Monday, December 31, 2012

Its Time to be Brave...

My dearest Akif,

Your brother Airiel has been by himself for 3 years before Abah and Mama decided its time to add to the family.

Your presence and being was planned, expected and something Abah and Mama was looking forward to. Abah had a feeling from the first time he saw the 2 lines that you were going to be a boy while Mama was hoping for a girl. Abah had decided to name you Akif.

Mama dropped all mama's bad habits and stopped drinking coffee altogether. Mama ate kalsium and vitamins and asid folic and whatever that Bonda asked mama to take, as each and every pregnancy in this family is precious as only we would know.

Scanned at 13 weeks and 17 weeks, you looked normal and good and there was no cause for concern.  Mama's health was good and mama had planned everything out. Mama had early and shortlisted mama's postnatal care, was in the midst of choosing breastpumps for you.

Mama and Bonda was even considering to have your cord blood taken for the family during your birth. Mama spoke to you all the time and Airiel was always asking you when you were coming out of Mama's tummy to play with him.

At 29 weeks, during a routine checkup, a specialist detected that you were not well Akif and Mama was rushed to University Hospital. An ultrasound confirmed Bonda's worst fears. You were very very sick.

You had Hydrop Fetalis.

Your chance of survival is very poor. Today mama had to undergo a barrage of tests to find out what is making you so sick. Abah is still having a hard time accepting that this is happening.

It breaks Mama's heart to see the water surrounding your organs, even under your skin, the abnormality of your heart and how against all those odds, your heart was beating ferociously. You were literally and essentially fighting for your life.

Some questions in life, you just can't find the answer to Akif, and Mama cannot offer any explanation why you have to suffer this way. Some people would want to say maybe its penance for what Mama or Abah has done or said, but Mama does not want to believe that.

Mama truly believes that Allah knows best and Mama will let Allah decide what is best for you, Abah and Mama. Mama is willing to let you go Akif if that will ease your suffering. Your suffering, Mama cannot bear to watch.

Mama knows that you will go to a beautiful, wonderful place where there is no suffering, no sickness, no aging and no pain. Mama knows you will wait for Mama. Mama does not know whether Mama will ever qualify to go to that beautiful place where only the chosen will go, but Mama hopes Mama will get to see you and meet you there.

Mama will miss you so so very much until Mama's dying day.

For now, Mama will cherish every moment that we still have together, your every movement in Mama's tummy, your every kick. The doctors tell me, the only reason you are still alive is because you are still inside me, and you will not survive long once you enter the world. Mama has accepted this, even though it kills Mama to hear it.

Be brave for Mama Akif, and Mama will be brave for you...

Mama and Abah loves you more than life itself...

Dear Allah, please do what is best for Akif and this family...please give us the strength...


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Preggy Updates - Baby in Tummy No. 2

Hello Readers,

Moving on to my preggy updates now.

I am at 28 weeks now and everything is looking good at the moment. Alhamdulillah.

So far I have gained about 8kgs throughout the pregnancy which is a good weight. One thing about gov. check ups is that they monitor EVERYTHING. No sugar coating about weight, diet, sugar levels or anything. I am not supposed to gain more than 11-12 kgs max until I am at 40 weeks and they do scold you if you gain more than what is allowed as healthy. That is why I get horrified when I see other people I know gain 15, 18 heck even 20 kgs throughout pregnancy! I automatically can tell that these ones must go for checkups at private hospitals! No way will they allow you to gain that much weight in gov. checkups. I can imagine the scolding kalau diorg kat klinik kerajaan wooo...hehehe. It is one of the reasons I could easily drop the weight after Airiel was born.

My first 'minum air gula' session was ok and I am not diabetic. But they are making me drink it a second time because of family history (my mum is diabetic). Hadoiii, aper sajela kan asal ibu dan anak sihat.

I do not know the gender yet and will be meeting a gynae this weekend to discuss my options, i.e. elective c-sect and to do a 4d scan as well.

My shopping for this second one has been slow because as I said in my previous preggers post, shopping for baby items causes me great discomfort. I'd rather buy jewelry (totally irrelevant I know) hahahaha...

