Connect with us


A Tireless Advocate of Justice for Palestinians

Francis Khoo Kah Siang passed away on November 20, 2011.

By Franklin Lamb

Francis Khoo Kah Siang

In addition to the countless reasons Francis will be sorely missed by his friends and loved ones, he will be missed because he leaves a void for many of us who were and remain inspired by his work for Palestinian rights. Francis Khoo is an icon of countless others, who like himself, are neither Arab nor Muslim, neither from the Middle East nor culturally or politically connected to Palestine by birth, but who support the Palestinian cause.


Many of us, but especially Westerners and Americans it seems, learn essentially nothing about the Nakba in school.  Yet many, often quite by chance and for one reason or another, have come into contact with the Question of Palestine and, learning about the great injustice that has befallen the Palestinian people, could not remain indifferent or idle. Francis was one of these.


To my personal regret, I did not know Francis Khoo well personally for a long period although we knew of each other. But by the time we finally met, which was just fourteen months before his sudden and untimely death last month, I knew what kind of a person he was and something about his lifelong quest for justice.


Over the past half-decade I learned something about his remarkably work through my friend, his wife, the gifted orthopedic surgeon and well known humanitarian, Dr. Swee Chai Ang, who for three decades has embraced and supported Palestinian refugees both with lifesaving medical care under heavy and indiscriminate bombardment inside Shatila Palestinian Refugee Camp and Gaza Hospital in Beirut, and with her indefatigable work for the refugees return to Palestine. The latter included lectures and appearances around the World, sometimes in the company of Francis, her beloved husband, advocate, counselor and partner.

It was in September of 2010 that I met Francis in person when he came to Beirut for the 28th annual commemoration of the September 1982 Sabra-Shatila Massacre and he attended a reception at the office of the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign and participated in a heavy schedule of activities during his visit. It was evident that he was a fascinating life-loving person with whom it would be a great pleasure to spend time and to work with which I had hoped to do.


All the while he was in Lebanon he was on peritoneal dialysis for kidney failure which he administered himself three to four times a day.



According to his niece Melissa, Francis would often use his walking stick as a hanging post for his dialysis fluids including at the Hezbollah museum at Melita in South Lebanon.


He recalled with fondness how the Hezbollah Melita museum guard who was obviously unfamiliar with this version of makeshift dialysis tried to help him. On the bus south, to visit Palestinian refugee camps, Francis entertained the passengers with songs, including Beladi (‘my land’) the beautiful Arabic anthem of the Palestinian revolution, followed by a soliloquy on the origin of the song and his interpretation.


Few of the passengers on the bus had much idea about Francis’ background. Francis Khoo Kah Siang was born into a closely knit, devoutly Catholic Singapore Peranakan family. As a lad he sang in the Singing Khoos with his brothers and at an early age developed a passion to work for the rights of the oppressed. Once admitted to the Singapore Bar, Frances began working on sensitive civil rights cases that many other lawyers preferred to avoid.


Francis had earlier developed a reputation as a defender of the downtrodden and while as an undergraduate at University, or later as Vice President of the Student Law Society, he opposed the introduction of the Suitability Certificate, fought the abolition of the jury system in Singapore and condemned the indiscriminate criminal 1972 Christmas Day bombing of Hanoi ordered by President Nixon.


Before long Francis found himself being accused of violating Singapore’s Internal Security Act, which particularly during the 1977-1987 period was used to arrest hundreds of Singaporeans who were held without trial. A fortnight following their January 1977 marriage, the international security police came for him. His young wife Dr. Swee Chai Ang, was also sought by authorities who came for her and threatened to handcuff her while she was in the operating theatre performing surgery. Eventually, and following continuous interrogation, sleep deprivation and solitary confinement, Dr. Swee was released as part of a government scheme to try to lure back to Singapore Francis, who by then had escaped and left for England and he began his 34 years of exile from his country.  Swee joined her loved one and they developed their remarkable careers in London.



