Archive for the Middle East Category

Syria On My Mind

Posted in English, Middle East, Stories and Tales with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2013-06-15 by candycactus

This blog is not about politics. Maybe it is. Listening to the news about Syria, I am thinking much about the experience there in 2007 and what is happening now, trying not to judge, just to observe. Here are some thoughts that cross my mind. When I lived some time in Damascus in 2007 many people said to me that they preferred dictatorship than what was happening in Iraque at the same time. There are many things that make one thoughtful about what is really happening. As I stated some time ago – history is a pile of stones. It depends which stones are on top, this is what you see, but there are always many underneath that you cannot see easily. There is no right history. We are presented now the facts by the media, that are writing history in the very moment, but in the future they will most probably turn out either to be fake completely (as it happened several times with wars in the region) or in context of other facts they will look differently. The “stones”, facts about Syrian reality on my mind are like a disordered pile.

  • Syria has a social landscape of extreme religious diversity – Shiites, Sunni, Druze, Allewi, etc. However, Sunni muslims are trying to get the over hand in the region. Dictatorship made sure that this diversity could flourish.
  • Turkey has a majority of Sunni muslims. Religious minorities, such as Alewi and others have been persecuted and emigrated, many of them to Europe. Turkey is a member of NATO and is ally of USA. Who has more dictatorship in this case? Whirling sufis you’ve seen in Turkey on your trip? Bullshit. There are no not underground Sufis in Turkey.
  • The number of weapons available to rebels now in Syria could not have appeared in a short time. A long time secret action was needed to make it possible, also regarding the fact that the Assad’s regime did perform a lot of control. When the revolution was happening in the Baltic states, the weapons where pencils and sticks. Weapons do not appear just out of nowhere.
  • Turkey was fighting the PKK near boarders of Syria. Weird coincidence – the war against PKK has stopped as soon as the war in Syria began.
  • Turkey is in control of water flow from Euphrates and Tigris rivers to Syria and Iraque. The Ataturk dam effected that Northern Syria suffered from lack of water with all its consequences. Same thing is happening with Tigris Ilisu dam, affecting Iraque. By the way, with huge investments from Germany and other well off countries not from the region. (There are many dams being built in the North of Turkey resulting in the loss of millenium old architecture from ancient Bagrationi ruled Georgian-Armenian Tao Klarjeti region, events happening quietly, since Turkey through clever policy made sure where turists go and where not )
  • Jonathan Cook in his bookIsrael and The Clash of Civilizations. Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East. Jonathan Cook 2008 explores the speeches of various Israeli politicians and notes that it has been since the 50’s that the goal of Israeli policy was to cause a chaos in the Arabic world. One example from the book:

“Michael Ledeen, a former Pentagon official and an ideologue of the American Enterprise Institute had given voice to this longer-term neocon ambition in 2002, before the invasion of Iraq:

“First and foremost, we must bring down the terror regimes, beginning with the Big Three: Iran, Iraq, and Syria. And then we have to come to grips with Saudi Arabia… Stability is an unworthy American mission, and misleading concept to boot. We do not want stability in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and even Saudi Arabia; we want things to change. The real issue is not whether, but how to destabilize”. p.119  Link to my earlier post 

  • In one of the short films presented from Syria about the events now (a part of this project) it was interesting to hear a following story. There were guys fighting on the street in some town in Syria, people gathered around, more and more, and then the guys suddenly started shouting “Freedom” and the crowed joined in, not thinking any more that the fight was staged in order to attract attention.

If you need to start a revolution, I think from these facts you can write a manual how to do it. Not difficult. Make sure that you isolate the country politically and economically beforehand. And put it on the dangerous country list so that nobody goes and sees it from your own country. And takes the news of today as they take it.

Accepting the permanent impermanence of things I am terribly sad that Damascus, the city of the cities will never be the same. This is how Syria looked like in 2007, have a look at some pictures here. 

PaveikslėlisA man selling fuhl in Damascus – beans sprinkled with cumin and lemon.


Palestine in Films

Posted in English, Middle East, Stories and Tales with tags , on 2011-04-02 by candycactus

Here is a list of films and books I found very useful in order to understand the problems of the Middle East..  Look for these titles:

Heart of Jenin (documentary)
Syrian Bride by Eran Riklis
Eastern Story – East Jerusalem (documentary)
The Chronicles of Dissapearance by Elia Suleyman (excellent, ingenious director)
Divine Intervention by Elia Suleyman (funny and excellent)
Lemon Tree by Eran Riklis

The Time That Remains by Elia Suleyman (very good, I like his style very much)

Amreeka by Cherien Dabis (light, funny, easy to digest)

Ranas Wedding by Hany Abu-Assad
Salt of this Sea by Annemarie Jacir (my favorite of all)


Well, if the illusion that it is all about human rights would be true, it would not be Libya on the schedule… It is very sad to see Palestine in films and reality disappearing more and more every day. Later, when it will not exist, the West will build and fund museums, saying — look, these bad things happened in the past and everybody will be shaking heads and say, unbelievable, how could they let this happen?