These are my team members, at our recent team dinner...Yours truly at 28 weeks

Man, I feel so preggers but I thought I would immortalise this since I kept no pics of me being pregnant with Airiel at all..28 weeks preggers...

Starting tomorrow, I will start buying items for pantang and for baby, so I will keep you guys updated ok?

Happy holidays everyone.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boycotting Israeli Products [Progress Update Part 2]

Hello Everyone,

My holidays are underway and updates to this blog have been slow.

I am sorry. Anyways, I am fresh back from my medical checkup and preggy mama is at 28 weeks now. But preggy updates will be for another post.

More to my boycott updates.

My entire household has undergone a great change.

From M*ilo, my mum has changed our staple drink to ovaltine, which is Israel free. And everyone seems to be enjoying it well.

And everyone who knows me wants to know whether I have quit my one passion which I have never been able to live without aka Starb*ucks coffee. The answer is YES. I quit cold turkey since the day Aisha died. Not only that, I have found alternatives which I find equally as good! Alternatives below readers:-

1. Dr. Cafe - founded by Yousef Al-Rajhi and hailing from Saudi Arabia, this is my main alternative to Star*bucks. The coffee is quite good, although because I am preggers I can only drink decaf at the moment. I find the caramel macchiato latte really GOOD (addictive really). And since a shop is found at citta mall, ara damansara 3 mins away, I have one almost every day.

2. Dr. Figaro coffee - A chain that finds its roots from the phillipines, the coffee is quite good, although I find the drinks slightly watered down and the coffee doesn't pack the same amount of ummphh. Maybe its the barristas, am not sure. The food it serves is quite ok though and I like the tapas.

3. Sao Paulo coffee - One has just opened up in citta mall, I have yet to give it a try, I will try the coffee and keep you guys posted.

4. Coffee Bean - This is an obvious choice for the rest of us, and it has shops almost everywhere where there is Star*bucks. Do most of you know that although Star*bucks is a loyal supporter of the IDF, its chain is not popular in Israel? Coffee Bean is arguably the more successful one of the two over there. There no known ties or pledges made by Coffee Bean to IDF though, so I suppose its perfectly alright as an alternative.

5. Coffee Stain - Coffee Stain is a small cafe located in Solaris Dutamas which serves excellent Lavazza coffee. The caramel latte is to DIE for. I go here for coffee all the time!

Alright guys, more progress updates coming soon.

Happy holidays readers.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Every Child is Valuable....

As I approach the end of the year, my heart fills with great sadness.

I would usually get Aisha's school report, her grades and she would send me emails on her milestones for this year and her goals for the next.

I will not be getting them this year...

I will never be getting them again for the other years...

Aisha is gone...bombed, blown to bits and pieces on her way back from school. My heart just breaks repeatedly when I think of it. I cannot imagine what her biological mother is going through.

I was shocked and full of sadness to hear about the 20 children that died in the Sandy Hook shootings.

Obama gave a speech and shed a tear for the beautiful children that lost their lives to soon, flags were flown at half mast, there were petitions for moments of silence for the victims who lost their lives which I supported and signed. Stories about how beautiful each child that was lost was plastered on every social and media network possible.

And at the back of my mind, I just kept wondering, what about my child? what about my Aisha? what about the other children who have lost their lives to bombs and guns and acts of violence and war which they do not understand? what about the children of gaza who lost their lives in the recent attacks? no tears were shed, no flags flew at half mast, no stories were written about them...the children who died, including Aisha were tossed away, forgotten and ignored.

And I cried, I cried for them all...for the children who lost their lives in Sandy Hook, for the children who lost their lives in Gaza, for the children who lost their lives in Syria, for the children who lost their lives in Burma and Arakan, they were all beautiful, they were all innocent, they all had promise, they all had stories to tell. And they are all gone...

So let us grieve the children of the Sandy Hook shootings, but let us not forget every other child in Gaza, in Syria, in Burma, in Haiti who are dying daily because of violence, malnutrition, hunger, war and terror. None of them, wherever they may be deserve to be forgotten. Let us grieve for them all... when we have that moment of silence, let it be for all those children. They were all angels. All of them...

No life of one child is more valuable than another...

