Archive for June, 2008

Al-Quds (Jerusalem), Barack Obama, Reverend Wright, Father Pfleger, and The Devil

June 4, 2008

So the big news is that Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee for President. People from all over the political spectrum rush (even those who opposed Obama) are breaking their arms patting themselves on the back for how great this shows America to be. Even me, unrepentant fenian Islamist that I am, have caught myself from time to time rooting for Senator Obama. I have spent most of the last 15 years of my life on the South Side of Chicago, working in community organizations, as an attorney for children who have been abused or neglected by their parents, serving as imam (prayer leader) of a small storefront mosque. I’ve never met Senator Obama, and although we might work in the same broad environment, we run in different circles.

The same is basically true of Reverend Jeremiah Wright and Father Michael Pfleger. Both have been long time presences and major community leaders on the south side, both have built large church communities which provide a wide range of community services, and both have been ‘prophetic voices,’ trying to bring a point of view based on faith in God and service to humanity to political issues that affect people in their daily lives. Though I have much admiration for both men and no doubt they have done much more good in their lives than I have, they have long been involved in the realm of electoral politics and government. In the realm of government contracts and campaign contributions and bringing pressure to bear through the media. While God alone knows the heart of any individual, I do not doubt that all they have done they have done seeking nothing but the service of God and his people. They were experienced in the realm of politics, but I think it’s fair to say neither was prepared for the effect the campaign of their good friend Barack Obama would have on their lives. (more…)

New Bobby Sands/Blanket Protest/Hunger Strike Film wins prestigious award at Cannes

June 2, 2008

Bobby Sands Mural

Mural of Bobby Sands — IRA Volunteer, Political Prisoner, Gaeilge (Irish Language) Speaker, Hunger Striker, Elected MP, Martyr

From Cumann Na Saoirse Naisiunia — National Irish Freedom Committee

Bobby Sands film wins prestigious award at Cannes

The film Hunger, dealing with the death of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands, received the Camera d’Or award at the closing ceremony of the Festival de Cannes on May 25.
The award, one of the most prestigious at Cannes, is given to the director of the best first-time feature film in any section of the festival. The jury chairman, French director Bruno Dumont, and US actor Dennis Hopper presented it.

Director Steve McQueen, the British artist who won the Turner Prize in 1999, accepted the prize. “I’m very proud for myself and the marvelous cast and crew I had on this film,” McQueen said after the awards ceremony. “As we worked on it, I knew that we were making something special. Michael Fassbender [who plays Bobby Sands] is a star, as are Liam Cunningham and Stuart Graham, and our young actors, Liam McMahon and Brian Milligan. They are the weight, heart and soul of the film.”

Hunger became the subject of many bidding battles at Cannes. Before the festival closed, the rights had been sold to distributors in the US, UK, Ireland, France, Belgium, Portugal, Greece, Australia and New Zealand. The film is likely to go on cinema release in the autumn.

Hunger employs minimal dialogue for its extended final sequence as it observes the physical deterioration of Sands, who died after 66 days on hunger strike. This is a harrowing, deliberately disturbing sequence in which the performance of German-born, Killarney-raised actor Michael Fassbender is astonishing.

Here is the trailer for the film:

Funeral of Bobby Sands

Funeral of Bobby Sands

The Guardian: Illegal renditions, disappeared prisoners, and “Prison Ships”

June 2, 2008

From The Guardian, a new article by Duncan Campbell and Richard Norton-Taylor outlines the continuing illegal and immoral conduct of the United States in its War on Islam and Muslims, oops sorry, I mean “War on Terror.”

Prison ships have a long history and are mentioned prominently in many famous Irish rebel ballads (including “Fields of Athenry”). Their use against Irish nationalists and republicans dates back to the time when “transportation” was used against political and other prisoners down until the 1970s when the HMS Maidstone was anchored off Belfast and used to hold Republican political prisoners, including Gerry Adams and hunger strike martyr Joe McDonnell.

“The United States is operating “floating prisons” to house those arrested in its war on terror, according to human rights lawyers, who claim there has been an attempt to conceal the numbers and whereabouts of detainees.

Details of ships where detainees have been held and sites allegedly being used in countries across the world have been compiled as the debate over detention without trial intensifies on both sides of the Atlantic. The US government was yesterday urged to list the names and whereabouts of all those detained.

Information about the operation of prison ships has emerged through a number of sources, including statements from the US military, the Council of Europe and related parliamentary bodies, and the testimonies of prisoners.

The analysis, due to be published this year by the human rights organisation Reprieve, also claims there have been more than 200 new cases of rendition since 2006, when President George Bush declared that the practice had stopped.

It is the use of ships to detain prisoners, however, that is raising fresh concern and demands for inquiries in Britain and the US. (more…)