Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Truest statement of the week

As happens every couple of years, the erstwhile first daughter re-injects herself into the public eye, only to perseverate about what to do with her life.
Now, as she conducts a joint book tour with her mother — who, quixotic and stubborn and tone-deaf as ever, continues to tease a 2020 run — the duo have sat for interviews with no shortage of outlets, with Chelsea granting her lone solo profile to New York Magazine, long sympathetic to the Clinton machine.
Chelsea, the piece solemnly declares, is “trying to figure out what her own life looks like.”
In February, Chelsea Clinton will turn 40 years old. Hamlet had a less dramatic existential crisis.
Please, please, please: Can it stop? Why does the media continue not just to cover but to coronate a woman who has contributed nothing to public life, has accomplished nothing, and who, by her own admission, has never felt truly motivated to do anything?

-- Maureen Callahan, "New York Magazine piece further exposes Chelsea Clinton’s lack of awareness" (NEW YORK POST).

Truest statement of the week II

The current situation in Iraq is proof the political system, which developed after the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq and which is founded on a deeply sectarian confessional system, has failed. Iraq's Sunni Arabs tried to put an end to this system, but they failed.
Furthermore, the Sunnis and Kurds have completely lost trust in their leadership. This time the protests against the Shia-led government have arisen from the central and southern provinces of Iraq, which have usually been the hubs of support for Iranian influence in the country.
The young generations no longer believe in political parties and leadership. Instead, they have increasingly resorted to trade unions and professional syndicates to voice their opinions.

-- Ghassan al-Attiya, "Analyst: Iraq protests have 'overcome sectarianism" (ALJAZEERA).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Early Tuesday morning.

Let's thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen, Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And here's the new content:


-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: Where is Saba Al Mahdawy?

Saba Almahdawy  is missing.  As THE COMMON ILLS noted this morning, the point of reference is Hadi al-Mehdi.

  1. They're trying to kidnap our live.where is Saba almahdawy
  2. Where is al almahdawy? Free her now,
  3. Replying to 
    High Commission 4 called on 's government to investigate the fate of a kidnapping Saba Almahdawy. The kidnapping & killing of demonstrators is exactly what the Iranian regime did against Iranian demonstrators in 's uprising.

From the September 9. 2011 snapshot:

