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: January 5th, 2007 =================
Say Your Goodbyes, Palestine Dies On January 9th
By TI3GIB @
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Please do not skip reading this
As some of you may have heard, last night, Israel initiated a millitary launch on Gaza, killing in the process more than 270 people so far. Two days ago, I started prepping an article about the potential explosivness of the situation in Gaza, but sadly, I wasn't fast enough as to post it in time, because the foldout has already started.
The attacks have come after the 6 month ceasefire truce, Tahdiyah, between Hamas & Israeli millitary forces expired last week on December 19th. While a ceasefire always seems like a good idea, Hamas expolited this period to recruit and train new personnel, and Israel expolited this period to impose "war" on Gaza without a full blown confrontation.
While a full blown confrontation did not occur, ceasefire has been void by both Israel & Hamas on numerous ocassions. Most notably of which was the November 5th raid by the Israeli air force in which 6 Gazans were killed.
Since November 5th, The dynamics of the Gaza-Israel relationship, for the first time ever, has changed from being based on political rivalry to that based on oppression. On November 5th, Israel began enforcing a seige on Gaza, controlling the flow of water, food, electricity, diesel, medicine and everything else into Gaza. This control resulted in a rapid decrease in the quantites of the above below livable levels.
Food supply is now strained even more than it already was. Oxfam, was allowed an average of 4.6 trucks a day, 20% of what it was in December 2005, which it then considered to be an alarming defeciency of food supply. The UN Relief and Works Agency, responsible for feeding 750,000 of Gaza's 1.6 million citizens, more than half of which are children, was allowed a mere 35 trucks of food supply between November 5th and December 5th. A mere 7% of the required minimum. Food supply from the UNRWA, since December 18th, has completely ceased, leaving the majority of the 750,000 who are solely dependant on it without food since.
The World Food Programme is having simliar restrictions on the amount of food they can send in, also noting that the excess food it's not allowed to send in is being stored in Israeli storage facilities. This alone will cost half a million dollars which by the end of the year, which will now go to the benefit of Israeli businesses rather than being injected into the food crisis in Gaza.
Control over cooking gas is equally unsettling. Because of shortages in Butane cooking gas, 65% of all commercial bakeries in Gaza have had to close down, not only causing major shortages in bread, but also contribuiting to the unemployment problem, now at more than 49%. Similar is expected to happen to the remaining 17-25 bakeries which each of which is expected to provide bread, the main and basic element in food for Gazans, to an average of in excess of 90,000 citizens.
Cooking gas used in poltury farming, has had similar results to the breeding and feeding of chicken, the main source of protein for 70% of Gazans. The FAO predicts that if the cooking gas situation remains as it is, poltury farming will die completely by April of 2009.
Restrictions on cash notes have forced all banks in Gaza to close down on December 4th, which could result in the collapse of the remainder of the financial system. The UNRWA have also suspended all cash flow into Gaza bringing a halt to cash for work, cash for food, and cash allowances (to impovershed or no income households) programmes.
On November 13th, Gaza's only power plant, responsible for a third of Gaza's population has had to shut down due to the shortage of diesel fuel , because of which the turbines have failed, which required ordering in some 100 parts that have to be replaced. The parts are now, and have been for a while, in possesion of Israeli ports being delieberately delayed for custom clearance. It's expected that this will not occur before the 45-day holding period after which the parts will be auctioned, and the proceeds of which will be retained in the Israeli treasurey. The remaining two thirds of Gaza's population recieve electricity which comes from and is charged by Israel. While this source of electricity hasn't stopped (yet), the one million Gazans it serves only have it for 6 hours a day.
Gaza’s Coastal Municipalities Water Utility, a politically impartial entity, responsible for providing water and sewage services for Gaza has also has had to halt services because it stopped recieving funding from the Palestenian Water Authority. The Palestenian Water Authority recieves fuding from the World Bank via the Palestenian Authority in the West Bank, the political rivals to Hamas. The 'Abbas' West Bank Palestenian Authority government exploited it's control over the PWA to use it in it's political rivarly with the Hamas government in Gaza because it felt that a functioning sewage system in Gaza, might come to Hamas' "benefit". Meanwhile, Gaza City, and northern Gaza have only 6 hours of access to clean water every three days.
