Archive for the ‘Redactie’ Category
This part of ‘The Crusades: An Arab Perspective’ explores the birth of the Muslim revival in the face of the Crusades.
The Crusades: An Arab Perspective is a four-part documentary series telling the dramatic story of the crusades seen through Arab eyes, from the seizing of Jerusalem under Pope Urban II in 1099, to its recapture by Salah ad-Din (also known as Saladin), Richard the Lionheart’s efforts to regain the city, and the end of the holy wars in 1291. Part one looked at the First Crusade and the conquest of Jerusalem. In part two, we explore the birth of the Muslim revival in the face of the crusades.
By the early 12th century, the crusades had successfully captured not only the holy city of Jerusalem but huge swaths of the Muslim Levant. Islam’s third holiest site, the al-Aqsa Mosque, was in the hands of the crusaders.
The Muslim world, a mighty power for the previous four centuries, was shocked by the Christian annexation of large parts of their empire.
With Jerusalem under their control, the crusaders began to build a new system of rule in the lands they had captured.
They expelled many of its original inhabitants, including Muslims, Jews, and eastern Christians, and began to fill Jerusalem with settlers arriving from Western Europe.
“Those people were slaves and vassals and had no rights at all in Europe. When they came to us, their whole life changed when they became landowners. Their social status changed and so did the demographic and social class structure,” explains Afaf Sabra, professor of history, Al-Azhar University.
Furthermore, the commanders of the First Crusade, lesser knights from Europe, began to style themselves monarchs in the lands they conquered.
In July 1100, Baldwin of Boulogne, one of the leaders of the First Crusade, was crowned Baldwin I, King of Jerusalem.
“With the establishment of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the county of Edessa and the Principality of Antioch, expansion into the Arab lands became easier. The new colonial leaders began expanding their realm very easily,” says Qassem Abdu Qassem, head of the history department, Zaqaziq University.
|Islam’s third holiest site, the al-Aqsa Mosque, was in the hands of the crusaders in 1099|
Aleppo and the economics of war
Within a decade, most of the Levantine coast was in the crusaders’ hands. And the Christian enclaves in the east now numbered four, with the addition of a new county in Tripoli.
“The coastal area was for the crusaders a very, very tactically significant area, both to supply provisions and to bring pilgrims through the harbours. So securing the coastal areas was a crucial part of crusaders’ tactics,” notes Jan Vandeburie, of the School of History, at the University of Kent.
The economics of the war soon began to dominate the crusades and the Regent of Antioch, Tancred, marched his army towards Aleppo, then the trade capital of the Levant.
Aleppo’s ruler, Radwan, who has been described as spineless and servile, had a friendly relationship with the crusaders. The story goes that he even put a cross on the mosque of Aleppo, which provoked a strong reaction from the locals as they revolted against their duplicitous ruler.
The uprising was irresistible and the Muslim people forced the caliphate in Baghdad, weak though it was, to take action. Abbasid Caliph Al-Mustazhir asked for help from his protector, the Seljuk Sultan.
The governor of Mosul, Mawdoud, was ordered to gather his army and put an end to the crusader siege of Aleppo. Mawdoud was successful in forcing the crusaders to lift the siege of Aleppo because other crusader entities would not come to support them. But Aleppo’s ruler Radwan prevented Mawdoud’s army from entering the city.
“At the same time, Toghtekin [the governor of Damascus] was being attacked by the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Mawdoud’s forces came to help him resist the attack. Mawdoud met King Baldwin in a battle near Tiberias known as the battle of As-Sannabra during which the Muslims defeated the crusaders,” says Sabra.
Toghtekin welcomed Mawdoud gratefully after his victory at As-Sannabra, but later had him assassinated.
Imad Ed-Din Zengi and the Muslim revival
The new governor of Mosul, Imad Ed-Din Zengi, seized control of Aleppo in 1128. Bringing Mosul and Aleppo together “meant taking control of a major gateway to the internal regions of the Levant and towards Mesopotamia,” says Ahmad Hetait, former dean at the Faculty of Arts at Islamic University.
In effect, cutting off trade and communication routes between Antioch and Edessa, along with that of the county of Tripoli and the Kingdom of Jerusalem, posed a major obstacle to the crusaders as they confronted the Islamic world.
