Malek Maktabi’s Story of Zainab & Her Sri Lankan Mother Deepa Is A Disgrace To The Lebanese State

A Separate State of Mind | A Blog by Elie Fares

I am angry. Nay, angry is an understatement, I am livid. Anger wasn’t the only thing I felt yesterday. I was also deeply ashamed to be a citizen of a country where the story that Malek Maktabi’s show, in a rare instance of journalistic integrity, portrayed not only could happen, but is probably part of a bigger array of stories just waiting to be told.

The story, summarized, is as follows:

In 1991, Deepa Darmasiri was a Sri Lankan working as a housekeeper at a Lebanese household in the South. The husband in the household she was working in, whose name was always bleeped out and never mentioned, one day raped Deepa at knife-point, leading her to become pregnant.

Deepa did not want to get an abortion because she “never could imagine not meeting her child.” So she carried the baby to term. To make his rape legal and to be…

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ALBUM REVIEW: UNDER A BANNER- ‘The Wild Places’ (2016)


Passionate, powerful and poetic Midlands folk-rock band Under A Banner release their superb third studio album.


Under A Banner have been on our radar for a couple of years now and apart from an appearance at a free music festival in Croydon they have as yet, as far as I know, not managed to get a gig in London town. This is something we hope to remedy soon and on the strength of this album it will be an absolute pleasure. They are one of a bunch of Midlands bands playing political folk-punk that straddles everything from the celtic-punk of Ferocious Dog to the anarcho-folk of The Silk Road. Under A Banner play an infectiously catchy brand of folk-punk caught somewhere between The Levellers at their softest and New Model Army at their punkest with a smidgeon of Ferocious Dog and youthful Billy Bragg, before he fled Barking to live in Dorset in a massive…

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Bombs Are “Civilised”, But Knives Are Barbaric?

At least 212 Syrian civilians were killed in bombings by the US coalition in the Tokhar area of Manbij on Tuesday. Manbij is the scene of fierce fighting between Da’esh and the PKK’s YPG offshoot and allies in the SDF (“Syria Democratic Forces”), which have been conducting a fierce battle to take control of the city since May, with close air support from the US coalition.

The first bombings were indiscriminate, and came at 3am while residents were The strikes levelled a school in Tokhar, a town of 3,500 people. The school was well-known as a site at which displaced people were sheltered. Initial figures reported anything from 65 to 160 people being killed in the attack. Abu Omar al-Manbiji, a local citizen journalist, told Syria Direct that the casualty levels were horrific, even at the lower estimates. “So far we count 124 dead from the attack, and that number could very well increase.” Later numbers…

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In Istanbul, Meeting The Iraqis About to Take Illegal Route Into Europe


Nawzat Shamdeen (Niqash)
During a visit to Istanbul’s “small city of Arabs” neighbourhood, NIQASH’s correspondent meets three friends who fled Islamic State-controlled Mosul and who are about to try to get to Europe, to seek asylum.
6.01.2016  |  Istanbul

As the day surrenders to darkness, Aksaray Square in the Turkish capital city, Istanbul, becomes a launchpad for the dreams of hundreds of Iraqis and Syrians desperately seeking a better life in Europe. The neighbourhood of Aksaray – or the small city of Arabs, as Turkish locals call it – looks like any busy neighbourhood in Baghdad or Damascus, with its cheap cafes and hotels filled with Arabs. And it is there that people smugglers meet with their clients to negotiate fares, and from there too, that would-be refugees are taken to the coast in order to make the illegal and perilous sea crossing to European shores.

I met there…

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List of Shabiha Posing As Refugees in Europe

Note: This list is constantly being added to and updated; so far I have only categorised a fraction of the shabiha whose names I am aware of.

During the refugee crisis, we have heard many baseless scare-stories about Da’esh (ISIS) members supposedly infiltrating Europe under the guise of refugees.

Some were outright lies (one originated from the made-up figures of an Islamophobic Lebanese official) some were sensationalised quotes from dubious sources parroted by outlets like the Daily Mail (which once supported the British fascists) or a combination of several.

