JULY 2006

Hayatullah Khan

June 16th BBC World News. Found dead in Pakistan, he had been handcuffed and appeared to have been shot from behind while trying to escape, his brother, Ehsanullah, told the BBC.

The journalist had lost a lot of weight and had grown a long beard.

Mr Khan's brother said the handcuffs were of a type usually used by security forces. Both the militants and the authorities denied knowledge of his whereabouts during the six months he was missing. Local tribal journalists' organisations have blamed the government for his death because it failed to rescue him.

'US missile'

Mr Khan was seized by unidentified gunmen on 5 December.

Days earlier, the Pakistani authorities had said an al-Qaeda commander they named as Abu Hamza Rabia had been killed with four others in a blast at an alleged militant hideout in North Waziristan. The official version was that bomb-making materials had exploded by accident.

But locals said the men were killed by a missile fired from an unmanned US drone. Mr Khan took photographs of what appeared to be pieces of a US missile at the scene.

Pakistan is a close ally of the US in its "war on terror" but reports of US strikes on Pakistani soil provoke anger among opponents of the government in Islamabad.

Hayatullah Khan worked for a Pakistani English-language newspaper and a foreign photo agency.The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said he had in the past been threatened by security forces, suspected Taleban members and tribesmen for his reporting.

He leaves behind three children and a widow.

Michel Kilo

Michel Kilo is also a well-known human rights activist who has always defended freedom and democracy and fought against any kind of repression. He participated in the creation of the “Committees for Reviving Civil Society” in Syria and in the elaboration of the “Damascus Declaration for a democratic change”. His positions and works express the deep conviction that a strong link exists between a national attitude rejecting western hegemony and the consolidation of society through democracy.

15.05.2006 Authorities arrest journalist and human rights activist Michel Kilo

Reporters Without Borders today called for the immediately release of Michel Kilo, a Syrian journalist, human rights activist and political scientist, who was arrested yesterday in Damascus. His wife said he had not been seen since he got a phone call in the afternoon ordering him to report to a police station.

“Censorship, harassment, threats and arbitrary arrests - the Syrian authorities seem to stop at nothing,” Reporters Without Borders said. “After Ali Abdallah’s arrest on 23 March, it is now the turn of Kilo - an emblematic figure in Syria’s struggle for democracy - to be targeted by the repression against journalists and human rights activists.”

The press freedom organisation added: “We are all the more worried as we do not know what charges have been brought against him or where he is being held.”

Ammar al-Qorabi of the National Organisation for Human Rights in Syria said he thought Kilo had been arrested for signing a petition by 274 leading intellectuals, journalists and artists from both Syria and Lebanon urging a radical reform of relations between the two countries.

Called “Beirut-Damascus, Damascus-Beirut,” the joint statement condemns “any attempt to impose economic or other sanctions on the Syrian people” and advocates the need to “respect and consolidate the sovereignty and independence of Lebanon and of Syria as part of institutionalised and transparent relations that serve the interests of both peoples and reinforce them against Israeli aggression and US hegemony.”

It also stresses “the need for definitive Syrian recognition of Lebanon’s independence,” adding that “the first steps in this direction should consist of a demarcation of borders and an exchange of ambassadors.”

An advocate of democratic reform in Syria, Kilo writes for the Lebanese dailies An-Nahar and Al-Safir, as well as Al Quds Al Arabi, an Arabic-language newspaper based in London. He also heads Hourriyat, a Damascus-based press freedom organisation launched last year.

In addition to fellow journalist Ali Abdallah, three cyber-dissidents - Massoud Hamid, Habib Saleh and Mohammed Ghanem - are currently imprisoned in Syria.

President Bashar El-Assad is on the Reporters Without Borders list of 38 press freedom predators.


Reporters Without Borders reiterated its call for the release of journalist Michel Kilo today after learning that he faces the possibility of life imprisonment on charges of stirring up “religious and racial divisions,” publishing “mendacious and exaggerated reports with the aim of discrediting the government” and “defaming the president and the courts.”

Kilo was arrested on 14 May after signing a joint statement by intellectuals from Syria and Lebanon called “Beirut-Damascus, Damascus-Beirut,” which advocates a change in relations between the two countries. The Syrian authorities branded it as a “provocation” and as “inference in domestic affairs” and said “the Syrian intellectuals are mistaken in blaming Syria for the deterioration in the situation in Lebanon.”

Kilo has been an emblematic figure in the struggle for democracy in Syria for more than 30 years, and his arrest has set off a wave of protests in the Arab world, especially in Lebanon.