Dr. Ang Swee Chai

Francis’ niece recently wrote that, “They could kick Francis out of Singapore, but they could not kick the Singaporean out of Francis,” as he followed events in his country, frequently wore his Peranakanskirt-the Sarong, and wrote about his homeland including the well-known song, “And Bungaraya Blooms All Day.” Francis had hoped that 2011 would be the Singaporean Spring.


Some friends saw a parallel between Francis’ wish to return to his homeland and his decades of advocacy of the Palestinians Right of Return.


Francis Khoo, was a gifted humanist. He had many God given and self-discipline acquired talents that included using his legal education and life experience to challenge injustices and using his energy and organizational abilities to defend the oppressed.

Just three examples, out of many, include his important work in support of the 1984 UK striking miners and working as Director of War on Want, established by the late British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson.


Francis also co-founded with his wife Swee,  and their and my friends, Pamela and Major Derek Cooper who spent the summer of 1982 with Janet Lee Stevens with me in West Beirut, Medical Aid for Palestinians.  Francis served as MAP’s Vice Chairman from 1984 to 2007, while also donating his time and abilities to numerous other charitable works.


Francis’ passions included writing, especially articles, poetry and songs, photography, and drawing. He possessed a particularly unique skill, as explained by his niece Melissa, currently doing her residency in surgery and using the medical term ‘eidetic memory’ in describing her uncle’s photographic memory, that gave Francis the ability to recall images, sounds or objects as well as dates with remarkable precision.


Francis Khoo lived a full and valuable life and left this world a better place because of his lifelong labors for justice. Those of us who were honored to know Francis Khoo Kah Siang and who share his commitment for the liberation of Palestine and the full return of her six million refugees will pay him tribute by continuing his work for peace and justice.


This includes advocating in Lebanon and internationally for the end of the politically motivated excuses from Lebanese politicians and religious leaders, across a wide spectrum, who continue to counsel a go slow approach, after 63 years, for the implementation of even the most elementary, morally and legally mandated civil right to work and to own a home for Lebanon’s quarter million Palestinian Refugees.


Franklin Lamb is doing research in Lebanon. He is reachable c\o

He is the author of The Price We Pay: A Quarter-Century of Israel’s Use of American Weapons Against Civilians in Lebanon. Dr. Lamb is Director, Americans Concerned for Middle East Peace, Wash.DC-Beirut Board Member, The Sabra Shatila Foundation and the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign, Beirut-Washington DC

Shatila Palestinian Refugee Camp

Beirut Mobile: +961-70-497-804

Office:  +961-01-352-127



Who is behind the assassination of Iranian Scientists?

“NYT summarizes the “chilling message” that “American officials” want to send to Iranian top nuclear scientists with today’s assassination: “If we can get him, we can get you, too.” Indistinguishable from Mafia talk.”



US officials say Zionist entity “Israel” was behind the assassination: New York Times “One American official — along with two other intelligence officials — said that “Israel” was behind the attack on the scientist,” The New York Times reported on Friday.

Fakhrizadeh’s name was mentioned multiple times in a presentation in 2018 by Zionist entity “Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during which he repeated baseless claims about the Iranian nuclear program. Netanyahu described the scientist as the director of Iran’s nuclear program and threatened, “Remember that name, Fakhrizadeh.”

The Tel Aviv regime has made several attempts over the past years to throw a wrench in Tehran’s peaceful nuclear work. The regime has been behind the assassination of several Iranian nuclear scientists. It has also conduced cyberattacks on Iranian nuclear sites.

Dmitry Polyanskiy @Dpol_un “That’s a telling analysis from @nytimes reflecting readiness of US establishment to give green light to political extra territorial assasinations. Not a thing to boast for a democratic country! #Iran #Fakhrizadeh”.

“NYT summarizes the “chilling message” that “American officials” want to send to Iranian top nuclear scientists with today’s assassination: “If we can get him, we can get you, too.” Indistinguishable from Mafia talk.” @aaronjmate .