“The crusaders had relied on dividing the Muslim fiefdoms to deal with them separately, thanks to their insular rulers. Now a unified front was born,” says Muhammad Moenes Awad, professor of history at Sharjah University.
With Damascus protected by a truce with the Kingdom of Jerusalem, Imad Ed-Din Zengi began to prepare for what would be his greatest military achievement: On December 25, 1144, his army attacked and captured the County of Edessa in a matter of hours. It had been the first crusader state in the region but was now the first city to be retrieved by Muslims.
“This is seen as a breakthrough, the real start, the revival of the ‘jihad’ in the Muslim Near East. It’s the first big defeat for the crusaders and it shows that they can actually be defeated and that the Muslim revival can begin to gather some pace,” says Jonathan Phillips, professor of history at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Imad Ed-Din Zengi’s victory in Edessa was a turning point; it lifted the Muslims’ morale and enthusiasm for the fight. Two years later, however, Imad Ed-Din Zengi was killed by his own slave. He was succeeded by his son, Nour Ed-Din.
The Second Crusade
|In 1147, Pope Eugene held a religious council which led to the Second Crusade|
The loss of Edessa was not taken lightly in Europe. In 1147, Pope Eugene held a religious council calling for the Second Crusade, to be led by two European kings, Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany.
In the summer of 1147, the armies set off towards the Holy Land and after almost a year, the German and French forces finally arrived in Jerusalem.
Soon after, they decided to launch an attack on Damascus, which ended in disaster.
“They retreated, there wasn’t a great battle. They weren’t defeated in some epic struggle, they just slunk away. And that’s a real blow to the morale of the crusaders in the west,” says Phillips.
The tragic failure of the Second Crusade was by no means the last disaster to befall the Christians. Six years later, Nour Ed-Din finally managed to annex Damascus, the very city they had failed to capture.
Qassem Abu Qassem describes Nour Ed-Din Zengi as a leader who “had devoted his whole life to the principle of jihad”, and says that by uniting Muslims under one banner, he enabled them to recover occupied land and Jerusalem.
“It was here that an Islamic revival was born. It had begun before but at this time it became more organised, less random,” concludes Afaf Sabra.
(Source / 17.12.2016)
By Ramona Wadi
An exhibition showcasing the difficulties of Palestinian people under Israeli violations after the conference held for the ‘International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People’
Another symbolic international day for Palestinian rights has degenerated into the usual stale observations and recommendations that do little other than try to impart a semblance of balance between the coloniser and the colonised. Perhaps the UN has preferred to remain loyal to the monstrous history it spawned by approving the Partition Plan on 29 November 1947, rather than address its complicity in the dispossession, ethnic cleansing and displacement of the Palestinians.
Departing from a jeopardising premise, Fiji’s Peter Thomson presided over the 71st session of the UN General Assembly and declared that peace between Israel and the Palestinians is “fundamental to our efforts to realise the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and to ensure that they are able to enjoy lives of dignity, opportunity, prosperity and equality.” The Palestinian people have endured a history of premeditated killing for decades because the UN upholds obscurity as a priority over the anti-colonial struggle. Peace, therefore, can be eliminated from the convenient rhetoric as it is nothing but a euphemism for oblivion in the context of Israeli colonial violence and international acceptance and complicity.
Not to be outdone, the Head of the EU Delegation to the UN, João Vale de Almeida, presented a summarised version of the perpetual concerns and condemnations, but added a slight variation to the usual rhetoric. The EU, he claimed, is “alarmed by the advancement in the Knesset of the ‘Settlement Regularisation Bill’ which would allow for the ex post ‘legalisation’ of Israeli outposts in the occupied West Bank and de facto confiscation of private Palestinian land.” It is mystifying, to say the least, how an international institution that is normally so well-informed can express “alarm” over violations that have occurred blatantly and in a clear, calculated sequence following the original Zionist plan for Greater Israel. There was more likely to be advance knowledge and acquiescence, not alarm, over the proposed legislation.
Almeida made another obfuscating comment regarding Gaza: “Militant activity and the dire situation in Gaza feed general instability and constitute a recipe for renewed conflict.” He provided no context for the Palestinian resistance in Gaza; no mention of how Israel’s Operation Protective Edge destroyed the enclave and displaced Palestinians in a space that is completely besieged. Hamas “and other militant groups” are also urged to stop “the illicit arms build-up.” Presumably the EU, like Israel, wishes there to be a defenceless population that is completely stripped of the right to defend itself against Israel’s state of the art military technology. Almeida’s statement encourages the abuse of Palestinian civilians by Israel whenever it chooses to field test its latest weapons on live targets before marketing them internationally and thus exposing international hypocrisy with regards to alleged support for Palestinian rights.
