Monthly Archives: February 2010

Why Doesn’t Palestine Care that Israel Stole Its Dog?

Israel’s national dog is the Canaan Dog, a really sleek pariah dog that’s a good herd dog. Luckily for them, these awesome dogs just happened to be hanging around in the completely uninhabited area that Jews moved into in the thirties and forties.

In a mean, ironic twist, pre-Israelis used the dogs to attack Palestinians. So I can see why Palestinians don’t particularly want to reclaim their rightful herd dog. But if you’re going to get bent out of shape about Israelis laying claim to hummus, which after all is just chickpea and sesame goo, it seems like you also ought to fight for your dog’s honor.

What a beauty, right? I want one.

canaan dog peach white apricot snow forest trees

And a black-and-white version.

canaan dog black white herder

Here’s a few blurbs from Wikipedia:

In Ashkelon, a graveyard was discovered, believed to be Phoenician from the middle of the fifth century BC. It contained 700 dogs, all carefully buried in the same position, on their sides with legs flexed and tail tucked in around the hind legs. According to the archaeologists, there was a strong similarity between these dogs and the “Bedouin pariah dogs,” or the Canaan dog. A sarcophagus dated from the end of the fourth century BC, was found in Sidon, on which Alexander the Great and the King of Sidon are painted hunting a lion with a hunting dog similar in build to the dogs of Ashkelon, and similar in appearance to the Canaan dog.

Collection of wild Canaan dogs has all but ceased. The last two dogs that were collected in the Negev in the mid-1990s, and most of the Canaan dogs living in the open were destroyed by the Israeli government in the fight against rabies. Even the majority of Bedouin dogs today are mixed with other breeds,[3] although Myrna Shiboleth visits the Negev annually, looking for good specimens living by the Bedouin camps, that she can breed with her dogs and strengthen the gene pool.

And purely for fun, here are some results I got from Google translate while researching the history of these dogs:

It is noted that they did not know the guard dog of sheep, so it was easy for a small number that Isoqgua herd of cows and calves but one man not be able to market non-animal, a male and one or two at most, whether it be deer horns or pointy Tessa spasmodic, or an ox, a depositary fat.

and a somewhat related post on American Bedu blog on dog ownership, Saudi Arabia, and Islam.

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Arabs in the Winter Olympics

Lebanon is fielding a team of three.

When Olympic skier Chirine Njeim tells people she’s from Lebanon, they often laugh in disbelief.

Now at the Vancouver Winter Games, and competing alongside two other athletes from her home country, Njeim still has to convince people she’s telling the truth.

“A coach from another country asked me in the elevator the other day where I was from. I said, ‘Lebanon’ and he just started laughing,” said Njeim, who is competing in the Ladies Giant Slalom Wednesday.

Little did that coach know, there has long been downhill skiing in Lebanon — and world-class ski resorts to boot.

“Skiing in Lebanon is very popular,” explained Ezzad Kraytem, Secretary General of Lebanon’s Olympic Committee. “The slopes are only 20 minutes away from the coast, so you can go to the beach and ski in the same day.”

That means there’s a clear view of the Mediterranean Sea from the slopes of Mount Lebanon on most days, according to Kraytem.

Lebanon currently boasts six resorts: The Cedars at Mount Makmel is the largest, while Farya Mzaar is the favored destination of the jet-set (it’s also where Njeim got her start aged three).

“The quality of the snow is one of the main reasons professional skiers love our slopes. Powdery on the surface and hard underneath,” explained Joanne Zarife, a manager at the five-star Intercontinental hotel at Mzaar.
Even though the slopes face north, preserving the snow, the region’s sunshine makes the air mild, even warm, she said.

And today it’s not just downhill skiing that draws the crowds. From just ten snowboarders in 1991, today anywhere from 30 to 60 percent of visitors are riders, according to Ski Lebanon. Lebanon’s high, sunny plateaus also make it ideal for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, they say.

Hey wait a minute, was that article about the Lebanese Olympics team or about tourism in Lebanon? I’ve been had.

