Archive for January, 2009

Classified Verses
January 30, 2009

     During some nights, when the moon disappears behind the clouds and the silence of death overtakes society, I reach for my pen and bring about my inner realities. Some, from the many verses I conceal within myself, are more deserving to be noted and perhaps, many years down the line, my progeny may discover these very verses. And when I finally complete my Poetic Justice and if it so happens to be that my Lord decrees no children under my responsibility, then I will take the pages of my Poetic Justice and place them in a bottle before I release them into the cold sea. But until the decree of my Lord descends from above the skies, then the verses of my Poetic Justice must continue and the realities of life must be brought to light.

The following are a few lines of poetry from my Classified Verses.

If my Lord shall decree for me the eternal fire,
and history submits to its arrogant denial,
then let it be known Allah intended good for me,
when He sent down the Quran to set me free,
but my deeds converted,
in addition to a heart so diverted,
led to my entrance into the eternal fire

But If I should succeed,
and find my name written in the Book of Decrees,
under the page entitled ‘righteous’,
Perhaps some may fall jealous,
and become heedless,
towards working for a home in the seven skies,
a place where none shall exchange lies,
nor shall the bodies of its men ever die

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An Interview with Sameh Habeeb
January 16, 2009

Interview with Sameh Habeeb, photojournalist and resident of Gaza
This is a transcript of an interview conducted by Alex Whisson from Friends of Palestine WA and his two colleagues at RTR FM on late on Tuesday night, 13th January 2009. I’ve tagged a whole bunch of you because i think it’s important that you get a chance to hear a direct voice from Gaza itself.

We’re speaking now with Sameh Habeeb, who is a photojournalist and humanitarian worker currently living in Gaza City. Sameh, may I start by asking what is the situation exactly where you are now?

Well, the situation where I am now is very bad, specifically in the east part of Gaza City. All over the Gaza Strip we have escalation of the Israeli bombing. Already we have 47 Palestinians killed since the early hours of this morning. The daylight of Gaza is not very different from the dark. Extensive Israeli air raids, extensive Israeli shells are being ridden down in many areas of the Gaza Strip. In {name of area inaudible] there was a very big escalation in which 11 persons were killed in that area due to Israeli bombing. Most of them are civilians and one of them is a 75-year-old man and at the moment you are speaking to me I could easily hear the sound of the Israeli shelling.

Now at the moment I will try to open my window so you can hear some of the bombing outside. It’s very dark since we don’t have electricity. It’s very hazardous at the moment.

Around 13 Palestinian fighters were killed today and the situation is very, very bad as I told you and we don’t know what will be happening soon. Also in [name of area inaudible] three or four bodies were found today of people killed before Sunday. One of the bodies was in a bad situation and he was a very old man, around 92-years-old.

In terms of humanitarian needs we don’t have enough water, we don’t have enough power, we don’t have gas, we don’t have basic supplies a person needs to go on with his life.

Sir, why do you think that Israel is terrorising the people of Gaza in such a brutal fashion?

Well, Israel is not targeting the militants as it has announced at the start of this military operation. Israel is clearly targeting the civilians and this is so clear. What we have seen on the ground, what we have seen in the hospitals, on the street and in the destroyed buildings is that mostly those who were killed are civilians.

We are speaking about around 1000 people killed and in a few hours it will be 1000. You know, around 400 of them are children and around 150 are women. So what kind of military operation is that? They [the government of Israel] are saying they want to bring safety for the Israeli citizens but they won’t do. It is good to bring safety for the Israeli people, it is good to bring security for the Israeli people. But by killing Palestinians? You know Alex around only 14 Israelis were killed by these rockets [fired by the resistance]. So what kind of rockets [are being fired out of Gaza]? They are not rockets. They are small, home-made by some militants. They are not rockets. But Israel is enlarging and exaggerating about that [the threat from these rockets]. They are saying, oh well, we are under Palestinian attack. [They are] making Palestinian people like Saddam or like Iran. In fact we are not. We are simply people. We do not have the basics of our life so how will we be able to defeat a country with an air force, with a ground force? It is a complete lie. We are under occupation and it’s a small kind of resistance being operated by the Palestinians.