My Aisha will be immortalised in time...forever a child....forever 12.

Ummi misses you very very much Aisha.

Ummi will never forget....never...

Monday, December 17, 2012

Must Haves - Body Aches during Pregnancy

Hello Everyone,

Inching into week 26-27 of pregger-world isn't really an 'amazing' or 'wonderful' experience (moms who says otherwise are crazy I tell you!).

Anyways, I keep these products handy and they are indispensable for my body and muscle aches.

 Easy to apply but it has a strong smell equally hot sensation... I use the less smelly one

Gotta have the vicks when a headache hits me!

 and my ultimate fave, minyak yu yee.

All israel free, of course.

Am still chock full of hearings this week, wish me luck...

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Palestine/Syria/Burma/Somalia - How to Help

Hello Everyone,

It has been a while since I have posted updates here. Sorry guys, I have been busy with court. So busy in fact, I had a little minor bleeding episode and have been instructed to rest now.

This post is long overdue. I have been asked numerous times by readers since my first post on Aisha on how to help. So here goes.

There are a number of organisations that can help those in need all around the world. And I am not talking just about Palestine, there are children in Somalia, Syria, and do not forget the Rohingyas either, who according to the UN are the most persecuted people in the world. I try to split my help evenly between all these groups of people because according to arwah Aisha (yes, a 12 year old) no one person deserves more help than another. Everybody needs help she used to say...sigh [let's move on before I burst into tears shall we...]. I will list down the organisations I use.

1. MuslimAid - Muslimaid provides help to Burma, Syria, Darfur, Iraq and Syria among others. It is a UK organisation. They mainly ask for donations which can be provided just once or on a monthly basis. Did you know that by contributing just 3 pounds equivalent to about RM12, you can help save a person's life?  Please visit their website for more information.

2. Muslim Hands



5. Islamic Relief Malaysia - This organisation provides an avenue to adopt children from Somalia and Palestine and other programmes with a root in Malaysia. My fellow ex- Shearnie and blogger Farah Shafinaz has joined the cause via this organisation and I am so proud of her!

6. UPA - This is where I found Aisha

7. Aqsa Syarif

8. Viva Palestina

9. Aman Palestin

10. Global Peace Malaysia

11. WFP - This is another one of my favourite organisations, you can donate and buy food packages for families in Syria, Haiti and other communities that do not have enough food.

These are just some of the organisations that is an avenue for us normal people that cannot dedicate much time for charitable activities but do have the cash to spare. Your adoptions and donations can go a long away and in my instance, it forged a relationship which changed my entire outlook on life.

I hope I have helped those of you who are interested find an organisation suited for you!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

5 Years of Marriage

Dearest Aries,

I am sorry I forgot to put up a post on our 5th anniversary!

Yes, it has been 5 years indeed last month, 30th!

“No long-term marriage is made easily, and there have been times when I've been so angry or so hurt that I thought my love would never recover. And then, in the midst of near despair, something has happened beneath the surface. A bright little flashing fish of hope has flicked silver fins and the water is bright and suddenly I am returned to a state of love again — till next time. I've learned that there will always be a next time, and that I will submerge in darkness and misery, but that I won't stay submerged. And each time something has been learned under the waters; something has been gained; and a new kind of love has grown. The best I can ask for is that this love, which has been built on countless failures, will continue to grow. I can say no more than that this is mystery, and gift, and that somehow or other, through grace, our failures can be redeemed and blessed.” 

Lets put up with each other some more years, shall we? For nostalgia's sake, I am putting up this pic of us.

Ok lah. Ini bukan tempat berjiwang jiwang.

Biarlah sampai syurga ... (although you  know statistically 99 % of the population according to our religion will actually go to hell [well, at least at first] right?)

Ever the realist, pessimist (combination of both),

Monday, December 10, 2012

Temerloh Catering, Seksyen 15, Shah Alam

Hello Everyone,

Its supposed to be my last working week of the year before I go on leave (although I might have to cancel a couple of days because of hearings and all). So imagine the havoc.

Anyways, last Sunday Aries took me to this place.

I have truly found TEMPOYAK HEAVEN. This, apart from my mum's own tempoyak, is the BEST tempoyak I have EVER tasted. This is tempoyak ikan patin by the way...