Perhaps the symbolic commemoration of “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People” should be scrapped, since the UN, the EU and other international institutions are incapable of articulating the trajectory between the initial and the current colonial violence against Palestinians. All of the futile statements which simply rehash decades of other repetitive rhetoric do not help the Palestinians in any way. Sporting a keffiyeh for the macabre day, which is a backdoor commemoration of the UN Partition Plan as well as purported international solidarity, is humiliating, not a show of support. In the absence of a commitment to support Palestine’s anti-colonial struggle, one can conclude that the international agenda for this “day of support” is to devaluate Palestine and downgrade it even further from a symbolic presence to a passive memory.
(Source / 02.12.2016)
By Ramona Wadi
Palestinian children learn about musical instruments in Gaza’s first music school on 7th November 2016
For Palestinians whose concept of education remains an integral part of both intellectual development and anti-colonial struggle, the news that 15 new schools are set to open in Gaza next year is most welcome. According to Ma’an news agency, Gaza’s deputy education minister Ziab Thabet has announced that the schools will open despite issues such as a shortage of building materials and the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to employ teachers.
Nevertheless, the news juxtaposes education and implosion as experienced by Palestinians in Gaza. While the illegal blockade enforced by Israel upon the enclave has been a perpetual source of oppression, its Operation Protective Edge in 2014 intensified the existing incarceration by the deliberate targeting of schools and universities, thus disrupting academic progress under the perpetual pretext of “security” concerns.
We should recall UNESCO’s January 2015 report, in which the absence of protection for educational institutions during the military offensive was noted. It also revealed that “student deaths” in Gaza amounted to 24.7 per cent of the total recorded civilian deaths. “Deaths”, of course, doesn’t convey the full picture; these students were killed by Israel.
Another observation was Israel’s targeting of students specialising in education and business, two areas which are necessary in order to build a sustainable society. Indeed, UNESCO’s report provided the missing link between the generalised concept of destruction — which formed a major part of reporting while the atrocities were being perpetrated — and the deliberate intention to destroy the only avenue that can, in the long term, enable Palestinians to construct and maintain a semblance of independence and normality.
At the start of the current academic year, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories (UNOCHA) released a brief statistical report which exposed the deliberate consequences shaped by Israel in 2014 and exacerbated by the PA which, for three consecutive years, has refused to allocate an operational budget for education in Gaza. “At least 20 new schools need to be built in Gaza each year to keep pace with population growth,” said the UN, “but only 20 new schools have been built over the past eight years (all in 2013).” The combined impediments with regard to education, including power shortages and lack of income to satisfy basic needs, have led to a decline in students’ academic performance. “Student performance in Gaza is falling behind that of the West Bank,” says UNOCHA.
It is evident that both Israel and the PA have targeted Palestinian competence in a manner which may prove to be irrevocable, when considering the methodical and premeditated restrictions imposed upon Palestinians in Gaza. The decline in academic standards, however, should not be interpreted as an acquired Palestinian characteristic but the reflection of a scheme targeting several aspects of life and resistance in the enclave. Individually, violating the right to education has stalled ambitions and personal development. From the collective aspect, the destruction of Gaza’s education system is a direct targeting of the people’s resistance through education, as well as a practical obstacle for Hamas, given that the movement has always insisted upon education as a priority, as well as a prelude to, and necessary component of, anti-colonial resistance.
(Source / 17.11.2016)
Saudi Clinics receive Syrian Refugees at Zaatari Camp in Jordan
Amman- Saudi specialist clinics treated around 12,796 Syrian patients in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan in October.
Medical Director of the Saudi specialist clinics Hamid Mufalani said that the clinics have witnessed a great number of patients, which was proven by medical statistics for the month of October.
Mufalani explained that 3,906 patients visited the children’s clinic, 317 patients visited the cardiovascular clinic, 704 patients visited women health clinic, 1,341 Syrian refugees received treatment in general medicine clinic while surgery clinic dealt with 176 cases and the bone clinic received 688 cases.