JORDANLEAKS or what is happening in the Middle East

Posted in English, Middle East, Stories and Tales with tags , , , , on 2011-04-02 by candycactus

Systems theory, that originally has been based on observations in physics and cybernetics by N. Luhmann and further has extended its application to almost anything that can be seen as a system, suggests the following attitude while examining the symptoms of whatever system – be it body, family or politics. According to the systems approach it is important not to treat the symptom as it is done in classical medicine by making it disappear without regarding its context, but to understand why it came to existence in the first place. One of the tools of this approach is to consider to who and for what the symptoms might be useful. For example, the fact the a boy pees in his bed is considered as negative by the parents, but it has neglected positive aspects – it brings busy parents together to talk, the boy gets plenty of attention, even if it is a negative one, etc.

The news from the Middle East are very complex and murky these days, it is hard to distinguish who is who and who is behind what. You hear on the streets people blaming the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, the Sunnis, the Christians, how they acted in the last demonstration and what bastards they were. However, if you look from a birds view at a mere fact, that the region is becoming unstable and ask yourself, who might be profiting from it in a larger contex, it becomes easier. And if you dig deeper – you see that it is not only just coincidental symptom, but it has been on agenda since a while.

Here are just few quotations from a remarkable book, that might give an idea what is going on in the Middle East these days.

Israel and The Clash of Civilizations. Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East. Jonathan Cook 2008

About the author: Jonathan Cook a former staff journalist for the GUeardian and Observer newspapers, has also written for The Times, Le Monde diplomatique

“Michael Ledeen, a former Pentagon official and an ideologue of the American Enterprise Institute had given voice to this longer-term neocon ambition in 2002, before the invasion of Iraq:

“First and foremost, we must bring down the terror regimes, beginning with the Big Three: Iran, Iraq, and Syria. And then we have to come to grips with Saudi Arabia… Stability is an unworthy American mission, and misleading concept to boot. We do not want stability in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and even Saudi Arabia; we want things to change. The real issue is not whether, but how to destabilize”. p.119

“Establishing states in which hostile ethnic and sectarian groups were included under one legal authority, often against their will, was a recipe for feuding that required the colonial maters’s continuing involvement and intervention to help maintain order. In other words, Britain and France extended the “civilizing benefits” of the nation state to the Middle East as a cover for their own economic interests, just as decades later the US would try to spread ‘democracy’ to the region as a cover for its own economic and imperial interests”. p. 126

“In his diagnosis of the crisis and his prescription of a remedy, Yinon pointed out, and overstated, facts well knot to the colonial European powers when they established nation states in the Middle East, largely for their own benefit. One strategy for ensuring that the government of each country would remain dependent on its colonial master, even after nominal independence, was to install a leader of a minority population to run the regime. This was achieved in Lebanon, where the electoral system ensured the Christian Maronites effectively ruled over the Islamic – Sunni and Shia – majority; the small Shia sect of the Alawis had long been in charge of Syria, despite being little more than a tenth of the population; until the US invasion, Iraq had had a series of Sunni rulers, even thought its majority population was Shia; and Jordan was ruled by Hashemite monarchs, claiming ancestry from Saudi Arabia and the Prophet Mohammed, even thought a majority of Jordanians had been Palestinian since Israel’s demographic transformations of the area through its 1948 and 1968 wars. As a result –

“The Arab-Islamic world is bullet like a ‘temporary tower of cards’, which was constructed by foreigners (French and British in the 1920s) without taking into consideration the will and desires of the inhabitants. It is divided into 19 countries which are composed of combinations of minorities and which are hostile to each other, such that the ethnic-socila framework of every Arab-Muslim country can potentially crumple up to the point of the civil war that exists in some of them.” (Yinons quotation Journal of Palestine Studies). p. 109

