cibarA Arabic

I think of Proto-Indo-European as a linguistic continent comprised of many languages — geographies mapped by language. Though PIE has left nothing in writing for her descendants to examine, a process of reverse engineering points to a hub at the greater Ukraine vicinity.

All homo sapiens came from East Africa, the shortest and most easily traversed paths have gone through what is now Palestine. Those who took up residence in the fertile bread-basket of Western Asia stopped to create PIE before proceeding to various points of the compass.

My first steps taken outside the world of English were in German, where I wrestled her complex set of inflections — function signals developed over the millennia on the Northern European Plain — an easily traversed topography as well. The shortest distance between two points takes longer if you must scale mountains along the way.

Arabic doesn’t look three-quarters of a smidgeon like PIE.

Saxons brought German across the channel, The English. Along that path, the “b” became a “v”, the “t” became a “d” and a few other things I shall leave unexamined right now. Vikings made short work of inflections when they occupied Isles, The British. The “t” latched onto the “h” to do something not done in proper German society — sticking the tongue out. A native German-speaking friend once told me that her mother would scold her at any spoken breach, such as allowing your tongue to extend beyond the teeth.
“It’s what the Englanders do. Tut tut. The very idea…”

One of my German students, a Palestinian, introduced me to the Arabic alphabet. I accepted his interest in German as a challenge to learn Arabic, at the time I hadn’t known that Arabic was not one of the PIE tongues. The excerpt of the Qu’ran included below might alert you that Arabic doesn’t look three-quarters of a smidgeon like PIE. Peruse this image for a long take at nine English words. It’s a color-coded snapshot of those nine that elucidate many aspects of Arabic grammar. The Quranic Arabic Corpus provides detail from the hair strands to the toenails.


Quranic Arabic Corpus (67:1)

Search any translation, interpretation, analysis, mistranslation, misinterpretation, or spurious analysis in any Qu’ran 67:1. Take it where you will or where you won’t. Languages should always offer a means for removing barriers, not exacerbating them. Weaponizing translations for propaganda value is a kind of false witness that literally obfuscates communication for a hidden or unstated agenda.

A few closing thoughts:

Arabic language has

  • a script that makes many alphabets (alpha, beta…) based on Latin look hammered and chiseled by comparison.
  • a root system that works as precise architecture — form follows function. It combines beauty with linguistic precision.
  • some amazing flexibility. German, my second language, can concatenate nouns, can use entire prepositional and adverbial phrases to function as adjectives. However, Arabic can incorporate entire sentences into a single word.
  • a different look and feel that distinguishes it from Proto-Indo-European language. Farsi is a PIE language, it’s not based on a root system — even though its words look like Arabic.
  • something for the left-handed student. Arabic allows me to see what I am writing as I write, to sweep a pen across a piece of paper. To pull along a sheet of paper rather than to plow into it.

All my posts on a theme of Arabic Language

All my posts on a theme of German Language

Thanks for reading.

Fascists v. Francis

You may think you already know too much about geopolitical regime-change architect Steve Bannon, perhaps you were hoping that the creep had already crept back under a rock — not at all, Bannon fans. Be of good cheer, Altrighteers! Taste fist, AntiFas!

Fulsome News and U.S. Empire Report:

Good news for the Fas: SB has crept under a different kind of rock, the Petrine.

Steve Bannon is working to make friends and influence Fascists in a Europe that has shown entirely too much unity since post-war Fascist losses in 1945. The great man is setting up shop in Italy, just one easy commute away from Vatican City, a world capital where he can simultaneously keep his friends and his enemies close. It’s at a medieval monastery built in 1204 CE (only eleven years before the Magna Carta, for the sake of Christ!), a facility quite large enough to simultaneously accommodate dozens of über-conservative deal brokers. The monastery’s building complex was built in an era when Cannon Law was supreme and unfettered, when separation of church and state was capital heresy.