Ulam-ulaman is a must 

The carnage guys, the carnage.

We went at 3 p.m and the place was absolutely packed. So you know food must be good. Try it out friends. Man, the tempoyak is making me drool already!

Have a good rest of the week.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Boycotting Israel [Progress Update 1]

Hello Everyone,

People have asked me since I started my boycott (which is really, strictly speaking not really that long anyway), how I do it. Istiqamah ke? Have I been following the list strictly? Susah ke nak boycott semua benda? Mcm mcm la. Some have been cynical, think I am doing something completely pointless and sia-sia but alhamdulillah most have been rather supportive about it, especially my family.

But I tell you, its funny how an event can change your life completely. And I must admit that I have been successful so far at this point to follow everything in the list, which I have now memorised by heart. I think it is a conscious decision for a person to make, like buying only organic stuff, or becoming a vegetarian, or boycotting fur, you know..that kind of stuff.

At first it was difficult, because everything is just so convenient and the products are so widespread...but checking labels and product names and brands and bar codes have now become second nature to me, like breathing is. For the kitchen and food products in the house, we are currently finishing the products which have brought before we started the boycott (Allah tak suka org membazir, although I honestly can't eat them anymore), but we shall be following the list strictly after that, and I have also pasted the list on the fridge in my house so even my maids know what they should not buy for themselves when they go on leave.

Bags and Brands

Since Co*ach is on the list, I no longer have the stomach to look at any of my co*ach bags for it reminds me of Aisha and I hope to either sell them and give the money to Palestine or give them away to my maids or my sister's friends who want them. I have resorted to buying either Kate Spade bags (one of which I am wearing right now is GORGEOUS by they way) or Marc Jacobs which is not on the list. I mean a host of European luxury brands like Longchamp, Prada, Dior, Chanel etc (which are not owned by the Estee Lauder conglomerate) are not on the list and are Israel free so there are plenty of alternatives.

Lotions and Cosmetics
For Vic*toria Secret products which are also on the list, I am now using Body Shop products as an alternative. As for Johnson & Johns*on, in so far as body lotions are concerned, I am switching to Rosken and Nivea products and I have to say that they are actually better! hahah, who would have thought.

Fast Food
McD is history, but for those who crave fast food, there are always alternatives like KFC and Pizza Hut , Kenny Rogers, Nandos which are not on the list. Just be careful when ordering your drinks there. 

In so far as drinks are concerned, I mostly drink plain water now (how healthy I know!). But I avoid Nes*tle, F &N and Fan*ta products like the plague and trust me, findings alternative for these are hard! for coffee canned drinks, I choose Pokka as an alternative. For other sweet drinks, Yeo's (I know Yeo's is a Singapore brand and they have NO balls since they did not vote for Palestine at the UN...BOOOO) but hey, at least they are not on the list.

Boycott News around the world
Oh, and for those who still think boycotting israeli products is a waste of time or is useless, get this, just last year, Israeli parliament passed an anti boycott bill. The link is here. Aikkk, stress nampak kena boycott ye? Suka hati aku lah kan nak boikot korang...hahahahaha

Stevie Wonder has recently pulled out of performing at the fundraiser gala for IDF after public pressure. Yeay, I am so proud that I signed the petition asking him to back out of the event! News here.

Ok, more updates on alternative products later.

Have a good weekend ahead since it is Friday after all!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Moving Speech...[Full Text of Roger Waters speech in the UN]

My dearest daughter Aisha,

Yesterday I stumbled upon this moving speech by Roger Waters to the United Nations on 29th November 2012 before your country received 138 votes and was recognised as a state.

I remember how you told me once that most of the people who have helped you and your family were not only Muslims but a majority of them were in fact non-muslims. Christians, Jews and people of other faiths even who were present in Palestine because God moved their hearts to your plight and saw your suffering. These kind hearted people were there because they believe in the rights of every citizen to live in freedom and dignity.

I was embarrassed when you told me this. Mostly because the people of my own country are blind to real struggles and plights of others, and I was once included in that group of people. And yesterday when I saw this speech by Roger Waters, I understood what you meant. I know you struggle to understand spoken English and would do better in reading texts. So I am going to type this out and hope that everyone can read this and understand your plight, what you suffered and what you believed in.

