Adonis Diaries

Archive for May 8th, 2016

Sadiq Khan is the new Mayor of London

Fear does not make us safer – it only makes us weaker. And the politics of fear is simply not welcome in our city.”

London has elected its first Muslim mayor, with Sadiq Khan delivering a resounding victory for Labour and ending eight years of Conservative rule at City Hall.

As the results were finally announced well after midnight on Saturday morning, Mr Khan said: “This election has not been without controversy. I am so proud that London has chosen hope over fear and unity over division. I hope we will never be offered such a stark choice again.”

Mr Khan lead his Conservative rival Zac Goldsmith by a total of 315,529 votes when the second preference votes were counted and reallocated.

Khan received 1,310,143 votes, higher than for any previous London Mayor. This amounted to 57 per cent of the total final votes to Mr Goldsmith’s 43 per cent (994,614 votes). Turnout was 45.6 per cent, up from 38 per cent in 2012.


A tired Sadiq Khan speaks at City Hall after being confirmed as the new London Mayor – with Paul Golding, to his left, turning his back (AP)

Mr Khan capped an assured campaign with a convincing triumph, while Goldsmith faced a growing backlash over a campaign which critics described as “divisive” and dependent on “dog whistle” politics.

Mr Khan said that he was “deeply humbled” by the trust that voters had put in him. He also paid tribute to his mother, and his late father, saying: “My dad would be so proud that the city he chose to call home has chosen one of his children to be Mayor.” Charlie Cooper Whitehall Correspondent

Referring to the often contentious campaign, Mr Khan said: “Fear does not make us safer – it only makes us weaker. And the politics of fear is simply not welcome in our city.”

Mr Goldsmith’s campaign faced criticism for focusing on attempts to link Mr Khan to Islamist extremists, with whom he had in the past shared platforms or represented during his work as a lawyer. The campaign was also criticised for sending letters to voters targeted according to their ethnic group.

At the announcement, Mr Goldsmith paid tribute to Mr Khan, and said: “I wish him well as he sets out to build on the successes that we’ve seen under Boris Johnson and to take it even further.”

As the outcome of the race became clear, senior Conservatives joined the backlash against the Goldsmith campaign.

Sayeeda Warsi, the former party chairman and the first Muslim woman to attend Cabinet said the “appalling dog whistle campaign” had “lost us the election, our reputation and credibility on issues of race and religion”.

Lady Warsi, the former Conservative party chairman, described it as “appalling”.

Recriminations even extended even to Mr Goldsmith’s own family, with sister Jemima, a journalist and campaigner, tweeting that she was “sad” her brother’s campaign “did not reflect who I know him to be – an eco-friendly, independent minded politician with integrity”.

Steven Norris, a former MP and mayoral candidate, insisted it was “no use having a dog whistle when everybody can hear it”.

And Andrew Boff, Conservative group leader on the Greater London assembly, said: “It was ridiculous… I do believe it’s going to affect Conservatives at the sharp end, especially in those parts of London where there is a high Muslim population. I mentioned that I thought this was a mistake for future integration in London. If you are a London politician this is just a bizarre thing to do.”

Former minister and Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy said voters had reacted against a campaign that he called “divisive” and “laden with smear”.

“Right across London, black, white and brown have gone out and voted for unity,” he told The Independent. “This is the first time an ethnic minority politician has been given a mandate from millions of people,” he added.

“It’s an extraordinary moment, one we can all delight in whatever our political party… Right across the world they will be talking about this election result. It’s a global moment.”

New York’s mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted his congratulations to Mr Khan, calling him a “fellow affordable housing advocate” and said he was looking forward to working with his new counterpart.

The win represents a major boost for Labour, which had suffered the humiliation of slipping to third place in Scotland, once a stronghold for the party.

But Mr Khan, a former human rights lawyer, has distanced himself from Corbyn throughout his campaign, particularly over the party leadership’s handling of allegations of anti-semitism within Labour ranks. (Great position: Corbyn bowed down to the Zionist lobby by dismissing historical documents of the linkage of Hitler with Zionism cooperation for the Jews to be transferred to Palestine)

In Wales, Labour lost control of the Welsh Assembly after the totemic seat of Rhondda fell to the Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood.

But in English council elections, the party faired less badly than many pundits had expected – losing only 25 seats of the 1,200 it was defending.

The party also retained control of key councils such as Crawley, Southampton, Norwich and Hastings, where its vote had looked vulnerable.

But critics of Mr Corbyn pointed out that such a result was still nowhere near good enough to win a General Election, while the Labour leader himself admitted that they had “hung on”.

