Friday, February 02, 2007

Naji Al-Ali (1936 - 1987)

Naji Al-Ali (1936 - 1987)

Naji Al-Ali lived on the edge of danger because he was closest to the truth. He was the last scream that we never dared utter for fear to be quenched with it.
The Palestinian cartoonist par excellence, Naji Al-Ali is an artist who transcended fictional frontiers using lines that draw free borders, the boundaries of freedom without pavements, the freedom of the artist, the people, and the homeland.
Every morning, for more than 13 years (1975 - 1987) Palestinians everywhere followed the cartoonist Naji Al-Ali in whichever newspaper he published. His cartoons were re-printed in more than one form, and discussed in every forum. He made everyone read the newspaper starting from the back page. Everyone who worked with him said that he was wild, that the burning fire within him devoured everything, because his heart was in his quill and his quill was easily agitated and inflamed. He felt that Palestine was his own, and it will not return piece-meal, but all at once, all at once from the river to the sea, or else, no one will forgive. The bitterness within him was constantly expanding, and he eventually thrashed at everyone with his ruthless quill.
His character was "Handala", a young boy with curly hair whose back is always turned to the reader. His name means "bitterness" in Arabic, and he represents the distress the artist felt. In describing his work, Naji Al-Ali wrote:

"The child Handala is my signature, everyone asks me about him wherever I go. I gave birth to this child in the Gulf and I presented him to the people. His name is Handala and he has promised the people that he will remain true to himself. I drew him as a child who is not beautiful, his hair is like the hair of a hedgehog who uses his thorns as a weapon. Handala is not a fat, happy, relaxed, or pampered child, he is barefooted like the refugee camp children, and he is an 'icon' that protects me from making mistakes. Even though he is rough, he smells of Amber. His hands are clasped behind his back as a sign of rejection at a time when solutions are presented to us the American way. Handala was born ten years old, and he will always be ten years old. At that age I left my homeland, and when he returns, Handala will still be ten, and then he will start growing up. The laws of nature do not apply to him. He is unique. Things will become normal again when the homeland returns. I presented him to the poor and named him Handala as a symbol of bitterness. At first he was a Palestinian child, but his consciousness developed to have a national and then a global and human horizon. He is a simple yet tough child, and this is why people adopted him and felt that he represents their consciousness."

"What is the role of political caricature?""Its role is to bare life... caricature always hangs life to dry in the open air and in the public streets... it grabs life wherever it finds it to place it on the rooftops of the world where there is no place to fill the gaps or cover its holes.""When will people see Handala's face?""When Arab dignity is no longer threatened, and when the Arab individual regains his freedom and humanity. Still, the most tiring part is to continue the road with all its contradictions. The weariness of the homeland will always remain deep inside.""Handala is the witness of the century who will never die... the witness who entered life all of a sudden and will never leave it. He is the legend-witness. This character was born to survive... I will continue within him even after I die."
Naji Al-Ali was born in Ash-Shajara village in 1936, one of 480 villages destroyed after 1948. His family was displaced to Ein Al-Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon. Between 1957 and 1983 he worked for a variety of newspapers in Lebanon and the Gulf. In 1983 he returned to Kuwait to work for "Al-Qabas" newspaper until 1985 when he was forced to leave to London to work with the same newspaper in its London office. During this period he published more than 40,000 cartoons. The New York Times once wrote: "If you want to know what the Arabs think of the US look at Naji Al-Ali's cartoons." The Time magazine also described him saying: "This man draws with human bones." The 'Asahi' Japanese newspaper wrote: "Naji Al-Ali draws using phosphoric acid."

On Wednesday July 22 1987 at 17:10 Greenwich meantime, Naji Al-Ali parked his car in central London, and walked a few meters towards the offices of Al-Qabas newspaper where he worked. A dark complexioned, curly haired, young man surprised him with a bulletin his head and ran away as Naji Al-Ali fell on the pavement. On August 29th, Naji Al-Ali finally died in hospital and was buried on September 3rd in Brookwood cemetery in Woking. His death marked the end of an era, and ironically, the beginning of the Intifada in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Until this day, his cartoons are used over and over again, and "Handala" is still as relevant today as he was twenty years ago.

From "This week in Palestine" No 14, August 1999

Posted by Martin BretterklieberUpdate: 26. Mai 2001.

Environment minister taking climate-change report "very seriously"

Pollution and haze in Bangkok seen from a an aerial view during rush hour on February 2, 2007 in Bangkok, Thailand. A report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated that climate changes are "very likely" to have human cause and that global temperatures will rise by 3 degrees Celsius by 2100.
Photograph by : Getty Images

