Down with the Facebook Dictatorship!

Down with the Facebook Dictatorship!

The technology is wonderful but it is controlled by a mean-minded clique interested only in its private gains. It is high time that Facebookers will rise up for a democratic revolution!

Surf the web and it is swamped with complaints on Facebook. This might be natural for a “Wild West” land that was newly inhabited without a vision or a plan and had to make space for more that a billion residents within a few years. What is not natural is that Facebook itself, despite its high public profile and immense wealth, doesn’t even care to answer. This is a clear sign of a monopolist dictatorship – they don’t give a damn to what you think because they believe that you need them more than they need you.

Another clear sign of Facebook’s dictatorial rule is their version of harsh justice. They will imprison you (“block you” in their language) or even kill you (destroy your profile) without any due process: No formal accusations are posed and no way that you can defend yourself. They are the sole accusers, judges and executioners. Not many earthly rulers today will dare to imprison and execute their subjects without even the pretence of due process (if you ignore savages like Obama and his Guantanamo and killer drones).

They tell you that they give you service for free – so why shouldn’t they make the rules in their private lands… But this is not true – they monopolize the public space. Actually the real value in Facebook is the CONTENT that we are all toiling day and night to create. Facebook uses its small investment in “the means of production” to control our huge investment in the production itself. Just like Finance Capital controls our material production, the Web Tycoons control our intellectual and social production.

In order to make your slavery more bearable you convince yourselves that this is only the virtual world. That in the real material world you are free people. But this is classical “false consciousness”. It is like industrial workers coming back from daily slavery where all their productive forces were squeezed out of them and convince themselves that they are free because they can drink beer in the pub. Industrial Capitalism enslaved our material productivity and now Facebook controls our Social life, Family connections, Mental creativity and Memories. What else is still left of us for the next generation of Capitalists to expropriate from us?

It is high time that we organize and struggle to bring to the virtual world (i.e. the world where our spirits live) at least the same values and liberties that our grandmothers and grandfather fought for and paid with their blood to gain in the physical world: Regain control of our virtual profiles (i.e. our spiritual bodies); Demand transparency of the rules and accountability of the managers; Oppose any punishment without due process and an objective jury of our peers; Sometime we might even fight for real Democracy.

The revolution is in the making. Pass the word…


My Two Penny Makhsom Story

My Two Penny Machsom Story

Every nation has some special contribution to the great richness of Humanity’s cultural tradition. These special experiences are many times summoned by a local word that becomes internationalized. Like the Palestinians gave the word the word Intifada, Israel gave us Makhsom (AKA Machsom). In Palestinian Arabic this Hebrew word is so integrated that it has its Arab plural forms of “Makhsomat” or “Makhasim”.

The story of the Makhsom – the Israeli Army Check Point – is a long one, many times tantalizing or even tragic. A whole nation spends it best and worse hours waiting in the Makhsom – to go to work, to see a doctor, to go to the hospital or to school, to see friends and family – or to be arrested, humiliated or go back bare handed after hours of waiting – or be shot at. Many of my Palestinian friends says their greatest dream, besides to be free, is to be allowed to see the sea, just a few miles away.

So, forgive me if my own small Makhsom story is not so dramatic, even an anti-climax.

It was at the time of the second (“Al Aqsa”) Intifada. We published a journal called “Al-Jeel Al-Jadeed” and we used to print it in Tul Karem, where everything is much cheaper. You know, everybody is working so hard on the each new issue, and you just wait for it to come fresh from the prints.

But the days were tense with some military activities on both sides and the West Bank was all but sealed by the Makhasim. The JJ people requested me to go to bring the journals from the printing press.

West Bank people had a lot of experience how to go around the Swiss cheese geography. The printer explained me how I can get to some village near Tul Karem to get the newly printed journals without being stopped or arouse too much attention. But on the way back I had no other alternative but to go straight into some Makhsom and try my chance.

It was a rural Makhsom and there was a very long queue… In fact, West Bank people knew they have no chance to cross any Makhsom by that day, so the long queue was composed of three cars of Arab with Israeli citizenship that were stuck in front of me. It took more than an hour for the soldiers to search them and let them go.

