Monday, May 10, 2004

Not in the Headlines

The following stories are not making the big media.

Michigan Petition to Stop Call to Prayer
Good for these guys.
A petition drive began Friday to stop a new law that will allow mosques in Hamtramck to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer over loudspeakers.
Organizers say they are certain they'll get the required 552 signatures to force the City Council to reverse its April 27 decision.
If the petition doesn’t work then the calls to prayer 5 times a day will begin on May 26. Think about how much you would like to hear Arabic chanted over a loudspeaker before dawn, 3 times during the day and evening and once more at 10pm.

Prisoner Abuse? in the US?
As an antidote to some of the more extreme criticism of Iraqi detainee abuse, here’s a quote from the New York Times.
In Pennsylvania and some other states, inmates are routinely stripped in front of other inmates before being moved to a new prison or a new unit within their prison. In Arizona, male inmates at the Maricopa County jail in Phoenix are made to wear women's pink underwear as a form of humiliation.
At Virginia's Wallens Ridge maximum security prison, new inmates have reported being forced to wear black hoods, in theory to keep them from spitting on guards, and said they were often beaten and cursed at by guards and made to crawl.
Let’s call in the UN to Arizona and pull out of the notorious Pennsylvanian quagmire.

Meanwhile, an Australian captive in Guantanamo says he was treated “humanely.”
Australian-born Taliban fighter David Hicks has been treated humanely by his guards at Guantanamo Bay, the US military detention camp, over recent months, his US military lawyer says.
What? US Soldiers treating prisoners humanely? I didn't think that could happen.

How Bad Things Aren’t
As a reminder of how some predictions UN failed to materialize, Slate has a good article on the lack of Iraqi refugees.
The United Nations predicted that a million and a half Iraqis, constituting roughly six percent of the population, would leave Iraq. Anticipating a crisis, the State department allocated tens of millions of dollars so aid officials could be positioned along Iraq's borders with food, clothes, tents, stoves, and blankets.
Out of some 25 million Iraqis there were only a few thousand refugees. Shouldn’t someone get credit for this?

Prominent American Calls for Troop Withdrawals. Any Guesses Who?
First, this story is from the Arab News, an English language Saudi mouthpiece. Our compatriot, touring Greece where the war was almost universally hated, said Bush must “end the occupation of Iraq and return sovereignty to the Iraqis as quickly as possible in cooperation with the United Nations and Europe.”
You have to follow the link to find out who.

But Israel Didn’t Do It, So It’s Not News
Eight Palestinians were injured tonight during a brawl that broke out between Hamas and Fatah operatives in Nablus, Palestinian sources reported. During the fight, a part of the el-Kuds University was burnt.

Fallujah Kids Love Frisbees
This is a story from a Marine in Iraq. It has several pictures. A Marine tank got stuck in a field and there was some damage getting it out.
When we went out to pay damage claims for all the lost crops and date palm trees and torn up roads, we saw a lot of kids around and met a few of them.
(Hold it. Stop right there. The Marines are paying damages for lost crops due to their stuck tank. Some occupation.)
The next time we went to visit the village, we took as many of the soccer balls and frisbees as we could find into the open space in the back of our hummers.
Apparently frisbees and soccer balls, courtesy of the non-profit group Spirit of America, were welcome gifts. The kids were unfamiliar with Frisbees but learned quickly.
They didn't know what to make of the frisbees at first, holding and throwing them like dinner plates, but once they had a little professional military education on how to operate the frisbee and were checked out on it, a lot of them became surprisingly good surprisingly quickly. I spent almost 45 minutes tossing the disc with one very young girl who got to be quite accomplished.
Again, stuff like this happens everyday but you’d never know it from CNN.


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