Blog Archive

Blog Archive – August, 2011

“Eid Eve and Morning”

August 30, 2011

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

Eid begins. I send wishes for a happy and blessed Eid to all friends and associates, worldwide. You know what my main wish is.

Meanwhile some thoughts from the day’s events.

How long has the US been involved in wars in the Middle East?

According to a professor’s comment aired over the authoritative, self-styled liberal,  Northeastern Public Radio, it’s almost a decade. A decade? 

So claims a distinguished American professor/former military officer in “Academic Minute”, a new radio feature distributed across the US over the enlightened media, on a network followed by the most educated’ Americans. In today’s 60 second edition, the professor summarizes American military history in the Middle East—all 9 years of it!  And what about the remaining 95% of Americans who don’t follow these so-called experts? Well that same widely distributed radio network swiftly moved from “Academic Minute” to devote 10 minutes to Sunday’s final scores of university football matches.

So tell me: what is the real reason young Arab men and women dream of studying in the USA?

And the storm “Irene”. Well, with our Wall St. premises under mandatory evacuation order, my WBAI Radio station shut down Sat. night. So, from my retreat on the Beaverkill River in New York, we kept a closer watch on “Irene”. With my neighbors I followed the rise of the water meter by meter, as it became increasingly swift and fierce. From 5 am after fajr prayer, until 4:30 pm, it swelled. Trees, like enormous whales suddenly invading from the ocean, swished by in the muddy current. Chunks of trees looked like elephants with legs upturned, bouncing along in the raging water. Thankfully the worst of the flood was during daylight hours. Some villagers left; those of us remaining on the banks of the Beaverkill kept in touch, ready to evacuate to a neighbor on high ground. (We’ve had worse floods in here before this.)

The main fear from these storms is falling trees. Indeed, local roads are impassable, even this morning. My electricity was off for only half the day, but I hear millions are without power today. Business is hampered, they say-- for a few hours, 48 hours at the most. Isthis a crisis? Consider elsewhere. Can anyone here possibly, possibly imagine what life in Iraq is without power day after day, year after year after year, through summers and winters? And those blackouts are man-made in Washington and London.

Storm “Irene” has been a great opportunity for US politicians and emergency services to show off. At their control centers Saturday night and through Sunday, politicians asserted their leadership, their lofty humanitarian values. Not to be caught sleeping as happened in Hurricane Katrina. Today’s preparations may guarantee re-election of many officials. It’s proof that the US emergency system can handle something more serious, from other kinds of threats.

Will this experience of a rare regional storm force Washington to turn its attention to weather and the causes and results of climate change? Will it help Americans imagine what their war machines do to targeted tens of millions of across the globe?

Appeals: Don’t close this essay before you call for the Release of Suhair Atassi. Find out about her and act.

What am I reading? Ishiguro’s When We Were Orphans. What prose! A master of English, classic style. And Malcolm X, by Manning Marable, in preparation for a radio discussion. Also for radio review, The Arabs, A History—560 pp -- by an exalted Oxford University professor; I cannot recommend it, despite its rave reviews.

[ “Eid Eve and Morning” ]

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