OTTAWA — The Conservative government says the scientific community’s "unequivocal" warning about climate change in a new report released in Paris on Friday is a turning point in history that it is taking "very seriously."
"I think the science is clear that these changes are occurring … and we must act," said Prime Minister Stephen Harper at an Ottawa news conference. "We are working through the Kyoto process to try and get international action to try and get action that will involve all of the world’s major emitters, and as you know, currently, most of the major emitters are not part of the protocol, or at least have no targets under the protocol. So these are efforts that are important that we will continue to work on."
The comments contrasted with statements Harper made as opposition leader in recent years when he questioned the scientific evidence, and described Kyoto as a "socialist scheme" to drain money from developed nations.
But Environment Minister John Baird said the government understands the message from the report, which was produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
"We recognize that the report is an important scientific study on climate change and we take its findings very seriously," Baird said at a news conference in Paris after being briefed by experts from Environment Canada and other international officials.
Hundreds of climate scientists delivered their findings on Friday morning after reviewing the work of more than 2,000 researchers — including skeptics.
They predicted global temperatures will rise faster in the 21st century than in the previous 100 years, with stronger increases for countries in northern regions such as Canada. They also concluded some aspects of global warming would continue for centuries, regardless of any mitigation efforts.
"Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising mean sea level," reads the summary report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a peer-review panel representing scientists from nations around the world.
The report is the first volume of its fourth assessment of the latest scientific literature since the 1990s, and its strongest ever warning that human activity is responsible for global warming.
Baird promised his government would soon introduce regulations and targets for industry, but he refused to commit to meeting Canada’s legally binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas pollution as required under the international Kyoto Protocol. He said the government wanted to focus on what it could do, instead of what was not possible to achieve.
"The fourth report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will constitute a turning point in the battle against climate change for the world," he said. "Therefore we must accept what the experts say. We must devote our energy to find solutions that would protect the fragile ecosystems of our planet, and we must adopt concrete measures to fight against climate change. And when I say ‘we,’ I mean Canada and all countries. Climate change is a global issue that requires a planetary solution."
Although the scientists concluded there was a 66 per cent probability humans were responsible for global warming in the last IPCC report from 2001, they now say the latest research tells them there is a 90 per cent probability that human activity, mainly through the burning of fossil fuels, are producing the greenhouse gases that cause the climate to change.
"The global concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, all greenhouse gases those are, have increased markedly since 1750, and they are now far, far above the values seen in ice cores in many, many thousands of years," said Susan Solomon, a U.S. climate scientist and lead author of the study, at a news conference. "The increases in carbon dioxide are mainly due to fossil fuel use and land-use, while those of methane and nitrous oxide are due to agriculture.
The findings come as Harper’s government faces widespread criticism from environmentalists and opposition parties for turning his back on Canada's international commitments to reduce greenhouse gases by slashing billions of dollars in climate change initiatives.
Under the Kyoto Protocol, the former Liberal government committed Canada to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by six per cent below 1990 levels, although when they left office, the country was about 35 per cent above its target.
The report predicted a 0.2 C average global temperature increase per decade over the next 20 years, and a 0.1 C increase for subsequent decades. An increase in hotter days and a decrease in colder days is virtually certain, according to the report. It also concludes there would be an increased probability of more frequent droughts in some regions, and heavy precipitation or extreme weather events in others.
But the scientists refrained from lecturing world leaders to take action.
"I believe that is a societal choice," said Solomon. "I believe science is one input to that choice, and I also believe science can best serve society by refraining from going beyond its expertise, so I do not feel that it would be in the best interest of society making this decision in the most responsible way for me to push for urgency or action. There are people out there who have that role. But it isn’t me, and in my view, that’s what IPCC also is all about: Namely not trying to make policy prescriptive statements, but
Posted by CanWest News Service
Published by
Mike De Souza, CanWest News ServicePublished: Friday, February 02, 2007

Sunday, January 28, 2007

French socialists expel racist

The expulsion comes at a bad time for Royal as she faces criticism for a series of gaffes [AFP]

The French Socialist party has expelled one of its leading members for having said there were too many black players in the national football team.

Georges Freche, president of the Languedoc-Roussillon region in the south and a founding member of the party, is a supporter of the Socialists' presidential candidate, Segolene Royal.
She has backed his expulsion from the party but it comes at a bad time for her as she faces criticism for a series of gaffes.

On Friday, an imitator known for phone pranks on public figures tricked Royal into thinking she was talking to the premier of Quebec.
The decision on Saturday was made at a meeting of members of a commission set up to resolve internal party disputes.

Patrick Mennucci, deputy director of Royal's campaign, said: "If he had not said what he said, we would all ... be in a much more agreeable situation."

"The situation is very unpleasant and the Socialist Party cannot continue to have someone who makes comments of this sort in its ranks."


In November, Freches was reported complaining at a local political meeting that nine out of the 11 members of the national soccer team were black.

"I am ashamed for this country. Soon there will be 11 blacks," the Midi Libre newspaper quoted him as saying.

Freches was also fined 15,000 euros by a French court on Thursday for having called Algerians who fought alongside the French in Algeria's war of independence "sub-human".

He had already been suspended from some party functions after making those comments last year and faced up to six months in jail for "abuse of a group of people because of their ethnic, racial or religious affiliations".

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Translated by to Chinese


法国社会党及其领导成员之一,已经开除因说黑人球员有太多的国家队. 乔治freche总统的郎-南区Roussillon创始党 社会党的支持者是『总统候选人,segolene皇室. bodyvariable350="htmlphcontrol1_lblerror"; 她背靠他开除党籍,但不好的时候,正值她的批评,因为她脸上的一系列气得. / 在周五、 一个电话恶作剧模仿闻名于公众人物的思想变成皇家上当她所说的魁北克总理. bodyvariable300="htmlphcontrol2_lblerror"; <决定>是在周六举行成立一个委员会的成员来解决党内纷争. 帕特里克mennucci副主任王国的战役,说:"如果他没有说什么,他说: ::我们都可以在一个更合意的情况. " "形势非常愉快和社会主义党不能继续作出评论,有人曾这样的队伍" '分人'11 freches报道抱怨当地政治会议的11个成员的九个国家足球队被黑. "我很惭愧,为这个国家. 很快会有11个黑人"午报该报引述他的话说. freches还被罚了1.5万欧元法国法院传唤周四为阿尔及利亚人并肩战斗的法国人在阿尔及利亚的独立战争"撒哈拉人". 他已被暂停职务后,一些党有心去年面对六个月徒刑"滥用一群人因种族、 种族或宗教背景".