The West Bank government exploited their control over Pharmacueticals against Gaza in a similar way. Throught November, the West Banks government returned shipments of medicine because the West Bank's storage facilities were filled to capacity, and had no where to store them, while Gaza was reciving little or no medicine at all at the time. Since September, only one truck of medicine and medical supplies was delieverd to Gaza on the last week of November. Gaza's extremely scarce medical supply is smuggled from Egypt, as does the very little amounts of fuel which keep the hospitals running, noting that two of Gaza's major hospitals are now closed because of lack of supplies and fuel.
Come January 9th, Mahmood Abbas' 4 year presidency term will expire. The presidency which was was actually won, in elections, by Hamas, but was not allowed to excercise. The Hamas government will, on January 9th, announce that even if Mahmood Abbas is "re-elected" it will not recognize him as president.
This will in effect be the dissolution of the remainder of any unified relationship between the Gaza Strip and the current West Bank government, or it's mimics. It will be the day that Palestine as we know it will cease to exist.
All while Israel continues it's most vicious attack yet on Palestine since 20 years, while the world bystands not only to killing, but to the disintegration of an entire society.
Due to Israel's ban on journalists in Gaza in the beggining of December, there's little photographic evidence of what's happening in Gaza, but some have surfaced here. These are not for the fainthearted, but I encourage, nay plea, everyone to see them.
Wow, I bet shoe blogging has never been as popular as it is now.
I have more shoes than heterosexuality usually permits, but I couldn't care less. I got tagged by Amjad to pick my favorite one and put it here, but I've decided to put all the ones I have with me here, here, because A. I don't have a favorite, and B. some of them have mentionable stories.
These are all cloth. The white's a Topman, the green's an M&S, and the black one is just something I wear around the house when it's cold. Story : The stain you see in the black one is from when I spilled extremely hot tea on my foot and had to wear two or three socks for two weeks for it not to hurt.
Black Converse, Blue Converse & A Brown one. There's a bright green one waiting for me in Schuch today. No converse stories.
Left one's an AND1, which I've had for more than two years now, my oldest shoe. I've changed the laces to red myself. The next one's a Vans. By far my most comfortable shoe. The brown one's a Zara shoe that I got a while back, but never got to wear yet. It's comfortable though, and it's velvet. Story : Some dude in an Opeth concert asked me where I got the AND1s from, because they're so old and because of the red laces.
The sports sneakers. Left's a Puma, then a Lionsdale, then a Nike. Story : It was the first weekly football game when I got the Nike for football, turned out three other guys from our group bought the same shoe, same day, from the same place, and we're still fighting over who's copied the other.
I really like this one. I'm not sure who makes it, but the tribal art, and the rustic relic rundown look is really nice. Story, I got this one from Oman, the right pair is one size smaller than the other pair. They knocked 2.5 rials off the price for that. It's a nice shoe, had to get it.
I have quite a few back home, but I can't remember any of them.
The Omanicommentatorshipwebspaces have retaliated with admirable force to Majlis Al-Shura's recent recommendations regarding changing the weekend days from the current Thursday-Firday to a Friday-Saturday.
The idea was first introduced a couple of years back by royal decree, and little has been done to it's benefit since. A while back, the banking sector inaugrated the trial to the new system with less than satisfactory results. The frustration of the public is owed to the current 4 day banking week. This would not be the case if the entire country moved to the Friday-Saturday weekend, where the regular 5 day banking week is restored, but the trial shift had not in any way suggested that the transition would be smooth, seamless, or beneficial.
My argument is .. Why bother ? The benefits gained by the transition while valid, seem unattractive enough to make such irreverseible change. If anything, it's going to accelerate downloading more of the traumatized global economy to Oman.
