Friday, January 20, 2012

A New, Humane Approach to Zionism

I used to enjoy musings on the "insanity" of Zionism, trying to psychoanalyze the condition, but I am now starting to wonder if we should start to consider Zionism as a type of autism. As in, a neurological deficit, and not a psychiatric condition caused by a trauma like the Holocaust.

The stereotypical autistic genius and the Zionist mind are very similar in so many ways:

- ability to function impressively in some realms while lacking common sense
- lack of empathy - while at the same time possessing a self-image of being a decent person
- inability to put himself in someone else's shoes - even if needs are explained, it does not "compute"
- compartmentalization of the mind - learning does not infer wisdom to another area of experience
- appreciation of cute animals/cries during movies yet oblivious to the real life needs of others
- unwilling to make any effort to alleviate a human's suffering - if it is caused by himself
- reacts with outrage and counter-blame when someone mentions what he did
- will not cooperate, even if it is in his own best interest
- reluctance to enter into any human relationship unless the other person is "useful"
- sense of entitlement or delusions of grandeur
- imagining others as lesser beings made to serve oneself – no sense of gratitude
- the self-explanation for harming others is always that he is "merely existing" or "surviving"
- constantly tries to get other people's sympathy for being a clueless victim of unfortunate circumstances, so that people will give him money/credibility

Scientists are still trying to understand how the human brain can malfunction. Some people's brains are found to be abnormally active in certain regions while abnormally inactive in other regions, compared to typical left and right brain activity. The autism label is used to separate people with neurological disorders from people whose antisocial behaviors may have other causes. For example, Chronic Oppositional Defiance is considered a psychiatric condition, even though it is nearly identical to Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome, considered a type of autism.

Autistic children can often be recognized at a very young age by their inability to understand what another person is pointing to. This is because the child CANNOT imagine herself in another person's shoes in order to guess at what he might be pointing to. It is a true disability. It is not a psychiatric condition. It cannot be cured. The person truly cannot imagine another person's point of view.

If an autistic person recognizes that he has a problem understanding others' point of view, he can learn to use his intellect to compensate for lack of intuition, for example by memorizing social rules and following them legalistically rather than understanding right and wrong on an intuitive level.

However, there is probably no limit to how the brain can analytically reinterpret even something as simple as the Ten Commandments, so that they only apply to certain people, or certain cases. Historical events can be ignored and the person who remembers what happened is labeled as "delusional."

I have found this same level of intellectual disconnect when talking to Zionists. They are seemingly unable to follow a logical argument through to its conclusion, but rather short-circuit, become defensive and irrational, and create distance, much like many good autistic people act when you try to make them understand a logical, linear argument.
They can see things in so many multi-dimensions that life becomes so complicated that something like mopping a floor - a linear progression of a series of acts aimed at a specific goal - becomes so overwhelming that they just don't even bother trying to do it. They just act helpless until someone else does it for them. A successful autistic adult (like Bill Gates) is one who is skilled in getting people do things for him while he concentrates. Autistic people try to maintain control over all circumstances, due to a rigidity of thought.

Once you realize another person is incapable, not just unwilling, to negotiate solutions – you have to change tactics. You cannot have a cooperative relationship based on human equality with an autistic individual because the neurotypical person will always be compensating for the autistic person's unwillingness or inability to reciprocate, and their refusal to negotiate constructively. Rather than keeping their agreements, they often just invent a new personality that doesn't "remember" having that conversation before. Just like an Israeli peace treaty!

We Americans have been negotiating with a people incapable of caring about our point of view. We have to see clearly that we are in a caretaking position. We are not dealing with human beings who we can talk to on our own level. The fact is, Israel is a country that would never have survived without our financial generosity. It is not a “normal” country. Israel is pretending to be normal the way a person with Aspergers pretends to be normal - so very cruel to those upon whom she so heavily relies.

Zionists have a certain mental deficit. We must decide as a people to stop begging them for empathy. We will stop trying to make agreements with them in good faith. Then, we will stop suffering from feelings of rage, hurt, and hate. We are the caretakers of Israel, like them or not. If we don't step up to the responsibility, and admit our adversary has a serious problem, no one else will.

Karin Friedemann is a Boston-based freelance writer.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Let the Dandelions Live!