"The martyr was one of the activists in the movement against corruption and the curbing of rights and freedoms, through Facebook and through demonstrations in Tahrir Square.  He was always stressing the need to reject any violation of the constitution and the law."  That's WG Dunlop (AFP) quoting activist Zahir al-Jamaa.  Speaking of?  Journalist and activist Hadi al-Mehdi who was not at the protest today because he was assassinated yesterday.
His face was seen at today's demonstrations across Iraq as, in Baghdad and throughout, protesters carried photos of Hadi.  The Great Iraqi Revolution notes, "Our correspondent in Baghdad:: The government forces refused to release the body of the assassinated journalist Hady Mahdy for the public funeral arranged by protestors. The did not allow a symbolic funeral to take place either.// Hady Mahdy , what greatness! They fear you dead or alive."
Dar Addustour calls the assassination of Hadi "a deep wound in the conscience of Iraq" and Hadi "a shining star in the honored sky illuminating the path in the stuggle against tyranny."  In Baghdad today, at the Tahrir protest, activist Hattem Hashem told AFP, "The voice of Hadi will not be silenced, despite his assassination with a silenced weapon."  Al Jazeera quotes Hadi once telling the network, "When we speak up and raise our voices they kill us and tell lies about us."  They describe his weekly radio program:
Music and humour punctuated his pointed attacks on everyone he thought was ruining Iraq.
Taxi drivers were riveted by the show and callers phoned in to complain about everything - from paying bribes to get running water to politicians who, once elected, moved to the Green Zone, the heavily guarded area where many of Baghdad's government institutions are housed.
Although his favourite targets were corrupt politicians and the Iraqi parliament, he also lashed out at armed groups considered untouchable.
Anne Gowen (Washington Post) reports on the protest in Baghdad and notes Hadi al-Mahdi, "On his radio program, 'To Whoever Listens,' Mahdi loudly criticized Iraqi politicians of every stripe, including Maliki. He had a background in theater, and it showed in his delivery. He often used humor in his attacks. Maliki's officials often had complained about Mahdi's views to the radio station that aired the thrice-weekly talk show, supporters said."   Dina al-Shibeeb (Al Arabiya) reports:
Iraqis reacted to the news of Mahdi's death with condemnation and criticized a government they see as increasingly dictatorial and basically unchanged from the rule of its brutal predecessor, Saddam Hussein.
In response to Mahdi's killing, a Facebook group, "We Are All Hadi al-Mahdi," was created, and has attracted 1,700 members.
"In a cowardice operation a criminal hand killed the activist and the organizer of tomorrow's protest ... " one member wrote, while another commentator said "the path of freedom has become the path of martyrdom … the revolution has begun."
One female reader wrote "write all that comes from your souls and hearts, we are all corpses that will be buried one day," and another group member said, "death to Maliki and long live Hadi al-Mahdi."
Al Mada quotes Hanna Edwar stating, "Hadi al-Mahdi was a strong voice calling out attacks on freedom and demanding reforms in the system."  Ali Hussein (Al Mada) cals out the assassination and "the silencing of voices of truth and justice" seeing similarities between the current Iraq and Iraq under Saddam Hussein's rule, how "many things have not changed."  The assassination of Hadi is a cae where "a citizen loses his life with the utmost simplicity due ot the absence of law and the lack of knowledge and responsibility on the part of those who are supposed to implement the law."  The assassin accomplished very little because Hadi al-Mahdi remains in the hearts of Iraqis with the same brilliant smile and childlike features.  Ali Hussien writes of knowing Hadi and of Hadi's belief in the future of Iraq, of seeing him last in a Baghdad cafe one evening with friends, full of life and talking about his future and the future of Iraq and he saw Iraq as an adventure and living in Baghdad as an adventure.  Ali Hussein ends the column wondering, "Who killed Hadi al-Mahdi?  I think all of Iraq should be seeking that answer."
The Committee to Protect Journalists denounced the assassination and CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney declared, "Iraq remains one of the most dangerous places for journalists to work, and the Iraqi authorities' record of impunity for journalist murders is dismal.  Wih this murder, a strong independent voice in Iraq has been silenced.  Those who carried out this killing cannot go unpunished."  Human Rights Watch issued the following:

