An Open Letter To Obama: Let Belgium Pull Down The Statue Of King Leopold If You Respect Yourself As A Black President

Cry 4Obama shed tears for victims of terrorism in Brussels, but the root of the problem remains unsolved. 

My condolence to the families of those who have  lost their loved ones in this week’s terror attacks that hit Brussel’s airport. But it’s time to address the issues which have brought this terrible misfortune on Belgium.

Apart from the bad policies of the Belgian government, they have shown to the world that they don’t have value for the lives other human beings, especially Africans, but one thing they have forgotten is Moroccans are also Africans.

The European and the American media will  never publish the facts, instead, they continue to promote hate and racism, bringing discomfort among foreigners and citizens.

How would you feel, if you are an Arab and America or Europe invades Iraq, lying that the country has weapons of mass destruction, then after the destruction of the country, nothing was found?

How would you feel being an Arab, when Europe and America, through Eastern block doctors, deliberately infected Libyan children with HIV virus, then invaded Libya to kill Ghadaffi?

The European and American media continue to pretend they don’t know about this and rather cause panic and fear with unnecessary publications and telecasts.

In America and Europe, you are not called Hitler if you kill 10 million Africans, including children and women. The reason there is a statue of King Leopold II in Brussels, while there is no statue of Adolf Hitler.

The Bible I read daily tells me that God created man in His own image, thus, I understand that everyone is a human being. If America and Europe want to be successful in the fight against terrorism, they should take the lives of Africans and ‘people they don’t consider as human beings’ into consideration, just as they feel for the victims of terrorism at the Brussel’s airport.

The plot of terrorism is unseen, it’s invincible, only by chance, the law gets them. If the ISIS are not planning any terrorism actions, Muslims on African soil are plotting. These people have no conscience and are prepared to die because of their faith.

These are some of the points that make terrorist groups very dangerous, yet Europe and America continue to underestimate them, hanging on bad policies and putting the lives of innocent people in danger. Racism and discrimination are enough. Everyone wants equal rights and justice.

Tragedy In South Lebanon: The Israeli-Hezbollah War Of 2006

Sultan

Cathy Sultan combines vital history and vivid personal interviews to relate the lives of the oft-ignored civilians of southern Lebanon and northern Israel during the July war of 2006 and its aftermath. She documents how thousands of area residents have been victimized by the hawkish, shortsighted policy decisions of Israel, Lebanon and the United States. Throughout the book, these narratives of mothers, soldiers, activists and ambulance drivers on both sides are memorable for their detail, honesty and the deep sense of tragedy they relate.

Tragedy in South Lebanon also addresses the media treatment of the war, systematically dispelling common myths about the region perpetuated by government and main-stream sources. Sultan discusses how divisive factions within the current Lebanese government leave the country teetering on the brink of yet more violence, imploring government officials on all sides to act with foresight, compassion and responsibility. Features include a chronology of Lebanese history, maps depicting wartime activity and a glossary of Middle Eastern terms.

The Author

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I grew up in Washington D.C.. Quite rebellious as a young woman, I yearned to escape from my native city and experience great adventures. My  dreams came true when I fell in love with a handsome young Lebanese physician, eloped against my parents’ wishes after a short courtship, had two children and in 1969 moved to Beirut, Lebanon, a city called the “Switzerland of the Middle East” and famous for its hospitality, its lovely Mediterranean climate and its exotic blend of Arab and Western cultures.

For six years I led the life of my dreams. My home was a rooftop apartment with a terrace full of flowers and a breathtaking view of the city. I was accepted and loved as a Lebanese. My husband had a successful medical practice and my children were growing up speaking English, French and Arabic.

But in April 1975, my life was abruptly turned upside down. On a quiet Sunday afternoon, the Christian Phalange militia attacked a bus full of Palestinians in a neighborhood not far from mine in East Beirut. This singular incident set off an infamous civil war that eventually engulfed the whole city. My tranquil treelined street, a block off Damascus Road and two blocks from the National Museum, became a deadly territorial divide: the infamous Green Line, separating East from West Beirut. Despite the constant danger, my feelings for my lover-city were slow to change. Instead of fleeing, my love affair with Beirut clouded my otherwise clear judgement  and we stayed through the first eight years of Lebanon’s bloody civil war.

I spent my days caring for my family, racing under the bombs to rescue my children from school and comforting my physician husband who spent his days treating wounded civilians. I kept my sanity during the war in large part because I loved to cook. I entertained family and friends constantly, trying as much as possible to incorporate some normalcy into our lives. Little by little I acquired the coping skills necessary to resist and survive in the absurd dysfunction of war. Eventually, though, war took a huge toll on my family and in 1983 we abandoned our beloved Beirut and returned to the States.