“Hast thou not seen that Allah sent water down from the sky and led it through sources into the ground? Then He caused sown fields of different colors to grow.” (Quran 39:21)

The Quran provides us with an intuitive grasp of the eco-system and its relationship to our lives. So you can imagine my shock, as a new Muslim, walking nervously towards my local Islamic Center, to find my Quran teacher applying lawn care chemicals to the grass – less than a half mile from Lake Saint Claire! My shyness prevented me from shouting, “WHAT are you doing?!”

In Islam, water is considered a gift from God, so no individual literally owns it. Humans are the stewards of water and other common resources that belong to the community.

Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey show that pesticides and herbicides most frequently detected in streams and shallow ground water throughout the country come from home and garden use. Documented cases of pesticides in groundwater wells show cancer clusters in many towns.

Lawn chemicals also harm the microorganisms, beneficial insects and earthworms that are essential to maintaining healthy soil. In turn, this affects the long-term survival of birds and fish. World supplies of honey are running low, resulting in dramatic price increases, because honey bees are dying in huge numbers due to pesticides. In the long run, pesticides can actually help the very pests they target by also killing their predators, so that their use becomes self-perpetuating.

There is a joke, circulated on the internet, entitled “God and Lawn Care,” which begins:

“GOD: What in the world is going on down there on the planet? What happened to the dandelions, violets, milkweeds and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon.

The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But, all I see are these green rectangles.

“ST. FRANCIS: It’s the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers ‘weeds’ and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.”

St. Francis goes on to explain that these humans do not bale the grass to feed it to animals. They pay for water to grow the grass that they then mow once or twice a week, put in bags. and pay somebody to haul away. They do the same thing with the tree leaves, which God thought was supposed to be the natural fertilizer for the grass. Needless to say, God is quite exasperated.

The modern lawn care industry began after World War II. Companies that produced chemical and biological weapons for the military needed a new market for their products. The chemical industry saw money making possibilities in the lawns of the growing postwar suburban communities. Chemical companies like Dow and Dupont produced the pesticides, and lawn care pesticide applicators marketed them to consumers. Many of today’s pesticides include components of war-time defoliants like Agent Orange, and nerve-gas type insecticides.

During a typical year in neighborhoods across the country, over 102 million pounds of toxic pesticides are applied in pursuit of a perfect lawn and garden. This figure continues to increase despite the growing body of scientific evidence of the public health and environmental consequences.

According to the EPA, 95% of the pesticides used on residential lawns are carcinogens. Chemicals commonly used on lawns and gardens are associated with birth defects, cancer, neurotoxicity, kidney and liver damage, and endocrine disruption. The National Cancer Institute reported that children develop leukemia six times more often when pesticides are used around their homes. The American Journal of Epidemiology found that more children with brain tumors and other cancers had been exposed to insecticides than children without.

Studies by the National Cancer Society and other medical researchers have discovered a definite link between fatal non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (NHL) and exposure to lawn-care chemicals. Exposure to these pesticides is even linked to learning disabilities like autism, as well as skin rashes and asthma.

Increasingly, reports from many people around the country are “beginning to link feeling terrible with the fact the neighbors had the lawn sprayed the day before,” notes Catherine Karr, a toxicologist for the National Coalition Against The Misuse Of Pesticides.

Chemicals from lawns are tracked into homes and settle into the dust, becoming lodged in carpets. Children are especially vulnerable to toxic contamination because they often play close to the grass or carpet.

Statistics are frightening, so what do we do if we are serious about having a beautiful yard?

Some lawn care companies offer “natural” or “organic” services. Before hiring them, make sure you read the ingredients in their products and do some online research. The increasing marketplace for “environmentally friendly” products is also opening the door for fraudulent and misleading claims.

Using alternative gardening strategies will bring better results and be kinder to the environment. There are simple, long-lasting solutions which require no chemicals and much less money. Integrated Pest Management is a relatively new approach to lawn care that looks at the overall health of the soil. The quick-fix that chemicals offer does not address the fact that weeds are a sign indicating the overall health of your lawn. IPM looks at issues such as pH balance and aeration of the soil, as well as irrigation and drainage. Composting household food scraps and grass clippings should become a central part of soil fertilization for the serious lawn and garden enthusiast.

Karin Friedemann is a Boston-based freelance writer.