May I ask you how you feel about the silence and complicity of the Egyptian regime, the Jordanian regime and all the other dictatorships throughout the Arab world?

Well we are totally not satisfied with the Arabic stance and position. The Arabs are being [distracted] by their differences. Everyone is away [distanced] from his Arab neighbour. And they [the Arab nations] are not working on ending this war. Egypt and Jordan are working but not enough. We need all our countries to go at this moment and not to wait more. I don’t know what they are working on at this moment! Israel is massacring and killing the civilians here and I have seen this by my eyes. I have seen many children dying in the hospitals due to lack of medicine and the Arab countries, I don’t know what they are working on at this moment. So they are part of this war. They are part of this war.

The American government as always is supporting Israel uncritically and the Australian government has fallen into line behind Washington. What can people do in Australia to pressure their government and to pressure the Israelis to stop this madness?

Well, the Australian people are very good friends and I was following what has happened in Australia. Many protests happened there and more than 5000 people [at one of them]. And even more participated [around the country] and this is very good. We need Jews who participated in these protests to go against the wishes of the politicians. To say no [to the actions of the Israeli govcrnment]. We need you to pressure Israel, to go to the Israeli embassy, to make demonstrations. In Australia I don’t want to see the same stance as John Howard. Because John Howard was following totally George Bush. I don’t know what kind of stance [your Prime Minister] is having at this moment but I need the people to show him in order to keep calm and peace here for the people who are being killed, for the children, to follow up the news and see what is happening. Children are being killed by phosphorous bombs, by depleted uranium and it’s a really cruel war agains the Palestinian civilians not the militants.

We can tell you unfortunately that the government which replaced John Howard is fully backing Israel and we are doing everything we can to put pressure on the government to shift its position. Mr Habeeb, you’re a photojournalist by profession. May I ask how difficult it’s been to take photos of the suffering of your own people at this horrible time?

Well, it’s very difficult to take photos at the moment. It’s very hazardous even to go outside in the night. If you go outside in the night you will be a target for the Israeli air force because it targets everything movable in the night. In the daylight you could do it [take photos] but it’s very difficult. And especially these days [when] we do not have power, we do not have internet. Even if you would be able to take some photos, you would not be able to upload them to send them out. So we are being blacked out by this war. We don’t have only a war of tanks and a war of missiles. We have a media war, we have a propaganda war. [Israel] is saying we are the terrorists, but in fact we are not. We are the victims and Israel is the victimiser.

On the subject of war crimes I understand that reports have emerged the Israelis are illegally using white phosphorous as an incendiary device against civilians, against personnel. Have you seen any evidence of this war crime?

Human Rights Watch is saying this, all international organisations are saying Israel that is perpetuating war crimes against civilians! And this is so bad. If this would happen in Darfur, we would see the United Nations [saying] we have to do something against the Sudanese President Omar Bashir. But now, why not bring the Israeli President and Prime Minister to justice? Why were 400 children killed? Why only focus on one thing [Darfur]? Why [doesn’t the head] of the United Nations investigation committee for Darfur come now and say we have to charge the Israeli leaders and bring them to the court for [crimes committed against] those who were killed here in the Gaza Strip. Israel is using banned weapons and this is so clear if you go to the footage on the TV and you see the phosphorous bombs being bombed on the people here. Gaza is a very densely populated area including hundreds of thousands of civilians who have nothing to do with this cruel and brutal war.

Do you think that it’s possible that Israel will continue the occupation of Gaza for some time?

Well who’s to say that Israel has left Gaza before? It was a lie in 2005 that Israel withdrew from Gaza and demolished its settlements. They pulled out of Gaza and encircled Gaza and now they are reaching back into Gaza. And after the war is finished, they will go around [encircle] Gaza, they will control everything, and they will be opening and closing the crossings as they want. They will not give us our freedom. Gaza was never a free town or a free city! It was always under Israeli occupation.