(Beirut) -- Iraqi authorities should conduct an immediate, full, and transparent investigation into the September 8, 2011 killing of Hadi al-Mahdi, a popular radio journalist often critical of the government, at his home in Baghdad, and prosecute those responsible, Human Rights Watch said today.
"The killing of Hadi al-Mahdi sadly highlights that journalism in Iraq remains a deadly profession," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "After more than six years of democratic rule, Iraqis who publicly express their views still do so at great peril."
Witnesses at the crime scene told Human Rights Watch that they saw no evidence of a struggle or theft, suggesting that the killing was deliberate. Al-Mahdi's cell phone, laptop, and other valuables were left in the house untouched.
Al-Mahdi, a freelance journalist and theater director, had been openly critical of government corruption and social inequality in Iraq. His popular talk radio program, "To Whoever Listens," ran three times a week in Baghdad before he left the show two months ago. The program's appeal was al-Mahdi's fearless and scathing voice, laced with a sense of humor, Human Rights Watch said. Leading up to the country's "Day of Anger" mass pro-democracy and anti-corruption demonstrations on February 25, he became increasingly involved as a vocal organizer of Iraq's new protest movement in Baghdad.
Human Rights Watch spoke with al-Mahdi during the demonstration on February 25, and he stressed the importance of peaceful protest. As riot police began acting aggressively and groups of protesters started to throw hundreds of rocks, Human Rights Watch saw al-Mahdi take a leadership role with those who locked arms and made a human chain between angry crowds and riot police in an attempt to keep the peace. Many who did so were injured by rocks or by the riot police's use of force.
After the protests, security forces arrested him and three other journalists at a Baghdad restaurant. They beat and blindfolded them, and threatened them with torture during their subsequent interrogation. Al-Mahdi told Human Rights Watch after they were released the next day that interrogators had forced him, while blindfolded, to sign what he was told was a criminal confession and also a pledge to refrain from participating in future demonstrations. He showed Human Rights Watch bruises and red marks on his face, neck, and shoulders, as well as on his legs and abdomen.
Al-Mahdi continued to attend and organize many of the weekly Friday demonstrations that followed in Baghdad's Tahrir Square. He told Human Rights Watch that on March 4, an unknown man in the crowd approached him in an intimidating fashion and said that security forces were watching him, and then listed all of the people al-Mahdi had called on his phone that day. Al-Mahdi said on March 11 that in the previous week he had been threatened several times by phone or text message not to return to Tahrir Square.
Al-Mahdi was also one of the prominent organizers of a big demonstration planned for the first Friday after the end of the month-long Muslim holiday of Ramadan, on September 9. His Facebook profile picture was an announcement for the demonstration, and he posted the following message describing threats against him in the hours before his death:
Enough ... I have lived the last three days in a state of terror. There are some who call me and warn me of raids and arrests of protesters. There is someone saying that the government will do this and that. There is someone with a fake name coming on to Facebook to threaten me. I will take part in the demonstrations, for I am one of its supporters. I firmly believe that the political process embodies a national, economic, and political failure. It deserves to change, and we deserve a better government. In short, I do not represent any political party or any other side, but rather the miserable reality in which we live. ... I am sick of seeing our mothers beg in the streets and I am sick of news of politicians' gluttony and of their looting of Iraq's riches.
The killing of al-Mahdi follows years of targeted violence against journalists in Iraq. Most recently, on August 29, an assailant beat a prominent journalist, Asos Hardi, in Sulaimaniya with a pistol, requiring Hardi's hospitalization and 32 stitches.
Since the start of protests in Iraq in February over widespread corruption and lack of services, journalists have faced escalating attacks and threats, including from members of the government's security forces.
"In Iraq, we're used to journalists being attacked, but this one was close to the bone," Ammaral-Shahbander, head of the Institute for War and Peace Reportingin Iraq and a friend of al-Mahdi's, told Human Rights Watch after seeing al-Mahdi's body lying in the kitchen at his home. "This attack was different because usually journalists here have been killed in the line of duty, and you expect fatalities in war zones. But sitting in your own home and getting shot like this is too much to bear."
Emad al-Ebadi, another friend of al-Mahdi's, told Human Rights Watch that al-Mahdi confided that he was receiving daily death threats via social media and cell phones with blocked numbers: "He would come to me very upset and angry and shows me the incoming calls to support his allegations. I used to try always to calm him down and tell him to not care that much about these phone calls and advise him to be careful at the same time and stay alert."
Al-Ebadi, a television journalist who has frequently criticized parliamentary and government figures, survived an attempt on his life on November 23, 2009, when unknown assailants shot him in the neck and head.
Al-Shahbander expressed hope that al-Mahdi's killing would not deter Iraq's journalists from reporting on events in the country.
"So many journalists have been kidnapped and killed in Iraq but it doesn't matter how many are tortured, intimidated, or killed -- journalists will continue doing their jobs," he said. "This attack just shows how desperate the enemies of democracy have become."