Friday, January 06, 2012

No Justice for US Muslims

Tareq Mehanna found guilty

On December 20, 2011, Tareq Mehanna was found guilty of terrorism
support by a Boston jury, despite the fact that the government relied
solely on innuendo and prejudice against Muslims to make their case.
Mehanna is an Egyptian-American Muslim who was arrested by the FBI in
2009, at the age of 27. Mehanna, who faces life in prison, is accused
of translating al Qaeda propaganda into English, as well as seeking
terrorist training in Yemen, though he insists he was just traveling
for religious study. Mehanna's sentencing is scheduled for April 12.
Richard Hugus, in an article, “The Inquisition Comes to Boston,”
published on, writes:

“The recent finishing off of the Bill of Rights in the National
Defense Authorization Act was actually just a formality. The United
States has been able to persecute and convict US citizens for a long
time now whether they had a trial by jury or not... Jury trials don’t
make any difference when it comes to terrorism cases because the
American public is deeply ignorant and long trained to be intimidated
by authority.”

Mehanna's trial went on for eight weeks.

“It was a circus of prejudicial evidence, government-coerced
informers, Patriot Act snooping by the FBI, phony government experts
on terrorism, and all-around ignorance about the Muslim religion,”
writes Hugus.

Americans for Peace and Tolerance, a front group led by Charles
Jacobs, demonstrated outside the courthouse. This same group has been
spearheading the campaign against the show, “All American Muslim.”

“The only thing the United States was able to prove in its case
against Tarek Mehanna was that he was opposed to the war in Iraq,”
writes Hugus.

“There was nothing he said in the hundreds of instant messages and
online chats, stolen from his computer and introduced absurdly as
evidence, which would not have been said by any opponent of that
genocidal attack.”

This case is all the more unfortunate because it could have been
prevented. The Roxbury Mosque dropped its charges against Charles
Jacobs and the David Project, even after they had clear evidence that
they were guilty of the Federal crime of conspiracy against rights,
thus allowing the Zionists to continue their plots against other
Muslims. I understand that legal proceedings are expensive and
stressful, but Charles Jacobs, a Polish immigrant, could have ended up
behind bars. Instead, yet another Muslim, innocent of any criminal
wrongdoing, faces life in prison just because the Muslim community
wanted to finish building their beautiful mosque.

There is so much evidence that the legal attacks against Muslims are
purely racist in content. This author was even targeted by Charles
Jacobs, Robert Spencer, and their group of anti-Muslim supporters,
accused of support for terrorism, due to her pro-Palestine
commentaries under the pseudo-name “Maria Hussain.” Court documents
from the Roxbury Mosque defense showed that Zionist prosecutors
planned to prosecute me for my opinions. However, according to emails
revealed as part of the discovery process, they found out my real name
and decided not to prosecute me, because although I profess Islam,
they were not sure if my ethnic background might be Jewish.

Glenn Greenwald comments that “this meaningless, definition-free word
— Terrorism — drives so many of our political debates and policies...
It’s a word that simultaneously means nothing and justifies

Mehanna's alleged support for terrorism was based on “Sawt-al-Jihad”
magazine – a document that government witness Evan Kohlmann claimed
was found on his computer, even though there was no evidence that the
document had ever been opened at all.

Evan Kohmann has a history of being unqualified. He also served for
the outrageous prosecution of the honorable Imam Yassin Aref of
Albany, NY. During Aref's trial, the government’s expert, Evan
Kohlmann, gave totally wrong misinformation about IMK to the jury in
order to depict Aref as a terrorist because he was once employed by
the Islamic Movement for Kurdistan (IMK), which the US government does
not even consider to be a terrorist organization. The “expert witness”
Evan Kohlmann testified to a ridiculous connection between the IMK,
the militant Kurdish Ansar al-Islam organization, al-Qaeda, and Saddam
Hussein, in order to incriminate the innocent man, who came to the US
as a refugee.

Mehanna was fortunate enough to have a real expert on the defense, but
it didn't seem to matter much.

Dr. Marc Sageman, a terrorism consultant and former CIA case agent, a
flight surgeon in the U.S. Navy and a CIA case officer in Afghanistan
coordinating America’s covert operation against the Soviet occupation,
testified that the videos on Mehanna's computer were never used as a
recruiting tool for al-Qaida.

