Sunday, January 13, 2013


Tensions and violence continue in Iraq with Iraq Body Count counting 102 deaths through Friday in Iraq from violence so far this month.   102 deaths through Friday  is 102 deaths in 11 days.  Today?  Pakistan's The News reports that a Samarra grenade attack has left 3 Iraqi soldiers dead.   The Saudi Gazette notes a Falluja roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 young boy and left three police officers injured.  In addition, Reuters notes that Minister of Finance Rafai al-Issawi was targeted with a bombing today which left two of his guards injured.  AFP adds, "The premier has countered with a threat to order security forces to disperse the protests, which were sparked by the December 20 arrest of at least nine of Essawi's guards. Essawi is a leading member of the Iraqiya bloc, which, while a member of Maliki's unity government, has called for him to quit."  Al Jazeera reminds, "Sunnis have also decried alleged misuse of anti-terror laws to hold members of the minority community, and claim Sunnis are being targeted. Former vice-president Tareq al-Hashemi, a Sunni, was handed down a death sentence in absentia on charges of running a death squad, a charge he denounced."

The protests continue as well.   Sharif Nashashibi (Al Arabiya) takes issue with some in the media protraying the protests as sectarian:

However, events have developed in a way that has crossed the sectarian divide, although this has not been picked up by the media, which continues to irresponsibly and inaccurately portray the situation in purely sectarian terms.
Powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has come out in support of the mainly Sunni demonstrations. While he has predicted an “Iraqi Spring,” there have been references in the media to a “Sunni Spring” - similar to its much-loved but overused term “Shiite Crescent” - as if Iraqis, and Arabs in general, define themselves by sect above nationality.
Three days later, just before midday Friday prayers, Sadr visited one of Baghdad’s most prominent Sunni mosques, and reiterated his backing for the protesters: “We support the demands of the people, but I urge them to safeguard Iraq’s unity.” Maliki’s former ally was reportedly greeted by chants of “the unifier of Sunnis and Shiites” and “the patriot,” while women ululated and showered him with candy.
Ayad Allawi, the Shiite former prime minister whose secular al-Iraqiyya coalition of Sunnis and Shiites defeated Maliki in the last parliamentary elections, has called for the prime minister’s resignation. The Majlis al-A'yan (council of tribal sheikhs) in the predominantly Shiite province of Basra has also expressed solidarity with the protests.
Demonstrators, too, have chanted “no to sectarianism,” and carried banners warning the government “not to draw the country into sectarian conflict.” Leaders of the protest movement have made clear that they are not on the streets because Maliki is Shiite, or just because of policies they deem sectarian.

Also weighing in on the protests is the BRussells Tribunal:

In this situation it is of utmost importance that the international community exposes the true nature of the al Maliki dictatorship and stands with this broad movement for human dignity and against repression and violations of human rights. It is therefore of vital importance that all peace-loving forces support what is taking place on the streets of Iraq.
The protesters are justly demanding:
1 – the immediate release of detained protesters and dissident prisoners.
2 – a stop to the death penalty.
3 – the approval of an amnesty law for innocent detainees.
4 – the abolition of anti-terrorism laws (especially Clause 4 used to target them).
5 – the repeal of unfair rulings against dissidents.
6 – fair opportunities for work based on professionalism.
7 – the end of the use of all military command based on geographic areas.
8 – the provision of essential services to all areas in Iraq neglected by the state.
9 – the holding of all members of governmental official, army or security units who have committed crimes against dissidents accountable, especially those who have violated the honour of women in prisons.
10 – a UN sponsored population count.
11 – an end to marginalization, and a stop to agitating divisions between ethnic and religious groups, and a stop the house raids without legal warrant based on the information of secret informers.
12 – a stop to financial, administrative and legal corruption.
13 – the combating of sectarianism in all its forms by returning Religious buildings and all religion properties to their rightful owners and the abolishment of law No. 19 of 2005.
The International Anti-Occupation Network (IAON) welcomes the spread of these non-sectarian protests and supports the efforts of the Iraqi people to regain their full independence and national sovereignty. 10 years of foreign occupation is enough! 10 years of massive human rights violations is enough! 10 years of corruption and depriving the whole population of basic services is enough!

