By Geoffrey Cook, TMO
Silicon Valley–Your reporterâ€™s commentary on Lauren Boothâ€™s stirring observations on Palestine during Ramadan was part of a community Ramadan Iftar banquet presented by the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) as a fund-rising dinner.
Now, shortly, after Eid al-Adha, as your writer writes, the nearby Occupy Oakland encampment is being brutally removed. This week (last for you) Professors (several of your reporterâ€™s friends are Muslims employed within the organization) plan to have a one day strike against the California State University (ies) system brought on by the collapse of this Stateâ€™s finances. Also, related to Sacramentoâ€™s woes was the violent repression of the student demonstration at U.C. Berkeley within the fortnight. (Your correspondent has just heard an announcement of occupy-type campus actions across he American land.) Curiously, the American issues your Scribe has been mentioning do relate to the Arab â€œSpringâ€ where the success of the Tunisian elections is one of the bright spots!
The Islamophobic repression of the Gaza show at the Childrenâ€™s Museum in Oakland has been blunted by the placement of the Gazan child depictions of Operation Cast Lead gallery in that very same city whose owner, fortunately, was sympathetic to the Palestinian plight. Thus, the report below:
Yours truly originally drafted this piece as part of his concentration on our Holy Land of the Night Ride going to the United Nations (U.N.) to demand her right to be an independent entity within the worldâ€™s sovereign nation-states. Well, that has happened but, as your reported predicted, it was referred to Committee as a delaying tactic, and now that it has emerged from that Committee with a mixed report-back. Now, its chances of succeeding in the Security Council are being obfuscated. President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) would accept nothing less than the status of full Statehood; therefore, the option of partial recognition with all its benefits is, at this time, rejected by the Arabs of the trans-Jordan.
Simultaneously, UNESCO (the United Nationsâ€™ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), an important sub-section of the U.N., has recognized Ramallah as an autonomous member. This has encouraged Tel Aviv to punish Palestine by approving 2,000 new Settlements on Arab-speaking traditional land, and to refuse to reimburse the â€œOccupiedâ€ Territories the taxes they collected on their behalf to finance the P.A. itself! In essence the Jews have stolen from their neighbors their rightful wealth! At the same time, a Bill is going through the American Congress to punish the Levantâ€™s oppressed even further. Please, our readers, who are U.S. citizens or residents, ask your Representatives and Senators to oppose these moves, and the President, if it should appear on his desk, to veto it!
With the recent outrageous jet attacks upon (Palestinian) Gaza with Israel, further, killing five Egyptian soldiers as â€œcollateral damageâ€ leading to riots in Cairoâ€™s streets. Bi-lateral relations between the two nations (Egypt-Israel) have never been worse since the Camp David Accords â€“ besides, it was not Hamas (the unfairly vilified rulers of Gaza) who were involved, but the most likely combatants were the Islamic Jihad (org).
Dr. Hatem Bazian was the spokesman at the AMP (American Muslims for Palestine) at the Banquet that night. Bazian is the co-founder and primary chief organizer for that nightâ€™s Iftar fund-raising dinner.
Further, he is the co-founder of Zaytuna College of Berkeley, the only accredited Islamic institute of higher education in the United States. He is now serving as an Academic Chair there and at U.C. Berkeley.
Bazianâ€™s doctoral training is in Philosophy and Islamic Studies at the University of California there in Berkeley. For five years (2002-2007) he was an Adjunct Professor of Law at U.C.â€™s Boalt Hall (Law School). Presently, he is a Lecturer in both the Departments of Near Eastern Studies Lecturer and in the Ethnic Studies
His central academic interests include Islamophobia and its de-constructing and the Othering of Islam â€“ especially in the U.S. and secondarily in the West in general.
He has, also, served as a Visiting Professor at Saint Maryâ€™s College (directly across the East Bay hills in the town of Moraga in Contra Costa County in what is known as the Outer Bay) in Religious Studies plus he is an advisor to the University of Californiaâ€™s Center on Religion, Politics and Globalization.
At Berkeley, he founded the Study and Documentation of Islamophobia, too.
Dr. Bazian, a Muslim Palestinian-American, has been a player in several local (S.F. Bay Area) human rights agendas including the defense of the Americans for Disability Act (ADA), the Anti-Apartheid Movement and the Anti-Globalization uprising, which, curiously, has influenced the current â€œOccupy Wall Streetâ€ Movement that has recently sprung up not only here but all over the U.S.A. and elsewhere.
Bazian began his talk by stating that Muslim students within the community should be encouraged to move away from the traditional engineering and medical doctorâ€™s degrees into broader liberal arts and other professions of direct visibility and leadership within American society. (This is something this paper has advocated â€“ especially in journalism. To achieve agency, i.e., self-determination, Islam requires prominence within the greater society and a voice in public policy and politics and elsewhere in the U.S.)
One of the central goals of the AMP is to donate books to public libraries on Islam and especially Palestine to show that â€œI am Palestinian, and I love freedom, too!â€ The AMP is attempting to put a human face on Palestine. They wish to â€œBring awareness on Palestine from a Muslim perspective.â€
The â€œPalestinian cause is a civil rights struggle.â€ Hatem continues that â€œThe Palestinian cause is a civil rights campaign!â€ (Your author ascertains at this point in the resistance in the Occupied Territories within the Fertile Crescent, it is a battle for Human Rights. There is a difference between Civil Rights and Human Right that is often blurred, and your narrator would like to delineate it in greater detail at a future time.) Nonetheless, we are talking about Human Rights here, and it is much more pungently serious!
Further, Hatem states, â€œHomo Sapiens are suffering by human handâ€¦the AMP is educating Americans [on]what our (U.S.) government is doing [that] it doesnâ€™t want us to knowâ€¦You are changing one American at a time!â€
Dr. Hatem Bazian got to his business of the night. The AMP requires money for its upcoming grandiose plans for placards within buses in every major city in the United States to tell the story of the Palestinian plight et al.
In the following week, your author received a Facebook communication from the American Muslims for Palestine that it was changing its primary emphasis from an educational group to an organization to raise money to finance their educational efforts.
(To be quite honest, your author cannot perceive the difference. Their end goal is to educate Americans on the plight of Palestine. They previously have depended upon the Zakat to finance their educational efforts. This is what this dinner was about, and it was most certainly educational, too, with Lauren Boothâ€™s witness upon which your columnist reported in a past issue. Your writer believes what Hatemâ€™s post was that the AMP would be making more of an effort to finance their very ambitious projects on education on the Palestine-Israel imbroglio to change â€œthe hearts and mindsâ€ of Americans away from the prevalent Israeli propaganda.)