This post, however is not about praising the merits of the transition, or griping it's faults, it's about the Omani web arena's very open contempt to Majils Al-Shura's initative which opposed the shift to grounds of social, economical, and religous technicalities.
It seems that a lot of people simply forgot that these people are elected officials. Electors voted for these representatives affliating themselves to the agendas presented to them during elections, rendering criticism to that very agenda a logical fallacy. Whether this was the way it happened or not, it does not negate the fact that these official are now morally obligated to push forward whatever they were elected for, and if that was absolutly nothing, then the fault is beared on the elector.
Collectively, Shura studied, and discussed, the banking trial and came to the conclusion that the shift is not to our benefit, and that business should proceed as it previously was. Their views are only influencive, and not decisive. It's now up to the case to justify itself, which it's not doing too well.
I think this is a very cowardly move. There's much to criticize about the way our government handles some things, but it remains the fact the public choses not to excercise and deliever this criticism for irrational fear of the concerned officials. I think it's cowardly, because the people who are criticizing Shura this vehemently would not as readily criticize unelected governmental officials who have more influence and blame to some of these shortcomings.
Not only is it cowardly, I think it's also stupid of us all. The Omani public, rightly so, assumes the problem of Shura being the fact that they do not have decisive power and that some of that power should be delegated to them from whomever has it, but we're too stupid to realise that no such powers will ever be delegated if there's no respect to the process itself. If the Omani people show that they strongly prefer, respect and encourage the contribuitive process of decision making, some of the decision making power will definetly be delegated to the Majlis. This is not an egg and chick question, so we should stop making it one.
My name is Mohammed, and I shall be here all week.
I just realised something insane about myself. I am obsessed with subtitles. I understand, write, and speak both arabic and english at a fairly comfortable level. There are two things you need to know here. First, arabic is my first language (I think), and second, all the television I watch is almost strictly english speaking.
Now, my interest in american and british programming has manifested quite early in my life. Because, I'm the professional television watcher that I am (fancy words for couch potatoe), I have always been able to listen to what's being said, watch what's going on, and read the subtitles whenever they were available. I didn't need subtitles , but I considered having them a luxury, which I fully intended to use, which I did. Perhaps not intentionally, but I think I owe a bit of doing that to my english getting better and better over the years.
Since then, almost all my television watching is been unsubtitled. Only because it's unavailable, not because I see it less of a luxury now. I'm saying this, because I was watching an arabic video subtitled in english on youtube, and I was reading the subtitles ! ... in arabic !
That got me thinking and made realise that I always prefer to have subtitles activated when I'm watching DVDs as well, even though it wouldn't influence my viewing experience or understanding any more or any less. I even like having english subtitles on, when watching english programming (like closed caption).
Who The Hell Is Talal Al-Rashdi ?
By TI3GIB @
Sunday, December 21, 2008
I've been feeling slightly more compelled to posting in the blog these past few days. I gave a look at my stat counter to see what kind of traffic or readership I'm getting. There's a feature within the counter I use that lets me log visits based on keywords that people have used on search engines (like Google) before they were linked here.
I found three really REALLY odd ones, ranked from my least to most favorite.
1. "Talal Al Rashdi Safety"
Seriously, what the hell ? Who in the world is Talal Al Rashdi and why would google associate it me with this person ? Then there's the safety part, which could only mean that someone out there is feeling unsafe from Mr Al Rashdi.
2. "Gay Shatti Al Qurum"
I'm not a homophobe, but would all the closet cases please go elsewhere for guidance on the (thriving ?) gay scene in Shatti Al Qurum or anywhere else.
I completely flipped laughing reading this. The word above for those of you pointing at the jibbersh and banging their heads on their desks, it means circumsized. Now nowhere in this blog or elsewhere in the blogosphere did I disclose any information regarding my , errrm, "status" personally or circumcision in general.
Ofcourse there was a myriad of other out-there search keywords, a lot of which included whom I assume are 40 year old's looking for "hot emarati ass" and "dating for love in oman", but hey .. you do what you can.
