November 17, 2014 § Leave a comment
Bente Scheller delivered the following keynote lecture at a recent conference on Syria at the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Berlin.
War, it is commonly said, is a last resort. That is a wise notion and one that should be in the best interest of every party. However, it is problematic to use it as legitimation for the choice to perpetually remain in an observant position. ‘Last’ should mean: last possible – when diplomatic efforts are of no avail, and not for when it is already too late.
The Syrian regime has turned the concept of ‘war as a last resort’ inside out. It commenced the war against its own population without seriously considering the reforms initially demanded by protesters. Children were the first victims of the regime, the first victims of torture in the recent conflict, which led to the outbreak of the revolution in March 2011. Rarely did the regime negotiate in the course of this conflict – and when it did, it regularly broke its promises.
November 14, 2014 § Leave a comment
Hedges & Wolin: Can Capitalism and Democracy Coexist?
Journalist Chris Hedges interviews political philosopher Sheldon Wolin, Professor of Politics, Emeritus, at Princeton University, who says democracy requires continuous opposition and vigilance by the citizenry.
November 13, 2014 § Leave a comment
When I first set out to prove that Israel is committing the crime of genocide against the Palestinian people, I focused mostly on its genocidal acts. While there’s consensus between pretty much anyone that bothered to examine the Convention of Prevention of Genocide [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14] on the fact that Israel is committing the first three out of five genocidal acts:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
A debate remains about Israel’s intent to bring about the Palestinian people’s “destruction in whole or in part”. The Russell Tribunal, in its latest “Extraordinary Session on Gaza” and the 2009 “Fact Finding Committee On Gaza” chaired by John Dugard, both illustrate a narrative of colonialist destruction of the social fabric and a partial wiping out of the indigenous population. Frustratingly enough, both stop short of ruling genocide. While the Russell Tribunal simply says “it would be for a criminal court to determine”, the Dugard report goes into much greater detail.
Palestine in Whole or in Part
November 9, 2014 § Leave a comment
There’s drama stirring in the Oslo National Theatre, but not the kind most cultural institutions expect. Under the auspiciousness of The Union of Theaters of Europe, the Oslo National Theatre has committed to a two-year project titled “TERRORisms”:
From 2013 to 2015, theatres from Oslo, Stuttgart, Belgrade, Tel Aviv, London and Reims will get closer to their TERRORisms. They will elaborate different points of view, exploring different aspects likely to determine fundamentally our societies… dealing with the issue of terrorism and its appropriation by artists.
I’ve just come back from Oslo, and to be honest, Norwegians- as individuals and as a society- didn’t strike me to be particularly “determined fundamentally” by “their” “terrorisms”. Admittedly, I’m not an expert on European contemporary art, but it doesn’t seem to me like there’s a lot of artistic appropriation of terrorism being done in the European cultural sphere, and the notion is rather- let’s just say- foreign.
The Union of Theaters of Europe: The New Propaganda Front for Israel’s TERRORisms
October 23, 2014 § Leave a comment
Race, not a Biological, but a Social Reality: a guest post by Abbas Naqvi.
Mike Brown was not black. Neither was Eric Garner. Nor was Trayvon Martin. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that there is no such thing as black, white, or yellow, from a biological standpoint. Race is a cultural/political phenomenon that has been used to manipulate, control and oppress populations, at times under the veil of science; however, in reality from a scientific perspective, it is a mere optical illusion. As we struggle to comprehend how racially motivated murder can still be ubiquitous in America, it is helpful to consider the pseudoscience that has delineated, and thus divided, us as a nation, as well as the scientific research that shows that our differences are negligible, yet inform split-second life-and-death decisions. Decisions like whether a handheld object is likely to be a bag of Skittles or a gun.