For his part, Regional Director of the Saudi National Campaign Dr. Badr bin Abdulrahman Al-Samhan said that the Saudi specialist clinics provide health care according to the medical and psychological needs of the Syrian refugees.
(Source / 05.11.2016)
By Ramona Wadi
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) stands next to the flag-draped coffin of former Israeli President Shimon Peres, as he lies in state at the Knesset plaza, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem September 29, 2016
Fabricating history has become imperative across Israeli society to enforce the colonial narrative. The death of Shimon Peres has served as fuel for a debate that shouldn’t exist, given that Palestinian narratives about displacement and massacres are supported by historical evidence. Departing from MK Ayman Odeh’s reaction to Peres’s funeral, which was attended by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, a recent op-ed in YNet News declared: “Instead of serious research aimed at finding the truth, the world now sees reality through different stories, with each community, group, people and country having its own.” Memory has been deemed to be “the disease of narrative thinking.”
While not obliterating the Nakba, the op-ed has shifted the historical knowledge of early Zionist colonisation to a later date without acknowledging the existence of Israel as a colonial entity. By 1948, the colonisation of Palestinian territory was not simply a hypothetical scenario, but a very real experience for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. It must be added that the international community’s scheming on behalf of Israel in this regard has even corrupted the chance to refer to Israel as a colonial entity, something which would challenge the foundations of Israel’s fabricated history.
Apart from a divisive approach that separates Palestinians living in Israel from Palestinians elsewhere, be it in the diaspora or the occupied West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza, the condescending attitude that Palestinians have had their future decided for them decades ago is an insult to their tenacity about land and memory; this is something that they share with the struggles of other indigenous peoples. It also reinforces a false requirement for compromise by feigning abhorrence at such condescension. The repetitive history is not down to Palestinian responsibility but Israel’s adherence to the original Zionist plan for “Greater Israel”. Palestinians have a duty to resist occupation because of the fabricated history forced upon them by Zionist colonialism and the international community.
To dismiss memory as a mere collection of different stories is degrading and dangerous. If Palestine was left untarnished, memory would have taken a different course and its expression would not be debated within the context of a coloniser attempting to sabotage the remaining vestige of Palestinian authenticity. Memory is not a mere reflection of nostalgia; it is abundant and alive precisely because of its ties with actual events which, in turn, evolve into a narrative.
Hence, the notion of memory narratives as “different stories” is misleading, deliberately so. A story can be interpreted as anything while memory narratives are an expression combining history and an experience of that history. The parameters of narratives are vast due to the inclusion of memory, yet can still be channelled and analysed precisely due to historical facts which can be verified.
Zionism, however, has sought to dictate to Palestinians how their memory and narratives should evolve and how they should be interpreted. It is documented how the colonial state embarked upon shaping its own history through education and academia in order to garner legitimacy at an international level. Distortion has already occurred through colonisation; it is the disappearance of Palestinian memory that Israel is seeking to achieve, along with the disappearance of the people themselves.
(Source / 14.10.2016)
By Engelbert Luitsz © (www.alexandrina.nl/?p=4463)
Het genie van het zionistische discours zit hem in het vermogen het Palestijnse verzet tegen hun onteigening als Palestijnse agressie af te schilderen en de zionistische ijver om met geweld hun revolutionaire status quo af te dwingen als joodse zelfverdediging.
De positie van het schip de Zaytouna-Oliva vanmorgen.
Opnieuw zullen twee schepen proberen de belegerde Gazastrook te bereiken om internationale aandacht te vragen voor de humanitaire ramp die zich daar voltrekt. Deze keer gaat het om een initiatief van uitsluitend vrouwen. De Zaytouna-Oliva en de Amal-Hope II zullen echter net als vorige pogingen niet hoeven te rekenen op enige medewerking vanuit Israël.
In 2010 voeren zes schepen richting de Gazastrook met meer dan 600 opvarenden uit 37 landen. Onder hen bevonden zich de bekende Zweedse schrijver Henning Mankell, nobelprijswinnares Mairead Corrigan uit Noord-Ierland en de Nederlandse antropologe Anne de Jong. Het schip de Mavi Marmara werd in het holst van de nacht geënterd door Israëlische militairen met speedboten en helikopters (in internationale wateren!). Daarbij werden negen activisten ter plekke vermoord, een tiende zou een paar jaar later alsnog bezwijken aan zijn verwondingen, en er vielen tientallen gewonden.