The last car just in front of me had some boxes with vegetables. The soldiers instructed the old driver to put everything off the car on the ground, even the spare tire and some tools, before they searched the car. The way they searched it before my eyes I was surprised they didn’t tear down the car’s seats.

I didn’t know what I feared more: having to load down the heavy journals packets that filled my mini-van or the response of the soldiers when they will see their contents – all full with pictures of demonstrations with Palestinian flags and patriotic articles, children’s paintings and all that stuff.

When my turn finally came I moved with the car into the checkpoint. The soldier looked at me from the car’s window. Looking at my face he decided that I’m a Jew and simply said:  You shouldn’t have waited in this queue.

When God in his sky will decide to bring justice to Palestine and judge everyone for their sins, one small thing he should blame the Zionists for, is causing me at this moment to be happy to see Apartheid in the working.

How I fell into a black hole in the Israeli Apartheid map?

How I fell into a black hole in the Israeli Apartheid map?

There was another ODS (One Democratic State) meeting in Ramallah today, and the Yaffa ODS group was invited, so it was an opportunity to collect Orly from Ramat Aviv and go to see the nice people that try to make an optimistic turn in the country’s miserable history.

We were somewhat late, so I hoped my “Waze” GPS program may suggest creative ways to go there faster. I printed the word “Ramallah” in the destination field (in Hebrew) – but after some head scratching “Waze” told me that there was no such place. I tried all possible ways to spell Ramallah and the dumb program made its best – suggesting some likely named shops all around the country, even some private families, but it could not imagine that there is a city called Ramallah or that anybody may wish to go there.

I later tried “Kalandia” or “Mahsom Kalandia” – as is the name of the Super Army Road Block that is chocking the city of Ramallah – thinking that “Waze” may at least try to help poor soldiers that want to go to their occupation duty. Then I remembered that Kalandia is called in Hebrew “Atarot”. I tried this also but Waze was in total denial.

We fell into Ramallah through the hole in the wall at Kalandia. We found it quiet and blossoming, just as you can expect from a black hole in the spring of Palestine.

Our host’s wife told us about their family’s house in Jerusalem. It was taken by the Zionists as the city was occupied in 1948. Our host has a house in Yaffa, but he is not allowed to live there with his wife, due to the racist Israeli citizenship law which forbids Palestinians even from applying for family reunion.

It is easy to enter a black hole, but it is hard to come back. There is no way we can pass the infamous Mahsom Kalandia. So we had to use the special gravitation field applied by the Dead Sea and make detour of more than 10 kilometers to flip back to the road to Tel Aviv, just on the other side of the wall.

As Waze is trying to sell worldwide as a smart cool application, it is time to ask worldwide: How cool Apartheid can be? As Waze’s Apartheid map says there are no ways (to go to Ramallah, for example…), we must say “No Waze“.

Futile Protestation of Innocence

Futile Protestation of Innocence

This is an old joke. I assume its IP rights have already expired, so you can have it for free…

* * *

Our Hero is a dedicated school inspector, specializing in the teaching of the Bible. After so many years he knew all the small tricks that the teachers will use to make good impression on his visits. Repeat a lesson that was already learnt. Carefully choose which child to ask questions… So it was only natural that he interrupted the teacher and requested her permission to ask the pupils some questions by himself.

He was not looking for embarrassment or trying to be a sadist, so he chose one well dressed kid that sat almost in the middle of the class and seemed to be well informed.

–         What is your name, dear?

–         Moses.

–         Will you please tell me who broke the Tablets?

Here the kid became anxious, moved uneasily in his placed and quickly said, almost crying:

–         Not me, Sir. I didn’t break any Tablets.

Our inspector was surprised, almost amused by the kid’s ignorance. So he turned to the teacher, protesting:

–         Did you here what he said? He says that he didn’t break the Tablets!

–         Oh Sir!

The teacher was much stressed by this confrontation between the important visitor and the innocent child, but decided to stand by her duty to protect the kid:

–         Sir, I know this child very well, if he says that he didn’t break them, you should trust his word!

