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Showing posts from February, 2006

"Ejja Nisimghu Qampiena Ohra..." (...Let us hear both sides of the story...)

by Ray de Bono

When debating Arabs in Europe we often get just one side of the argument on regional press and media. The recent cartoon saga has added negative impetus to the rapidly falling avalanche of 'wrong assumptions' and 'negative stereotyped images' forming the concept of 'who the Arabs are', 'what they believe and not' and 'what they are up to'...etc.

For fairness sake, and in respect to Freedom of Expression, I decided to search for writings by Middle Eastern or Arabic professionals. I wanted to read alternative views...

I wanted to see what’s on the other side of the wall. Not just peep through it, but jump and walk to our fellows in North Africa...Reading their opinion columns and analysing their thoughts on the topic.

What I came across was both surprising and sometimes shocking: Muslims in Europe do not feel welcomed. Places like Denmark, France and the United Kingdom have become hot beds breading anti-Arab feelings that existed long…

Heard sad news from Spain today...

by Ray de Bono

Catalonia is seeking separation from the rest of Spain. Full Separation. It wants Catalan (spoken by over 6 million people) to be its official language.

I am not sad seeing Catalonia taking control of its own region, as this its right, but I am concerned about the breakdown, fracturing of Spain. I know Yugoslavia historically differs, but the same fracturing is likely to mirror itself in the Iberian Peninsula. The Balkan states had bitter differences in terms of ethnicity and language, but how will the Spanish other regions take Catalonia’s sense of independence?

The level of autonomy granted to each region in Spain is far from uniform. Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galicia have special status with their own language and other rights. Andalusia, Navarre, Valencia and the Canaries in turn have more extensive powers than some other regions. Asturias and Aragon have taken steps to consolidate language rights. It is a complex and evolving picture.

As emotions run high in M…

Ok People. Should we burn the magazines which printed these cartoons!

I have had enough! This was a phrase I uttered all week by many reasonable people in the media. OK. They came to Europe leaving their ravished towns and cities in the Middle East and North Africa. They came here to work. They have been welcomed. But now, for decency's sake, they have no right to break into our basic rights, limiting our freedom of expression. Let alone having fuelled the creation of fear and paranoia in many of our cities to levels seldom seen before in recent history. We are today subjected to go through quasi-full body searches prior boarding any plane for fear that some zealous believer might feel called to blow all up to pieces for whichever cause. We are afraid to board busses, trains and now even to speak up, to express ourselves... Remember Van Gogh the Dutch Film maker? Now it’s the Danish cartoonists' time to be punished for touching the Holy Grail, the sancti sanctorum, crossing the dreaded red line of one's expressions rights in Europe.

If they c…