Adonis Diaries

Archive for November 3rd, 2014

Impunity? Will US persist in demanding truth about Israeli sniper killing of Palestinian-American child?

Thousands attended the 26 October funeral of Orwa Hammad, the 14-year-old Palestinian-American boy who was shot dead by Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank village of Silwad two days earlier.

Israeli occupation forces claimed Orwa had been about to throw a molotov cocktail, a justification frequently given for the killings of children.

Local residents told The New York Times that “Palestinians throwing stones clashed with Israeli soldiers in the village after Friday Prayer, but that Orwa was apparently killed hours later.”

2014-10-26_orwa_hammad_.jpg

Palestinians carry the body of 14-year old Orwa Hammad at his funeral in the West Bank village of Silwad, 26 October.

Israeli occupation forces shot and killed the US citizen on 24 October. (Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

The US State Department expressed “condolences” for Orwa’s death but failed to condemn it, in contrast to the killing of an Israeli-American baby in Jerusalem days earlier when a Palestinian driver crashed a car into a group of pedestrians in eastern occupied Jerusalem.

The US called for “a speedy and transparent investigation” into Orwa’s death.

What no one disputes, however, is that Orwa was killed by Israeli bullets.

Losing a brother and a son

Thousands of miles from where Orwa died and was buried, Shukri Abu Baker sits in a maximum security US federal prison in Beaumont, Texas, serving out a 65-year sentence.

He is one of the Holy Land 5” – the founder of the Holy Land Foundation, and one of five of the charity’s officials convicted in a travesty of a trial in 2008 for raising funds to help Palestinians.

It turns out he has a connection to Orwa and light to shed on the tragedy his family has lived through under occupation.

Using the authorized prison email system, Abu Baker sent this message to his family and friends.

His daughter Nida Abu Baker shared it with The Electronic Intifada:

From: SHUKRI ABU BAKER (32589-177)
Date: 10/27/2014 5:21:14 PM
Subject: Bullets That Kill   Message:

Family and friends,

On Friday, October 24, Israeli soldiers swarmed the northern West Bank village of Silwad to quell a protest by dozens of frustrated youngster. Upon arriving, the heavily armed soldiers opened fire at 14-year-old, Orwa Hammad, aiming at his head and neck.

The boy fell to the ground and bled to death before the soldiers called an ambulance. Six others were wounded.

In summer 1992, during a visit to my home village, Silwad, I met  Nabil Qaddorah, 19, handsome, full of energy and optimism, and excited about his planned engagement to the love of his life.

The Israeli soldiers raided the village with their military jeeps and started shooting at a crowd of youngsters who had started to throw stones at the military vehicles.

Nabil received multiple wounds in his chest. As he fell to the ground an Israeli  soldier started to jump up and down pounding on his chest. They carried him inside a jeep and took off.

After dark, two days later, his family claimed his body and brought him home for his elderly parents, relatives, and friends to view before he was put to grave in the same night. I viewed his body, kissed him on the forehead, and said goodbye.

Nabil’s sister is Orwa’s mother [Ikhlas Hammad].

In a span of 22 years she has lost a brother and a son. Orwa’s father, Abdelwahab, is my wife’s maternal cousin who was in New Orleans, Louisiana when his son was murdered. He asked that the burial of his son be put off for three days to allow him to make it back in Silwad and attend the burial. Orwa was an American citizen by birth.

His family is expecting a statement from the State Department demanding answers from the Israelis, and I say, it won’t happen because we already know that it was the soldiers who shot Orwa, but where did the bullets that killed him come from?

Impunity

Now cut across to Monday’s State Department press briefing where AP correspondent Matt Lee challenged US officials on what they were going to do to get answers in Orwa’s case and others.

Several months ago, there was a shooting – there was an incident involving a shooting of some Palestinian youths. They weren’t Americans, but you called at that time for an [investigation],” Lee said, “this was the video, the one that was captured on videotape. Are you aware of the results of that Israeli investigation?”

Lee was referring to the cold-blooded shootings by snipers of Palestinian teens Nadim Nuwara and Muhammad Abu al-Thahir in the occupied West Bank village of Beitunia on 15 May.

Despite plenty of video evidence and the US request for an investigation, Israel has made no arrests and issued no report.

This is the standard impunity that Israeli killers of Palestinians receive.

State Department spokesperson Jennifer Psaki’s answered Lee: “I would encourage you to ask the Israeli authorities for any outcomes they would like to share with you.”

In other words, there will be no follow up from the US government, not for Nadim and Muhammad, not for Orwa – an American – and not for thousands of Palestinians killed by Israel with weapons provided or paid for by the United States.

The total impunity the Obama administration continues to afford Israel is just as lethal to Palestinian children as the weapons the US gives Israel in order to kill them.

Any “scientific paper” related to sex is fucking readable

Learn new words and get a life

While it doesn’t get much better than sex and drugs for many out there, new research has found that simply learning a new word can spark up the same reward circuits in the brain that are activated during pleasurable activities such as these. No wonder there are so many bookworms and scrabble addicts out there.

