The Flame, June-July 2009 -- Green Left Weekly's Arabic-language supplement

With the help of Socialist Alliance members in the growing Sudanese community in Australia, Green Left Weekly -- Australia's leading socialist newspaper -- is publishing a regular Arabic language supplement. The Flame covers news from the Arabic-speaking world as well as news and issues from within Australia. The editor-in-chief is Soubhi Iskander, a comrade who has endured years of imprisonment and torture at the hands of the repressive government in Sudan.

“There are Arabic newspapers in Australia, but still all reflect the views of their editors and there is a great need to establish a progressive Arabic-language press which can frankly discuss the squalid condition of the Arab world due to submission and subservience to neo-colonialism”, Iskander explains. “At the same time, the Arabic-speaking communities in Australia need to read articles relating to the Australian government policy internally — articles which will unmask the pitfalls of these policies, and will expose the violation and the lies of the capitalist parties. The Flame, we hope, will be a powerful addition to Green Left Weekly.”

Iskander and his team are working to involve progressive activists from other Arabic-speaking communities in the Flame project. They are promoting GLW subscriptions to interested members of the Arabic-speaking communities. GLW is proud to be taking this major step to broaden the audience for progressive ideas and news of the movements for radical political, economic and environmental change. We know we will not achieve radical change without bringing together all sections of the oppressed and exploited in a common struggle.

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is proud to bring the Flame to readers outside Australia. Below is the June-July 2009 edition of the Flame. Click here to read or download The Flame, June-July 2009 -- Green Left Weekly's Arabic-language supplement

Submitted by Terry Townsend on Thu, 07/02/2009 - 10:06


A willing ally to Hamas's hatred

Article from: The Australian

(But hey, don't ask for any quotes!)

THE Green Left Weekly is probably Australia's best-known radical-left newspaper. While nominally independent, it is affiliated with the Socialist Alliance party and its youth movement Resistance! Like most radical socialist groups, it invariably aligns with the anti-Israel movement.

For some time it has been apparent that an unholy alliance is growing between extreme left-wing groups and Arab and Islamic extremists, despite completely different visions for society. This alliance has been on show in much of the anti-war movement in Britain and other places.

For instance, Britain's "Respect" party is basically an alliance of radical Muslims and old hard-line Marxists such as former Labour MP George Galloway. Galloway was pro-Saddam Hussein before the 2003 Iraq war. Today, he works for the Iranian government mouthpiece television station, Press TV.

But what isn't widely known is that the Green Left Weekly is openly promoting extremism among Arabic speakers in Australia through a monthly Arabic-language insert called The Flame (read issues here). This support is not limited to Green Left Weekly's own far-left agenda. It supports terrorist groups and promotes violence as the solution to the existence of the "Zionist state."

You would think GLW's declared pursuit of the advancement of "anti-racist, feminist, student, trade union, environment, gay and lesbian, civil liberties" would rule out the promotion of radical Islamist groups such as Hamas, which are deeply hostile to all the above.

Yet alongside content promoting the PFLP, a tiny left-wing and currently marginal Palestinian terror group, Hamas is also promoted by GLW as a positive model of "resistance"; that is to say, terrorism. Those killed as a result of the violence Hamas sparks are "martyrs", terminology Flame shares with Hamas. Further, the terminology of the Flame is openly hostile to the more moderate governments of the region and repeatedly demands all-out war on the "Zionist entity".

The January edition of the Flame was devoted to the conflict in Gaza. The cover page is a compilation of statements from various communist parties in the Arab world. Predictably, the communiques incited its Arabic readers with imagery of "slaughter," and a "waterfall of Palestinian blood washing the streets". More surprisingly, there are implicit calls for other Arab states to expand the Gaza war.

In "Hunt of a people", the paper refers to the 1982 Lebanon war, indignant "Arab capitals stood watching, exactly as is happening now."

The paper targets American-allied Arab governments for their moderation in the war, which it terms "collusion". The front-page article from the Iraqi Communist Party rebukes the Saudi government, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority, which it disparagingly dubs the "Oslo Authority". The Mubarak government is condemned for being "a loyal accomplice to Israel and the Oslo Authority in their attempt to shut Hamas out". It also accuses the Saudi monarchy of having covert dealings with "the Zionists" stretching back decades. Any non-violent interaction with Israel, whether actual or imagined, is scorned.

In the March edition the Flame was aghast at Egypt for co-operating with the US against Hamas. Its expose was titled "Egypt uses American soldiers to prevent weapons smuggling to the resistance!" In the Arabic, "the resistance" is euphemism for terrorist violence and for Hamas itself.

Another article, "A return to principles is necessary after the Israeli aggression", is more virulent. An illustration shows a Palestinian imprisoned behind barbed wire shaped as a partial Jewish star. The article condemns those calling the Gaza war a victory for the "resistance", given the large proportion of "martyrs" from the Palestinian people in comparison to the "slim" number killed among "soldiers of the Israeli occupation army". The rest of the article is critical of the Palestinian factions for their internecine fight.

It criticises Hamas for abandoning its traditional position as the "resistance" against "the enemy" to fight the PA and calls for a "united Palestinian resistance" which will "return the benefit to the Palestinian people". It is clear that this unity will not negotiate peace with Israel, with the paper stating "this unity in battle must not fall into the trap of dialogue that the decrepit Arab regimes of the region are producing." The Flame defines Israel as "the enemy" and demands violent "resistance" while pouring scorn on negotiations or dialogue, It praises the assassination of a "Zionist minister" as "courageous."

The radical anti-Israel stance of Green Left Weekly is no secret. However, the message it pitches to the Arabic-speaking community of Australia is far more inflammatory.

Unbeknown to its English readers, it supports terrorist groups such as Hamas whose goal is to create a state where there would be no place for the gays, lesbians, feminists and trade unionists who read the English-language edition of the paper.

Ilan Grapel is a researcher with the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council.