It took a number of years for all of us to regain our sanity. And it wasn’t until when my son, by then a junior at Harvard, asked me to record our adventures in Beirut that I began to think about writing my story. What began as a project for my children quickly became my way to mourn the loss of my beloved Beirut. Another reason had to do with the attitude of people I met when my husband and I settled down in the mid-West. They seemingly could not relate to my war stories and quickly became disinterested. This painful experience was the impetus that stimulated me to write, to pour my heart out, to clease my soul of the traumas of war.  A Beirut Heart: One Woman’s War is a memoir of my fourteen years in Beirut.

In March 2002, two years into the 2nd Intifada, I traveled to Israel-Palestine to better understand the conflict. My book “Israeli and Palestinian Voices: A Dialogue with Both Sides” is part adventure, part history, part travelogue, all bound together with a startling collection of interviews which I conducted first-hand in a variety of sometimes not very safe places.This book is a continuation of the my quest to bring peace to a region tragically gripped by obduracy and fanaticism, a region of the world I care deeply about, a region that is too often mis-represented by biased media coverage.

My husband, Michel, and I live in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, a lovely rural community an hour and a half east of Minneapolis-St. Paul. Currently, I sit on the Executive Board of the National Peace Foundation where I oversee a variety of Middle East educational projects.

Book USA’s Best Books awarded A Beirut Heart: One Woman’s War Best Autobiography of 2006. Israeli and Palestinian Voices: A Dialogue with Both Sides won USA’s Best Books of 2006 award in the category of History/Politics and received Honorable Mention in the category of Political Science from the Midwest Independent Publishers Association in 2006.

My latest non-fiction book Tragedy in South Lebanon: The Israeli-Hezbollah War of 2006 is an account of the tragic 34 day war and its aftermath. It includes a chronology of Lebanese history, maps depicting wartime activity, a glossary of Lebanon’s political players, and, among others, interviews with both a Hezbollah fighter and an Israeli soldier, both of whom fought in the same battle.

Read about Cathy’s Latest Novel, The Syrian

 

Secret Son

A 30-year old Moroccan Arab, Nabil Amrani, gets entangled in an adulterous relationship with his pregnant wife’s nurse, Rachida, and this results in pregnancy. To save the honor of her family, Nabil’s mother sacks the nurse. Nabil gives her some money to go get an abortion. All this is kept a secret from Malika, Nabil’s legitimate wife.

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Malika gives birth to a girl, Amal. Initially the gender issue does not matter to Nabil, but later on when the subject of inheritance surfaces, it becomes an issue and Nabil regrets not having a son. When fired, Rachida relocates to Casablanca, keeps the pregnancy and five months after Amal is born, she gives birth to a son, Youssef. Nobody, not even Nabil, is aware of this.

Rachida does not tell her son who his real father is, but one day the boy confronts his mother and learns the truth. He decides to trace his father, who though surprised to learn that he has a secret son, is somewhat relieved that he has a male offspring to inherit his business empire.

All the while, Nabil’s daughter Amal grows up thinking that she is the only offspring of her father. At some point in time she goes to the USA to get some education. While there she moves in with Fernando, a photographer. Her parents find this out and get furious for, according to them, she has caused a clash of cultures and brought dishonor to her family.

A yawning emotional gulf develops between parents, on one side, and daughter, on the other side. But at the time of her graduation, they visit her, try to persuade her to break up the relationship and to return to Morocco. She accedes to their wish. During this visit Nabil confesses to his daughter the affair he had several years ago, a secret that Malika had by then learned. Nabil’s confession infuriates her daughter and makes her depressed.

Just when Youssef is beginning to enjoy his new life with his father, disaster strikes, thanks to the orchestrations of his stepmother Malika.  He is forced to return to the slums where he grew up, where he is welcomed by the sympathy of his mother and the taunts of his friend, Amin.

A running theme in the novel is the political rivalry between Hatim Lahlou of the Party, which seemed to represent the poor class, and Farid Benaboud, who represents the world of the wealthy – the world into which Youssef has been brutally denied entry and which he now loathes. Youssef falls prey to the politics around him, when Hatim recruits him to carry out an assassination plot.

An enthralling read, Secret Son, provides a window into Moroccan society – a society that has its share of ills, from unemployment to adultery.  The story explores the importance of love and family and how exclusion, poverty and unemployment can drive victims to acts of desperation.

The Author

Laila

Laila Lalami was born and raised in Morocco. She is the author of the short story collection Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award, and the novel Secret Son, which was on the Orange Prize longlist.

Her essays and opinion pieces have appeared in Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, The Nation, the Guardian, the New York Times, and in numerous anthologies.

She is the recipient of a British Council Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship, and a Lannan Foundation Residency Fellowship and is currently an associate professor of creative writing at the University of California at Riverside. Her new novel, The Moor’s Account, will be published in September 2014.

http://www.amazon.com/Laila-Lalami/e/B001H6ET12