sectarianism

24 years ago today, Saddam’s thugs crushed popular uprisings in the South and the North known as the Intifada. Tanks rolled into Najaf and Karbala carrying Saddam’s photos and banners that read “No shi’a after today”. Men, women, and children hid in the Imam Ali and Imam Hussein shrines, burial sites of the Prophet Mohammed’s family. They were turned into makeshift hospitals and shelters. People thought Saddam would have enough humanity to not harm innocents in the shrine. His tanks destroyed the shrines, killing everyone inside. His thugs then took machine guns and opened fired on the walls where the names of the Shi’a Imams, the Prophet’s grandchildren, were written. Despite the massacres, no Shi’a city chose terrorism. No Shi’a man strapped bombs on their chests and went into crowded civilian areas. Yet this is our reality now, foreign fighters invading our country and blowing themselves and killing our people just like Saddam killed us before. And when we resist, we are the sectarian ones. 24 years. Mass graves are still being uncovered. I still wake up my father from re-occurring nightmares late into the night, a gift from torture in Saddam’s prisons. 24 years and I never got to know my grandfather, Sayed Hussein Alyasiri, because he died a martyr, poisoned by the regime. My earliest childhood memory was his funeral. I was born on a hot July evening while my own father was being tortured in jail, and my mother in hiding. I never got to meet my uncle Sayed Habib Alyasiri. I turn 24 this year. I’m going to be older than he was when he was captured. His body was never found. A year ago we heard reports that Saddam’s men executed him in such a way that when I typed it out just now I had to pause and delete it. I never got to meet my uncle, Sayed Fadhil Alyasiri, who never got to see his two sons and two daughters, all only a bit older than me, get married and have children. We heard rumors that Saddam’s monsters burned him alive but despite that, his final words made the enemy tremble. For years my dad never said the Fati7a, a prayer for the dead, because he believed that if he continued hoping that maybe some day they’d call or just show up. It broke my heart one night over dinner when he paused and asked us to say the fati7a for them. Three innocent souls among thousands. No bodies were recovered. No graves to visit. No rest. There are those now who play as if they’ve been the victims all along, as if they know an ounce of this pain felt by almost every Iraqi family I’ve met. They attempt to erase this history, and by doing so hope that we forget. I was born 24 years ago this year, and for the rest of my life my age and my birth will always be directly tired to the collective history and struggle of my people. I want every single person reading this right now, especially the cowards who hide behind keyboards and support the very people killing our families back home, to know one thing, and it’s that we will NEVER forget.

Me on /r/anarchism just now in regards to a post about Kronstadt. 

Here’s the deal, I’m all for historical debates and disagreements, but if you use them as justification for being a sectarian ass in the present real world than you you’re a fucking idiot.

These things were a hundred years ago, no one you know was involved in them or even anyone you know knew anyone involved in them, it has nothing at all to do with the present moment. Give a shit about the present, keep your eyes to the future and dont be a backward looking ass

Is there such a thing as Arab liberalism? Judging by U.S. mainstream media coverage, the answer is no. Out of ten stories on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), chances are that nine cover terrorism and sectarian violence—and the tenth, government abuse. What is true for media is even truer for other circles of knowledge production. Washington’s MENA-oriented think tanks are transfixed by ISIS-like fanatic groups and focus what is left of their attention on Muslim Brother-type Islamists (though these lost much currency after the popular uprising and military removal of them in Egypt in 2013) as well as on the varieties of despotic regimes ruling the Arab world. Very little space, if any, is devoted to whatever is in between authoritarian establishments and their religious opponents—namely democratic, secular, liberal civil society actors. It is as if they don’t exist—or don’t count.

Yet three years ago, these same characters were making front-page news worldwide. Remember the “Facebook activists” and “Twitter revolutionaries?” Back in 2011, they were the darlings of global media. Reform-minded, free-spirited, and Internet-savvy Arab youths were taking over public squares by the tens of thousands, chanting their contempt of despotism and love of freedom—all without a hint of religious militancy—and ousting reviled dictators. How did that demographic fade to irrelevance after only a few years? What happened?

Realpolitik happened. Soon after the revolutionary dust settled, Arab liberal activists were outmaneuvered by more established, more organized, and more prepared actors. Today the army rules supreme in Egypt; Syria and Iraq are split between terrorist groups and despotic leaders; royal families enjoy an even stronger grip in Gulf countries, Jordan, and Morocco; and Libya is stuck in a bizarre stalemate based on tribal interests and armed militias.

