Monday, December 29, 2008

Open letter to Condoleeza Rice

An Open Letter to Condoleeza Rice
From Anisa Abd el Fattah

December 29, 2008

Dear Secretary. Rice,

Since there was no one to respond to your December 28th statement condemning Hamas for launching rockets into Israel, and blaming Hamas for the end of the cease fire with Israel, and Israel’s subsequent massacre in Gaza, it seems appropriate that I respond to you since I follow the Palestine/Israel conflict closely and I happen to know that neither the facts, or international law agree with your statement, and neither do most of the people of the world.

As an American woman, and also a woman of African American descent, I am shocked by your total disregard for the loss of innocent human life taking place in Gaza. Obviously the history of your own people has had little effect on your sense of justice, and even though you are Secretary of State, you also seem to have absolutely no knowledge of, or respect for international law.

According to the law, Israel is a belligerent and illegal military occupier of Palestine. This might not agree with your Zionist Christian view, but it is the view of those human beings who respect law and justice, and who realize that there can never be peace without these two essentials. Hamas is not bound by Talmudic or Biblical law, and neither are they bound by US law. They are only bound by international law which includes the Geneva Conventions, a treaty to which the US is a signor. We signed this treaty with the intention to serve all of humanity equitably, and not only Jewish people, or Israel.

Israel not only failed in its duty to provide humanitarian aid to the Palestinians, which is only part of their Geneva Convention obligations, Israel went so far as to actually impose an illegal economic blockade upon the Gaza Strip that resulted in the deaths of 251 people. It did this with the approval of the Bush Administration, in violation of international law.

The US has continued to arm Israel and to provide military and security aid to Israel, even though Israel is clearly in violation of US law. The law prohibits the use of US manufactured armaments and monetary aid to carry out illegal acts of aggression, war crimes, or to violate human rights. Israel is guilty of all three of these prohibitions, yet the US has continued to turn its head to Israel’s crimes, and we continue to fund and supply Israel, and we also continue to block all attempts by the UN Security Council to bring Israel into compliance with international law.

As for the cease fire, the terms were clear. They included a cessation of Palestinian rocket fire in exchange for Israel ending the economic blockade. To impose an economic blockade, according to international law is an act of war. The Palestinians were within their right not only to launch rockets in an attempt to pressure Israel to lift the blockade, they also have a right to defend themselves, acting to deter Israeli violence which never abated even after the cease fire came into effect. Israel killed 50 Palestinians in one month, and Hamas held to the cease fire and asked other Palestinian resistance movements to do the same, hoping that the international community would convince Israel to abide by the cease fire agreement. It never happened.

Israel is not justified in its brutal attack upon Gaza that has so far taken more than 300 innocent lives, and injured 1000 others. Whether or not the US and Israel are able to understand this, the facts of these matters have been documented by numerous human rights organizations, including Israeli human rights organizations, and are available to any interested party. The fact is that Israel is carrying out one of its numerous acts of illegal military aggression, and war crimes in Gaza, and your administration has given Israel tacit approval, and possibly even made the US complicit in this act.

During your 4 year tenure as Secretary of State, the United States has suffered the greatest loss in credibility and international prestige in our country’s history. The US veto of the UNSC resolution calling for Israel to end its military aggression against Gaza is an example of why this loss occurred, and your statement blaming Hamas for Israel’s violence is another.

Ultimately, neither my opinion of the facts or yours will make much difference in respect to what will be the verdict of an international court, once any willing court takes up the case of Israel’s 50 year illegal occupation of Palestine, genocide, and the US role in that genocide

As international public opinion continues to mount against Israel and its continued violence and militarization and destabilization of the Muslim world, you should keep in mind that it is also mounting against the US. The US and Israel have been voted “the greatest threats to peace” in the world. This should make it easy for a judge or jury to reach the appropriate conclusion as to who violated the cease fire, and who has a right to self defense.

One can only imagine our country’s founders crying in their graves at the very thought that our country, once an independent and powerful beacon of light to the oppressed, and those longing for freedom, has become a quisling and sycophant of a brutal and lawless occupier, that is destroying the birthplace of Jesus Christ, which is in Palestine. That Israel chose to carry out this carnage only days after Christmas is very telling. Perhaps it is indicative of how much Israel appreciates the loyalty and support of America’s “new” Christian Zionist Jews and their American Zionist Jewish counterparts.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Everyday is Ashurah; Now Gaza is Karbala

The story of Imam Ali's son Hussein and his death at Karbala is a story that touches the heart of anyone who hears or reads it. It is the story of a man, who like his father and grandfather before him had immense love for God, and God's creation. Whereas Imam Hussein is the grandson of the prophet Muhammad (sa), and was born to the prophet's daughter Fatima, and his first cousin Ali, himself an Imam and successor to the leadership of the Islamic community, Imam Hussein was not a conceited, or spoiled and selfish man, as many might expect that a person of such esteemed lineage might be.

According to Islamic history, Imam Hussein lived a quiet and simple life of service in Medina, aware of the controversy surrounding his family, and the role they might play in the growth of Islam, and in the leadership of the Muslim community established under his grandfather's and father's tutelage and guidance, along with other faithful men.

Unfortunately the rift that had occurred in the Muslim leadership following the prophet Muhammad's transcension of this life had not healed itself, and the assassination of Imam Hussein's father Imam Ali, and his brother Hasan had only worsened the situation. For some, even though the Caliphate continued, the question of legitimate leadership over the Muslim community remained unanswered.

Many Muslims were complaining about the Caliph Yazid's corruption, ill treatment and oppression, and many were also dismayed by the lack of character and lack of respect for Islam demonstrated by Yazid who was known for public drunkenness and debauchery. It was the pleas of the Muslim ummah for relief, for justice, and for Islam that called Imam Hussein to Karbala.