The truth is that there is no large scale influx of Da’esh fighters hiding as defenceless men, women and children. Because that’s all the vast majority of these refugees are.

However, is that there is a huge influx of pro-regime militants into European states. Having participated in the genocidal fight to save the regime, many have since decided that mass…

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Genocide by famine – Ukraine, North Caucasus

North Caucasus Land

source:; United Human Rights Council

A Le Temps journalist took this photo in Buguruslan in 1921, 11 years before the so-called Holdomor took place in 1932. The famine had been going on for longer than the Russian officials admitted. No foreign journalists were allowed in and the government took no responsibility for it, and so the truth was put together through bits and pieces collected in time.

File:Children affected by famine in Berdyansk, Ukraine - 1922.jpg Children in Berdyansk, Ukraine – 1922

Gareth Jones – “Everywhere was the cry “There is no bread. We are dying. This cry came from every part of Russia, Volga, Siberia, North Caucasus, Central Asia. I tramped through the black earth region because that was once the richest farmland in Russia and because the correspondents have been forbidden to go there to see for themselves to see what was happening.” (source)

Russia never prosecuted any of its mass murderers, as Germany did.

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Chechnya today – “worse than war”

North Caucasus Land

“It’s worse than a war. During the war, we weren’t so scared. We knew that we might be hit by a bullet, no one was safe from that. But now how can one
sleep through the night? They wake people, take them away, shoot them. I’m
terrified to talk, the prosecutor’s office is terrified – we’re all scared! At any moment [the security forces] might come after anyone of us. Ask anyone here – we are all weeping from fear.”
A father of a young man who was summarily executed in June, 2004, Chechnya, February 4, 2005

“During the war, you could always hide from the bombs. There was always somewhere you could run to. But today you don’t know who to trust. You start to doubt and be suspicious of even your own colleagues. That’s the most frightening thing, worse than during the war.”

Kheda Saratova, Human Rights advocate and head…

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Egypt: Security Forces Disperse Anti-Regime Protests Ahead of #Jan25 [Media Report]



Aswat Masriya:

Security forces arrested 16 after dispersing a protest organised in Downtown Cairo on Thursday afternoon, a police official said.

An eyewitness told Aswat Masriya that dozens from the Ahrar youth group held a rally in Downtown Cairo, before it was dispersed by security forces.

According to the eyewitness the protesters lit fireworks and were carrying a sign with the name Ahrar written on it. The youth group is loosely affiliated with jailed Islamist preacher and politician Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail.

Ahrar posted on social media that the chants of the people “demand the fall of the regime” were being echoed in Downtown Cairo’s Talaat Harb Square, where the protest took place.

It added that the ministry of interior is “carrying out random arrests” of passersby and called on “revolutionary” youth to take some action elsewhere in Cairo in order to ease the pressure on youth in Downtown Cairo.


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Slideshow: Protesting Mexico’s Latest Ejido-Breaking Attempts in Atenco


Photos and story by Debora Poo Soto

{Scroll down for English translation.}

Otra vez las tierras de Atenco en disputa. El Comisariado Ejidal convocó a los copropietarios de las tierras a una Asamblea Ejidal, la intención era que en dicha reunión se aprobara el cambio de Tipo de Suelo de: Tierras Ejidales a Dominio Pleno. De aprobarse la propiedad común quedaría desintegrada. Mayo 2014, México. Desde hace 14 años las tierras ejidales de Atenco son disputadas por el gobierno federal que quiere construir un aeropuerto en esas tierras agrícolas. Fue en el año 2000 cuando el Gobierno Federal publicó un decreto mediante el cual quería expropiar las tierras de los ejidatarios. Del largo proceso de lucha que ha enfrentado el “Frente de los Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra” el capítulo más recordado es el de la brutal represión que sufrieron en 2006, y que fue ordenada por el entonces gobernador del Estado de México, ahora presidente, Peña Nieto.

El gobierno…

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