Muslim

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Honor is a killer. Be dishonored. Be dishonored, to save any life. Let those who need honor, delight only in this: the honor of every fellow human being.

 Kurdish Teenager’s “Honor Killing” Fades to Memory as Iraq Violence Swells, Huffington Post

“Dunya was very timid. She wasn’t very social, and she didn’t care about fashion,” said her mother Sahom Hassan when asked to describe her daughter, found dead on May 24. “On the day she was killed, she called me and said, ‘This is the last time you will hear my voice.'”

In Iraqi Kurdistan, suicide by self-immolation has replaced honor killing in many cases. Most often the decision is made by a woman herself either to escape a life of misery or shame, or due to pressure from her family members. The majority of these are reported as accidents. Dunya’s sister-in-law died three years ago in one such

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Fossil Fuel Funds / Baking

by mgopin on October 7, 2014 · 3 comments

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FOSSIL FUEL FUNDS

As long as Sunni fossil fuel jihadi funds continue to flow there will be only two choices for the minorities of the Middle East: Autocracies or shared democracies.

BAKING

Being half baked is such a waste,
You used all those resources, only to make something inedible.
If you bake, bake all the way.
If you live, live all the way.
If you love, love all the way.

 …

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Men and Women in War

by mgopin on September 26, 2014 · 1 comment

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“Force protection”. A clean phrase, and its cousin “collateral damage”, that actually mean together that today, men don’t get killed in war much. The vast majority of the dead and wounded are women and children. From Syria to Gaza, from Afghanistan to Congo. The luckier women escape the bombs aimed at them, the luckier ones escape the rape aimed at them. They are merely left to care for abandoned children who have lost their food and lost their minds. People think that ISIS and Boko Haram are the great evil of the world against women, formerly it was the Taliban as the great embodiment of evil against women. But in truth, they are just the caricatures, the showpiece cowards, who flaunt their insanity. The truth is that the entire modern construct of male war is an act of cowardice, where the majority of victims are women and children. Men have …

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Reflection on Yazidis

by mgopin on August 7, 2014 · 4 comments

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Yazidi Family (Source: Aquila-Style)
Yazidi Family (Aquila-Style)

 

I am starting to understand the human sacrifice of this people to the so-called Islamic State. They are loved by no one because they are not Muslim, falsely accused of being devil worshippers for having a different theology related to but different than the Islamic narrative, neither Sunni nor Shia. The Kurds have protected them, as they bravely do other minorities, and the Americans protected them, all from Sunni extremists funded by the Arab Gulf. Kurdistan is one of the last hopes of this region.

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Sins of the Nonviolent

by mgopin on August 4, 2014 · 6 comments

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Ghandi

Warriors carry the sins of violence, of killing the innocent, intentionally and by negligence. But the nonviolent carry sins too, because war is a collective crime and must be understood in its totality as an anti-civilization human phenomenon. The nonviolent play their role. Their sin is the sin of negativity, divestment, emotional distance, bifurcation, polarization, demonization. Divestment and hate are easy but more cowardly. It is the same everywhere. Arabs and muslims walk away from Syria if they are nonviolent, even fellow Syrians. They don’t support. Violent people are guilty of their own crimes but nonviolent are guilty of the sin of negativity, emotional cowardice and selfishness. …

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There are important next steps being debated for what states can and should do to stop the current war, and set the stage for ending the current cycle of violence. That is not my subject. I thought recently that leaders are followers and followers are leaders, and neither knows it. The fact is that people and their individual initiatives have much more impact on the course of history than is acknowledged by government officials, by cynics, and by those too apathetic, too callous, or too fearful to act. If you are in that category, do not read forward. Just go back to Al Jazeera, Fox and CNN and choose a side. Or go back to Jon Stewart and have a good laugh.

Here is what is necessary, efforts that have worked before in history in changing the available information available to all parties so that more rational and more morally …

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They Bomb and You Bomb

by mgopin on July 9, 2014 · 10 comments

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marc photo

*dedicated to all my dearest Arab, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Agnostic sisters and brothers,

Too many to name,

Across the world,

Who bring light and love.

You know who you are.

 

I had a dream of you.

Last night I saw bombs bursting everywhere,

But they were Yours not theirs.

They bombed and you bombed.

Their bombs pierce the body and break it apart in pieces,

Your bombs pierce the heart and merge body and soul with millions of other souls.

Their bombs stream across the sky with hate,

Your bombs stream across the planet with love.

Their bombs destroy family relations,

Yours create a thousand more relations.

Their bombs make a man weep with sorrow,

And your bombs make a man weep with sorry.

Their bombs are designed for ultimate torture,

And your bombs heal the worst wounds.

Their bombs are manufactured for revenge,

And yours for …

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Rational Americans are surprised that no one sees the danger of underestimating domestic right-wing terrorism by the general public. In this recent article, CNN rightly documents why this is so illogical and dangerous, why domestic terrorism is a far more significant threat. Yet no one is locking down major cities like Boston when such domestic terrorist events occur.

The answer to why Americans are like this is as simple as it is dangerous. We are always felled by the Devil we know, because he is one of us, and we are taught from childhood to trust ‘us’ and fear ‘them’. Depending on who has raised you, the categories of ‘them’ and ‘us’ will change. But everyone, as a normal part of human maturation, has an ‘us’ and a ‘them’, a safe world and a world that is unknown and possibly dangerous. But most domestic violence, most murder, will be by …

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THE BOSTON EFFECT AND THE AGE OF OBAMA

by mgopin on April 21, 2013 · 8 comments

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Some observers have claimed that terror won the day in Boston because it managed to shut down an entire modern city of the United States. This is a misreading of the entire episode from beginning to end, and a misreading of the age and legacy of President Barack Obama. Let me digress from Boston to what I am calling the Age of Obama and then return to the Boston terror episode.

Although President Obama has proven to be weak in confronting the worst corruptions of the war on terror, such as Guantanamo, and a slew of illiberal laws in place, the fact is that from the beginning of his aspiration to the presidency he made it clear that war reduction was his priority, and he has followed through on that in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The most important shift he has made, however, from the Age of Bush is to replace …

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Recent sputterings of a peace process between Israel and Palestine, the termination of Israel’s settlement building freeze causing a demise of said peace process — again — has produced a loud, global yawn. What else is new in this endless conflict? Negotiations cannot succeed without a vision, and there is no widely shared vision of peace among these people that could truly spur their politicians forward.

The hardest part of building peace for the future is freeing oneself from the wounds of the past that create brutal behavior in the present. One way forward may be to suspend skepticism for just a moment, to free the mind to build a world of practical possibilities should peace be achieved. Armed with this imaginative exercise it might become easier to lobby for practical ways forward.

Let’s imagine the following: official creation of a state of Palestine on the West Bank and Gaza

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