Achi Ghassan and Jacky Chamoun are the other two Lebanese olympians in Vancouver.

Samir Azzimani is an alpine skier from Morocco. He’s even helping underprivileged youths learn to ski.

The only athlete representing Morocco in Canada, the France-born Alpine skier is coming with eight secondary school children from Woippy, a depressed suburb of eastern French town Metz that made headlines for riots last month.

Azzimani, who grew up in a rough area of Colombes, outside Paris, simply wanted to share his dream with youngsters from a similar background.

“I’m organising everything myself,” the 32-year-old told Reuters in a telephone interview before flying to Canada for the Games starting on Saturday.

“The idea is to allow them to see the Games from the inside,” he added. “Finding the money and getting all the authorisations was hard but the toughest part was to convince the school.”

“There will be a guy from Ghana and also one from Senegal,” he said. “If I beat them, I’ll be the champion of Africa.”

Khelifi Meidhi-Selim is representing Algeria.

Those are all the athletes I found from Arab countries, but there are probably more representing other countries. And though she’s not an Arab, I want to mention Iranian skier Marjan Kalhor.

WHISTLER — From a few yards away near the slalom finish line, Marjan Kalhor looks like just another Olympic skier. She has the powerful quadriceps and hamstrings, the strong shoulders, the skin-tight uniform.

Get closer and you’ll see what makes her different, how she made history at the Vancouver Olympics this week. Inside her helmet is a purple veil, a mandatory head garment for Islamic women in Iran. On her license-plate sized ID badge is a mug shot of her in a burka covering everything but her face.

Kalhor, 21, is the first woman from Iran to compete in the Winter Olympics. She finished last in the slalom Friday, as you’d expect from someone who once trained by skiing down grass fields. She also finished last in the giant slalom Thursday.

“The only thing I want to get from the Olympics is to compete against the best skiers in the world and get more experience,” she said in passable English.

Iranian women have competed in the Olympics before, just not the Winter Games. Lita Fariman competed in shooting in the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta. Since then, Iranian women have competed in rowing, archery and taekwondo.

And there’s my excuse to post this old picture I love, of Iranian athlete Nassim Hassanpour, who had to give up gymnastics and take up shooting in order to be allowed to participate.

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I Had Really Underestimated White, Christian Privilege

Consider the cases of Joseph Stack and Amy Bishop, who crashed a plane into an office building while 200 people were inside, and who shot up a bunch of colleagues at a faculty meaning, respectively.

Because I’m an arabist and I’m dead tired of seeing Islam being tied to terrorism, I’m going to point out that both of these characters have inherently Christian names. Yet there are no pundits proclaiming, “As soon as I heard the name ‘Joseph,’ I knew it was Christian violence,” or “What else would you expect from someone named ‘Bishop‘?” The news doesn’t bother to report on their church attendance, their church background or lack of it, or how many times a day they might have uttered the damning phrase, “Jesus Christ!” which we all know translates to “I’m going to kill you,” just like “Allahu akbar” does.

Amy Bishop shot her brother dead with a shotgun, brandished the shotgun at a stranger, and still managed to get a pretigious job and the respect of society and her peers. Joe Stack is actually being praised by various personalities. Yes, after the fact! A case in point is this archetypal white man over at Renew America (I will not be linking to it), as discussed on World-O-Crap:

This week, Chuck [Baldwin] examines the case of an Austin, Texas man who deliberately crashed a private plane into an office building, and points out that the real tragedy is the loss of a potential Chuck Baldwin voter.

These are Chuck Baldwin’s words:

In what was obviously a reference to what he was about to do, he wrote, “Nothing changes unless there is a body count.” … Stack wrapped up his manifesto by saying, “Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.”

My heart goes out to Joe Stack! … We all share Joe Stack’s pain!