Here the inspector couldn’t stand it any more. He broke out of the class and went straight to the Principal’s office. With his breath short he told the respected manager what just happened to him in the class. Of course, he wouldn’t make an issue from a foolish child, but the teacher’s response drove him mad.

The principal wouldn’t let such an issue dim the reputation of his perfect school. He didn’t wait a minute and promised the inspector:

–         Don’t worry. I will call Moses’ father and he will pay all the damages!

* * *

This old joke is dedicated with love to all my teachers and principals, without whom I would never be what I am.

* * *

But who really broke the Tablets?

If we believe the Bible it could have been Moses after all…


Summing Virtue and Vice

The first Arithmetic operation that we all learn is summing things…

So when we come to evaluate a person or a movement we are looking for the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ and try to sum up. If the virtues outweigh the vices we would consider the sum to be positive.

But this seems to me too simplistic.

If some party is a central Socialist force but also very Repressive, if someone is a great Anti Imperialist leader and also a Big Thief, the combination is not linear. Socialist governments that alienate their people tend to undermine socialism. The big thieves under the banner of anti imperialism are opening all the doors for local collapse and foreign intervention. Somehow I would prefer, in most cases, to have the Kleptomaniacs and the Sadists clearly on the other side.

Let me suggest another type of Arithmetics for such cases: Multiply the virtue by the vice – the result will depend on the size of both but will always be negative. The more virtues you have your crimes are more destructive.

The Free Haifa Republic

Free Haifa Republic

Residents in the north of Palestine demand independence of the Netanyahu Tel Aviv + Settlers government!

Netanyahu has just published the final list of 22 ministers in his new cabinet. It is as bad as any Israeli government can be – with the fat cats from Tel Aviv sharing the cake with wild settlers from the West Bank.

From all the north of Palestine – with maybe 2.5 million people, about half of them Arab – there is not a single minister. In these dark days not being integrated in the Israeli establishment may be some reason for pride.

So Israel is a one-city-state with wild gangs invading and robbing the neighbors. It is time that we, northerners, separate ourselves from this shameful bunch.

Let’s establish the Free Haifa Republic, the direct continuation to the independent state of Daher Al-Omar – the founder of the city of Haifa.

* * *

The information and the idea for this post were contributed by Adam Bar – so if you want to join the Northern Omarist Independence Movement please contact him.

Leftist Racism?

“I have a problem with Israeli political parties – they are like socks, no way to know which is right and which is left…”

* * *

A story goes with it:

On last Thursday, 14/3/2013, there was a special event in Haifa: Artists for the Palestinian political prisoners. There were some singing and several poets read their emotional poems describing the suffering of the prisoners, the fate the Palestinian people in general and some of the frustrations which we all share as a result of our inability to do more for the prisoners.

The wonderful young singer told the above mentioned joke, which I heard for the first time and decided to share…

Free Samer Issawi, Ayman Sharawne and all the freedom prisoners!

* * *

And another story, more to the point itself:

Some twenty years ago we had a surge of racist violence in Haifa and we thought that against this plague we may cooperate with anybody, no matter what their opinion is. So we came to know some people from “Ha-Shomer Ha-Tsa’ir” (the young gourd) – the most leftist of the Zionist youth movements. After some experience working together they invited Abna Al-Balad to give a lecture in their local club.

It is not so easy to convince Abna Al-Balad activists to come to speak with young Zionists, but we succeeded to bring Ahmad from Um Al-Fahm. He told the audience about the suffering of the Palestinian people and about the program of Abna Al-Balad to let Arabs and Jews live together as equals in one democratic state.

The youth in the club went out of their way to be nice, to show their sympathy and understanding and to try to find some common grounds. Trying to stretch it to the end they asked: “If we give you not full equality but almost, let’s say 95% of it – will you accept?” Ahmed simply said it would still be a racist regime and no solution.

Trying to reach the kids from another, more human angle, he asked them: “Lets say we do nothing, we don’t even struggle for equal rights… But you know that we love children and we have many of them. What would you do if one day we will be the majority and just win the elections?”

There was silence in the room. Then the leader of the group, the same guy that was representing the movement in our “Anti Racist” coalition, honestly replied: “In this case, Kahane will handle you”!

* * *

Left Zionism? No – there is nothing like it.