The protesters are not being listened to by Nouri.  He'd rather bus in his fan club and have them trickle through Baghdad, a tiny crew, holding signs proclaiming his greatness.  That for-show nonsense doesn't erase any of the demands or fool anyone.  It's past time that the US government loudly declare that Nouri needs to listen to the protesters.

It is past time that the US government -- so late to get on the right side int he 2011 Arab Springs -- made a point to support the Iraqi people.

I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name

 The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4488.

New content at Third:

A few weeks ago at Third, Ava and I wrote a piece that created unitnended controversy ("Media: The allure of Bash The Bitch") and hurt Jodi Foster's feelings.  I heard about that for over two weeks now and, tonight, at the awards and the party after, it's "You really hurt Jodie's feelings, you know that right?"  Tonight, she finally came out -- or as much as she can.  Here's the thing, Jodie. 

A) I don't really give a damn.   You're coming out wasn't the point of the piece.   What we did think was tacky? Your "I don't talk about my personal life.  Hey, let's talk about when I kissed Scott Baio over and over [Bugsy Malone]."  If you didn't want to talk about it, fine.  But that means:  don't talk about it.  Don't say "I won't talk about it" but then offer up images that you hope to use to manipulate people into believing you're straight.  It was kind of tacky and beneath you.

B) I do give a damn about the crap you've been repeating lately.  That's why Ava and I included you in that piece about the damage done by the 'educated' who push gender stereotypes off on women.  For nearly three years now, you've been going round lying that women aren't serial killers, they can't be serial killers because of their biology.  To back this nonsense/crap up you cite women who kill their children.  You seem to think killing children is killing yourself.  But here's the thing, Jodie.  You're the one who starred in that dark and awful Silence of the Lambs.  You're the one who says (in that ridiculous accent), "First principles, Dr. Lecter."  And things like, "We begin by coveting what we see every day."  That sort of explains who kills what -- much more so than 'biology.'

Women can be anything.  For example, a  little twit from California can go to an Ivy League school, absorb all of its sexism and repeat it every day while kidding herself that she's educated.  It's hard to believe you would have made the ridiculous and sexist statements you've been making for the last three years if you didn't suffer from the delusion that you're educated.  You have not been educated.  You lack the ability to think -- for someone whose acting suffers from her being in her head, you surprisingly lack the ability to think.  You've learned the canon very well and can recite from it and play the rose of the patriarchy.  You just lack critical evalaution skills and  you're unable to do more than recite.  (Forever the child actor . . .)

For a woman who benefitted in ways that Tatum O'Neal and Brooke Shields didn't (those are Jodie's contemporaries) by being cast in non-traditional female roles such as Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, you've done nothing.  You've done The Beaver which focuses on a father and on a son.  And has some pretty screwed up ideas about marriage.  You've done Little Man Tate.  You've been the industry's ideal lesbian -- in the closet and so very determined not to upset the apple cart in public. 

If film makers had been like you in the 70s, you wouldn't have had a film career.  It's amazing that I can bump into someone and hear what Brooke's done for actresses (and she's always acted without intending to receive credit for her good deeds to help other women) how she's insisted a director meet with ____, hectored a friend at a studio to greenlight some films for young girls, etc.  Yet  you never give back.

Maybe that'll change now that you're not hiding out?  Maybe not.  But I don't regret calling you out and your hurt feelings are nothing -- to me -- compared to the crap about biology that you've been putting out for at least three years (women are biology! -- Jodie wants to insist -- wants to insist so she can hide in the closet and look frilly).  Reality is, Jodie, my focus is on Iraq, the Drone War, etc.  You're not really at the top of my list.   So I wasn't even aware until a mutual friend of ours (female producer) called me four weeks ago and said, "I'm about to scream because Jodie won't shut up!"  About what?  That's when I became aware of what you'd spent the last years doing. 

If Ava and my remarks helped you finally go public, well that wasn't our point.  Our point was you needed to stop going around saying women were biology.  You needed to stop going around offering stereotypical views of women.  You can cite all the classical literature you want, it doesn't make you sound informed, it makes you sound like just another tool of the patriarchy.  When you were a child, I'd give you slack.  As a teen, the same,  You're not even a young adult anymore.  It's time for you to get responsible.  That means it's time for you to stop presenting gender stereotypes as reality.  Maybe no longer having to pretend you might be straight will free you from insulting women in order to appear 'adorable' to the patriarchy?

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