This testimony was all the more remarkable, because Sageman has
studied al-Qaida from its birth in 1988; he knew and lived with all
the major commanders of the mujahideen who were fighting the Soviet
army. He consults for the Defense Department, the Department of
Homeland Security and the CIA. He has classified security clearance,
which the under-qualified government witnesses don’t have.

In response, Evan Kohlmann, merely testified that the kind of videos
and documents that Mehanna translated and promoted online were
allowing al-Qaida to recruit and incite young men to violence.

“He tells stories,” Sageman tried to explain.

Even after questioning, Mehanna continued to praise his trip to Yemen.
“I didn’t regret it for a second,” he said, “how could you? Those are
the best two weeks of my life.”

Some of Mehanna's old friends testified against him under government
pressure, citing his “extremist” views, including Daniel Maldonado, a
New Hampshire native serving a 10-year prison sentence after pleading
guilty to training alongside al Qaeda members in Somalia.

“The government decides if I can hug my children,” Maldonado admitted
during his appearance at the trial.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Good Morning, Occupy Boston!

14 December 2011

On December 8, Judge Frances McIntyre lifted the restraining order protecting Occupy Boston from being shut down.

McIntyre said that while the protesters are exercising their rights to freedom of expression, the occupation of state land is neither speech “nor is it immune from criminal prosecution for trespass or other crimes.” This does not mean eviction is imminent, but the restraining order against the police no longer applies. Throughout the day, occupiers were handed a notice warning them that they would be subject to criminal trespass if they remained in the park. The ACLU of Massachusetts was actively involved in informing occupiers of their rights.

While some protesters packed up and went home, others decided to stand their ground. A few even moved their tents to the middle of Atlantic Avenue just before 2am on Friday. Expecting a possible police crackdown, thousands of supporters from nearby areas flooded into the campsite awaiting the midnight deadline, yet midnight came and went with no response from police officers, as they stood around the perimeter looking into the swelling crowd.

Occupy Boston’s newswire reports that the protesters “rallied at midnight, making circles two deep around tents, as the Veterans for Peace stood guard, white flags snapping in the wind.”

Police blocked off the streets surrounding Dewey Square just before 1am on Friday as hundreds of Occupiers and Occupy supporters packed the encampment. Boston Police Superintendent William Evans said that the police would not be moving in on Dewey Square early Friday morning. He stated that even though Mayor Thomas Menino set the deadline, he did not specify when the camp would be shut down.

As the news came in that no raid was coming, and no was eviction imminent, protesters danced in the streets to celebrate. FOX News reported that “the encampment site in Dewey Square in the city’s financial district looked noticeably smaller Friday than it had since the protesters first began occupying the site on September 30. Only about 40 protesters and 35 tents remained, covering less than half the area the protest once did.”

While there is no obvious victory for the protesters as they continue their standoff with the City of Boston, it is clear that the voices of the many are influencing current events. Two weeks ago, a federal judge blocked a settlement between the Securities and Exchange Commission and Citigroup, saying that he could not be sure that it was “fair, adequate, or in the public interest,” while last week, a District Attorney announced she was suing the banks for fraudulent foreclosure practices.

The very next day after their feared eviction, on December 9, Boston Occupiers amassed against the Department of Housing and Community Development to demonstrate against the lack of affordable housing and ongoing evictions of homeowners, connecting it with the plight of their tent city, citing such statistics:

Each year, 600,000 families with 1.35 million children experience homelessness in the United States, making up about 30 per cent of the homeless population over the course of a year. In any given day, researchers estimate that more than 200,000 children have no place to live. A full time worker earning minimum wage cannot afford a one bedroom unit priced at Fair Market Rent anywhere in the United Stated. Federal Support for low income housing has fallen by 40 per cent from 1980-2003, 15 per cent of all American families and 32 per cent of single parent families live below the poverty line.

During a visit to the site, Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis wouldn’t say what the city plans to do about the remaining protesters.“We have learned over the past ten weeks just how powerful the people can be,” stated a spokesperson for Occupy Boston. “Unproductive wealth struggles to justify its inefficiency, and deceit grows helpless before a truth that has found its people.”

Karin Friedemann is a Boston-based freelance writer

Got the Christmas Blues?