Dignitatis Humanae Institute

Bannon is a reliable information (propaganda) source for the rightwing political players in the Roman Catholic Church. A base that has become most rigidly rigid in its resurgent Church Militant: a call to reinvigorate The Crusades — a mission, in their words, that has never ended, that needs recruits to defend The West from Moslems (the word Muslim is insufficiently orientalist for their purposes) that have always sought to conquer European Civilization: The Judeo-Christian West threatened by Mohamedism (orientalist for Islam) and the dreaded boogymen in the “Koran” — perhaps best pronounced perhaps as the “Ko-ran”, those fiery fiends that threaten Israel — perhaps also best pronounced as “Is-real”.

Imagine a placard on the base statue of Mr. Steve in the square of St. Peter.

Steven Kevin Bannon

Founder of Bannon Law, an informed interpretation of Cannon Law

stalwart champion of White Rights, Bannonavellianism , the guy who knows how to get the job done and is ready to drop shells on all the egg shells it takes to make a proper Stalinist Omelet.

Rough-beast incarnate: not the kind of slouch who would limit his reach to Bethlehem.

After leaving the White House, Bannon declared his intention to become “the infrastructure, globally, for the global populist movement.

Steve Bannon Is Done Wrecking the American Establishment. Now He Wants to Destroy Europe’s.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/09/world/europe/horowitz-europe-populism.html

Thanks for reading.

Vegetarianism and veganism. What gives?

A vegetarian ingests an animal’s personal effects by consuming merely eggs, milk and/or cheese — highly addictive substances that keep addicts coming back for more. It takes commitment and some patience while your body excretes toxins, but it’s also enormously rewarding. Immeasurably if you have genuine compassion for animals and remember that we ain’t nothing but mammals.

Learning to Think in the Anthropocene

Calfs get separated from their mothers at birth. Her breast milk is diverted to a marketplace. Oddly enough, a cow’s milk is designed for her offspring. Imagine if you can. There is no weaning process, just immediate separation of mother and calf.

Sir, would you please direct me to the supermarket’s breast-milk cooler?

Unfortunately, a vegetarian ends up causing more cruelty than a “meat” eater who eats only meat. When chickens and cows can no longer produce the goods for the dairy industry they are shipped to a slaughter houses for marginal return on investment.

As a veganist, I advocate formal legal recognition of the inalienable rights of all sentient animals to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Animals are not a necessary “resource” for a becoming life. We become inured our entire lives to the unspeakable violence that attends denial of these rights — multiple times per day for most non-vegan humans.

Look at a chart of “cuts” in a butcher shop. Connect the dots to Grey’s Anatomy. We share virtually the same vital organs, virtually the same body systems: from head to toe and wrapped in the largest organ of all, the skin. Skin keeps the organs protected from the elements. You are what you eat.

A rodent living a matter of inches below scorched Earth was the mother of all mammals.

Humans once lived in harmony with this planet — some time after the fifth extinction event ended reptilian species that evolved over 200,000,000 years. By comparison, human have evolved for only 200,000 years. That should humble us, but I don’t think we are terribly modest in our self-estimation. Having an extinction event named after ourselves — The Anthropocene — is not a cause for celebration.

A rodent living a matter of inches below scorched Earth was the mother of all mammals. Who knows what might follow an Anthropocene?

Thanks for reading.


I come from a “shit-hole”

“The truth is that it is hard for me to say what I am. I was born in El Salvador, and its land and people are synonyms with love and freedom in my heart. But the country itself is an invention of an invader from another continent. Its language, its religion, its traditions all were imposed by the invaders, burned into us with fire and cauldrons. Our 500 year old resistance has left its mark in a perennial PTSD so ingrained in our bones that we don’t even know any other way of feeling is possible.”

Koyote the Blind

I am not an American.

I was born in the continent known as “America”, yes. But somehow this United States has given itself the name of the entire continent.

Ronald Reagan demoted the rest of this magnificent continent to the mere “Backyard of America.”

That’s when I came here, to the “land of the free,” when Ronald Reagan sent billions of dollars to military dictators so they could use the money to rape, torture, and massacre my people. I didn’t want to come here. Oh, how I hated coming to this land so full of restrictions, prohibitions, and people kept so ignorant of their own history!