For the sake of brevity we will say that Yazid as Caliph raised a myriad of important questions regarding the legitimate leadership of the Muslim community, particularly since it had been argued and accepted by the Muslim community following the prophet Muhammad's transcension, that succession in the Caliphate could not be based upon blood lineage, even though God's promise to the prophet Abraham was that the prophethood and leadership of the monotheist movement would be the right only of his descendants, which suggests blood lineage succession, qualified by the Islamic character and suitability of any contender for leadership of Muslims. Even if Yazid escaped rejection as a blood heir of the previous Caliph Muawiya, Yazid's public and well known violations of Islamic law, and his open disdain for Islam, and oppression of Muslim people, disqualified him from holding the position of guardianship and leadership of Muslims that was the Islamic Caliphate.

For days before their deaths, Imam Hussein and his family and followers, who had set up camp at Karbala, were surrounded by Yazid's army and prevented from leaving. They were denied food, and water until they grew weak from starvation and dehydration. When Yazid felt finally that they were too weak to fight, he unleashed his entire army against Imam Hussein's family and 72 of his followers and killed them.

The story of Karbala is the story of a power usurping Satanic system of corruption and evil, represented by Yazid Ibn Muawiya, that employed as a tactic to destroy the legitimate authority of God conscience and righteous men over God's community of Muslims, the restriction of their movement, the denial of food and water, and later the denial of care for the wounded, even among the children. These righteous people, the family and supporters of Imam Hussein, were rushed upon in a final assault by Yazid's army, and brutality murdered and left to die on that battlefield. Imam Hussein's surviving family members were paraded to Yazid's capital, where the Imam's sister Zainab was chained and stripped of her Islamic covering.

Contrary to what Yazid had hoped for, a celebrated day of victory and consolidation of his power, the people, when they saw Imam Hussein's flag, and family, and heard Zainab's condemnation of Yazid, and her condemnation of the apathy and cowardice of the Muslim people, and her brother's brutal murder, they wept, screamed and fainted at the realization that the Imam, grandson of the prophet Muhammad (sa), and a righteous man, had been martyred so brutally for their sake, and for the sake of Islam.

The political backdrop of Karbala has lost much of its relevance to today's generation of Muslims, many who live in non Muslim countries, or in Muslim nation/states that are ruled by elected governments and monarchs. The Islamic caliphate has ceased to exist. Yet, the humanitarian aspects of the story continue to haunt the souls of Muslims until today, as we ponder the meaning of Imam Hussein's death, and the humiliating treatment that he and his family and followers suffered before their deaths at Karbala.

As we reflect upon what happened at Karbala, we should also reflect upon what is happening to the contemporary Muslim community today, and ask ourselves “why?” We must look out at the Muslim world, and see if there are any patterns that might suggest that there is a Karbala taking place in our time, and like the Muslims during the time of Imam Hussein, perhaps we are ignoring or failing to respond to the call to stand and to fight against the enemies of Islam, as they attempt to remove any semblance of Islamic authority from this earth, and who routinely deny Muslims civil and human rights that are recognized as the inalienable rights of other people.

Today, there is a place where a legitimate Muslim government was elected. There is a place where that government and the people who voted for them have been isolated and trapped, and are being denied food and water, just like at Karbala. Just as during the time of the Karbala massacre, today the people of the Muslim world complain about the corruption of their governments, their greed, repression and the deprivation of human and civil rights, and their collaboration with the enemies of Islam. In response to the cries of their people against the “Yazid's” of our time, the Islamic movements have competed for the restoration of the right of the Muslim people to Islamic inspired government.

Today, Karbala is in Gaza. Several years ago, this same tragedy played itself out in Algeria. This same story is also playing itself out in Somalia, and anywhere that a legitimate Islamic government, or Islamic movement attempts to establish itself through legitimate elections as a righteous authority over Muslim people, and are met with violence.

As we can see clearly in respect to Israel, and the support it receives from the Arab governments in its persecution and genocide being carried out in Gaza, this is not a matter of conflicting races, or differences in religion. The issue today, is as it was at Karbala is who has the right to authority, leadership and guardianship over the Muslim ummah? Is it Israel? Is it the US, or the UN, or the corrupt Arab governments that have helped and supported the US and Israel as their patrons and who assist them in killing, torturing, and eliminating through slow genocide, the Muslim and Christian people of Gaza?

Today, Gaza is Karbala. Where are the supporters of Abraham's covenant, and the right of the Islamic movements to exist, and to bid for the leadership of the Muslim ummah? Where is the so called “democracy” of the US and Israel? Where is the loyalty and the commitment to Islam of the Arab leaders who are today calling for normalized relations with Israel, while Israel is killing through ethnic cleansing and genocide the people of Gaza? Do they have a right to lead us, to control our wealth, to sell our lives for money and acceptance by the US and Israel as friends and allies?

The time has come for the Muslim people to take the responsibility to end the illegal siege on Gaza. We must act to save the people of Gaza, and to break the siege not only upon Gaza, but upon Muslims everywhere who have been denied rights, persecuted, murdered, tortured and humiliated all for the sake of eliminating the Abrahamic covenant that is the basis of legitimacy for anyone who bids to lead, or to hold any authority over monotheist people, and its heirs.

Today, it is our turn to answer the call of Imam Hussein. Who will go to Karbala? Who will stand with the 1.5 million people of Gaza who are being killed today because they voted an Islamic movement into power? Who will stand for the Qur'an which says that we must oppose those who kill and deprive people of rights, and who would starve innocent people to death because they don't share their opinion or world view?

Today, just as during those days of Karbala, the question is being asked in heaven and earth, who will choose the leaders of the Muslim people? Who are the legitimate leaders of the Muslim people? Who will save the people of Karbala?