these attacks are not all.  Palestinians are also victims of what Twain described as 'The Long Terror' of sanctions, blockades - especially for Gaza where essential medicines, food and educational supplies and fuel are still arbitrarily subject to Israel's whims.

In the West Bank, since the 1967 War, the Israelis carry on with their Land Grab and illegal settlements - in the name of Eretz Israel ( Greater Israel ).  I shall let the figures speak for themselves.  In the West Bank (excluding Jerusalem) there were 480 settlers in 1948 - by 2009 there were 304,569.  In East Jerusalem,  the number of settlers increased from 2,300 in 1948 to 192,000 in 2009.

The details can be seen here.

According to Ariel Sharon in 1989,  "Everybody has to move, run and grab as many (Palestinian) hilltops as they can to enlarge the (Jewish) settlements because everything we take now will stay ours  ..... Everything we don't grab will go to them." - same source as the earlier Sharon quote.

In the above map, firstly note the little black triangles which represent illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Let me end with the Apartheid Wall  in the West Bank - indicated by a red line in the map above.

The Wall is more sophisticated than the old-fashioned barbed wires and serves the purpose of corralling the Palestinians in the West Bank in the world's largest prison.  Palestine is not even a single territory - it is now a poignant collection of divided and helpless pieces of humanity.



      We are always asked to remember, and rightly so, the holocausts of the past.  In the same way we should not turn our backs on the Palestinians' Long Terror.  After the bloodbath in Gaza in 2008/2009 we made a little extra effort to find ways to beat this terror.    But we must try much harder.

       So I'm posting this video by Lowkey an activist (recently retired) of mixed English and Iraqi descent.  I hope his style and his lyrics will knock  some reality into the minds of our cosy, comfortable youngsters.

Unlike Israel, no one will sponsor the Palestinians with US$7 million a day.  But if each Muslim adult in Malaysia would donate MYR2 each year and every year, we could see more hospitals and schools and public amenities constructed in  the West Bank and Gaza. After all, a drink at Starbucks and a basic burger and fries at MacDonalds cost more than MYR2.

I would also hope that the young ones in my family in Malaysia  (for whom I am writing this post) will make this little effort.  I know that my niece Maria gets her children to donate a portion of their Duit Raya to orphanages in Kuala Lumpur.  It would be wonderful if cucusiHamid could get cicitsiHamid to do the same for the children of Palestine.

 And if this gift is multiplied by another 100 children, 1,000 children and so on - and together with their parents' contribution - then indeed we abide by our Prophet's pbuh  call.

None of you will have faith until he wishes for his brother what he likes for himself.

It is not a matter of Charity but a matter of Faith.

Friday 21 December 2012

Cull of 2012 - Part 3b (1917 - 1982)


MAP  1
1.  Map 1 shows Palestine in 1917.  At this time only 2.5% of the land was owned by Jews.

2.  The Balfour Agreement of 1948.

Map 2
The terms of the 1947 Balfour Agreement as seen in Map 2 shows how 56% of the land was handed over to the Jews.  Of course the Palestinians and the Arabs disagreed: how could any country or institution have been allowed to carve up Palestine and "give it to some Eastern Europe and Russian interlopers"?

According to the Agreement Jerusalem was recognized as an International Zone.  As we have seen in later years this would be ignored by the Israelis.  In 1967 during the Six Day War, Israel "captured" east Jerusalem and later squeezed out the Palestinians by Land Grabs and building more settlement.

In 1980 Israel unilaterally issued the Jerusalem Land Proclamation and declared a complete and united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.  Of course, despite squeals and whimpers from the "International Community" Israel cocked a snoot at any voice of opposition - whatever Israel wants, Israel gets.  As for West Jerusalem there were "broader agreements regarding Israeli presence in the West - whatever it means - again it benefited the Zionists despite the 1947 ruling.