"Mr. Chairman, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen, Thank you very much for receiving me at this moment of solidarity in crisis. I am a musician not a diplomat and so I shall not waste this precious opportunity on the niceties of protocol. However I will say that you must all be suffering from  listening fatigue to a certain extent. So while I've been sitting there listening as well, I have been editing my long speech down to a rather shorter speech, but I believe that the full text will be available to anybody who cares to read it at the end of this meeting.

I appear before you as a representative of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine and in that capacity I am representing global civil society. By way of preamble I should say my remarks here today are not personal or driven by prejudice or malice. I'm looking only to shed some light on the predicament of a beleaguered people. The Russel Tribunal on Palestine was created to shed such light, to seek accountability for the violations of international law and the lack of United Nations resolve that prevent the Palestinian people from achieving their inalienable rights, especially the right of self determination.

One particular stimulus to our convening was the disturbing failure of the international community to implement and enforce the clear judgment of the International Court of Justice in 2004 contained in its advisory opinion on the Israeli war as requested by the UN. We meet here in New York city 6 weeks ago on the 6th and 7th October having previously sent out invitations to all interested parties and after listening to exhaustive testimony from many expert witnesses and after careful deliberation, we arrived at the following judgments. We found that the state of Israel is guilty of a number of international crimes.

1. Apartheid - The UN's international covenant on the suppression and punishment of the crime of apartheid defines that crime as inhuman acts by any government that are committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining dominations by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them. This finding by the tribunal was endorsed earlier by the HRC committee for elimination of racial discrimination in Geneva after submissions by the tribunal made both orally and in writing;

2. Ethnic Cleansing - In this case, that crime includes the systematic eviction of much of the native Palestinian population by force since 1947-48

3. Collective Punishment of the Civilian Population - explicitly prohibited by the Geneva convention Article 33. Israel has violated its obligation as occupying power throughout the occupied Palestinian territory including the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem  Its most serious violations have occurred recently in Gaza with the blockade and virtual imprisonment of the entire population, the indiscriminate killing of Palestinians during the Israeli offensive "Operation Cast Lead" in 2008 and 2009 and now, the devastation brought by the recent attack, "Operation Pillar of Defense".

As I speak, I can hear the 'tut-tutting' of Governmental and media tongues trotting out the well worn mantra of apologies, 'But Hamas started IT with their rocket attacks, Israel is only defending itself'.Let us examine that argument. Did Hamas start IT? When did IT start? 

How we understand history is shaped by when we start the clock. If we start the clock at a moment when the rockets are fired from Gaza into Israel on a certain afternoon, that is one history. If we start the clock earlier that morning, when a 13 year old Palestinian boy was shot dead by Israeli soldiers as he played soccer on a Gaza field, history starts to look  a little different. If we go back  further, we see that since the Operation Cast Lead, according to the Israeli Human Rights Organisation, B'Tzelem, 271 Palestinians were killed by Israeli attacks, and during the same period, not a single Israeli was killed.

A good case can be made that IT started in 1967 with the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. This crisis in Gaza is a crisis rooted in occupation. Israel and its allies would contend that Gaza is no longer occupied really. The withdrawal of soldiers and settlers in 2005 changed the nature not the existence of occupation. Israel still controls Gaza's airspace, coastal waters, borders, land, economy and lives. Gaza is still occupied. 

The people of Gaza, the 1.6 million Palestinians, half of them children under the age 16 live in an open air prison. That is the reality that underlies the current crisis. And until we not only understand that but until YOU Excellencies,your governments and your general assembly take responsibility to end that occupation, we cannot even hope that the current crisis is over.

In October on the last occasion, jurists of the Russell Tribunal addressed this committee, we were assured that our representations and reports will be advanced on the floor of the general assembly for general debate. If things go well today, we may hope to hold your excellencies to that assurance. 

I have diverted briefly and let me return to the Israeli violations which the Russell Tribunal identified...