For many of us, the holidays are the saddest time. There are some biological reasons for this – the Solstice on December 21st is the darkest day of the year and there is a lot of depression associated with lack of sunlight.

For this reason, the Romans came up with the Festival of Lights to help dispel the gloom of darkness and the fear of death that comes with freezing weather, which in today's world means electronic lights displayed on Christmas trees, candlelit Hanukkah menorahs, and an enduring tradition of attempting to be especially kind to one another. Science reports that American suicide rates are 30% lower during the holiday season, so apparently the effect of “good cheer and good will towards all men” is not just a theory.

Muslim families face a challenge during these special times, because we do not celebrate Christmas. We don't even have a counter-holiday. A hilarious youtube video entitled, “Christmas Sucks for Desis” clearly explains our children's tender emotions:

“We will get a mix of a bunch of feelings on this day - No Rudolphs, no horse-drawn sleigh – All we get is a closed Safeway!”

Americans who have converted to Islam may feel especially sensitive at this time, because we have beautiful childhood memories associated with Christmas that are deeply connected to our cultural traditions. It is hard to explain how depressing it can be to find yourself sitting alone on Christmas Eve, simply due to a conscious choice not to celebrate that holiday. No more late night prayers singing carols praising the birth of our Savior. No more angels, no more shepherds, no more Blessed Virgin Mary and her adorable baby. No more hanging warm socks and mittens on a tree to donate to charity.

Hey wait! Is all of this so bad? The whole point of adoring a newborn baby is that we are in a state of total awe at what God alone can accomplish – the birth of hope in the future of humanity.

The Prophethood of Jesus marked a very important milestone in the history of spiritual philosophy. Before that, in the Old Testament, it was “my God is better than your god.” Jesus brought a message that changed life on earth forever. The ancient Germans used to burn widows on the funeral pyres of their deceased husbands, but after they learned about Christ's teachings, they completely changed their way of life to one that involved fighting for the security of widows! The Aztek American Indians used to engage in ritual sacrifice of virgin girls. Now they revere the Virgin Mary. We have come a long way.

If you were to pick up a Quran, knowing nothing, you would think this is a book primarily about Jesus (pbuh). We have holidays to remember Abraham, Moses and Mohammad, while the Shias retell the tale of Hussain's martyrdom every year at Ashura. Yet we don't always take the time to retell the story of the miracle of the birth of Jesus.

When my five year old daughter started whining about why we don't have a Christmas tree, I decided to teach her the true meaning of Christmas. I then realized how important it is for someone who wants to truly understand the Quran to read the Bible too. The stories about Jesus are told in the Bible in such detail that we do not find in the Quran, yet the Quran references these old stories in such a way that if we did not know the old stories, we cannot fully grasp the meaning of the Quran. The Quran serves in many ways as a commentary on the older books, which Jesus came to Earth to interpret for us. The Quran states that Jesus said:

“ And (I come as) a verifier of that which is before me of the Torah... I have come to you with a sign from your Lord; therefore be careful of (your duty to) Allah and obey me.” (Al-Imran:50)

We are ordered to obey Christ, yet we know precious little about how to obey Christ UNLESS we familiarize ourselves with the older books. Since Muslims have nothing else to do on Christmas, why not spend some time with our children studying about our Messiah? I read to my daughter from the Quran:

“... Allah said: O Jesus, I am going to terminate the period of your stay (on earth) and cause you to ascend unto Me and purify you of those who disbelieve and make those who follow you above those who disbelieve to the Day of Resurrection...” (Al-Imran: 55)

I explained to her that the message of Jesus (pbuh) apart from the mythology is clear: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself. Do unto others as you would have done to yourself.” If someone did not do that, he did not follow God's prophet. It doesn't matter how Jesus died, or if he died. What matters is that we are going to die, and if we did not be kind to other people, God will punish us. But if we followed Christ's teachings, God will be merciful to us.

Humanity is in a state of darkness. There is absolutely no hope for us. We are a bunch of hopeless sinners and losers. We keep fighting for ourselves, and all we do is just keep dragging each other down. We are hardly human anymore, as a species. We are in a complete state of loss: except those who have faith, and who do good deeds, and remind one another to be righteous, and not to give up hope. I think that is the true meaning that we need to find in this darkest hour.