3.  The Balfour Agreement was followed in 1948 by the first war between the Zionists and the Palestinians/Arabs - a war the Zionists described as their "War of Independence" (which is a bit like the white settlers of North America describing the many wars against Indians as their War of Independence.

It has long been the mantra of the Zionists and their apologists that "Arab forces moved to destroy the newly declared state of Israel".  This is a claim described by Robert Fisk as 'self-delusional'.  In fact the war was primarily a Zionist - Jewish colonial project .......

...... to drive out the Palestinians - and as such it hardly needed a pretext or excuse like Operation Cast Lead in 2008/2009 or Operation Pillar of Defence in 2012 !

The main trigger of the 1948 Palestinian Exodus was the Deir Yassin Massacre, which is often described as the initial prong of the colonial project against the Palestinians : altogether, 107 men, women and children were massacred by Zionist paramilitaries, after first being paraded through the streets of West Jerusalem.

But in the West (and in our part of the world) at least, we don't hear about the tragedy at Deir Yassin.  Or, for that matter, the massacres at Khan Yunis and Rafah during the 1956 Suez War.  Instead we are told a lot about  the Massacre at Munich in 1972 and the Entebbe Hostage Crisis in 1956 and many other 'harrowing atrocities' the Israelis suffered.  Palestinians after all, do not qualify as 'victims'.

And yet in 1948, all told, 750,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes and their land - many would come to live permanently in the squalid refugee camps of Lebanon, Jordan and Gaza.

David Ben Gurion, Israel's first Prime Minister, described what took place.

Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages.  You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist.  Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahial arose in the place of Mahlul; and Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushua in the place of Tal al-Sharman.  There is not a single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.  Quoted in The Jewish Paradox by Nahan Goldman, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1978, p.99.

Reading such accounts, from those who should know, makes it all the more important for us to realize that there has always been a guiding strategy, a philosophy of expansion and occupation, behind what Israel does.

And Ariel Sharon, Foreign Minister of Israel said this while addressing the meeting of militants from the  extreme right-wing Tsomet  Party, Agence France Presss, November 15, 1998 :

It is the duty of Israeli leaders to explain to public opinion, clearly and courageously, a certain number of facts that are forgotten with time.  The first of these is that there is no Zionism, or Jewish state without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands. 

4.  The  1956 Suez War was revealed - later- to be a plot by Britain, France and Israel whereby Israel invaded Egypt and made sure they went just far enough for Britain and France to enter the fray and ostensibly save the Canal from Nasser's nationalisation.  They made one mistake.  They did not inform Big Brother USA and they had to withdraw.

5.  The 1967 Six Day War ( 5-10 June) started when Israel launched 'surprise'attacks against Egyptian airfields and the West Bank which was then under Jordanian control.  Within six days Israel conquered  the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan and the Golan Heights from Syria.  In the West Bank nearly 300,000 refugees fled to Jordan and the Palestinians were left with only 22 % of the land.. The West Bank became "The Occupied Territories".  Jerusalem was divided and the Land Grab in Jerusalem now began in earnest.  This was another phase in the displacement of the Palestinians - their Diaspora.

Map  3
 The upshot of this was that a pre-emptive strike against another country was seen to be acceptable.  (Remember how Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait led to the 1990 Gulf War?)   This gave immense confidence to the Zionists.  They were able to initiate strikes, to extend their territory and to get away with it - because the US and the West were on their side.

According to some sources, in June 19, 1967 the Israeli Government decided to return Sinai and Golan in return for peace agreements with the Arab states.  It seemed that US withheld this decision from Egypt and Syria.  In September 1967 the Khartoum Arab Summit issued the statement there would be no peace with Israel.  The decision of 19 June 1967 remained a closely guarded secret.

This issue of the return of territory was to lead to another war in 1973.

6.  The 1973 Yom Kippur War :

Discord over the return of territory lost during the Six Day War was the main reason for the Yom Kippur War between Syria/Egypt and Israel.  It went on from 6 October to 22 October.