Chuck Baldwin, of course, is just a moron, but our newly-elected senator from Massachusetts, Scott Brown, who drives a truck, also expressed sympathy for Joe Stack’s position. Just as if he hadn’t committed an act of terrorism on US soil. From the Washington Monthly:

And while I have no real interest in the “debate” over the killer’s bizarre ideology, I couldn’t help but notice that Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) seems to think he can relate to the deranged suicide bomber at some level.

Appearing on Fox News soon after Stack flew an airplane into a building, Brown told the national television audience that he “feels for the families” affected by the attack. In the next breath, however, the senator added:

“I don’t know if it’s related but I can just sense not only in my election, but since being here in Washington, people are frustrated. They want transparency. They want their elected officials to be accountable and open and talk about the things affecting their daily lives. So I am not sure if there is a connection, I certainly hope not, but we need to do things better.”

Brown added that an incident like the one in Austin is “extreme,” but added, “No one likes paying taxes obviously.”

So, let me get this straight. An anti-government nut flies an airplane into a building and Scott Brown thinks the incident reminds him of … his own campaign? Indeed, Brown almost seems to be rationalizing the actions of a domestic terrorist, as if Stack’s murders can be understood if we just appreciate how “frustrated” people are.

As for the ubiquitous unnamed officials, they rushed to assure the world that a man intentionally flying a plane into an occupied office building during the workday was something other than terrorism. After all, it’s not like he was brown.

The building set on fire by Stack’s suicide flight was still burning Thursday afternoon when officials confidently stood before reporters and said the crash wasn’t an act of terrorism, but others look at Stack’s actions and fail to understand how he differs from foreign perpetrators of political violence who are routinely labeled “terrorists.”

joe Joseph stack terrorist terror terrorism crash suicide irs building 200

The not-a-terror-attack aftermath

But a Muslim guy doing the same thing? Hoo boy. And even more so if he had uttered a prayer or spoken to a preacher recently.

The Christian Science Monitor believes it has neatly explained away why Joseph Stack’s attack is not terrorism but Nidal Hasan’s attack is:

But the pattern of the attack – including that Mr. Stack apparently lit his house on fire beforehand – fits less into the mold of a terror conspiracy and more neatly into a profile of the solo-flying rebel with a personal beef, the details of which are fueled by partisan rhetoric and current events.

A personal beef fueled by partisan rhetoric and current events is totally different when a white Christian does it, duh.

The New York Daily News has an article enumerating some sites and public figures hailing Joseph Stack as a hero.

THE FIRES in Austin were still burning yesterday when the Internet lit up with government haters cheering suicide pilot Joe Stack and calling him a hero.

“Finally an American man took a stand against our tyrannical government that no longer follows the Constitution,” wrote Emily Walters of Louisville, Ky.

Walters was one of at least two dozen people who founded Facebook fan groups to hail the homicidal pilot.

Most had only a tiny handful of members, but hers attracted more than 200 before Facebook removed it.

“Joe Stack, you are a true American Hero and we need more of you to make a stand,” tweeted Greg Lenihan, an engineer in San Diego.

One founder of a Stack fan club on Facebook, Rick Wagner, is a pilot in Minnesota. His “about me” quote, which one hopes is a joke, reads:

“When I go I want to be able to look back and tell all the passengers to quit screaming.”

This Fox News story clears up the identity of the naysaying government officials a little:

The Department of Homeland Security said it did not believe the crash was an act of terrorism.

If the DHS can’t recognize terrorism any better than that, why the hell are we wasting money on them? Hey, DHS, read your own publication:

Second, U.S. Code Title 18, Chapter 113B, section 2331(5) provides a definition of domestic terrorism:
[T]he term “domestic terrorism” means activities that— (A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State; (B) appear to be intended— (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

Is there anything there saying if a guy with a name like Joseph Stack does it, it isn’t terrorism? Am I missing the “His name must include Muhammad” annex?

Back to Amy Bishop. In 1986 this woman got away with shooting her brother dead with a shotgun! She went on to use the same shotgun rob a car dealership. And look at how the police dealt with this white woman:

Polio, the Braintree police chief at the time, said yesterday that he knew Bishop had to be apprehended at gunpoint, but he said he did not know she had pointed the shotgun at Pettigrew. Polio said he allowed officers to release Bishop on the day of the shooting because the lead investigator, Captain Theodore Buker, told him she was too emotional to interview.

