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<nettime> mailghetto # 37 (muslimnet)
Oleg Kireev on 13 Mar 2001 00:35:29 -0000


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<nettime> mailghetto # 37 (muslimnet)


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text # 93

12-18.02.2001

Indeed, I like India most of all. Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Mahatma 
Gandi, Neru, Indira Gandi: But Middle East has its charm as well. That 
is why Muslimgauze has dedicated all his 90 CDs to it, and everybody 
listens to him. Middle East is known by some copy-book maxims that 
concern one's attitude towards Islam: a Muslim neglects women's rights, 
violates the vow not to drink wine and eat pork and is ready to kill any 
infidel because he's sure he'll go to heaven after that. On the other 
hand, for several years Middle East has been a grand thorn in the side 
of world global capitalism. It gave birth to the vogue of Arafat-style 
headcloth adored by leftists of the 90s. Since Russia has been fighting 
a war with the Chechens during the last few years, for us Middle East 
embodies the mysterious planet of Islam that renders great support to 
the small republic.

At www.amina.com, one of the sites belonging to Islamic world 
resistance, the title page contains words "Chechnya is a modern Muslim 
society and Chechens have very strong respect for old people. Chechens 
are the best friends and are the worst enemies. It means that if you 
have a friend from the Chechen Republic you will never be in misery." 
After reading these words I made up my mind to spend some hours surfing 
the Muslim Internet and share some impressions with you.

The first things that caught my attention were informational mailing 
lists. The very fact of their existence denotes specific culture of Net 
journalism. The informational service Islamic Association for Palestine 
(www.iap.org), as it has become known later, ranks among the first in 
Islamic net hierarchy. Each message begins with words 
"Assalamu'alaikum". Everyone can subscribe by sending an e-mail to 
majordomo {AT} iap.org with "subscribe IAP-NET" in the title. The major 
subject that makes up the center of battling world powers is the 
campaign against Israel prime minister Ariel Sharon. Even European 
politicians, as our media inform, feel doubtful about a man with Gestapo 
(Zionist) past - when he used to be a military chief, Ariel Sharon gave 
orders and personally participated in exterminating hundreds of 
Palestinians. As IAP mailing list informs, these facts provoke "Muslim 
intifadah that seems to grow into worldwide Jihad".

Several links in the news allowed me to easily get into the center of 
Muslim world wide web. First of all I was astounded by its enormous 
size. Not only propagandist rhetoric with tormented arguments which are 
unavoidable in such cases, but also the great volumes of information and 
its presentability are surprising. Each site has first level domain 
name; perhaps they have $50-70 a year to pay for these domains. Only one 
is located in England (.co.uk), the others have international domain 
names .com, .org and .net. There are many mirrors, links are organized 
hierarchically. Great design, indeed, without excessive mp3's, animation 
and other "stuff"; but the main thing is the enormous number of 
information agencies, multilanguage texts, often an everyday update, 
bellicose and aggressive propaganda and Muslim news everywhere. Of 
courser, life is most active in Middle East, and the grand site 
www.islam-online.net presents it in all its grandeur. IVIEWS.COM, Islam 
Online, Muslaman, Palestine Information Center, Dawn Newspaper, 
International Islamic News Agency, Information Times, Islamic Financial 
Data Services, IANA RadioNet, Islam Information and News Network, 
Palestine Times, INews Daily, Al Muhajiroun News : What shahs, emirs and 
oil kings finance these newspapers and offices provided with every 
possible kind of modern electronic conveniences, professional and 
religious journalists, every web designing achievement? These sites are 
made very professionally and are accompanied by video and audio 
material. Together with News, Finances and Policy sections you can 
always find one dedicated to Islam or hadj. "Allah said to Mohammed.." 
Everywhere you can find a full version of Koran or other sacred texts.

According to them, Muslim forces unite their efforts. Perhaps, they just 
don't expose their inner conflicts, because the sites are obviously done 
for the sake of the Islam public representation. They're primarily 
intended for concerned readers all over the world. While avoiding 
politically incorrect messages (smaller sites seldom bother about that), 
official Muslim pages proclaim Zionism to be their worst enemy and 
appeal to UN anti-Zionist declarations. Islam Online contains "an appeal 
to all Jews" that suggests differentiating between nationality and 
politics and considering Zionism to be the enemy of mankind, as well as 
Fascism. As a circumstantiate argument, they inform how much money is 
annually spent by American tax payers on supporting "Israel occupation 
regime". This trick - propaganda of Islam among American citizens - is 
carried on to IAP mailing list, which appeals to its readers asking them 
to distribute these statements among any available American media.