Sir, we’ve read reports in recent hours that Israeli troops have penetrated deep inside Gaza City itself and you mentioned earlier that you could hear the bombing outside the window of your house. How far have Israeli troops penetrated inside the city and what do you think will happen next sir?

I live in the eastern part of Gaza City. I can tell you that no Israeli soldiers are in Gaza City itself. They are still on the borders of Gaza City. They are being faced by a big amount of fighting and fire by the Palestinian militants. They are still on the borders [and none of their soldiers] was able to get into Gaza City. And if they were to get in to the Gaza City, for sure there would be thousands of people dying because [it] is a densely populated area.

How strong and determined is the resistance and how much popular support is there for the resistance forces in Gaza?

Well yes I’ve met many people who are in charge of these things and the resistance and managed to make interviews with them for some newspapers. I tell you the militants and fighters are more determined than ever to go on despite the terrible risk to fight against this big army and big country with an air force, with a ground force, with tanks, F-16’s and Apaches but they are still adamant because they have the will, they have the strength, they think that they are under occupation, they think the only way to free your country [is by resisting] and they are adamant to go on that track.

How do you explain the relative silence of your brothers and sisters in the West Bank and how do you feel about the complicity of Mahmoud Abbas in the Israeli attacks on Gaza?

Yeah you’re right the West Bank is under the control of President Abbas and he’s in charge of negotiations with Israel and he’s running and operating the steps of the Road Map and part of this road map is to have no kind of resistance at all and this is what we have seen in the West Bank. In the West Bank we did have resistance but [now] we only have negotiations. But I guess Israel was not good enough for Mr Abbas because it did not give him peace despite the calm he gave them in the West Bank.

How dangerous is right now for you to go outside where you are? You mentioned earlier that there are bombings going on. How dangerous is it right now to go outside?

Nowhere is safe. You know I was outside trying to handle some news, some work but I had to quickly get back to my house afraid of what’s happening, afraid of the drones, the drones hit everywhere and I could not stay outside for long. I had to quickly slip into my house which is not safe by the way! My house was hit two times, my cousin’s house was hit two times by the artillery shells, but we are safe thank God and it was a miracle to be safe.

Sir, may I say again on behalf of all three of us in the studio that it’s been an enormous privilege for you to speak to us in an obviously extremely dangerous and difficult situation. We wish you and your family all the best. We hope you remain safe and we hope that eventually the resistance in Palestine will be victorious.

Random Thoughts (Part 2)
January 8, 2009

1) I got a serious issue with doctors. Dont get me wrong, I think their great in trying to save people’s lives and unlike the Firemens of our society (which I strongly believe, we can do without), I appreciate their profession. But on the other hand, I dont like the arrogance I’ve witnessed from many doctors. To bring matters on a more personal level, I haven’t visited a doctor for a couple of years now and before that, I went over 7 years without coming face to face with one. I’ve been relatively healthy my entire life (alhamdulilah) but during my last visit to a doctor (which by the way, was forced upon me by my employer), I walked into his office and said, “don’t take this personal but, I know my body better then you’ll ever know it so lets keep the words to a minimum and sign this piece of paper so I can get out of your way, sir”.  And just in case your interested in knowing how that appointment went, lets just say, I wont be seeing him again.

2) I went to a Safari this passed summer and I came face to face with a grown male lion. That monster they call, the king of the jungle, was as big as our Ford Escape. I sat quietly in the car, minding my own business, looking at the wild beast through the windows and suddenly I noticed, the lion’s eyes screaming for ever ounce of my blood (or at least, that’s what my paranoia mentioned). What’s the lion’s problem right? Right. And my mother didn’t raise no punk so I starred back into his eyes and that ignorant beast wouldn’t look away. And that was right around the time I shifted my body towards his direction and gave him one of those, “is there a  problem” facial expressions but he went unmoved. I was certain, at that moment, he was mocking me and I was no punk so I decided, it would probably be more appropriate for me to open the car door and see what his issue with me was; after all, he kept looking at me with a look of disrespect. And just as I was about to open the car door, an alarm in my body went off and that was when I realized, there may be a problem if I continued with my intentions to open the door. Shortly afterwards, I heard a voice coming from within me, reminding me, just in case I didnt already know, I was about to open the door to a grown lion and no matter where your from or your level of education, that was a NO NO! And if that didn’t deter me, there was a sign, marked with big red letter stating, “Danger: Do not open your windows or doors – you will be eaten!” and after reading that sign, I decided, it was within the best interest of everyone in the car, including myself, to keep ALL the doors and windows locked and sealed.