Once I came here, almost no one I met knew where my country was. They all assumed I was Mexican. Except for Mexicans. They knew where I was from, and knew they couldn’t trust me because if I was from where I was, I…

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There Is No Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?

Nota Bene: Criticism of Israel does not constitute antisemitism.

Matti Friedman argues that “There Is No Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” — from the perspective of a Canadian-Israeli, a soldier-poet, an apologist for Israeli rightwing family values: a kindred spirit for those who think of Palestinians in terms of cardboard cutouts, and a considered belief that they are a waste of cardboard. He works words with great economy, clarity and imagination — a Western writer living in a Middle-Eastern geography . Mr. Friedman is currently residing in Palestine’s capital city: Al Quds.

…a kindred spirit for those who think of Palestinians in terms of cardboard cutouts…

A Palestinian demonstrator from the West Bank village of Deir Jarir, northeast of Ramallah, waves his national flag as he sits on a pile of rocks during clashes with Israeli soldiers following a march against construction on Palestinian land by members of the Jewish settlement of Ofra on April 26, 2013. Photo by Issam Rimawi/FLASH90

Friedman’s opinion piece “There Is No Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” is a study guide on how to look through both sides of a pair of binoculars in order to begin understanding that non-conflict. The article uses fifteen paragraphs to house fifteen straw men. I had intended to critique each, but have discovered that it might take a multi-part series to adequately address them, so here are the first couple straw men.

Matti Friedman (@MattiFriedman), a contributing opinion writer, is the author of “The Aleppo Codex,” “Pumpkinflowers” and the forthcoming “Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel.”

JERUSALEM — If you are reading this, you’ve most likely seen much about “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” in the pages of this newspaper and of every other important newspaper in the West. That phrase contains a few important assumptions. That the conflict is between two actors, Israelis and Palestinians. That it could be resolved by those two actors, and particularly by the stronger side, Israel. That it’s taking place in the corner of the Middle East under Israeli rule.

They brought house keys along, planning to unlock their doors upon their return home.

West (orientalists): Palestine is in the Middle-East, it was part of the Ottoman Empire until 1918. The League of Nations — a short-lived and long defunct Western (orientalist) attempt at world order — The League unilaterally granted the British a legal instrument termed “Mandate for Palestine.”  They colonized Palestine until May 1948, when 700,000 unarmed Palestinians were forcibly removed from their homes, their neighborhoods, their ancestral homeland with only what they could cart or carry. They brought house keys along, planning to unlock their doors upon their return home — a right, ironically enough, guaranteed in that same catastrophic year by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights: 1948.

Not surprisingly, Palestinians lived in greatest number along the Mediterranean Coast.

Particularly by the stronger side: The only armed forces — unless you consider rusty Ottoman-era weapons, unreliable and inaccurate mortars, and rocks from the rubble of demolished homes to be forces rather than farces — has always been the occupier.

Let me be clear: there is no “both sides.” There is a terrorist org that endangers civilians, and there is a state that protects them. Soon, the world will stare reality in the face and finally condemnation.

— Ambassador Danny Danon

https://twitter.com/dannydanon/status/1070796719066136577

Let me be clearer: Hamas has no army, no navy, no air force, no tanks, no attack helicopters, no fighter jets, no armored vehicles, no missiles, no bombs, no nothing but rocks and a few crude unguided rockets which land with a thud. From the bottom of my heart, shut the fuck up.

Abeer Khatib

https://twitter.com/abierkhatib/status/1070824222648352771

Corner of the Middle East: a feint that reminds me of Goebbel’s Ministry of Propaganda — Lebensraum defined in terms of population density, where British “living space” included Canada and Australia.

Under Israeli rule: Not surprisingly, Palestinians lived in greatest number along the Mediterranean Coast. See Mahmoud Darwish’s famous poem “Unfortunately, It was Paradise.” Palestine is comparable to Southern California in terms of climate and real estate value. Displaced refugees were driven into Gaza, and the West Bank of the Jordan River. Ironically, again, the number of “settlers” in the West Bank is now greater than the 700,000 granted diaspora in 1948. That corner of the Middle East.