In an open letter to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, former Lebanese prime minister Salim Hoss said: “We think that a president such as you, known for his culture, should not allow a citizen to be arrested for his opinions. We ask to intervene and to obtain the release of Mr. Kilo and all the other political prisoners.”

The Syrian authorities yesterday carried out more arrests of people who signed the “Beirut-Damascus, Damascus-Beirut” statem

Arab Reform Iniative

Press Release

Media Contacts:

Hesham Tillawi  Mark Glenn 


First nationwide Pro-Palestinian Television Program in the US is the latest victim of Jewish attack on Free Press.


It is just another example of the fact that in America freedom of speech has its limits, and particularly when the topic of discussion happens to be Israel. Fall on the ‘wrong side’ of the truth, and a person can lose his job or his platform for speaking his mind.


It seemed as if nothing could stop it. It went from having 2 viewers a week to hundreds and then thousands and then hundreds of thousands and then, once it gained syndication on an American cable and a Satellite channel called Bridges TV, millions. It was being aired 5 times a week for 5 months on Bridges TV with nothing but praise from both executives and viewers alike, and then, out of the blue came a call from Bridges informing the show’s producer that they were coming under pressure from "Jewish Cable Operators". Bridges’ Programs Director and the show’s producer set up a system of rating for each program to inform Bridges if the content of the show has ‘Jewish’ material or not. Apparently though, this was not enough, as two weeks later the show was removed from the Bridges TV line-up.


The program in question is called “Current Issues with Hesham Tillawi” and runs Live every Thursday evening from 8-10 PM Central Time in the US from Lafayette Louisiana. Besides running on cable, the program is also streamed live and archived on the Internet where at present it is watched in more than 63 countries around the world at Tillawi, a Palestinian-American citizen is the host of the show and has been making some impressive waves in the last year with some of the guests he has interviewed, including members of the US Congress, high ranking officials within the US military establishment, international figures such as ex-Israeli nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu and many others.


More importantly though {and most likely the reason why the heat came down from on high} is the fact that it is a program where there is no such thing as political correctness when it comes to discussing the goings on in the Middle East, and in particular how these items relate to the state of Israel.


Late in 2005 Bridges showed interest in broadcasting Current Issues on their network that spans the US. Bridges TV is a Muslim--owned channel whose theme is dedicated to the issue of Islam and to the current goings on in the Middle East. In December 2005 Bridges agreed to start airing Current Issues and by the end of May the following year, Current Issues was playing 5 times a week and getting rave reviews by Bridges viewers. Then, in May 2006 Aasiya Zubair, Director of Programming at Bridges TV informed Dr. Hesham Tillawi that some of the “Jewish cable operators" located in areas of the country where Bridges TV is broadcast had complained to them about the Current Issues program. She also informed him that Bridges TV had fired one of their editors for not editing some of Current Issues programs by taking out materials that in their opinion was “offensive to Jews”. Two weeks later Bridges TV made the decision to stop airing the show and in a letter to Dr. Hesham Tillawi Mrs. Zubair wrote the following notice:


"Dear Hesham, I would like to inform you that we will no longer be airing Current issues anymore. I have been getting a lot of complaints from our viewers,"  and in a follow-up letter Mrs. Zubair wrote:


"Dear Hesham, It is not about the cable operator, it is about the customers too who by majority are Muslim and who have complained about the show. For now I would suggest it is best to part ways." 


Tillawi response was "How could the majority of "Muslim customers" change their mind overnight regarding a show that is presenting current events from an Arab and a Muslim point of view?"


 Tillawi asked Bridges TV to produce those so-called complaints from viewers. As he tells, it, they were unable to produce even one negative comment. In prior conversations with Ms Zubair she stated that they were getting many emails in support of the show.


“This is censorship, plain and simple” claims Tillawi. “Its a shame that a channel claiming to be friendly to Muslims would remove the only show being broadcast nationwide that tells the truth about Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Islam, etc. In its promotional material, it claims to be a channel dedicated to “building bridges,” but we say bridges can only be built with the truth, as ugly as it may be.”


When asked if he was surprised at this latest development, Tillawi’s answer was “No…I knew that this would happen eventually, I just did not know that it would happen this quickly. Unfortunately you cannot tell the truth about Israel indefinitely in the United States, supposedly the freest country of the world.” He continued his thoughts on the matter with “We feel this shameful decision by Bridges TV management will go down in infamy because now Muslims are censoring other Muslims from telling the truth to the world about the thousands of Palestinian, Iraqi, and Afghani children who are being killed by the Israeli-American War machine.”