4. Contravention of 4th Geneva Conventions [Prohibition on Settlements] specifically Article 49 - The settlements, ALL the settlements are not simply an obstacle to peace. They are ILLEGAL

5. Use of illegal weapons - During Israel's Cast Lead Operation 4 years ago, international human rights organisations documented Tel Aviv's use of WHITE PHOSPHORUS in attacks on Gaza. Humans rights watch found that and I quote "Israel's repeated firing of white phosphorus shells over densely populated areas of Gaza during its recent military campaign was indiscriminate and is evidence of war crimes. White Phosphorus burns at up to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. Imagine what happens when it comes into contact with a skin of a child. Humans rights watch call for Israel's senior commanders to be held accountable". But so far there has been no such accountability.

There are more violations Excellencies, but you know that. Your resolutions trace the history of Israeli violations. You reget, you deplore, you even condemn the violations but when has your resolutions been implemented? It is not enough to deplore, condemn. What we need is for the United Nations, for you excellencies, your governments and the general assembly in which you serve to take seriously your responsibility to protect Palestinians living under occupation and facing the daily violation of their inalienable rights of self determination and equality.

The will of WE, the people of this United Nation is that all our brothers and sisters should be free to live in self-determination, that the oppressed should be released from their burden by being given recourse to the law and that the oppressors should be called to account by that same law.

In 1981, I wrote a song called the "Gunners Dream". It appeared on a Pink Floyd album 'the final cut' and the song purports to express the dying dream of an RAF gunner as he plunges to his death from a stricken aircraft towards the corner of some foreign field.  He dreams of the future of the future for which he is giving his life. I quote "A place to stay, enough to eat, somewhere all heroes shuffles safely down the street, where you can speak out loud about your doubts and fears and whats more, no one ever disappears, you never hear their standard issue kicking in your door. You can relax on both sides of the tracks, and maniacs don't blow holes in banisment by remote control and everyone has recourse to the law and no one kills the children anymore"

In 1982 and again in 1983, the General Assembly passed resolutions holding Israel  accountable for its violations. Those resolutions called for a complete arms embargo on Israel. No such embargo has been imposed. Instead it has fallen to global civil society to take the lead. Following a 2005 call from Palestinian civil society, social movements, activists and increasingly church bodies and even some local government authorities around the world have created the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions. It aims as many of you know to bring non-violent economic pressure to bear on Israel to force an end to its violations, an end to occupation and apartheid, an end to the denial of Palestinian's right to return, and an end to Palestinian citizens of Israel being required to live as 2nd class citizens, discriminated against on racial grounds and subjected to different laws than their Jewish compatriots.

The BDS movement is gaining ground hand over fist. Just last week I was happy to write a letter of support to the student government of the University of California, Irving congratulating them on demanding that their university divest from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation. Also, last summer, I was in Pittsburgh to witness the Presbyterian churches at the United States of America General Assembly vote on a resolution to divest from Motorola, Caterpillar and Hewlett Packard. This would have been unthinkable 10 years ago. To quote the great Bob Dylan 'The times, they are a changing'.

Back to today, you the members of the General Assembly, are about to have the opportunity to vote on changing Palestine's UN status to that of a Non-Member status. Whilst not according full UK membership, it would provide UN recognition to Palestine as a state and that would have that right to sign treaties crucially, including the Rome treaty as a signatory to International Criminal Court. 

This is a momentous occasion which was started here 13 months ago. It is one of those rare instances  where you excellencies can change the course  and the face of history and at the same time reinforce one of the founding principles of the UN, the right to self determination. The bid implicitly incorporates pre-67 borders, includes the integrity of East Jerusalem, an autonomous Gaza and the refugee diaspora. It is momentous because there are already 132 members who have recognised Palestine as a state and more are appearing everyday. And now just this week Hamas has lent its support.

I urge you to consider 2 points. Firstly, please resist pressure from any powerful government to coerce you into defeating or delaying this issue. Sadly there is a history of coercion in this hallowed place. No government however rich or powerful should be allowed to use its financial or military muscle to set UN policy by bullying other states on this or any other issue. Secondly, do not take this statehood vote as the end of fulfilling your obligations. General Assembly responsibility goes far beyond UN technicalities. It must include real protection for Palestinians under occupation and real accountability violations of the law. You have the power you do not use. You do not have to defer to or wait for the Security Council.