“I don’t think that the public see the UK Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn at the moment as being a credible party of future government in 2020,” Ian Murray Labour’s shadow Scottish secretary admitted

Among the other highlights from the day’s results:

  • The Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson secured a seat at Holyrood on the first past the post part of the election by winning Edinburgh Central from the SNP. But the Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale was left relying on the top-up system for a seat as she failed to take Edinburgh Eastern.
  • The Liberal Democrats also made a small resurgence north of the border with their leader Willie Rennie returning to Holyrood in North East Fife, while the party also took Edinburgh Western from the SNP and held on to the Orkney and Shetland islands. The Lib Dems also made modest gains in local council elections.
  • With results in from 115 out of 124 councils declared, Labour was down by 25 seats, Ukip up 26, the Conservatives down 33 and Lib Dems up 36.
  • Labour lost control of Dudley council in the West Midlands, but held on to major cities including Birmingham, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Sunderland, as well as key southern outposts like Exeter, Southampton, Crawley and Slough.

Here are five reasons why London’s new mayor Sadiq Khan is kinda a big deal.

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Food Theft by Hungry and Poor: Not a crime by Italian court

Posted on: May 8, 2016

Food Theft by Hungry and Poor: Not a crime by Italian court

Judges overturned a theft conviction against Roman Ostriakov after he stole cheese and sausages worth €4.07 (£3; $4.50) from a supermarket.
Mr Ostriakov, a homeless man of Ukrainian background, had taken the food “in the face of the immediate and essential need for nourishment”, the court of cassation decided.

Hunger should never be treated as a crime…

‘In times of economic hardship, the court of cassation’s judgement “reminds everyone that in a civilised country not even the worst of men should starve”.’

Internet News Agency with daily news from Macedonia, the Balkans and Around the world. Information on Health, Economy, Politics, Environment, Sports.
Therefore this is not and cannot be a crime, it said.A fellow customer informed the store’s security in 2011, when Mr Ostriakov attempted to leave a Genoa supermarket with two pieces of cheese and a packet of sausages in his pocket but paid only for breadsticks.

In 2015, Mr Ostriakov was convicted of theft and sentenced to six months in jail and a €100 fine.

For the judges, the “right to survival prevails over property”, said an op-ed in La Stampa newspaper (in Italian).

In times of economic hardship, the court of cassation’s judgement “reminds everyone that in a civilized country not even the worst of men should starve”.

An opinion piece in Corriere Della Sera says statistics suggest 615 people are added to the ranks of the poor in Italy every day – it was “unthinkable that the law should not take note of reality”.

It criticised the fact that a case concerning the taking of goods worth under €5 went through three rounds in the courts before being thrown out.

The “historic” ruling is “right and pertinent”, said – and derives from a concept that “informed the Western world for centuries – it is called humanity”.

However, his case was sent to appeal on the grounds that the conviction should be reduced to attempted theft and the sentence cut, as Mr Ostriakov had not left the shop premises when he was caught.

Italy’s Supreme Court of Cassation, which reviews only the application of the law and not the facts of the case, on Monday made a final and definitive ruling overturning the conviction entirely.

Stealing small quantities of food to satisfy a vital need for food did not constitute a crime, the court wrote.

“The condition of the defendant and the circumstances in which the seizure of merchandise took place prove that he took possession of that small amount of food in the face of an immediate and essential need for nourishment, acting therefore in a state of necessity,” wrote the court.

Note: Food is the ultimate weapon used in the West to intimidate people. If you have been sharing an apartment with people from the USA, you realize that food in the fridge is the best excuse to release your frustration.

Most of the inmates crowding prisons are related to food theft.

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May 8: Beginning of municipality election in Beirut and the Bekka3 Valley

Posted on: May 8, 2016

May 8, 2016: Beginning of municipality election in Beirut and the Bekka3 Valley

Note: Since 2010, the parliament has extended its tenure twice under the excuse of security problems, and the head of most administrative posts in the institutions have Not be replaced.

Why You Should Not Vote for Byerte’s List (alliance of all the political parties in Beirut, with No exception, against secular candidates)

Sami Atallah, LCPS executive director. May 2016 

The municipal election in Beirut, scheduled for May 8, is heating up. For the first time ever, a group of civil society activists and experts came together several months ago and formulated a thirty-page platform with ten objectives to improve Beirut.
Instead of lobbying the political elite for change, they have decided to do it themselves by running for office. They have formed a list of twenty-four candidates, and while keeping the sectarian balance, have reflected the true fabric of society by ensuring primarily gender equality, age distribution, and that candidates are from a range of professional backgrounds.

This move actually reflects the maturity and confidence of CSOs in Lebanon.

Almost 20 years ago, in 1997, CSO successfully managed to lobby the government to hold municipal elections that were being regularly postponed for no good reason.
Since then, many attempts by CSOs to lobby, demand, and draft legislation to change our society have fallen on deaf ears. This time around, CSOs decided to take on the structures that prevent them from penetrating the decision-making process by competing against the political elite and attempting to produce change from the inside.
In fact, this initiative, commonly known as Beirut Madinati (BM), has provided voters for the first time with a real alternative, a vision for the city. Its decision to nominate twenty-four candidates, which effectively means they are not willing to negotiate with other parties, shows confidence, coherence in the team, and seriousness in maintaining the right balance in the composition of its list.
In other words, they do not seem interested in trading votes or striking alliances to win the election, rather, they want to win to develop the city. Furthermore, BM, which comprises more than 1,000 volunteers including experts, candidates, and others, has shown great organizational capacity in developing a program, creating a consensus over selected candidates through well-established criteria, and resolving internal conflicts that often engulf many CSOs when they start working together.