Let me be clearer: Hamas has no army, no navy, no air force, no tanks, no attack helicopters, no fighter jets, no armored vehicles, no missiles, no bombs, no nothing but rocks and a few crude unguided rockets which land with a thud. From the bottom of my heart, shut the fuck up.

Presented this way, the conflict has become an energizing issue on the international left and the subject of fascination of many governments, including the Trump administration, which has been working on a “deal of the century” to solve it. The previous administration’s secretary of state, John Kerry, committed so much time to Israeli-Palestinian peace that for a while he seemed to be here each weekend. If only the perfect wording and map could be found, according to this thinking, if only both sides could be given the right dose of carrots and sticks, peace could ensue.

To someone here in Israel, all of this is harder and harder to understand. There isn’t an Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the way that many outsiders seem to think, and this perception gap is worth spelling out. It has nothing to do with being right-wing or left-wing in the American sense. To borrow a term from the world of photography, the problem is one of zoom. Simply put, outsiders are zoomed in, and people here in Israel are zoomed out. Understanding this will make events here easier to grasp.

International Left: A political leaning so distasteful in Israel that the Left is nearly extinct. Netanyahu, a perfect storm of a politician, remarks that his opponent Benny Gantz “leans to the left.”

Deal of the Century: Trump is a fellow White Supremacist, “subject of fascination of many governments…” Trump’s interests do not include any measurable intellectual curiosity. Trump is just another convenient tool — Obama was considerably too melanin-rich, but he delivered the 3.8 billion in funding to allow the largest per-capita military prowess to eke along, to scrape a respectable secure “defense” that now includes the ethnical-cleansing maiming marvel: butterfly bullets.

John Kerry: He knows what war is, he knows who Trump is, he successfully completed the difficult negotiations with Iran — a country without nuclear weapons. Israel gets to have it both ways: nuclear weapons? Yes, No, Maybe, Meh. “Hey, what’s happening over there?” No, it’s what’s happening here, we’re picking your plump wallet. 

Perfect Wording : Who is your new friend there? I hear he comes from a good Saud family (the only country in the world run by a single family.

… a political leaning so distasteful in Israel that the Left is nearly extinct.

I include myself among those who sense that a long, deep and deadly conflict has extended into the longest and most threatening conflict in at least the last several centuries. I was eight-months old in May 14, 1948, but have only been paying close attention to the conflict/non-conflict since the mid 1960s.

The population of Palestine/Israel has reached parity, there are as many Palestinians as Israelis within the same geography. Israel has managed to eliminate any remote semblance of a two-state solution with a divide and occupy strategy:

  • Maintaining an apartheid wall
  • “Withdrawing” from the Gaza Testing Range and Petri dish
  • “Settling” the West Bank
  • An 800 state solution (to paraphrase Mordechai Kedar)
  • Demolishing homes, occupying homes, uprooting ancient olive trees, terrorizing children of any age…
  • Tracking and imprisoning children over the age of 11.
  • Using overwhelmingly overwhelming force and security equipment possessing advanced technological capabilities, such as those butterfly bullets.

Fencing commuter highways along the length of both shoulders, thereby fracturing Palestinian populations into an 80-state solution

Recommended reading on the topic by someone who knows Palestine inside-out:

A Short History of Collective Punishment by Stanley Cohen

Nota Bene Too: The phrase “security for the Jews” has been consecrated as an exclusive synonym for “the lessons of the Holocaust.” It is what allows Israel to systematically discriminate against its Arab citizens. For 40 years, “security” has been justifying control of the West Bank and Gaza and of subjects who have been dispossessed of their rights living alongside Jewish residents, Israeli citizens laden with privileges. — Amira Hass

http://www.palestinechronicle.com/amira-hass-the-holocaust-as-political-asset/

As always, opposing viewpoints are welcome on this blog. Please try to limit your comments to 500 words.

Thanks for reading.