Apocalypse, Arab-Israeli conflict, Democracy and Justice, Ethics, Genocide, Islam, Israel, Israel/Palestine, jihad, Journalism, Middle East, Muslims, Neocon, Politics, Refugees, sociology, Terrorism, War, War on Terror

Gaza: bad politics needs blood


Just a child

Palestinians in Gaza are again living another nightmare. The world, however, appears less interested than usual.  Dead Palestinians are common products on the international political markets at least last since 1967. As many may have observed, I have rarely commented or written about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. I am not a political scientist and I think that too much has been said and too little done. This post is intended to be just a reflection provoked by the sight of innocent people suffering and trapped in an endless conflict. Continue reading

Academia, anthropology, Arab-Israeli conflict, India, Islam, Israel/Palestine, jihad, Muslims, Politics, Religion, Research, sociology, Terrorism

Down to the bones: have we really changed?

Recently we have witnessed another carnage, this time in Mumbai, perpetrated by people who are ready to kill for their ideological, political and religious beliefs. Among those murdered, coming from all walks of life and are of different ethnic, national and religious origin, there are also two Jewish parents who leave 2-year-old Moshe orphaned. He was lucky enough to remain alive. This absurd gratuitous violence against unarmed and defenseless people is not the first occurrence and will not be the last. Continue reading

Arab-Israeli conflict, Bush, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Europe, Iraq, Israel, Israel/Palestine, Terrorism, War on Terror

Hamas or Hamas not? The Prodi dilemma

After many years, I came back to Italy during the summer. As many of you may have noticed, I have been on holiday even from my blog. Yet today I have decided to make an exception and comment on a debate that for three days (from 13th of August to the 15th) has made the headlines. The Italian Prime Minister, Romano Prodi, has unceremoniously broken one of the main rules which have governed the last six years of the ‘War on Terror’: never speak to the bad guys, just isolate and, if you can, bomb them. My fellow citizen Machiavelli used to say that the end justifies the means.

Continue reading

Arab-Israeli conflict, Cartoons, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Humor, Israel, Israel/Palestine, Journalism, Middle East, Misteries, Muslims, Terrorism, The UK

Twenty years since the fatal shooting of cartoonist Naji al-Ali

To be a cartoonist has never been easy. Fewer and fewer people in the world have a real sense of humor or understand satire and sarcasm. Naji al-Ali has been a cartoonist who expressed his criticism about Palestine, the oppression of Palestinians and Palestinian political life, in a powerful way.

His pen was sharp and his cartoons powerful, so powerful that somebody, if not a real consortium, decided to kill him in London twenty years ago. Indeed, on July 22, 1987, he was shot in the face, at point blank range, as he left the London offices of the Al Qabbas newspaper. He died after laying in a coma for 5 weeks. Continue reading

Anti-Semitism, Arab-Israeli conflict, Democracy and Justice, Islamophobia, Israel/Palestine, Journalism, Middle East, Muslims, The UK

Richard Littlejohn’s “War on Britain’s Jews”, or the spiral of intolerance

http://vhm-design.com/#aboutsOn the 9th of July Channel 4 broadcasted Littlejohn’s documentary The War on Britain’s Jews. He introduced his documentary on his Daily Mail column, and if you do not want to watch all of it, Littlejohn himself has offered a taste in his column.I have to admit that I agree with Tony Greenstein about Littlejohn as a journalist and about his documentary. Tony Greenstein in The Guardian has stated:


If Channel 4 was seriously concerned about anti-semitism then the last person to present it would have been Richard Littlejohn. This is the same person who said of the Rwandan genocide: “Does anyone really give a monkey’s about what happens in Rwanda? If the Mbongo tribe wants to wipe out the Mbingo tribe then as far as I am concerned that is entirely a matter for them” – which is a direct take from the late Alan Clark‘s infamous remark about “bongo bongo land”.He has also called the Palestinians “the pikeys of the Middle East” and suggested that it was time to “wring [their] necks”. “Pikey” is a racist reference to Gypsies, one of Littlejohn’s pet hates, along with gays and asylum seekers.

Continue reading

Arab-Israeli conflict, Ethics, Israel, University

The UCU Academic Boycott of Israel

On 30 May 2007 the British Academics’ Union (University and College Union) passed a motion at its annual congress urging lecturers to “consider the moral implications of existing and proposed links with Israeli academic institutions.” Under the terms of the motion the union must now circulate calls for a boycott of Israeli universities to all of its branches for discussion. If adopted, the boycott initiative could see academics no longer writing for journals published by Israeli universities and refusing travel to Israel for conferences. Continue reading

Apocalypse, Arab-Israeli conflict, Democracy and Justice, Israel/Palestine, jihad, Lebanon

Secularism in action?

I am very depressed because of what is happening in the Middle East. I had decided to respect my hopes and wait until the end of this inhuman craziness before expressing my feelings and comments. Now, I have to admit that the craziness will probably go on for a long while yet.

So, I have decided to take refuge from all these illogical and brutal military actions by hiding and sheltering within my scholarly armour. I shall leave to others, more expert than myself, the condemnations, the scream of supports, the sharp indignations, the terrorist labelling, and the human rights mysterious and magical spells. I am an anthropologist, an academic. My only defence to all this mindless madness is to try to make sense of it; of course, in a flood of useless words, fragile quotations, and gothic cathedral constructions of the intellect, which, however, cannot save even half of one life. So, here my shelter from the bombing of unwished contemporary realities.
First, it is important to deconstruct one point. “Israel is not ‘the Jew’”, my very religious Rabbi friend repeated again and again to me. I have no problem to believe him: a state cannot be a person or represent what today is a very heterogenic faith: Judaism. A person is a human being. To be Jewish means to be a person born within (or rarely convert to) a certain religion and holding certain beliefs, or ‘feeling to be’ a Jew (i.e. identity). I have not the space (actually time) to expand further this reductionist discourse, so let me pass to the second logical point. Zionism is not Israel; leave aside ‘the Jew’. An ideology can help to build a state, but a state cannot be an ideology, leave aside the personification of a person, ‘the Jew’. Continue reading