3) I just hate it when people write ‘saw’ at the end of our beloved Messenger’s name. Is it too much to ask, to take a few extra seconds out of your day and complete the sentence. If not for any other reason, how about respect. Peace be upon him is our duty to state and write at the end of Muhammad’s name (peace be upon him).

4) Everyone has goals. The only thing differentiating the people and their goals are, some are realistic and others aren’t. Some have stated, my ultimate goal in life is to become happy and yet, they lack to understand the true definition of happiness. I realized my goal and it is simple: I want to be the greatest father to have ever walked the surface of this earth. And just the other day, when I had seated myself and had committed to my planning stages of how I could accomplish that goal, a companion, who was present as I had dosed off into a different universe, mentioned a few words that brought reality back into my life. He said, “you cant possibly be a great father to your children if you’re over looking what is required from you in becoming a great husband”. His words , have since been melted onto the doors of my conscious and I cant stop but ask myself, could he be right?

5) What is the big fuss about 2009? According to every legitimate calendar I’ve seen in the masjid, it’s actually the year 1430. And the year 1430 has big things in store for me inshAllah. I cant speak for anyone else but, all I’ve been thinking about is, can this year be the year of my death? If so, please forgive me for what I’ve done to you and assalam alaikum. See you on the other side?

6) Talking about starting a new year, last year, I put a lot of millage on my body. In other words, I’ve over worked my body and didnt provide it with the proper rest. Not to mention, I cant seem to understand this word many folks often use: ‘unhealthy’. Apparently, and it was a surprise to me more then anyone else, there are meals and food consumptions that are considered very ‘unhealthy’. Question: According to WHO? The doctors? I’m sorry but, I’ve already told the doctor, I know my body better then he does.

7) Have you heard of the NBA All-Star Game? It’s a showdown of all the world’s best basketball players who come together for one night, to display their God given ability in-front of millions of millions of people, worldwide. That said, I heard of a story, of one Muslim man who gave his deposit for hajj 2009 to his local masjid and upon hearing that all the seats to his favourite athletic occasion were nearly sold out (and by ‘athletic occasion’, I mean, NBA All-Star Game), he rushed to his masjid, asked the administration for his $1,500 back and upon receiving it, forwarded that money to Ticketmaster, and believe it or not, he’ll be present this coming All-Star Game in Phoenix (inshAllah). It’s a really sad situation when an individual takes money out of his Hajj deposit account at the masjid and rushes to purchase an NBA All-Star Game ticket.

8 ) Facebook is really wasting my time. But having access to all my friends and many more people, not to mention, groups and discussions, got me revisiting the site often. I wish though, I could do away with it. And who knows, maybe sooner rather then later, I’ll retire my account for good.

9) My neighbor calls me ‘Ansari’ and after hearing her label me with this title, I raised my hands to the sky and thanked Allah for giving me such a beautiful nickname.

10) On the topic of nicknames, I met a woman, over a year ago, who is known as Al-Ankaaboot (The Spider). I always assumed it was because of her relationship with the Surah Al-Ankaboot but when I asked her, she said, when she was younger, a man who was in love with her wrote a poem describing her and he titled it, Al-Ankaboot. How is stuck all those years, I dont know!

11) I’m in love and with who, you would be surprised. She’s the most wonderful female to walk the surface of this earth. She is beautiful, warm hearted and she smiles all the time. She is young and filled with limitless energy. And most of all, my heart is in a state of comfort, for I have access to her 24/7. She is my beautiful, 2 year old niece. Her parents named her Jannah, but to me I call her the light of my heart. In addition to being in complete love with her, every Friday, we share hours and hours of quality time and not to long ago, we had a session called Reading Friday, in which she picked up a book and had the opportunity to read it to me. It was perfect. Her reading skills need to improve but as long as I stay committed to her, she will succeed inshAllah. I am to her a father figure, her best friend and more importantly, a protector and an individual who loves her with all his heart. I often dont captured special moments on camera but on this occasion, I was ready and down below, I present it to you.

