Relying on a translator means you can only talk to one person at a time and you miss all the background noise. It means you have to depend on somebody from a certain social class, or sect, or political position, to filter and mediate the country for you. Maybe they are Sunni and have limited contacts outside their community. Maybe they are a Christian from east Beirut and know little about the Shia of south Lebanon or the Sunnis of the north. Maybe they’re urban and disdainful of those who are rural. In Iraq, maybe they are a middle class Shia from Baghdad or a former doctor or engineer who looks down upon the poor urban class who make up the Sadrists. And so in May 2003, when I was the first American journalist to interview Muqtada Sadr, my bureau chief at Time magazine was angry at me for wasting my time and sending it on to the editors in New York without asking him, because Muqtada was unimportant, lacking credentials. But in Iraq, social movements, street movements, militias, those with power on the ground, have been much more important than those in the establishment or politicians in the green zone, and it is events in the red zone which have shaped things.
Ahmad Zaidan, Al Jazeera’s Islamabad correspondent, speaks to people who knew Osama bin Laden.
1. Masters of their Own Destiny
Masters of their own Destiny is the first episode in Al Jazeera’s six-part series on the history of the Palestine Liberation Organisation. It looks at the challenges encountered as Palestinians sought to wrest control of their own destiny from Arab regimes and create an independent Palestinian organisation that would lead the struggle for a national home.
This film tells the story of five days in January 2011 when the people of Egypt broke through a barrier of fear they had known for a generation and rose in revolt against their president. Egypt Burning captures those critical moments as history unfolded through interviews with Al Jazeera correspondents on the ground. Their coverage of this popular uprising, which has once again proven Al Jazeera’s indispensable role in today’s global media landscape, made them the target of a state campaign to get their channel off the air.
Reporting for Al Jazeera, writer and PULSE co-editor Robin Yassin-Kassab writes:
I saw Haneen al-Zoabi giving a lecture. She is the knesset member who sailed with the Gaza Flotilla and was so shabbily abused while attempting to give her account of events to Israel’s parliament. In Nablus, she spoke emotionally about the situation of Palestinian-Israelis, the descendants of those few who escaped ethnic cleansing in 1948.
Citizens but not nationals of the state (nationality is for Jews only), Palestinian-Israelis receive a fraction of the services offered to Jews, are forbidden from teaching Palestinian history in schools and are as likely to be victims of land confiscation as fellow Palestinians in the West Bank. Ninety-three per cent of Israel’s land is off-limits to non-Jews and half of Palestinian-Israeli families live below the poverty line.
I heard Jamal Hwayil speak. He was the leader of the Fatah-affiliated al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in Jenin at the time of Israel’s 2002 massacre there and now he is an independent member of the Palestinian parliament. He took a clear position on Palestinian division: “Political arrests are wrong. Wrong in Gaza and wrong in the West Bank. Political arrests have no place in a liberation struggle.”
A little later he added: “There can be neither meaningful negotiations nor productive armed resistance so long as the political leadership is divided.”
Read all of Yassin-Kassab’s “Too late for two states” here.
Al Jazeera – Ali, a Palestinian veteran of the intifada, went to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment after an Israeli settler shot him in the leg.
While there, he learned that his younger brother Yusef had been killed by an Israeli soldier.
Ali had spent years in Israeli prisons for actions like demonstrating against the occupation, throwing stones, and being a member of a political party.
In a special investigative report for Al Jazeera journalist and author Dahr Jamail presents evidence that BP’s dispersants are not only ‘causing sickness’ in the defenseless wildlife in and around the area, but in humans too.
by Larbi Sadiki — An Al Jazeera Excerpt
Excluding Hamas from current and future Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations is an exercise in futility.
Sidelining Hamas in any process to craft genuine peace between Israelis and Palestinians is a glaring omission tantamount to ignoring an elephant in the room. Whether it is Obama’s or the UN’s negotiating room, pretending something of that size absent is an exercise in futility. Hamas is definitely an elephant with many tales. Telling some of these tales recounts the Islamist movement’s rise to power against all odds.
A movement under ‘siege’
Like Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas exists in a world that does not want it and in which it is ‘wanted’, a world some might argue it does not also want. It is lumped with the bogeymen and ‘demons’ of world politics on whom are blamed ‘terror’ and the state of ‘structured chaos’ in the Middle East, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, amongst other hotspots. Hamas is no angel and there are no angels in politics. Indeed, part of the problem lies not only in the political strategies Hamas occasionally deploys, but also in the excessive secrecy surrounding most of the movement’s activities.
On September 25 the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) claimed that they had killed at least 30 “insurgents” in Afghanistan’s eastern Laghman province with an air and ground assault. After widespread reports from villagers that the “insurgents” were actually civilians, consequent investigations are expected to reveal that the villagers were telling the truth.