Then in 1993 she apparently got away with an attempt to bomb a rival:

[Huntsville, Alabama, police chief Henry] Reyes confirmed he is working with the FBI to learn more about why Bishop was a suspect in the attempted bombing of Dr. Paul Rosenberg, who received a double-pipe bomb in the mail on Dec. 19, 1993. He ran from his Newton home with his wife, escaping without injury. The bomb never exploded.

“She was quite cavalier about it,” [former colleague Sylvia] Fluckiger said of Bishop’s description of her interview with police. She said Bishop “grinned” as she described being asked by cops whether she’d ever taken stamps off an envelope and fastened them onto something else. “I cannot tell you what the grin meant,” Fluckiger said.

Here’s an abc news report that lightly addresses workplace rampages such as these.

Psychotics like Seung-Hui Cho, the student who who killed 31 at Virginia Tech in 2007, are particularly dangerous.

Killers like Cho view others as inconsequential and often humiliation can set off a psychotic depression that could make a person violent or suicidal, said Galynker.

Those with personality disorders, such as Eric Harris, who went on a shooting rampage at Columbine High School in 1999, are particularly dangerous.

Not mentioned is Major Nidal Hasan, presumably because too many people would go apoplectic at the idea that he was not an Islamic terrorist carrying out orders directly from al-Qaeda.

——————————————————————-
UPDATE: SulaymanF over at Daily Kos wrote a diary along these same lines here:

With apologies to Professor Cole for plaigarizing his idea, here is what else you will not see in the media:

Thomas Friedman will not write an op-ed for the New York Times about what is wrong with white southern Christian males that they keep producing these terrorists. He will also not ask why Sarah Palin and Pat Robertson are not denouncing Andrew Stack every day at the top of their lungs.

Daniel Pipes will not write a column for the New York Post suggesting that white southern Christians be put in internment camps until it can be determined why they keep producing terrorists and antisemites.

Retired Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney will not go on FOX News and claim that Christian males need to be “strip searched” before boarding airplanes.

The Transportation Security Administration will not announce new, “enhanced screening” tactics at U.S. airports, with a renewed focus on travelers from Southern Red states.

Steve Doocy of morning FOX & Friends will not call for racial profiling of Christians, because “all of the people who try to blow airliners out of the sky pretty much look alike”

And so on.
—————————–
another UPDATE: An enjoyable entry over at Jesus’s General (which sports some terrible Arabic in their banner). From there:

Services for the late Opinion are pending as of this writing, however when they do take place you can be assured they will be white: very, very white. And if you have a small, white child who wants to be a terrorist when he or she grows up, break it gently to the tender soul that such a lofty dream is impossible, explaining patiently that such a child cannot by definition be a terrorist–the best said child might hope for would be to grow up and become a traitor to the nation, and if lucky, a mass murderer to boot.

bad poor inaccurate wrong hosed Arabic Jesus's General

*snicker*


———————-
one more UPDATE: The son of the IRS employee killed by domestic terrorist Joseph Stack says:

“There was just too much going on about what the guy did and what he believed in, and enough’s enough,” he said. “They don’t need to talk about him. Talk about my dad. You know, some people are trying to make this guy out to be a hero, a patriot. My dad served two terms in Vietnam. This guy never served at all. My dad wasn’t responsible for his tax problems.”

—————————————–
UPDATE: Amy Bishop has now been brought up on charges in the shooting death of her brother. Read about it here. (June of 2010)

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“Allahu Akbar”–‘We’re all Gonna Die’ or ‘Whatevs’

Kabobfest has an analysis here.

Uttering “Allahu Akbar” when you are standing in line at an Israeli checkpoint can still get you shot down, and the Brooklyn-born Israeli soldier who emptied 28 bullets in your chest would have a plausible self-defense argument. After all we don’t know whether that “Allahu Akbar” was to be followed by a knife, a suicide belt, or even a fiery stare.