 This war was intertwined with the Cold War between the two superpowers.  The USSR supported the Arab nations against Israel which was regarded as the Trojan Horse of the US in the Middle East.

The machinations of the two superpowers played a major role in the game play of the war.  To cut a long story short, Kissinger in the USA played an enormous part in propping up Israel.  At this time President Nixon was embroiled in the mess of the Watergate Scandal. When Israel encountered the possibility of defeat on 9 October and raised the threat of using nuclear weapons to prevent defeat, the US (as expected by Israel) put into motion Operation Nickel Grass to re-supply and re-fortify Israel's military capability.  The threat of nuclear weapons was just an American and Israeli device to arm the latter to its teeth - estimated today to be in the region of US$7 million a day.

7.  In  1978  Israel and Egypt signed a peace agreement.  The Sinai was returned to Egypt in exchange for  Egypt's recognition of Israel.  It also defined Egypt and Mubaruk as a poodle of the US.

8.  Lebanon, where most of the Palestinian refugees were located was invaded in  1982.    In the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila, from 15-18 September, up to 3,500 Palestinian refugees were killed in a three day orgy of death carried out by Christian Phalangists militiamen, acting with the consent and guidance of the Israeli military under the command of Defence Minister Ariel Sharon.

"I saw dead women in their houses with their skirts drawn up to their waists and their legs spread apart, dozens of young men shot after being lined up against an alley wall; children with their throats slit, a pregnant woman with her stomach chopped open, her eyes still wide open, her blackened face silently screaming in horror, countless babies and toddlers who had been stabbed or ripped apart and who had been thrown into garbage piles."
This report did not come from the pen of an Arab or a Muslim.  It was written by Janet Stevens, an American journalist.

Sabra and Shatila 1982 - a scene to be repeated in 2008/2009 and 2012
And have our children and grandchildren had the privilege to watch on screen the story of the Sabra and Shatila Massacres?  Everyone's in it :  Jews, Christians and Muslims - a perfect scenario for a blockbuster movie  like 'Schindler's List'.  I guess it's because it is not the right sort of victims and the wrong kind of perpetrators.  The movie will not sell !

.......  to be continued.  But first spend some time with George Galloway,  a man who puts his money where his mouth is unlike so many of our fellow Muslims  -  Arabs and non-Arabs.  And he's a Scotsman too!

Thursday 20 December 2012

Cull of 2012 - Part 3a (British Beginnings)

To some, this final part of my posting may seem futile.  It's been heard before - the arguments and contents are not new.  Despite all the analyses and outrage, nothing has changed.

At the height of Israel's 2008-2009 attack on Gaza, Mahzan my nephew asked me to write the story behind the bloodshed in Palestine for the cucu.  He was at a loss because his six year old son Adam was very upset watching  injured and dying Palestinian children on TV and he could not find answers to some of his son's questions.  This is tok ngah's attempt to present as succinctly as possible the key events behind Palestine's plight.  It's not an academic treatise, just a digestible narrative so that the second generation can answer the questions from the third generation.

IN THE BEGINNING : there were Israel's British sponsors.

The demise of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the First World War (1917) left Palestine in temporary British hands, as a "mandated territory".  It also marked the beginning of the dismemberment of Palestine at the hands of Zionist Jews and the Christian Zionists - especially of Great Britain.

This bit of history was dramatized for me in a very roundabout way.  We both enjoy watching a TV documentary called "Coasts" about Britain's coastline and its history.  One episode featured an invention, developed in a remote area of northern Britain, that shortened the First World War and gave victory to Britain. It seemed that Britain desperately needed Acetone, a crucial component for producing cordite - an explosive necessary for artillery shells.  Providence came in the shape of a Zionist Russian-born Jewish teacher of chemistry at Manchester University.  Churchill sought the expertise of  a Dr Chaim Weizman to make synthetic acetone.  It was a formidable task but Weizman did it within a month and Churchill  got his 30,000 tons of synthetic acetone.  The documentary ended there.