In 2015 probeerde een viertal schepen het opnieuw. Drie maakten rechtsomkeert toen de Israëlische marine in actie kwam, maar de onder Zweedse vlag varende Marianne werd naar een Israëlische haven geloodst, waarna de opvarenden werden vastgenomen. Dit gebeurde een jaar na de enorme verwoesting die Israël in de Gazastrook had aangericht, maar ook nu werd humanitaire hulp geweigerd door de bezetter. De Marianne was geen vrachtschip, het had een beperkte lading die voornamelijk bestond uit zonnepanelen en medische hulpgoederen.
Women’s Boat to Gaza
The Palestinian Information Center (PIC) schrijft dat het Israëlische dagblad Maariv melding maakt van instructies aan de Israëlische marine om de twee schepen die nu onderweg zijn te onderscheppen en de opvarenden te arresteren. Die zouden pas worden vrijgelaten na het ondertekenen van een verklaring waarin ze beloven nooit meer terug te komen.
Het is een selecte groep deze keer, maar wel een die alleen al door de diversiteit een statement maakt. Velen van hen komen uit een land met een eigen geschiedenis vanbezetting of kolonialisme, zoals Noord-Ierland, Zuid-Afrika, Algerije, Australië en Nieuw-Zeeland.
Natuurlijk zal men proberen, net als bij vorige gelegenheden, het voor te stellen alsof deze actie tegen het land Israël gericht is, dat ze terreur verheerlijkt en dat er veel ergere dingen gebeuren in de wereld. Maar waar we stiekem op hopen is dat er nu eindelijk eens massaal door de joodse bevolking van Israël wordt geprotesteerd tegen de waanzin om deze mensen tegen te houden en daarmee de bevolking van de Gazastrook en de westerse wereld nog meer te vernederen.
Ik heb er alleen geen vertrouwen in dat dat ook kan gaan gebeuren. Wanneer bloedbaden onder Palestijnse burgers door meer dan 90% van de bevolking worden toegejuicht lijkt het tij niet meer te keren. Decennia van indoctrinatie hebben een gevaarlijke slachtoffercultuur gecreëerd, waarmee in principe elke misdaad kan worden goedgepraat. De Israëlische historica Idith Zertal merkte al eens op dat de talloze herdenkingen in Israël in feite een vorm van geheugenverlies zijn: “Ze gaan namelijk niet om het herinneren, maar om het bewerkstelligen van een politiek effect.” Alleen zo kan hulp aan de slachtoffers van Israëlische agressie worden voorgesteld als een aanval op Israël of zelfs op “de joden”.
Een van de schaarse roependen in de woestijn van het Beloofde Land, Gideon Levy, is niet bang de waarheid te zeggen, ook niet naar aanleiding van de dode en nu ten onrechte bejubelde Shimon Peres: “De hele wereld is tegen ons? Onzin! Het is Israël dat tegen de wereld is.” Die “antisemitische en Israël-hatende wereld die wij zelf hebben verzonnen.” Levy past daarmee in het rijtje critici van het zionisme waartoe ook Hannah Arendt behoorde. Toen zij door de joodse geleerde Gershom Scholem om die reden scherp werd aangevallen vanwege haar gebrek aan Ahabath Israel – “liefde voor het joodse volk”- was haar duidelijke antwoord dat zij nooit liefde voelde voor een collectief, niet voor Duitsers, niet voor joden, niet voor de arbeidersklasse – zij hield alleen van mensen.
En dat zal men in Israël ooit moeten gaan begrijpen, net als de joden in de “diaspora” die door Israël worden gegijzeld zullen moeten begrijpen dat kritiek is terug te voeren op door het zionisme aangericht menselijk leed, niet op abstracte religieus-politieke concepten. De missie van de Women’s Boat to Gaza is juist om de aandacht te vestigen op al die individuen die lijden in wat vaak eufemistisch de grootste openluchtgevangenis ter wereld wordt genoemd. Het zijn de gezichten van de kinderen, de vaders en moeders, de vissers, de boeren, de herders, de studenten en de arbeiders waarop het ongeloof na 70 jaar nog niet is verdwenen, die een nachtmerrie vormen voor de zionistische propaganda. Het gaat om mensen, niet om een “volk”, zo’n administratief gegeven dat een machiavellistische boekhouder onopgemerkt kan laten verdwijnen uit het grootboek der geschiedenis.