Amnesty International notes:
The killing of a prominent radio journalist in Baghdad highlights how Iraqi authorities are failing to protect media workers from continued threats and violence, Amnesty International said today.
Hadi al-Mahdi, 44, was shot twice in the head in his flat in the Karrada district of  Baghdad yesterday, ahead of a planned protest he was due to attend in the city's Tahrir Square today.
Friends have said he had feared for his life after receiving a string of threats in recent weeks.
"Journalists continue to pay a high price amid the ongoing violence in Iraq, and politically motivated attacks like this must no longer be tolerated," said Philip Luther, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.
"Iraqi authorities must roundly condemn Hadi al-Mahdi's killing, carry out a full investigation to identify and bring his killers to justice, and ensure other journalists who face threats are given adequate protection if they request it."
Al-Mahdi was an outspoken political critic, and his popular Radio Demozy show "To Whoever Listens" took on a wide range of issues. No-one across the political spectrum was spared his scrutiny, and his analysis was described as irreverent and witty, drawing on his theatrical background.
Officials in President Nuri al-Maliki's government had reportedly complained to Radio Demozy about the show.
Al-Mahdi stopped broadcasting the show about two months ago, reportedly out of fear for his safety.
Earlier this week, al-Mahdi had been using social media sites to publicize a protest planned for 9 September in Baghdad's Tahrir Square, where he had been attending weekly protests in recent months.
Several hours before he was killed on the eve of the protest, al-Mahdi posted a note on Facebook saying he felt he was in danger:
"I have lived the last three days in a state of terror. There are some who call me and warn of raids and arrests of protesters. There is someone saying that the government will do this and that. There is someone with a fake name coming on to Facebook to threaten me."
Earlier this year, al-Mahdi had told Amnesty International about how a group of at least 15 soldiers detained him and three other journalists on 25 February, after they had attended a pro-reform demonstration in Tahrir Square.
The four journalists were detained overnight for interrogation at the headquarters of the army's 11th division, where al-Mahdi was beaten, given electric shocks and threatened with rape, before being released without charge.
In August, Iraq's Parliament passed a new law on legal protections for journalists, who face ongoing politically motivated threats and attacks. However, the law does not provide for their physical protection.
"Al-Mahdi's murder just a month after this new law was passed merely highlights this major loophole in the measure," said Philip Luther.
"Iraqi authorities must redouble their efforts to ensure journalists can carry out their work in safety."

Read More

One of the few US reporters, and the first, to take seriously the events immediately following the February 25th protests, was Stephanie McCrummen who filed a report the next day for the Washington Post that opened with, "Iraqi security forces detained hundreds of people, including prominent journalists, artists and intellectuals, witnesses said Saturday, a day after nationwide demonstrations brought tens of thousands of Iraqis into the streets and ended with soldiers shooting into crowds."  Hadi was among those noted in her article:
Hadi al-Mahdi, a theater director and radio anchor who has been calling for reform, said he was blindfolded and beaten repeatedly with sticks, boots and fists. One soldier put a stick into Hadi's handcuffed hands and threatened to rape him with it, he said.
The soldiers accused him of being a tool of outsiders wishing to topple Maliki's government; they demanded that he confess to being a member of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party. Hadi told them that he blamed Baathists for killing two of his brothers and that until recently he had been a member of Maliki's Dawa Party.
Hadi said he was then taken to a detention cell, his blindfold off, where he said there were at least 300 people with black hoods over their heads, many groaning in bloody shirts. Several told him they had been detained during or after the protests.
Hadi, who comes from a prominent Iraqi family, and his colleagues were released after their friends managed to make some well-placed phone calls.
"This government is sending a message to us, to everybody," he said Saturday, his forehead bruised, his left leg swollen.
And many believe the assassination Thursday of Hadi was another message from the government of Nouri al-Maliki.  NPR's Kelly McEvers Tweeted yesterday:
kellymcevers Kelly McEvers
The cold-blooded killing of gov't critic Hadi al Mahdi in #Iraq says as lot about why this country's protest movement petered out.
Kelly McEvers was also one of the few US journalists to take seriously what happened immediately after the February 25th protests.  She interviewed Hadi for NPR's Morning Edition (link has text and transcript).


No effort was ever made to find Hadi's killer.  To this day, no prosecution. 

Nouri was attacking the press.

If Saba has disappeared, it's because the government is either attacking the press or condoning the attacks on the press.

Where is Saba Al Mahdawy?

  1. Been 2 days on disappearance of Iraqi female activist & medic Saba Al Mahdawi, who was reportedly abducted when returning from a protest on Saturday night.
  2. a young got kidnapped by an “unknown group “. Because she helped the demonstrators medically .her name Saba Al Mahdawy

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