The rest of us have to wonder what the reason was for this censure? Was it the programs dealing with the use of Depleted Uranium in Iraq and Afghanistan? Was it the interview with His Excellency Afif Safieh, the Palestinian Ambassador to Washington telling the truth concerning the Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians?  Was it the interview with the Syrian Ambassador revealing what America's intentions were in the Middle East? Was it the interview with Dr Norman Finkelstein exposing Zionism and what it is? Was it the interview with Congressman Paul Findley exposing AIPAC and the Jewish control of congress? Was it the interview with Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli nuclear scientist who exposed the Israeli Nuclear capacity? Was it the interview with Israel Shamir who exposed the racist policies of his country, Israel? Was it the interview with Dr. Steven Sniegoski who stated that the war against Iraq was for Israel? Or could it be the interview with Alison Weir exposing the reality of the Palestinian-Israeli issue? Maybe it was the interview with Lt Col Karen Kwiatkowski, who worked at the Pentagon and exposed the influence of the Neocons and the Israelis at the Defense Department? The list goes on and on with interviews that the Main Stream Media would not even touch due to the Jewish influence over the media.


Tillawi added that “We always spoke out against this influence over the media and now we ourselves have become victims of this influence. One thing that hurts like hell is the fact that it was a Muslim who pulled the plug to stop the show from reaching a nationwide audience.”


It is interesting but probably not coincidental to note that a short time before Bridges TV ended its association with Current Issues, the ADL, domestic branch of Israeli Intelligence operating in the United States, added Dr Hesham Tillawi to its list of most ”notorious anti-Zionist,anti-Semites”.  Those who are familiar with the tactics of the ADL know that the typical way that they do business is to threaten and intimidate anyone who is involved with the business of exposing the truth as it pertains to Israel and the way that the Jewish agenda works in the United States. Therefore it is not unreasonable to expect that in some fashion Bridges TV was contacted by a representative of the ADL and told to cease broadcasting episodes of Current Issues or face the consequences.


When asked whether this latest setback would affect the way that he and the producers of Current Issues do business, he said. “Absolutely it will…Now the gloves are coming off and we are not going to worry about whose toes get stepped on when it comes to discussing the truth. There is a great lesson here about appeasement and giving into the demands of a bully. Bullies never get enough, and even when you give them everything they want they still aren't satisfied.”


This is not the end, but the beginning. Current Issues will continue broadcast on Cox Cable, Amazonas Satellite and the Internet, until we find a brave man or a brave woman who will put us back on nationwide syndication.



Hesham Tillawi, PhD International Relations is a Palestinian American writer, Political Analyst and a TV show host. His program Current issues with Hesham Tillawi can be viewed Live every Thursday evening between 9-11 PM Central Standard Time on Cox Cable system Channel 5 in Louisiana, Nationwide on Bridges TV, and Worldwide on Amazonas Satellite, as well as Live on the Internet at and can be contacted at Interviews then archived for on demand viewing at

The new social critic: a forum in France
14 June 2006

A forum on the topic « the new social critic » was held in Grenoble in May, 12th, 13th and 14th, 2006. This forum was organized by the think-tank La République des idées and the association Solidarités actives, together with the daily newspaper Le Monde.

The forum was attended by researchers and social workers who met to think about the French crisis and its solutions. 8000 people attended the roundtables. The aim was to create a link between the field of conception and the field of action in order to “ward off the political powerlessness”. This cannot be without the construction of a critical understanding. There is a citizens’ request and not only for debate but for thought and implication. A sort of political intelligence should be developed that would give back the tools of understanding as well as the intervention’s implements.

Under the title of: La Campagne des idées, Le Monde published a 6 pages supplement in its edition of May 20th, 2006. Arab Reform Initiative selected four articles that are available on the website:

"An interview with Pierre Rosenvallon, Conjurer l’impuissance politique". "La sociologie doit penser global," by Michel Wievorka , "La République des idées : un atelier intellectuel," by Thomas Wieder," Mondialisation et justice sociale" by Amartya Sen

Conjurer l’impuissance politique

Pierre Rosenvallon, a professor at the Collège de France and the president of La République des idées analyses the political powerlessness in France, and tries to explain how to ward off this situation. According to him, forms of understanding were separated from perspectives of concrete actions by the revolutionary approach. This created a dichotomy between the social critic and its applications on the ground which participated in the development of “disenchantment”. In order to ward off this powerlessness, the solution would be a “democracy of interaction between civil society and political society, between social critic and reform projects”. In this interaction the intellectuals should be implicated: researchers associated with the civil society. They would produce the critic as well as the means.