The support rendered by world Islamic society to warring Chechens, 
perhaps, does not always spread on to Internet. The leading site of 
Chechen Mujahideen "Kavkaz-center" is made by unprofessional 
journalists, it only has French and Ukrainian versions. The best site 
dedicated to Chechnya is called www.qoqaz.net and exists in 16 different 
languages including Indonesian and Somalian. Red tongues of fire appear 
on the screen before the title and text. The informational service is 
very good and updated daily. There also are interviews with field 
commanders, and in FAQ section one can find information about joining 
armed groups ("If you are not trained, then the Mujahideen in Chechnya 
advise you to go and get some training first in other countries"), 
Russian POWs tell about poor moral condition of their army. "What is 
Ummah's answer to these crimes against Muslims? Where are Ummah's sages, 
why don't they condemn these crimes and ask Ummah to undertake proper 
action in order to support their brethren in Chechnya? Aren't the 
leaders of Muslim countries concerned with condition of their Muslim 
brethren in Chechnya?"

The mentioned www.amina.com is a more or less organized compilation of 
news messages taken from various news agencies, while the leading news 
agency dealing with this subject is called Marsho (www.marsho.org - but 
I suspect there is something wrong with this URL - check its mirror at 
http://www.musalman.com/islamnews/Chechnya.shtml). The bilingual 
www.ichkeria.org, however, features Russian language and the values of 
traditional journalism. There are even links to rights-defending centers 
and liberal media, such as radio Svoboda. The site is idyllically styled 
and dreams of some utopian Ichkeria, though some sections, such as 
"Genocide in Chechnya" and "The Holocaust" contrast with the soft 
design. The site is definitely pro-Chechen, though not Islamic. There is 
an impressive historiography of Russian military crimes in the Caucasus 
since 17th century.

www.kavkaz.org, owned by Chechen Mujahideen themselves, has very poor 
reputation, I've only seen it once among other Muslim links. Despite the 
declared solidarity campaign, world Islamists seem to abstain from 
solidarity with obvious propagandists. This site is really dubious. 
There are messages about "executing of traitors". It predicts war that 
is to happen soon and the foundation of a caliphate in Middle Asia, 
explains the "servile nature" of Russians, and by the way, gives much 
less information on Russian military crimes. Perhaps, they're not much 
concerned with the fate of civilians too. This is a site of "warriors of 
Allah" who strive to turn the civil war into worldwide Jihad.

How can we find true information about the way that is underway for five 
years so far and has already become the background of our everyday life 
than? Not from TV news, probably, because they are unauthentic not only 
because the authorities won't tell us the truth, but also because the 
army chiefs do not allow the journalists to hot spots. We can turn our 
attention to www.memo.ru belonging to a rights-defending organization 
Memorial. It not only provides authentic information on the Caucasus 
situation, but also has observers and specialists working in the region. 
The site tells about everyday life in Chechnya without any political 
attitude. The everyday life consists of assaults, looting, marauding, 
clean-ups, tortures and murders of civilians. In reply to Mujahideen's 
sporadic attacks Russian soldiers blow up houses, undertake clean-ups 
and take away people, whose corpses are often discovered with signs of 
torture. Hundreds of people are considered unaccounted for. Upon pretext 
of checking identification people are arrested, tortured and held to 
ransom. It is notable that pogroms and kidnappings are in most cases 
committed by mercenary soldiers, while enlisted soldiers don't 
participate, and OMON warriors often attempt to prevent these crimes 
from happening. Chechen citizens in turn undertake actions of civil 
disobedience:

When Russian troops blocked Alkhan-Kala again on the 15th of December 
declaring another checking of passport regime, civilians frustrated it 
by starting an action of civil protest. They approached the troops, 
brought dead bodies and demanded first of all to cancel all clean ups 
which have become the means of enrichment for police chiefs and, 
secondly, to provide security from bandits. They presented a banner 
saying "Down with vakhabism". The troops kept the village blocked for 
several days more, but the clean up was after all frustrated. This was 
one of the most notable actions of non-violent civil resistance in the 
second half of 2000.

Whoever the vakhabites are, even though some of them commit slave trade 
and kidnapping, Russians give them serious reasons to do so. Again, 
www.memo.ru is worth checking at least after another portion of TV 
programming. Russian and Chechen bandits rob, vakhabites fight, 
civilians loathe bandits and because of that the chances of vakhabites 
are improving. As in Israel people vote for military criminals against 
Arabs, in Russia military criminals who deserve new Nurenberg carry on 
controlling the situation. Whatever we think about Caucasus and Allah, 
Ben Laden and Arafat, Middle East continues to establish its presence in 
the world.

I would like to finish this review with a recollection of a strange man 
I've once met under strange conditions. "Kolya", with whom I got 
acquainted last summer in Kharkov, used to be an elitist regiment marine 
in Afghanistan. He had a tattoo on his shoulder - "eternal flame" and 
numbers "1982-1984. 1362-1364". The last numbers correspond with Muslim 
calendar. "Fourteenth century, indeed" - Kolya said. "Russian farmers 
plough up earth with field engines, their farmer rides a bull instead. 
But the bull has a Panasonic video hanging on one horn and a Sony on the 
other. When you enter a hut, you see that it is wooden, but in the 
corner of the room there is a large stereo. When you pick up bags, 
there're ducats in one, pounds in the other and hashish in the third".