The senior Iranian defense official was assassinated near the capital Tehran in a terrorist attack. In a statement, the Defense ministry said the vehicle of the head of the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was targeted by terrorists.

The Iranian FM Mohammad Javad Zarif said the act of cowardice shows the desperate warmongering of its perpetrators adding that there are serious indications of an Israeli role in the assassination. Zarif also urged the international community, especially the EU, to end QUOTE “their shameful double standards and condemn the Iranian defense official’s assassination.

Between 2010 and 2012, four other Iranian nuclear scientists were assassinated. Tehran and western intelligence agencies have long put the blame on Zionist entity “Israel”, an accusation that was never rejected by officials of the Israeli regime.

Continue Reading


US president-elect Joe Biden and the Middle East

If Joe Biden rejoins the Iran nuclear ‎agreement ‎ and adopts Obama’s approach to the two-state ‎solution, with Palestine issue, which I believe he might do, since the ‎compromises made in the democratic party ‎between the Progressives ‎and the liberals during the ‎selection of the presidential candidate , indicated ‎that might be happening soon

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

Interview with Saeb Shaath, Author and Middle East affairs expert and David Yaghoubian, Prof. of History, CSU San Bernardino.

Iran FM advises US president-elect to abandon Trump’s ‘disastrous lawless bullying’.

Shaath Said: “Zionist entity Prime Minister Benjamin ‎Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince ‎Mohammed bin Salman have kept silent since ‎American media projected Biden’s will win.‎ We can recall the Netanyahu-Kushner plan ‎which believed in and relied on Trump’s victory ‎for the second term, that would be followed by ‎Netanyahu’s victory in the elections, aiming to ‎implement their deal of the century and the ‎normalization of Arab countries ties with the ‎Zionist’ entity,‎”

Shaath went to say :” it did not accrue to the planners that ‎Trump would become the only American ‎president in three decades not be elected to ‎serve a 2nd term in office.‎”

Shaath added “what might do away with their planes …I think Biden ‎will revive the nuclear agreement with Iran, ‎since it was an Obama- Biden’s admiration ‎achievement …he will do it in a way that avoids ‎any clash with Zionist entity.”

Shaathe went on t o say “‎ If Joe Biden rejoins the Iran nuclear ‎agreement ‎ and adopts Obama’s approach to the two-state ‎solution, with Palestine issue, which I believe he might do, since the ‎compromises made in the democratic party ‎between the Progressives ‎and the liberals during the ‎selection of the presidential candidate , indicated ‎that might be happening soon.‎”

Shaath added “That means everything that Netanyahu and ‎Kushnaier, dreamed about in making the ‎Zionist entity the pivotal state in the ‎Middle East with the Gulf States and the rest of ‎the Arabic countries as their satellite States ‎such dream is over. ‎ Since its clear that Biden needs to pay attention ‎and to focuses US resources on fighting covid-19 and ‎to Jump Startg the US economy”. ‎

‎ Shaath concluded “Since the Netanyahu – Kushner’s Deal of the ‎Century and Arab normalisation relation with ‎Zionist entity geared up to create a military ‎alliance to face Iran… Joe Biden with reviving the US commitment to the Iran nuclear agreement does not need such alliance…as well Joe does not have a Dime to waist on Netanyahu’s dreams. ..This is the new way we going to see it happening in the region.”

Continue Reading


Are the French officials declaring open war on Islam?

France declared a war on Islam by supporting the publication of satirical cartoons insulting to the Prophet Muhammad.


Anger continues to grow across the Muslim world after French President Emmanuel Macron publicly attacked Islam in defense of the publication of derogatory cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

The Secretary-General of the Lebanese Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, said that France declared a war on Islam by supporting the publication of satirical cartoons insulting to the Prophet Muhammad.

Press TV intreviews Saeb Shaath, Author and Middle East Afaiers Expert, and Firas Al Najm, Manager, Canadian Ddefenders for human rights.

Continue Reading