And here is the missing bit.  The British PM at that time (1916-1922) was David Lloyd George, a dedicated Christian Zionist.  He offered an award to Weizman for his contribution to the war effort but Weizman declined.  He told Lloyd George,  "I want nothing for myself but rather a homeland for my people".  This encounter was regarded as the impetus for the 1947 Declaration that created the state of Israel in Palestine - on land incidentally, that wasn't even British to give away!  It also helps to explain the long running support in British politics and media for Israel, for Zionism, no matter what.

It was not just the Zionists who demanded the state of Israel.  The belief in the return of Palestine, The Promised Land to The Chosen People was the ideology of British Gentile Christian leaders even before the Zionist movement began in the late 1800s.  In the 19th century, British politics, British ruling elite and British Christian Zionists were manipulating international events towards the establishment of Israel in Palestine.  There were well-known and much respected Christian Zionists like PM Benjamin Disraeli (1874-1880), Lord Shaftesbury, Lord Palmerston, General Allenby (the liberator of Jerusalem in December 1917) and even George Eliot who wrote my favourite novel 'The Mill on the Floss'.  All these I discovered only recently, not from my 16 years of education, from age 7 to University in the once British Colony of Singapore.  But again, is it any different today, be it in Singapore or Malaysia?

For good measure, I'll throw in this little tale ..........

 Who was the member of the British elite who called the Quran an "accursed book", and who held it up during a session in Parliament declaring  "So long as there is this book there will be no peace in the world"?   It was William Gladstone, British PM from 1868-1874, 1880-1885, 1886, and 1892-1894.

To understand the present, and the reasons for so much bloodshed in the Middle East, we have to dig deep into the past.  Remember what Orwell wrote :  "Who controls the past controls the future.  Who controls the present controls the past"?

....... and here's another snippet:

"They own the (holy) land, just the mere land, and that's all they do own; but it was our folks, our Jews and Christians, that made it holy, and so they haven't any business to be there defiling it.  It's a shame and we ought not to stand it a minute. We ought to march against them and take it away from them."
This extract is from that much loved "Tom Sawyer Abroad" (1894) by Mark Twain.

This is taken from Ramzy Baroud "The Politics of Armageddon" COUNTERPUNCH  April 19/20 2008

AND HERE IS THE MAIN ACCOUNT:   It will be in tomorrow's posting.

Saturday 8 December 2012

Gaza Fatigue : Cull of 2012 Part 2

Facts that remind me to remember.

oPT refers to the occupied Palestinian Territories of West Bank and Gaza

For more information about MAP  :

There are those - like the 3 wise  monkeys - who shut their eyes, their ears, and their mouths whenever the
word Gaza or West Bank or Palestine or occupied Palestinian Territories (oPT) are mentioned.

It could be because their hearts and heads are with Israel.  They are made up of, at the very worst,  supporters of Zionist Israel and at  best, their apologists.

There are also those in the liberals' Brigade who make out that they are above politics, who think it's beneath them to take sides, who mouth the "yes but ......  and no but ....."  line whenever Israel's atrocities are mentioned.  You expect this in the Judaeo-Christian Western world, but when it's spouted by Malaysians it becomes a sick joke.  These brown  (and many other shades of non-white) mems and sahibs are still alive and kicking  but they now fancy themselves as "liberals" and "radicals" - the appendix of the Human Rights Sorority.

Then there are some - with no particular stand and opinion - who are like the ostrich, burying their heads in the sand and ( apologies for the mixed metaphors ) preferring their little lives in their little fish bowls asserting  "I am not my brother's keeper.  Go away."

But there are also many who do care, but who wish that this injustice, this bloodshed would go away - that these images of bloodied and maimed and dying and dead children, of women crying their hearts out in grief, of the tortured anger and pain in the faces of  frail old men, sturdy young men and innocent young boys, would just disappear  -  just like a fairy tale where  "they lived happily ever after".