The lesson has been learned: social pressure can indeed bring a bad ruler down, but ultimately democratic activism, as sincere as it may be, is not what it takes to prevail in a competition for power. Rather, the ultimate winners are those who have guns and deep pockets and, perhaps more importantly, can rely on solid, organized, and long-lasting networks—including at the grassroots level—to channel change in the direction they want. Unlike the young liberals, the Arab military and royal establishments have been amassing power and capital for decades. Such resources came in handy when these actors followed up on 2011’s uprisings.

Does this mean, as Western media and analysts assume, that the influence of Arab liberals is dead in the water? That they are simply irrelevant in today’s—and maybe tomorrow’s—Arab world? I don’t think so.

First, if grassroots reach and significant treasure chests are necessary to bid for power, they are not indispensable to inspire large crowds and eventually move them to action. Though old-school networks may have prevailed in the Middle East, it shouldn’t hide the fact that the “Arab Spring”—by all means the most dramatic paradigm shift that happened in MENA for decades—was originally inspired, triggered, and spearheaded by civil society actors. As loosely organized and interconnected as they were, liberal activists undoubtedly shaped the narrative of the spectacular rebellions. They successfully used Internet and social media to develop and circulate what would become the central claims of massive crowds: freedom, dignity, accountability, and social justice.

There are no indicators that the liberals’ power to inspire the Arab people has receded since 2011. In fact, it may have increased. Egypt is often cited as exemplifying the post-revolutionary vanishing of liberal opinion leaders. Yet if we set aside media institutions and music celebrities, seven out of the 10 most followed Twitter accounts in Egypt are those of liberal commentators such as satirists Bassem Youssef and Belal Fadl or the secular politicians Mohamed ElBaradei, Hamdeen Sabahi, and Amr Hamzawy. Even in Saudi Arabia, where the alliance between the ruling family and the Wahhabi establishment is more solid than ever, six out of the 10 most watched YouTube channels (telecom and gaming companies aside) are satirical shows produced by rebellious youth groups. By November 2014, the total views for the videos uploaded by these channels were no less than 915 million—with Saudi Arabia having only 30 million inhabitants. For those who care to look closer, many other surprising trends are taking over the Arab Internet, such as a surge in atheism via dedicated Facebook pages with tens of thousands of followers—unthinkable just five years ago—and gay rights groups popping up in every online corner. (And each year, we hear of more attempts to move these groups from the virtual to the real world by staging gay pride parades in Arab cities.) 

Thus, while Western public opinion is pronouncing it dead, Arab liberalism is in fact trending in MENA’s online conversations—and these conversations are rapidly increasing in number. Some might argue that what happens online isn’t representative of the Arab world’s reality, but this is incorrect. During the 2002-2012 decade, Arabic was the world’sfastest growing language on the web. The average Internet penetration rate of 38 percent for MENA hides important disparities. While penetration is low in some countries (9 percent in Iraq, 16 percent in Algeria and Libya, 20 percent in Yemen), it is more than significant in others (between 46 and 56 percent in Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco), and even remarkably high in Lebanon and the Gulf countries (over 70 percent)—and the numbers keep growing. In other words, the Internet, with social media at its forefront, is increasingly part of the daily reality of the everyday Arab citizen—and the conversation on it has a strong liberal flavor.

The online influence of liberal voices is to be put in perspective with other societal factors, mainly demography and education. As empirically demonstrated by French demographers Emmanuel Todd and Youssef Courbage, the Arab world is undergoing a profound sociological transformation. On the one hand, dramatically decreasing fertilityrates (from 6 in 1985 to 2.6 in 2013) are generating smaller-sized families, which has been proven to favor the emergence of individualism (as opposed to communitarianism or tribalism). On the other hand, education is steadily growing in MENA (literacy rates went from 58 percent in 1995 to 70 percent in 2004). Because of the combination of these two forces, more and more Arab citizens are likely to respond to and identify with the call for individual freedoms and civil rights in the future. In other words, the “natural audience” of liberal civil society is growing organically in the region. Hence my bold hypothesis: In the foreseeable future, the influence of liberal ideas will spread more and more widely, until it fundamentally reshapes the Arab world’s social and political culture.