In just a few months, we will commemorate the 10th anniversary of the killing of Rachel Corrie, the young peace activist killed by an Israeli soldier driving an armoured Caterpillar bulldozer as she tried to protect the house of a pharmacist and his family in Rafah, on Gaza's border. International activists like Rachel Corrie , Tom Hurndall and James Miller took the risks they did and they and their families paid the ultimate price because the international community, your governments and the United Nations had failed to protect the vulnerable Palestinian population living under this prolonged occupation. We are proud though tears burn our eyes of the work of these young activists and are deeply moved by their sacrifice but we are angry too that our governments and our international institutions including the General Assembly have failed to provide the protection that would have made Rachel Corrie's sacrifice unnecessary. 

Also, let us not forget the thousands of courageous and anonymous Palestinians and their equally courageous Israeli brothers and sisters in arms boycott from within who protests peacefully on a weekly basis for the simple basic right to an ordinary human life. The right to live in dignity and peace, to raise their families, to till the land, to build a just society, to travel overboard, and be free of occupation, to aspire to each and every human goal just like the rest of us. 

Speaking of the rest of us, I live here in New York city. We are somewhat a parochial group, we New Yorkers to a large extent cut off by propaganda and privilege from the realities of the Palestinian plight. Few of us understand that the government of the United States of America particularly to its power of veto in the Security Council protects Israel from the condemnation of the global civil society that I have the honour to represent here today. 

Even as bombs rain down on 1.6 million people in Gaza, the President of the United States of America reasserted his position that Israel has a right to defend itself. We all know the reach and power of Israel's military capability and the deadly effects of its actions, so what did President Obama mean? Did he mean that Israel has a right to indefinitely occupy the whole of the region? 

The Palestinians are an ancient, intelligent, cultured, hospitable and generous people. And of course they have pride and will resist the occupation of their land and defend their women and children and property to the best of their ability. Who would not? Would you? Would I? Would President Obama? One would hope so. It would be his duty. 

More than a generation ago, the General Assembly passed Resolution 2625 dealing with the principle of equal rights and self-determination. It recognised that when people face "any forcible action depriving them of those rights, they have a right to actions against in resistance to such use of force". When the international community does not show responsibility to protect, Palestinians will shoulder that responsibility themselves. This is not to suggest that I support the launching of missiles into Israel. I do not. The internationally recognised legal right of resistance means that attacking any military target engaged in illegal occupation. But let's be clear as we believe in the law as indispensable and even handed, the launching of unguided rockets into Israel where the most likely targets is civilians is not a legal form of resistance. It is wrong and it is to be condemned.

Many civil society activists including many Palestinians and Israelis are committed to non-violent resistance. The BDS movement which have spread from Palestine's civil society to activists around the world is part of that non-violent resistance and I support it wholeheartedly. But let us be clear that the disparity of powers are and the reality of the occupation and the response of the occupied is in this reality we face and lest we find recourse in international law and hold ALL parties to it.

In the meantime, let me try to dial back the rhetoric a little and address the 'Israel has a right to defend itself' from a legal and historical perspective. This won't take long. 'Ex Injuria Non Oritur Jus', a legal right or entitlement cannot arise from injustice. If we truly oppose all violence, whether by the occupier or violent resistance by the occupied, we must act to aim the end of the root cause of the violence. In this conflict that means ending Israel's occupation, colonisation, ethnic cleansing and the denial of the right to self-determination and other inalienable rights that the Palestinian people is entitled to according to the UN Charter and other tenets of international law.

So to the future, Hamas having dropped its original demand for Israel to be dismantled in the run up to the elections in which they were democratically elected in January 2006, in elections deemed free and fair by every international observer present including former US president, Jimmy Carter. The leaders of Hamas have made their position clear over and over again. It is this, Hamas is open to permanent peace with Israel if there is total withdrawal to the 1967 borders, 22% of historical Palestine and the arrangement is supported by referendum of all Palestinians living under occupation.  I know you all know this but where I live, they DON'T know this. That don't know that THAT is the position of Hamas so I am telling them. 