Ponder on this.  "The process of national revival of the Jewish people is irreversible and has its internal logic.  We shall have no peace as long as the whole territory of the Country of Israel will not return under Jewish control.  This might sound too hard, but such is the logic of history  (my underline) The war on the Holy Land has been already fought for four thousand years and the end cannot be seen.  A stable peace will come only then, when Israel will return to itself all its historical lands, and will thus control both the Suez and the Ormudz channel.  The state will find at last its geostrategic completeness.  We must remember that Iraqi oilfields too are located on the Jewish land.  This may seem utopia to many now - but an even greater utopia seemed a hundred years ago the revival of the Jewish state  ....... if you want this, this will not be a fairy tale"
Rabbi Avrom Shmulevic of the Bead Artzein ("For the Homeland")  Movement

You can see how this Zionists' grim fairy tale is working out. ___________________________________________________

I must admit to feeling that way too, at times.  But at 68, life is getting shorter and more precious - and for siHamid's grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren in particular, I must make a special effort.  I have to write them this narrative.  I want to leave them this story of the Palestinians - a story that seems to have little or no cachet even in a Muslim country like their homeland, Malaysia.  I want them to have the knowledge and the information about this ancient people in a world that cares little for them.

I  was 42 when I learned of  the gory details behind the plight of the Palestinians.  I want my father's  keturunan to learn it now because they won't get it from their history books, from the print media, from Hollywood movies, from imported TV programmes, from 'bestseller books' and computer games.

Right now it's difficult to look forward to a just resolution for the Palestinians in the land beloved of the world's three major religions.  Despite the recent entry on Friday 30 November, of the Palestinian Authority as a non-observer State in the United Nations, Palestine will  have the same status as the Vatican, recognising only its sovereignty and the right to join the International Court of Justice.

I suppose after nearly 65 years of of bludgeoning by  the Israelis - after the Occupation of their homeland by the Zionists - after the land grab by Jewish settlers of their territory - after the tractors and tanks and fighter planes and drones and missiles have demolished their homes, hospitals, schools - after Israeli/American arms (including experimental weapons) rained deaths on their civilians and children and  mutilated Palestinian babies even while they were in their mothers' wombs - they have to be thankful for little mercies.

But their future is bleak.  Unlike South Africa and East Timor, they have scant hope of being granted, even in theory, their fundamental human rights.  When will it be their turn?  As Orwell put it:  "Who controls the past controls the future.  Who controls the present controls the past."

The central truth for the Palestinians is that their past, present and future have been controlled, occupied and trashed by 20th/21st century Empires and their Centurions who have a voracious appetite for power.

You cannot describe the killing of innocent civilians as a war, dressing it up with benign titles like Operation Cast Lead and Operation Pillar of Defence.  It might do for a Hollywood movie by Spielberg and Warner Brothers.

But when you pit 35,000 fighters in Gaza  against Israel's  "F-16 bombers, Apache gunships, Merkava tanks and other modern weapons systems in the hands of a conscript force of 175,000 ( with 450,000 in reserve)", it's not a war - it's a massacre.

I have already referred in earlier postings to Mark Twain's "two reigns of Terror".  There's the momentary swift terror, the "terror of swift death at the axe compared with lifelong death from hunger, cold, insult, cruelty and heartbreak."   The Palestinians are bearing both.

It has been a long and painstaking task to do the coming posting, to outline the scenario of the Palestinians' Short and Long Terrors.

But it will have to wait ...... when I feel a little better..

Monday 3 December 2012

Broken Promises

I promised Part 2 for the next posting but I don't think I can keep to my intended plan.

Today has been a day of lost expectations.

Firstly the weatherman was hopeful for snow.  But ......

The brackish-grey sky at 9.51 looked like a potential snow sky.
.......  it was just wishful thinking because the sky turned to this at 13.39.

Leicester sky at 13.39 - white clouds and blue sky!