So I decided to look into it, apparently “Allahu Akbar” has so many meanings that it all depends on context. (I personally think it’s another trick by Islamic speakers, like that one trying to convince us that “Madrasa” actually means school, and should not sound so scary, or the one about how “Jihad” does not exclusively mean ‘killing infidels’). I found a few of the many meanings the phrase could translate into just doing a quick search, add your own if you have been conducting any investigation into the matter:

God Is Great

God Is Greater

God is Bigger

Wow that’s a lot of snow

And at this link, included in the Kabobfest post, is a Haaretz article that asks: Are IDF dogs trained to pounce all who say ‘God is great’ in Arabic?

The Israel Defense Forces has not denied allegations that it trains its canines to attack anybody heard saying Allah Hu Akbar, Arabic for ‘God is great.’

Responding to the allegations, the IDF said in a statement: “One of the canine unit’s many capabilities is to train the dogs at locating the enemy when dressed both in uniform and as civilian. This is an ability that has proven itself in many cases.

I think I’ve mentioned before that an observant Muslim says the phrase “Allah Akbar” (الله اكبر) at least thirty times a day.

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“Flying While Arabist” a Crime Now?

An American student was handcuffed and jailed for attempting to take Arabic-English flashcards onto a plane. LA Times article here.

Nicholas George planned to brush up on his Arabic vocabulary during a flight in August from Philadelphia to California, where he was to start his senior year at Pomona College. So he carried some Arabic-English flashcards in his pocket to study on the plane.

George, a physics major who is considering a career as a U.S. diplomat in the Middle East, is suing the Transportation Security Administration, the FBI and Philadelphia police for jailing him after his flashcards were found and confiscated in a Philadelphia airport screening. His lawsuit, filed in federal court this week, said his four hours in detention, half of that in handcuffs, violated his rights to free speech and protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

My first thought upon reading this was, “Ha! My anxieties about taking my Hans Wehr dictionary on flights was well founded after all, and not paranoid!” Because you know what words appear in the world’s greatest Arabic-English dictionary? “Bomb” and “terrorism.” Swear to God.

The student acknowledged that a few of the vocabulary words, including “bomb” and “terrorism,” may have alarmed authorities, but he also said he needed to learn them in order to understand the news of the day in Arabic-language newspapers.

Indeed one does need to learn “bomb” and “terrorism” to understand many articles in newspapers. Especially some of the most interesting ones, assuming that’s where your interests lie.

The lawsuit, filed with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, details George’s allegations of abusive questioning. The suit contends that an FBI agent cursed him and asked George if he was Muslim or a member of any “pro-Islamic” or communist student groups, to which he replied no. The student said he was later released without an apology. Having missed his original flight, he flew to California the next day.

Ben Wizner, the ACLU attorney who helped file the suit, said George “is the kind of young man that this country should be encouraging and creating more of. He has traveled the world with an open mind and an open heart, and he is studying the language that the State Department and the military have made clear we need more Americans to study.”

What’s a pro-Islamic group? Something like Students United for Supporting Islam Even Though We’re Not Muslims? I wonder if an interfaith group like the Virginia Interfaith Center would be considered a “pro-Islamic” group.

Hey TSA guys, sometimes the person who reads Arabic is exactly the person you most want on your side, fighting terrorism.

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Weekend Cat Photo

So many things interfere with blogging: work, weather, chores, lounging around doing nothing. Here’s a picture of a cute cat in a box.

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The Distinguished Ambassador…

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain have all chosen not to receive the proposed ambassador from Pakistan. The ambassador has a distinguished record in diplomacy. All three nations declined to give a reason for their rejection. This apparently is causing tension in relations between Pakistan and the Gulf States.

None of the countries in question admits it, but popular opinion is that the Pakistani ambassador has been rejected because of his name, Akbar Zeb, which means “the biggest dick” in Arabic.

Arabic story here. English story here.

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