Mr. Chairman, Excellencies. We are all here for the same reasons. We are all committed to human rights, to international law, to centrality of the United Nations and the equality for all including Palestinians. We're all attending this meeting on the 29th November that marks the UN's International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people. But it seems to me, our commemoration of this day is NOT enough so what else to do. The battleground is HERE, headquarters of the United Nations and simultaneously in the middle of New York City with access to the media. 

The battle is two-pronged, 1. To continue the work of informing the people of the United States of America about the reality of the Palestinian and Israeli conflict and most especially about the role of THEIR government, the host country of the United Nations using their tax dollars to fund and enable Israel's violations. 2. Just as importantly, we must address finally serious reform of the UN. The UN needs to embrace a new democracy. Veto must be rethought or the UN might die. The use of the veto as a strategic political tool by one or another permanent member of the Security Council has become outmoded. The system is too open to abuse. 

The blanket protection afforded to Israel by  the United States use of the veto is but one example of such abuse. I urge you, the general assembly to collectively work towards resting the power back to the people to facilitate progress towards a more democratic body, better able to pursue a higher aspirations of this great institution, to represent the will of the people of this great United Nations.

You the General Assembly represent the largest most democratic component of the United Nations. The United States and China and France and Russia and the UK have no Veto here. What is  needed is political will. You can make decisions and take actions the Security Council CANNNOT or WILL NOT. The United Nations Charter begins with the words "We, the peoples of these United Nations" NOT we the governments. 

I urge you, on behalf of the people of your countries, on behalf of the people of ALL countries, in fact on behalf of ALL the peoples of this, our shared earth to act. Seize this historic moment and support the vote today for Palestinian enhanced observer statehood status as a step towards full membership. 

Thank you.

Aisha, from the river to the sea, one day your Palestine will be FREE. I will join this fight any way I can. I promise.

Ummi Idza

Monday, December 3, 2012

Breast Pumps Galore

Hello readers,

WARNING : The word 'breast' appears a lot in this post. If you somehow get touchy about that, then well, too bad for you.

I have mentioned that I am still surveying breast pumps in one of my earlier posts which for the life of me, I can't find.

No matter. I have surveyed here and there, and have narrowed down the options. I think I am going to purchase mine from LittleWhiz or BabyLoft. I have to buy the double pump because I do not want to waste time pumping, so here goes the options:-

1. Ameda Lactaline Dual Breastpump 

It's on sale at both littlewhiz and babyloft and goes for about RM799 - 900 depending on the packages you pick. The reviews on it in Mumnet are mixed but generally positive. Definitely not as expensive as Medela.

2. Ardo Calypso Double Breastpump

Its on sale at Babyloft and goes for about RM750 to RM880 depending on the package that you pick. There are not a lot of reviews for this pump because its relatively new in the market, but overall its positive and happy feedback. You can look here:-

(a) Debalicious Review :-; and

3. Medela Freestyle Double Pump

Definitely the most established brand name out there, and of course the most expensive one of all. Babyloft sells the package which is on sale at the moment from RM1600 (ouch!!!). Littlewhiz is currently having a promotion package which retails for RM2000 (ayoyo!). The reviews are of course stellar, although a lot say that it has a lot of parts and maybe confusing to use at first.

4. Rumble Tuff Double Pump

This is by far the cheapest option out of the lot for a double pump and packages from littlewhiz and babyloft does not exceed RM450!. Also relatively new in the market, reviews are few and far betweem. Whatever reviews online available, it seems to indicate  that apart from draining batteries like a vampire, the rest are all positive reviews. This is definitely on my shortlisted breastpumps.

5. Spectra Dew 350 Double Breast Pump

Ok, this is the last option on my shortlist. Also relatively reasonable in price. Around RM400-700 depending on what packages you pick. Reviews are great because its actually a hospital grade pump. The only downside to this pump is I have read that it is heavy and crazy berat to lug around (although that should help in burning calories hahahaha.)

Alright my lovelies. Drop me a line if you have any other suggestions or have used any of the brands above and let me know k?

Am off to record a consent judgment which means my 2 week trial has been vacated! Yeay for settlement. Have a good start to the week.