An “audience,” of course, is not a constituency. In order to transform sociocultural influence into political leverage, liberals will need to build large, structured, and well-endowed grassroots organizations. That is the only way to outdo conservative and religious forces that have been organizing, fundraising, and recruiting for many decades. That effort has not yet seriously started. But the sociocultural stage is being set for it, and that is a crucial condition for change.

During the 1960s and 1970s, France lived May 1968 and its aftermath, while the United States experienced Woodstock, anti-war movements, and various sociocultural dynamics that challenged conservative establishments more than ever before. Yet despite the mighty liberal wave, Richard Nixon stayed in power until 1974, only to be replaced by another Republican president. The same pattern occurred in France, where Charles De Gaulle was succeeded by two right-wing presidents and administrations. The “flower power” seeds that were planted in the 1960s and 1970s needed some time to grow. A couple of decades later, their underlying values have become mainstream in the West. Of course, the analogy has its limits, but in the greater scheme of things, something comparable is happening in the Arab world. The liberal vanguard that suddenly burst out in 2011 has been crushed by the Islamo-conservatives, but wait: it will come back stronger and last longer.

The emergence of a more liberal and pluralistic Middle East and North Africa is obviously a good prospect for the United States and the world. For the time being, few believe in it, even though it is unfolding under their noses. Concealed by the hubbub about short-lived extremist forays and sectarian strife, a profound sociocultural shift is quietly, yet radically, reshaping the Arab world. If the West could shake off its fascination with the blood and fury, it would see a silver lining on the horizon.

No leaders to round up, no hierarchical organisation to wield power over us in our name, no membership lists to investigate, no manifestos to denounce, no mediators to meet (and then join) the power-holding elite. No public claims are made, no symbolic lines are drawn, no press statements to be deliberately misconstrued and trivialised by journalists. No platforms or programmes which the intellectuals can hijack as their exclusive property, no flag or banner to which to pledge a crass and sectarian allegiance.
—  From Insurrectionary Anarchy: Organizing For Attack, Quoted in Say You Want an Insurrection
9

Glasgow Violence: When Media Bias Goes Too Far 

On Thursday, 85% of the Scottish population turned out to cast their votes in the referendum on independence following days of peaceful demonstrations by Yes voters in the heart of our largest city, Glasgow. 

On Friday, Glasgow was gripped by fear as pro-union fascists rushed George Square, determined to engage in violence and hatred; the loyalists of Glasgow joined by members of the Scottish and English Defence Leagues, and all partly encouraged by Britain First.

Young girls had their Scottish flags torn away from them, women with Yes badges were spat at and called scum, nazi salutes and red hand of Ulster salutes were seen, flares were thrown, and the sectarian edge was on full display with “No Surrender” signs. Assaults were made on those carrying Saltires.

https://vine.co/v/OWPzrhni0Aj/embed

These are not the scenes reported by the BBC news or a number of newspapers who assure us that this was a “clash” between Yes and No voters, following their portrayal of Yes voters as Scottish nationalist mobs who intimidated No voters, despite little evidence to the contrary.

https://vine.co/v/OWU39hp1aJl

In truth, the police had the events of last evening well in hand. Glasgow is no stranger to sectarian trouble (a number of this mob wore Rangers tops), quickly surrounding the group and acting to restrict violence as far as possible as they departed the square and moved elsewhere. Six arrests were made and after a few hours the city was calm once more.

http://youtu.be/t46wPvXpLTs 

But what there was a disturbing lack of was information. News. People in the city and those in the rest of Scotland with friends and family in Glasgow had no idea what was happening. Those on twitter could find no information on whether things had escalated or calmed down, on where was safe and where was not.

https://vine.co/v/OWFlvihxJja

The police described the situation as “handbags”. They’ve dealt with much worse. But to write this off as sectarian violence alone excuses those fascists who travelled to take part. To write it off as only fascists excuses the local loyalists spoiling for a fight.

While the identity of the perpetrators is unknown, the one Scotland newspaper that supported independence – The Herald – had their generator set alight. The Sunday Herald is currently collecting evidence from the night to make a full report in their next edition. 

https://twitter.com/JonCoates/status/513087992106610688

Glasgow is a complicated city with a troubled past, but the level of political engagement across Scotland and within the city during this referendum was unprecedented. And almost entirely peaceful until now. Scotland had shown the world what democracy without war looks like, but while the UK media ignores the dark side of both Glasgow and the union, the international media has carried the most information on events.