Secondly, being old is quite a hazardous occupation.  It has its perks. When you get old, really old in England, you are eligible for a Bus Pass that enables you to take the bus for free anywhere in the County.  You are also given GBP 200 heating allowance to keep you warm in winter.  However, with the rising cost of gas and electricity a top-up would be a big boost.  Still, it's better than nowt.

But this was one big dilemma for old AsH.  Old people are advised(?), pressured (?) to get the Flu Injection to keep away the flu  in winter.

Get yourself a flu jab - the poster at our Surgerý's window 
Should I?   For umpteen years I have evaded this because I want to avoid unnecessary 'foreign bodies' getting into my system.  But in weighing up the pros and cons I thought I had best not risk getting flu this winter.  It has been cold so far, really cold as can be seen from my additional apparel just to write this posting.  Four days ago the temperature dropped to zero.  I do wish some genius out there would invent a protective cover for cold noses. Atishooo!

Red hot gloves for cold fingers

And three days after the Jab at my system, I began to get a touch of the imported flu and so my next posting has to be put on hold (in the freezing shed).

The raw material for my next posting.

I have a frog croaking in my throat, the top of my head weighs a ton and a half (no, it's not the weight of the brain).  Maria and I had a nice long chat just 15 minutes ago and I felt a bit light-headed after that.  She has that effect on me!!  Where's the paracetamol?

But this helped me the most.  The spouse cooked banana pancake with lashings of margarine, molasses sugar and lemon juice for our lunch today.
Do you fancy this, Lely?

Starve a fever, feed a cold - says the old saying.  I expect a feed at every 3 hours interval to stave off this cold and the incipient flu.

Off for a snooze now and hopefully I can get down to serious writing soon.

When I'm 64 plus 4  ....

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Contextualising the 2012 Cull of Gaza - Part 1

When we got back two weeks ago - among our mail was this appeal from MAP or Medical Aid for Palestinians.

"Despite the promise by Israel in 2010 to ease the blockade, children in Gaza are still living in grinding poverty, under severe restrictions and deprivation every day."

The map illustrates the Access Points that are closed:  Gaza Port, Nahal Oz, Karni, Sufa (on the east bordering Israel).  Imagine how Britain would suffer if the ports of Southampton, Portsmouth were closed to trade. Of course,  the well-heeled  could depend on Heathrow and the other airports. As for Gaza, even the Airport is closed.  As for the border with Egypt to the south, Rafah is open but with very limited public access.  A few years ago enterprising and desperate Palestinians dug a tunnel into Egypt to get food and medical supplies.  But the Egyptian government under Mubarak  sealed the tunnels at the behest of their American and Israeli allies.

"Gaza has been a virtual prison since June 2007.  It is a space no larger than the smallest county in England with over 40 times the population - who are denied the most basic of human rights - the right to health."

Here are the gory details enlarged from the above.

"Since 2008, 70 Palestinians have died because their permits for treatment outside Gaza were delayed, turning the blockade into a death sentence."

Just imagine, if Israelis  who require medical treatment in UK and USA and France were obstructed by a blockade!  If that ever happens pigs will fly!

"The Nahal Oz pipeline .... has been closed for the last two and a half years.    .... power cuts last up to 12 hours a day .... devastating effects for hospitals."

Imagine the scenario if  by some divine intercession  ( man left to himself will not dare to do so), the supply of petroleum from the Middle East to UK, USA, Europe and Israel were cut off.   Like the Palestinians they will  "be forced to use gas and naked flames for cooking and heating, leading to a huge rise in the numbers of burns injuries."  And with Christmas just round the corner, they won't be able to partake of  Christmas dinner with roast turkey, roast potatoes, boiled sprouts and Christmas pudding to celebrate this Christian and western secular festivity.  Only liqueur and spirits ( no, not the ghost of Scrooge) will be plentiful.

"With wholly inadequate basic materials, food and medical supplies, Gaza's people are on their knees.  Unemployment is amongst the world's highest at 30.3%, 54% of people don't have enough food and about one-third of items on the essential drug list are out of stock."