I think it's pretty much decided by now that I won't be going back to Oman for the Christmas. I, instead, will attempt to do some studying (yeah, right), check out the christmas and new year's party scene (yeah, right), and maybe finish a book or two in the four week strech(double yeah, rights). I was thinking about the act of going back the other day and the things that that usually entails.
It usually goes that after a few days of staying home, recovering from jetlag and getting my hair cut to presentable form again, I start calling my friends to hang out with them. Amongst other things, it's customary that a fair amount of talking is done in these reunions where I get reinformed to things that happened while I was away. Now while, a lot of this is gossip about the common social network, a lot of it is also of political, economic and social nature.
That's what this post is about. Me not keeping up with what's going on in Oman. While some of you would argue the extent of which this is effective, I have always felt that my morning newspaper tradition used to put me in a decent knowledge position.
I think it's far from convenient that I go visit all the main newspaper websites on a daily basis only to recieve an anorexic account of the dish in Oman. One would think that with the advent of internet, and the liberties it provides to the publishing and media world, the people working in the Omani publication industry would make the effort to incorporate at the very least the most massly adopted technologies available at this time.
RSS is an example of that. Real Simple Syndication prides itself in being real simple. Anyone who understands the premise of the internet can use RSS to syndicate media and content to a unified depot accessible anywhere where internet is present. Media & content providers are also able to utilize such technology to their advantage. Real Simple Syndication, is not only real simple to use, but real simple to implement as well. Perhaps someone should notify the great folk at the Omani publishing industry (whom I think are doing mighty fine and dandy job) of this and I'm sure very little time will be wasted to get us in correct gear again.
I believe it's fair to say that the region not having showed an interest just yet to New Media is a strongly influencive force to Oman not doing so, but it only takes one to start a trend and starting this trend is well within Oman's ambit.
But perhaps it's not ignorance or reluctance that are bouncing at our technodoors. Perhaps it's the good ol-fashioned way of thinking which take new media not to be any more than a cosmetic affair, which it may very well be at the outer crust and inner crust, but it has to be realised that at the core of new media lies a significantly vital feature, which is archiving.
The simple fact is that the way our media operates today makes it very difficult to properly document and properly archive Polisocioeconomical publication. In turn then making it difficult to publicily access said archives by commentators, analysts, historians and academics for whichever use. We are yet to find out how important that really is.
But until then, don't pull me from under my rock. If something happened, I don't wanna know about it.
The greek have been rioting in athens and all over the country for the past few days over the death of a 15-year-old boy after being shot at by the police. While the riots included opposition against the wavering economy and political corruption, it namely opposed the use of excessive violence by the police.
How you ask ? .. By the use of excessive violence.
I haven't written here in a while, but what I saw today is shocking enough to shock anyone out of blogoslumbers. I'm ofcourse talking about, the shoe thrown at GW yesterday during a visit to Iraq.
I didn't think it was ever possible for the Iraqi people to stoop to a new low, but the traitor, coward, selfish bastards not only managed to conquest new grounds in their eager quest for self destruction, but also managed to drag the rest of us along.
As an Arab and Muslim, I'm completely ashamed at this display. Our tradition & religoun holds immense respect and great pride in how we treat our guests and this was a completey disregard to that.
The Iraqi's show us once again their true colors. We are once again faced with the bitter reality of the mistake that giving the Iraqi's speaking floor was. The speaking floor that remained unused through foreign occupancy, governmental corruption, the masquerade that the trial of the entury was, and the sectatorial laden presidential assasination that followed. The Iraqi's have forfeited their political podium. They not only didn't have the right to use it, but when they did, they used it shamefully. Disgustingly. Foolishly. Ignorantly. Ignorant to how much more powerful and hurtful words are compared to footwear.
Saddam Hussien is rolling in his grave as we speak. Ghandi is rolling in his grave as we speak, and the rest of us can't wait to join them.