Oded Yinon, analyst in Israel – “Israel’s policy in war or in peace should be to bring about the elimination of Jordan and its present regime and transfer it to the Palestinian majority. Replacing the regime to the east of the Jordan River [Jordan] will also eliminate the problem of the Jordan River territories [the West Bank], which are densely populated by Arabs [Palestinians]; emigration from the territories and a demographic and economic freeze in these areas are the guarantees of the cahnfe already taking place on both sides of the river. We must be active to stimulate this change rapidly”. Remaking the Middle East by dissolving its main Arab and Muslim states would ensure not only Israel’s domination of the region but Israel’s unchallenged right to continue the creeping process of ethnic cleansing of the occupied Palestinian territories”. p 115


From the point of view of systems theory in order to induce a change, you need to destabilize the system so that it can order itself in a new way. In the family therapy one method to achieve this could be a paradoxical intervention – some strange prescription of behavior so that actors of the system are forced to take distance from their actions.

In the destabilizing Middle East there could be several outcomes while rearranging to new orders depending on how actors would play their cards – Israel, US, China, Iran. However, masses have been always and are up to the day easily manipulated. There is nothing easier than to provoke conflicts among all the already highly fractured Muslim Arab communities, a fact that is nothing else as remains of colonialism and sins of Western subsidies and alliances with Taliban in Pakistan, with Saudis and Wahabists, supporting Sadam Hussein and in many cases deliberately preventing democracy for the benefit of the West, like in Egypt and Iran in the past. It is neither difficult to make young people with Christian background in Lebanon or Jordan hate Islam and shout in the streets “We want Starbucks”. It is neither difficult to persuade the population in US and Europe that it is all for the sake of democracy (poor term is literally fucked by the West these days in the world, sorry for my expression, but the actions of the West regarding democracy deserve harshest words available) and scare them with the puppets of the Islam. Yes, it would be too hard for the population with Christian protestant ethics or internalized ethics of human rights to admit that – yes, we do need wars in order to save our economies for the sake of our comfortable life style. Who would want to give up a washing machine in order to save Palestine, ugh? We better buy another fence and few cameras for security, you know, all these Muslim terrorists around. Who has the best? Israel. They have tested it in the occupied territories.

Therefore, it is likely that mass protests taking part these days would be easily manipulated by grand strategists of the West to induce conflicts where they are needed to create instability in order to propel favorable forces into power and keep control of the oil before China does it. It is likely that Western populations would not object their governments when they “intervene” here in order to bring “democracy”. I mean, you still want to fly with Rian Air, right? Everybody needs to make a living, they say. And war – is the best business ever.

Next to development aid. About it maybe in another post.

p.s. There are many ways to see and interpret events in the Middle East, depending on the perspective. I do not claim that this the only truth, just the way I tend to see things now with, of course, my limited access to various aspects of reality here.

Fate Drops

Posted in English, Middle East, Poetry with tags , on 2011-03-29 by candycactus

Now I work for a largest development aid agency in the world. It has been a long time that I felt like a slave. I am not supposed to write anything about it. As soon as I am free I will write. For now – just poetry.

Fate drops from a water pipe
you realize is broken
wet socks – you did not realize
the floor was wet
it is everything but you wanted
to get. I read – you have to love
your enemies and meet
your demons with compassion,
because it’s them who bring your fate,
who will embrace you like
an old whore with a madonna smile
and vague memories of the time
when you loved her
as a girl from the street
with the grocery store.

Happy New Year, PALESTINE!

Posted in English, Middle East, Stories and Tales, Video with tags , , , , , , on 2010-12-31 by candycactus

Believe in magic: that next year Palestinian people experience less injustice, that Palestinians in 2011 will be able to live in dignity, have drinking water, access to their homes and neighbors across the highway in the West Bank, that Gaza children can bathe in the sea, and that we all would meet as many Palestinians on vacation as we meet Israelis in Thailand, India, Lao, Mongolia and other cool places of the world!


Salt of This Sea

Interview with Robert Fisk

Peace Starts Here Project

From Beirut to Bosnia
This Palestinian Life
The Iron Wall

Paradise Now

Go to Jerusalem

Posted in English, Middle East with tags on 2010-07-14 by candycactus

and stop it —
or let your own house be demolished

Love Jews, but stop Israel!

Posted in English, Middle East with tags on 2010-06-02 by candycactus

The accounts of the last days in Gaza are unbearable.
Gaza is the best guarded and biggest live prison in the world with innocent people inside.
Do you have any Israeli friends?
Are there any Israelis reading this post?
Ask them if they serve in the army and why.
I met many cool hippies from Israel traveling in India, South East Asia, wearing peace signs and T-shirts, but they all serve in the army! WHY? To do what is happening since decades and continues until now in Gaza?

Better create beautiful children!