In fact, the hope and vision of BM has captured the imagination of many Lebanese living here and abroad. Its program spoke to many citizens and its campaign messages went viral over social media. Even former ministers, some of whom previously served the political establishment, seem to have crossed the fence to support BM.

It is too early to say whether this support will manifest into enough votes to win the election but BM has definitely shaped the electoral debate and scored many points against its political opponents.

In parallel, governing political parties have, as expected, formed a common list that distributes the twenty-four municipal seats to fourteen different factions. These include six from the Future Movement; two representatives from the Lebanese Forces, Kataeb, Tashnag, Ashrafieh leader consensus; and one representative from the Makhzoumi Foundation, Jamaa Islamiyeh, Amal Movement, Shiite families, Progressive Socialist Party, Bishop Elias Aoudeh, Al-Hashnag, and the Patriarchal Syriac community. (And how many for the Tayyar Horr?)

This list, which is celebrated by the appointed head of Byerte’s list Mr. Jamal Itani, as both coherent and representative of the political establishment is in fact contradictory.  It is precisely this kind of representation that has been impeding the work of many institutions, including the current municipal council. When asked on the talk show “Kalam Ennas” how he would deal, if elected, with political party bickering in the council, he had no answer.

What is worse is that Byerte’s list is intellectually bankrupt.

It does not have its own program but it does parrot, albeit poorly, several elements of BM’s program including having a public garden, garbage sorting, and preserving the city’s heritage. Byerte’s list is not the only one inspired by BM’s program. In fact, the parliamentary committee on Public Works, Transportation, Energy, and Water—headed by a Future Movement MP—has suddenly found it urgent to formulate a one-month roadmap to implement a public transportation system.
With an integrated plan for Beirut by BM, one cannot blame Mr. Walid Junblatt for supporting it. Even the son of the former Prime Minister Mr. Fouad Sinyoura seemed initially to be a supporter of BM. If so, this is a serious acknowledgment of the failure of his father’s political party in managing the city. Unless of course Wael’s support was more cunning. That is, by openly supporting BM on his FB page, he meant to signal that BM was his father’s creation and hence undermine BM’s support.

In his final push, Hariri’s attempt to boost the chances of Byerte’s list during his speech in Tariq Jedideh a few days ago reveals why, if elected, the new council is doomed to fail. He attributed the poor performance of the current municipal council to the fact that he was away during this period.

This is interesting for three reasons. One, he openly admitted the poor performance of the municipality, which was of his own making six years ago. Two, the fact that he attributed poor municipal performance to his absence from the country shows that he is not interested in building an institutional mechanism to hold the municipal council accountable, a key pillar of development. Three, Hariri claims that this time is different because he plans to be in the country, alluding to the fact that he plans to interfere in the work of the municipality. If so, he has made clear his intention to undermine the municipality and position himself as the guarantor of people’s needs. He sounds so out of touch.

What Hariri does not get is that it is precisely his intervention and that of the other political parties which is undermining the work of municipalities.

It is precisely because of this that people should not be voting for Byerte’s list, as such interference will undermine the very last institution that could promote development. Only by empowering the internal and external mechanisms of accountability will the city be better off.
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Real, final, absolute: Death in Gaza

Posted on: May 8, 2016

Real, final, absolute: Death in Gaza. July 21, 2014

Nothing can moves you?

There is nothing more real than death.
Nothing more, true, than death.
It’s absolute. It’s final.

When death erases hundreds of lives.
Or even just 4 children playing on the beach.
The action that created death
Is as real, true and absolute
As death itself.

Yet even with this concrete truth.
This overwhelming evidence of atrocity.
It does not move you.
It does not fuel you with fire.
It does not fuel you,
To act, with conviction.

This is not a “conflict”.
There is an oppressor.
There is an oppressed people.

The only conflict for you is this.
Will you be honest with yourself?
Will you be honest with others?
Will you share this truth, without fear?

Are you willing to take a side?
Whether it’s with the oppressor or the oppressed.

Let the world know.

I know, that my freedom as an individual,
Will not be complete, without the freedom,
Of the Palestinians.

Sherif Mktbi shared #‎FreePalestine‬

“Know what it is to be a child . . .
To see a world in a grain of sand
And heaven in a wild flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.”
William Blake


Is life that chose me and made me survive all the hurdles and illnesses

It is events that directed me in the alleys of life

Guided me in the countless forks that led me

Far away from the path that my parents wished me to take

And strove to show me at every bend

Ease up your judgment on your fellow neighbor.

He might seems a tad luckier

He could look not so lucky in the opportunities of his life.

Both of you share this common characteristic:

You both had to struggle all the way

And try to grab the few moments of satisfaction and hope.


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