P.S. While only thinking of writing this review, I received a message 
from MosBabylon mailing list:

DPN INFORM - SPECIAL ISSUE

13th of February 2000

DPN participants are arrested.

In the morning of the 13th of February in Moscow several members 
(Ljudmila Evstigneeva, Pavel Ljuzakov, Boris Stomakhin, Pavel Kantor, 
Dmitry Tarasov) of Russian Movement for Chechen Independence (RDNCh) 
were searched and arrested by FSB officers. According to what we have 
found out, officials confiscated two computers, RDNCh and RKO (Russian 
contact alliance) documents , Besides, FSB officers confiscated several 
magazines, including "Radical politics" published by RKO, 
"Antimilitarist" by "Antimilitarist radical association" (ARA), "Direct 
action". Leaflets of the movement "Rejoice Maria" propagandizing against 
Russian orthodox church were confiscated too. Arrested people were 
released several hours later after investigation. As they inform, a 
criminal case is started against them. They are accused of calumny, 
insulting an official and exhorting to subversion. The maximal penalty, 
according to the Criminal code, is 5 years imprisonment.

And yesterday I heard of new bombardments of Baghdad by Americans and 
British. Intifadah is underway, and it is going to become real Jihad.



INFO: The dubious celebration of the 23rd of February was marked by 
numerous anti-war initiatives all over Moscow. For the first time in 
history the protest against the Chechen war took on organized form and 
resulted in specific actions held by various organizations, such as 
anarchist groups, "Memorial", The Radical party, The Rainbow keepers 
etc. On the 23rd of February the first meeting took place in Pushkin 
square in Moscow; as one of its participants says, "the meeting was 
fine. Rights-defending activists provided good promotion (many leaflets 
and posters in colleges and various clubs (for example, I saw one in 
O.G.I), also in newspapers, such as "Novaya gazeta" and "Moskovski 
komsomolets"), and approximately 300-400 people came. Their age varied 
from 35 to 50, though some twenty per cent of them were younger than 
that. I didn't pay much attention to people who spoke on the stage, but 
I can state that most of them belonged to various rights-defending 
initiatives and they differentiated themselves from any liberal parties, 
such as SPS, "Yabloko" or Novodvorskaya. As far as I understood, a 
resolution was passed at the meeting, according to which the Anti-war 
Action Committee should be restored with a new name. Passers-by didn't 
seem to be annoyed by the event. Some 6 or 7 people actively expressed 
their discontent". The actions continued on the 23rd and 24th. As 
participants say, there were less people and cameras. The same 
correspondent summarizes: "All meetings gathered a notable number of 
people, the good thing is that most of the participants were not 
political activists. It is rather surprising, for almost every meeting 
that happens in Moscow is arranged and attended solely by activists. I 
think I have the right to say that virtually everybody in Russia is 
irritated by the Chechen war. There is a definite (and not so small) 
protesting potential. It is very dangerous that many people seriously 
believe that the only possible solution for the Chechen problem is to 
exterminate every Chechen citizen. The reasons for such tendencies is 
another subject, though."


Information on actions and other anti-war initiatives is available also 
at www.antimil.narod.ru. Besides, in addition to the issue you can find 
interesting information on the Chechen situation at both Memorial 
Internet site and www.refugee.ru


The old anarchist mailing service called "The black list" is on air 
again, and the first issue delivers sensational news about the NRA case. 
It turned out that one of the main suspects on the case Olga Nevskaya 
was released from Lefortovo several months ago, in late November, and 
some rights-defending activists (names not mentioned) have been 
concealing that fact so far. Does this fact mean that other people 
involved in the case, first of all Alexander Biriukov and Larisa, are 
going to be released too?


BELARUS: On the 5th of February the famous newspaper "Navinki" published 
by Minsk anarchists (5600 copies regularly) held an action called "Rock 
guillotine" - an alternative to the official "Rock coronation". The 
latter features three Belorus bands that struggle for prizes - NRM, The 
Leprechauns and Lyapis-Trubetskoy. At the action held by Navinki prizes 
were distributed for "worst performing", "most abominable video" etc. 
Dima and Marina Model, who have just returned from Minsk, report that 
the newspaper is now so significant that the students of the journalist 
department of Minsk university write their graduation papers about them. 
Some time earlier the editorial team of Navinki arranged an action of 
"mastering" an opposition manifestation (thus carrying on with the 
Moscow street-party on the 1st of May in which they took part), and also 
squatted someone's apartment for half an hour. I should also say that 
there is a show at Belorus TV that resembles Kiselyov's "Itogi". It is 
called "The secret springs of power". The editorial team of Navinki 
illustrated this show at the mentioned manifestation by bringing an old 
sofa there and collectively hopping on its springs.

Translation: Alexey Kovalev

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