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152309438961498

That people in Glasgow, Scotland and the UK had to turn to twitter to get the real information of what was happening is incredible. And while photographs and videos were helpful in illustrating the events, there was no control on validity of information. #GlasgowRiots trended through the night despite the situation being over, while many seemed under the impression that it was Yes voters at fault.

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10202433758517846

Invoking the spirit of sectarianism there was no doubt trouble on both sides of that particular divide, but the swelling of ranks from fascist groups ensured that it was those bearing the Scottish flag or Yes badges that were in danger.

This was no celebration. This was no representation of No voters. These bigots represent no one but themselves. But the media turning a blind eye to this, or insinuating it is no worse than Scottish nationalists throwing an egg is irresponsible. I had friends hiding at home because they were terrified to go out on the streets without the safety of having white skin, with no idea of when the trouble was over.

There are Orange marches planned today in the city. Hopefully these idiots will stay at home. Please stay safe.

(Photo credits L-R: Jon Brady via Twitter @jonfaec; Cathal Mcnaughton / Reuters; PA; Reuters; Reuters; Herald’; Herald; Reuters; Reuters)

(My apologies that none of the media wants to embed) 

anonymous asked:

Sunnis are like the white people crying about a non existential racism that affects them 😂

I’m not going to get into this right now, but the sad part is that these idiots making these comments on tumblr are literally calling me sectarian for supporting the people FIGHTING ISIS as if ISIS are poor innocent sunnis that we should bend our back for, and ignoring the thousands of Iraqi Sunnis fighting in and alongside the army against them right now, not to mention the hundreds of thousands who have been displaced due to ISIS. I don’t give a damn if they’re pissed off. Anyone supporting those terrorists is a traitor to his country, and I will support every man and woman, regardless of religion or sect, who fights those bastards. You’re either with Iraq or you’re not. There are several thousand Sunni tribal fighters in Tikrit right now with the Shi’a fighters and Army fighting ISIS as we speak. ISIS supporters can go to hell. If you don’t like what I say the unfollow button is located in a convenient place on my blog. I won’t stop defending my country.

The problem for a terrorist group like al-Qaeda is that its recruitment pool is Muslims, but most Muslims are not interested in terrorism. Most Muslims are not even interested in politics, much less political Islam. France is a country of 66 million, of which about 5 million is of Muslim heritage. But in polling, only a third, less than 2 million, say that they are interested in religion. French Muslims may be the most secular Muslim-heritage population in the world (ex-Soviet ethnic Muslims often also have low rates of belief and observance). Many Muslim immigrants in the post-war period to France came as laborers and were not literate people, and their grandchildren are rather distant from Middle Eastern fundamentalism, pursuing urban cosmopolitan culture such as rap and rai. In Paris, where Muslims tend to be better educated and more religious, the vast majority reject violence and say they are loyal to France.

Al-Qaeda wants to mentally colonize French Muslims, but faces a wall of disinterest. But if it can get non-Muslim French to be beastly to ethnic Muslims on the grounds that they are Muslims, it can start creating a common political identity around grievance against discrimination.

[…]

Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, then led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, deployed this sort of polarization strategy successfully in Iraq, constantly attacking Shiites and their holy symbols, and provoking the ethnic cleansing of a million Sunnis from Baghdad. The polarization proceeded, with the help of various incarnations of Daesh (Arabic for ISIL or ISIS, which descends from al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia). And in the end, the brutal and genocidal strategy worked, such that Daesh was able to encompass all of Sunni Arab Iraq, which had suffered so many Shiite reprisals that they sought the umbrella of the very group that had deliberately and systematically provoked the Shiites.

“Sharpening the contradictions” is the strategy of sociopaths and totalitarians, aimed at unmooring people from their ordinary insouciance and preying on them, mobilizing their energies and wealth for the perverted purposes of a self-styled great leader.

The only effective response to this manipulative strategy (as Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani tried to tell the Iraqi Shiites a decade ago) is to resist the impulse to blame an entire group for the actions of a few and to refuse to carry out identity-politics reprisals.

Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump.
I said, “Don’t do it!”
He said, “Nobody loves me.”
I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”
He said, “Yes.”
I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?”
He said, “A Christian.”
I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?”
He said, “Protestant.”
I said, “Me, too! What franchise?”
He said, “Baptist.”
I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Baptist.”
I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.”
I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.”
I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.”
I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.
— 

-Emo Philips

Voted 44th funniest joke of all time in “The 75 Funniest Jokes of All Time” in GQ magazine (June 1999)

Lol @ ISIS supporting morons on tumblr calling me sectarian for being anti-ISIS and going as far as calling me anti-sunni, yet those very same people haven’t uttered a single word against ISIS.

