Ethan Rayne, played by Robin Sachs (d. 2013), was a recurring human villain in Buffy the Vampire Slayer in Seasons 2-4. In his final appearance in A New Man (S4E12, January 2000), when Buffy captures him after his latest round of malevolence, he taunts her by reminding her that the Slayer is not allowed to kill humans. He doesn’t realize that the Slayer has become ensnared in the national security state, personified by Riley (played by Marc Blucas), her new significant other and a high ranking officer in the Initiative, a secret project which, we learn later in the season, is developing a part-demon parts, part-machine, part-human super soldier. Continue reading
In the wake of the horrific train accident in Alexandria, Egypt, this satirical tweet points out an important lesson for people in the United States who attribute chaos to the uprisings against the dictators and monarchs the United States government supports. Here’s my translation:
Before, the person who wanted to commit suicide had to throw himself under the wheels of the train. As for now, it is quite sufficient for him simply to ride it.
On May 14, 2017, Egyptian dictator Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi claimed that the recurring losses of the train system in Egypt precluded further investment:
By ignoring public health and safety and the environment and consumer protection, the U.S.-friendly governments of southwest Asia and north Africa kill far more people than ISIS or whoever the bogeyman of the month is. The ones they kill through torture, execution and the dire conditions of their prisons are simply icing on the cake.
The idea that dictators and monarchs provide stability is wrong. Ask your legislators to end US government support for these governments. Ending aid to Egypt and refusing cooperation with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are great places to start.
A friend forwarded me a September 2014 video telling me “you’re swimming upstream in your defense of Islam.” Not knowing I was defending Islam (I see my political stances as defenses of human rights of people, including Muslims.), I replied, “only out of respect for you did I waste 3 minutes listening to Bill Maher.” He then wrote, “Who better than you, to point out where he’s right and where he’s wrong? Please share your thoughts.” Of course, there are many better qualified than me (see after the blog post.) But, after some delay, here they are. Continue reading
Apologetics is the “reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine.” As Muslims engage in public outreach efforts to reduce the impact of Islamophobia, one topic might be “racism” or “race-relations.” My fear is that such efforts might take the form of apologetics rather than a serious discussion to address the real impacts of racism among Muslims and non-Muslims, both in the United States and elsewhere. Continue reading
Amnesty International USA asked people to write to Tunisian officials asking them to release “Marwan,” a man who was convicted of same-sex conduct. “Marwan” is an alias. I found a column by Farhat Othman helpful. This is the body of the letter I wrote:
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم و صلى الله على النبي الأمي محمد بن عبد الله و آله و سلم و السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
قال الله تعالى وإذا حكمتم بين الناس أن تحكموا بالعدل إن الله نعما يعظكم به إن الله كان سميعا بصيرا
فأرجو أن تصل إلىكم هذد الرسالة و أنتم بخير و صحة و عافية و أطلب منكم الإفراج فوراً بدون شروط عن الشاب الملقب بمروان المتهم بالمثلية و مسح سجله من تلك التهمة و إلغاء إدانته ثم إبطال الفصل 230 المجرِّم للمثلية.
كل ذلك ضروري لإرساء دولة القانون في تونس الحرة التي هي قدوة للشعوب العربية جميعا.
لكم الشكر و التقدير
Updated October 25, 2015: Minister of Justice expelled from cabinet, partly over his call to decriminalize same-sex behavior.
I followed the Amnesty International USA instructions to appeal to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia not to execute political prisoner Ali Al-Nimr. I wrote a letter in Arabic to King Salman and Prince Mohammed bin Naif. You are welcome to download them and modify them as you see fit.
Here’s a copy of Amnesty International’s statement about the situation in Arabic.
This is a letter of mine which my local daily newspaper, The Augusta Chronicle, published in January 2013.