 

And one more picture of my beautiful Jannah:

jannah

In Remembrance of Gaza
January 7, 2009

     If words can change the world then the burdens of the society would’ve already been placed to rest. And if Allah intended to give the world to the liars and the arrogant folks, then the remnants of Ad would be found in our museums but that is not the way of life nor did Allah create the creation to hand it over to those who over value their standing with Him. My grandfather would often repeat, “patience is the hallway towards the doors of success” and I would never second guess the wisdom of my grandfather but one must ask, what about too much patience? Is there such a thing?

     In recent days, I’ve been over burden with the struggles of life and the consist battles with shaitan, losing some battles, winning others but with the latest events coming out of Gaza, my heart is in great pain. A level of pain that no lover has ever experienced, no matter whom he loved or what era he lived through. It is shameful, as I watch the numbers of civilians killed by the Zionist regime grow; the men,  who’ve been given the responsibility through Allah to rule over the affairs of the Muslims, turn their backs on the situation involving the people of Gaza, one must wonder, are the Arab leaders more fearful of Allah or are they afraid of meeting death at the hands of those who’ve refused Islam? The answer, although very apparent to the naked eye, is still very much unknown to the hearts of men. Until of course, on the very Last Day, the answer to such a question will be made public to us by Allah, and until that day I suggest we treat the leaders of the Arab and Muslim world as the clowns they are, and if not that, then we should grant them attitudes of disrespect, for respect is earned and they have earned none of it. Believe it or not, I’m a very optimistic person but even my optimism has limits and this time, the Arab leaders have crossed that line. I’m not surprised at the aggression of Israel, for they are known to do what they are doing but what if I told you, despite the murderous behaviour by the Zionist towards my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters who have lost their lives, I continue to remind myself, after every hardship comes ease and after today’s over aggression by Israel, tomorrow, the Muslims around the globe will come to know, their leaders deserve no respect and should not be supported. I see a movement coming in the horizon but the question is, do you?  A movement in which the general masses of Muslims will shout at the top of their lungs, enough is enough.  But as for today, I call for patience and tomorrow we shall witness the movement many call, “the changing of tides”.

I have compiled a few verses of poetry bringing to light the burden which has overtaken my heart in recent days.

 

(Gaza – You are in my thoughts. I loved you yesterday, and I love you today. To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return)

 

Bombs bombs bombs,

falling from the sky,

one follows the other throughout the night.

Hand after hand, raised to the sky

as the tears flow begging Allah to send His mercy and His light.

 

I read a letter from my brother in Palestine

He spoke of the day he witnessed his own mother die,

he remained composed and didn’t want to cry,

but his words ripped from my soul, every bit of light

As I actively watched their situation streamed live

Until I concluded, death is indeed better then life

 

In Gaza,

mothers of innocent children continue to die

our sisters lift their abaayas and flee for their lives

as the orphans sit in seclusion wiping the tears from their lonely eyes,

after their fathers have met death and perhaps their memories will fade from their sight.

But another generation will rise to defend the cause on this very night

chanting with pride,

“victory today and tomorrow we shall enter paradise”

but how many days shall the clouds of death overtake the people of Palestine

 

Just the other night,

my ancestor presented himself to me in a dream,

he asked, what has become of Palestine

In shame, I remained silent because I didn’t want to lie

He grabbed me by the collar and said, “wont you stand up for what’s right”

I responded to his question and said,

Its not from my nature to swear but to the situation I say, f**k this!

O’ my uncle, I am certain life without dignity isn’t worth shit!

And excuse my profanity, wont you grant my burdened soul permission to sit?

He turned to me and said,

“O’ child, if only the people of the past could see your state,

disgraced would be placed at the end of all your last names”