Iraq death toll tops 700 in February

The United Nations said Saturday that violence across Iraq in February killed 703 people, a death toll higher than the same month last year, as the country faces a rising wave of attacks rivaling the sectarian bloodshed that followed the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

The figure, issued by the U.N.’s mission to Iraq, comes close to January’s death toll of 733, showinga surge of violence that began 10 months ago with a government crackdown on a Sunni protest camp is not receding. And, as a new month began, attacks Saturday killed at least five people and wounded 14, authorities said.

Attacks in February killed 564 civilians and 139 security force members in February, the U.N. said. The violence wounded 1,381, the vast majority civilians, it said. The numbers far surpass those of February 2013, when attacks killed 418 civilians and wounded 704.

Read more

(Photo: Azhar Shallal/AFP/Getty Images)

Attaching yourself obsessively to a single group/school/scholar shackles your mind, causes your heart to develop hatred for other Muslims, forbids you from benefiting from the various scholars of this Ummah, and does away with your impartiality in discussing issues. Stick to the rope of Allah and do not be divided.
—  Shaykh Omar Suleiman
From the collection: Shaykh Omar Suleiman Quotes
Originally found on: believers-journey

A lot of people on both Twitter and Tumblr have become so sectarian when it comes to current conflicts today, they are directly part of the problem and in no way shape or form, should ever voice your opinion on the Syrian or Iraqi conflict today. To simply label these conflicts as a Sunni/Shia problem, is to simply label the Cold War as a war of ideologies. No respectable historian would ever say the Cold War was simply due to communism/capitalism, which is why you cannot label the Syrian conflict as that. Which is why you can not label ISIS groups as those who “fight for” Sunnism. What is happening is far more deep-rooted and troubling. What we are seeing is neocolonialism at its very finest, doing anything possible to take down the last line of defence within the Middle East.

They exploded in my grandmother’s neighborhood of Bir Hassan, one street down from her apartment building. My mother’s appetite fizzled, along with her birthday euphoria. “I can’t wait to leave this country,” she told me later, when I frantically called after coming across the news on a Facebook feed otherwise crowded with articles about Miley Cyrus’ toes, tongue or tailbone.

She left the breakfast table empty-stomached, packed her bags, and arrived at the airport two hours before her flight’s check-in counter opened. My mother’s birthday was spent mourning lives wasted. Contemplating the what-ifs that could have easily been, had the bomb taken place twelve hours earlier when she was standing near that now traumatized spot; absorbing the guilt as she succumbed selfishly but humanly to the joy of what thankfully wasn’t. (via the things we do for love: meditations on a second bombing | THE STATE)

For anyone who’s not living in Glasgow and doesn’t understand this mindless violence and rioting.

Glasgow has a history of pretty strong sectarianism with the Catholics (Celtic supporters) and the Protestants (Rangers). The latter traditionally being unionists or “loyalists”. There was a bit of tension over no voters who were wanting to vote no simply because of this and their “loyalty” to the queen/union as opposed to political interests.

Glasgow still has sectarian marches and the orange walk (Protestant March) seems particularly active throughout Glasgow. So when the results came in that it was a no vote, a minority of extremist unionist and Orangemen decided to use that as an excuse to have a pretty violent party. I’d say the rioters are about 90% rangers fan football hooligans.

*note* it goes without saying that not all Protestants or Rangers supporters are Orangemen and/or football hooligans. Only a minority. Though in some parts of Glasgow, it’s a pretty big issue.

Could Ukraine be another Bosnia?

“You just don’t in the 21st century behave in a 19th-century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped-up pretext,” said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shortly after tens of thousands of Russian troops invaded Crimea under the auspices of protecting their Russian compatriots in the region.

But another interpretation is that Putin’s seemingly indecipherable strategy for dealing with the strategic setback Russian suffered when Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown draws inspiration from a much more recent era — the 1990s — in a volatile, ethnically divided country once, but no longer in Russia’s sphere of influence: Bosnia and Herzegovina. The bloody and chaotic process by which the former Yugoslav republic separated from Belgrade may hold clues to Russia’s intentions in Crimea and the wider Ukraine.

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(Photo: Thomas Peter/Reuters)