Human language is a unique phenomenon that separates us from other members of the animal kingdom. The emergence of language was a hugely important step in our evolution because it allowed humans to cooperate and share knowledge more easily. But what motivates us to acquire a new language from a very early age has been a mystery.

Some hypothesized that language-learning mechanisms may have been linked to reward circuits in the brain, reinforcing the drive to learn new words. Until now, however, experimental evidence in support of this has been lacking.

Learning New Words Activates The Same Brain Regions As Sex And Drugs

October 29, 2014 | by Justine Alford

Photo credit: Craig Sunter, “Book Worm,” via Flickr. CC BY-ND 2.0

For this latest study, which has been published in Current Biology, researchers from Spain and Germany looked at the brain activity of 36 adult participants using a technique called functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Scans were taken while the participants were performing two different activities: learning the meaning of new words from context in a sentence, and a gambling task.

During both word learning and gambling, participants exhibited activity in the ventral striatum, which is a core area involved in reward and motivation. This same region is activated during a wide range of pleasurable activities, such as eating great food, having sex and taking drugs.

During word learning activities, synchronization between the cortical language regions and the ventral striatum was also increased. Furthermore, those with better connections between these two circuits were found to be able to learn more words than those with weaker links.

Taken together, these results suggest that the union of these two brain circuits bestowed humans with an important advantage that ultimately resulted in the emergence of linguistic skills. “From the point of view of evolution, it is an interesting theory that this type of mechanism could have helped human language to develop,” lead author Antoni Rodriguez-Fornells told La Vanguardia.

The findings, he says, call into question whether language is solely product of the evolution of the brain cortex, and could even suggest that emotions may influence the process of language acquisition.

[Via Current Biology, MIC, University of Barcelona]

“Why I was not asked to vote?”

A young man took the podium and talked. He said:

You the immigrants (converts to Islam who moved from Mecca to Medina); it is true that you were the first to embrace Islam.  But everyone later received the same privilege. 

After the Prophet death (632 AC) you have designated a man among you (first caliph Abu Bakr) to become the first successor; we, the common Moslems, were not consulted.

Again, you the elite immigrants have met in council (Shawra) and designated the second Caliph (Omar bin al Khattab) and we were not asked our opinion. 

You voted for the third Caliph (Othman Bin Affan) without our input.

You didn’t like Othman after 13 years of ruling us, and you assassinated him. 

You again designated Ali bin Abi Taleb for fourth caliph and the common Moslems were not invited to extend their opinions and preferences. 

Now you don’t like Ali.  What are you reproaching him for? Why have you decided to fight him by the sword? 

Has he done any reprehensible acts?  Is his election illegal, illicit or fraudulent?

Tell us why you want us to start a civil war (fitna)? You have got to surely convince us to join the battle. 

Tell us what it is all about? Why are you fighting?”

These are not current statements of a Moslem, Sunni or Shia or of another Islam sect. They were pronounced by a simple Moslem 1,400 years ago, during the first Islam civil war called the Battle of the Camel.

Aicha emulated the same tactics as the Prophet did before any military excursion: She negotiated with notables in Basra, explained the reasons of her dangerous move (it was to be the first civil war in Islam) and she opened free discussions for people to express their opinions in the mosque.

Mosques were the proper locations for open discussions under the protection of Allah.

Since time immemorial, the most common form of electing leaders is the peer council forum, (or Shawra in Islam) in political and professional voting systems.

It took the American revolution over 6 decades before attempting a modified form of universal voting system during President Andrew Jackson.

Pragmatically, the peer format is still practiced in the most democratic and developed States. It is the peer council that select the candidate, finance and organize political campaigns.

Even today, most political parties put forth the ideology that peer systems are the most viable systems in order to select experienced and reliable candidates who proved to be consistent and have conforming attitudes to the status quo.

Most political leaders who managed to succeed in their revolutions were convinced that no power can rely on the common people to snatch, sustain and consolidate institutions.

Peasants were historically catalogue as the most conservative and retrograde of citizens. The core members, and professional intelligentsia were considered to be the backbone for any renewal.

The leaders relied on a circle of experienced and professional activist and manipulators to organize, lead and control the movement of the masses.

The rhetoric and speeches of the political leaders fool the crowd into believing that they are the real power and that what is being done in their name is what’s best for them and for the nation.

May be peer councils is the case pragmatically, but universal voting systems, supported by a fair election law, have this major benefit of short-cutting the advent of virulent, violent and bloody insurgency movements.

Societies need a large span of peaceful continuity and stability in the laws in order to consolidate legitimacy and strengthen the institutions and to insure steady development.

The fact is that the developed superpower colonial States have devised a couple of Default political systems for the developing countries to emulate. For example, Democracy is in and Liberty is out. Free trades is in and self sufficiency is out… Otherwise, all hell of State supported media will come down on these retrograde political systems


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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