The Brits remember - with pride - the Blitz when Hitler was raining bombs on their cities and blockading their supply of food.  Their venerable Churchill had this to say :

We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France,
we shall fight on the seas and the oceans,
we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend
our island, whatever the cost may be,
we shall fight on the beaches,
we shall fight on the landing grounds, 
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, 
we shall fight in the hills;
we shall never surrender .

The Brits are respected for their tenacity.  Even though the odds against the Palestinians vis-a-vis the Israelis are far worse than the Brits against the Germans, the former are labelled as terrorists - standing alone as they are pulverized into the ground while the rest of the world look on and give succour to the brutal Israeli regime.

Then two weeks ago Israel conducted another campaign of "killing off  the weakest and unwanted"  another culling spree sanctioned by the newly-elected Obama and the UK government. And all because the Gazans have been pelting the Jews with their rockets!!

"The alleged tens of thousands of 'rockets'from Gaza killed 21 Israeli people since 2001.  During the 2008/2009 Operation Cast Lead, 1,300 Palestinians were massacred including 352 children.

That's another context to be considered.

This 2012 invasion will not be the last despite the so-called peace treaty.  Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 said, "What a beautiful fix we are in now: peace has been declared."

Not in the name of Eratz Israel (Greater Israel) - no way.

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Today - A Week Ago

....... we opened the front door to this.

The house - after nearly six months - looked the same.  Thankfully the central heating, the telephone, the TV, the fridge, the gas cooker, the washing machine and the shower - unlike the last time we got back in  March 2012 - were in good working order.

We warmed up the house, took a lovely hot shower and had a decent meal of mushroom omelette, boiled spuds and brussels sprouts.  Only my laptop, worn out from travelling 6,800 miles gave up the ghost.  It spitted and spluttered for days before Samsudin our Computer Man wrung it by its neck and got it working, like now.

Each morning I look at the view from the Study window and this I recorded at 7.07 am.

Then I would go downstairs ....

........ where I would find Jack's 'welcome home'' gift - the last summer rose from his garden - still emitting  an intoxicating fragrance.

I felt like I never really left this Leicester abode but these three ....

......... Socks, Comot and Rusty keep on tugging my heartstrings.

It's back to a cool, quiet respite from a hectic KL, from driving into Pudu three times a week and anticipating  in trepidation, noisy assaults from the shenanigans of Ikan Bakar Sekinchan.

It will now be a life of walks into the City Centre, to Victoria Park sans car and insane motorcyclists.  It's a time for thinking, reminiscing and writing.

(Please click "Watch on You Tube" to get the video.)

Sunday 11 November 2012

Going Home (Leicester) from Home (Kuala Lumpur)

We used to be like this ...

......ancient like Methuselah and as tough as old boots.

But history repeated itself .....

.......when in April,  Mr Tough Boots was brought down by three slipped discs.  It left us knackered - just about ready to be dispatched to the glue factory.

But thanks to Prof. Du Wei, Assoc. Prof. Wei Hong Xin  (Tung Shin Traditional Chinese Medicine) and Dr. Low Eu Huat (Tung Shin Western Medicine)  and without depending on pain killers, they put the spouse back together - just enough to enable him and AsH to make the trip back for winter in Leicester.

We're off tomorrow and InsyaAllah when we get back in 3 months' time we shall look like this.
Eh yop - me duck!

Or perhaps, as we'll be hibernating this winter we may regress and devolve into two 13-year olds.

And so, salam and love to all in Singapore, Johor Bharu, Kuala Lumpur and AsH's readers in the ether.
However, I wish to record a special thank you and  xxx to our new-found and lovely friends (and neighbour) - Kakak Siti Zainon, Ken and Zarina, Daniel and Haiqal and  4-legs Spice, Betsy and Two-Socks.

"I'll have to say good-bye, until next time I fly."   Lely, this song is for you.