The Interview Ha’aretz Doesn’t Want You To See

Ali Abunimah

Rehaviya Berman conducted an interview with Ali Abunimah, for Ha’aretz, a few weeks ago. The Interview was never published. Berman decided to publish it on his blog [Hebrew] and I decided to translate it, for your reading pleasure:

Exclusive: One On One with the Leader of the Electronic Intifada

Rehaviya Berman

Meet Ali Abunimah, the son of a Jordanian diplomat, a Palestinian activist, and the man who brings the hottest news of the struggle to thousands of people. His message: Forget two states, one will be tough enough to get it right.

The Interview before you was commissioned by one of the the big newspapers. For a reason that has yet to be clarified, this paper decided not to publish the interview. It’s published here, because it’s the opinion of the editor that it’s important that this be read by the Israeli public.

“First of all, it’s important for me to clarify that I’m not a leader, and I’m not interested in being a leader.” Continue reading “The Interview Ha’aretz Doesn’t Want You To See”

Allama Iqbal, God’s Command To Angels

translated by – M. Shahid Alam

 اٹھو میری دنیا کے غریبوں کو جگا دو

Marshall the meek of my world. Arise, set them free.
Seize the towers of the rich. Shake their tyranny.

Lift the slaves. Ignite them. Instill a faith that rocks.
Teach the feeble sparrow to fight the taloned hawk.

Power belongs to the people: their kingdom has come.
Burn the totems of tyranny: their history is done.

Why do toiling peasants reap death and misery?
Capture the gilded castles. Seize the granaries.

These minders, meddlers, ushers play for a fee.
I do not need priests to parse my words for me.

I have no use for painted walls and ornamented frieze.
Build me a tabernacle with mud, thatch and leaves.

This age of smoke and mirrors: is this modernity?
Move the poet. Make him rage. Hitch him to Eternity.

_________________________________________________

— M. Shahid Alam is professor of economics at Northeastern University. He is author of Israeli Exceptionalism: The Destabilizing Logic of Zionism (Palgrave Macmillan: 2009).

Michael Mann on the Incoherent Empire

I am reading Michael Mann’s The Sources of Social Power at the moment, and I find many of his ideas, and his sociological approach to world history most stimulating. I think his IEMP Model — society as a series of overlapping and intersecting power networks with a focus on the logistics of Ideological, Economic, Military and Political power — is by far the best approach to the study of social power. However, I was underwhelmed by his own (in my view defective) application of the theory in his Incoherent Empire. This interview is old, but his observations on history and society remain relevant nevertheless. (thanks Dave)

UC Berkeley’s Harry Kreisler welcomes UCLA sociologist Michael Mann for a conversation on how comparative historical sociology can help in our understanding of U.S. foreign policy. Series: “Conversations with History”

Militarism, Genderphobia and Beer

Israeli commercials have proved to be the height of militarism and insensitivity in the past, today we revisit gay ole’ Israel, and debunk Hasbara, yet again.

McCann Erickson Does it Again!

McCann Erickson probably has one of the most amazing records of militarizing civil society. The good people who brought you the Army Strong campaign now bring you a beer commercial. How is beer military? Soldiers aren’t allowed to drink- it’s a punishable offense. In Israel, the majority of the population have been soldiers, and the majority of men and some women are in the reserves until the age of 45 (39 for women). Since you’re going to have civilians in your corps, you have to keep them motivated (translation below the Video):

Continue reading “Militarism, Genderphobia and Beer”

‘Going Deeper’ Not ‘Muslim’: Islamophobia and its Discontents

Photo by Ridwan Adhami

by Huma Dar

I deeply missed June Jordan today. Back in Fall 1995 (or was it 96?) the acclaimed poet read not her own poems, but those of her Arab students, at the first ever Berkeley “Poetry at Lunch” event. I adored her, and adored her even more when she courageously asserted that Arabs/Muslims were one of last groups it was explicitly kosher (read: not un-PC) to be racist or prejudiced towards in any given circle. Way before 9/11…

Tunku Varadarajan, a professor at NYU’s Stern Business School and a research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, recently wrote a piece “Going Muslim: America after Fort Hood.”(1) He coins the phrase “Going Muslim” to “describe the turn of events where a seemingly integrated Muslim-American—a friendly donut vendor in New York, say, or an officer in the U.S. Army at Fort Hood—discards his apparent integration into American society and elects to vindicate his religion in an act of messianic violence against his fellow Americans.”(2)

Continue reading “‘Going Deeper’ Not ‘Muslim’: Islamophobia and its Discontents”

The Image and the Imagined: On Why We’re not Allowed to see Detainee Abuse

By Aisha Ghani

Abu Ghraib painting by Fernando BoteroBy Aisha Ghani

 

On Monday, November 30th the Supreme Court overturned a Second Circuit Court of Appeals order to release photographs of U.S. soldier abuse of prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq. According to a statement by Solicitor General Elena Kagan, disclosing these photographs “would pose a clear and grave risk of inciting violence and riots against American troops and coalition forces.”

The contestation over the release of these photographs began four years ago, when a trials court judge claimed that the Bush administration was evading obligations imposed on it by the Freedom of Information Act in withholding the images. Although earlier this year the Obama administration argued in favor of releasing the photographs in an effort to encourage ‘transparency’, the decision was later reversed. While the Supreme Court has historically challenged the state’s assertions in cases concerning the rights of detainees, this time they sided with the  Obama Administration, permitting the Pentagon to block the release of these photographs and others like them.

Are we to believe that concern for the safety of U.S. soldiers and civilians lies at the heart of this decision, or can we sense a certain disingenuity when we think about how the state endangers both soldiers and civilians everyday by subjecting them to war?  Insincerity, as George Orwell tells us, is “the gap between one’s real and declared aims.”

What is it about the nature of the image in general and, more specifically, about the ‘possible’ content of these images in particular that is creating a palpable gap between the state and judiciary’s real and declared aims?

Continue reading “The Image and the Imagined: On Why We’re not Allowed to see Detainee Abuse”

A Keynes Primer

John Maynard Keynes

Peter Clarke speaks to C. S. Soong of Against the Grain about John Maynard Keynes.

Download program audio (mp3, 46mb)

John Maynard Keynes died in 1946, but Keynesianism, in one form or another, is alive and well: the British economist’s name has been invoked repeatedly since the global economic meltdown began in 2008. But how much do we really know about Keynes, and what did he really say and write? Peter Clarke has written a new book about Keynes’s life and ideas.

Loach and Laverty Support Aminatou Haidar

Aminatou Haidar is known as the “Sahrawi Gandhi”

Scottish writer Paul Laverty and British director Ken Loach issued a joint statement on December 1st (commemorating the anniversary of Rosa Park’s refusal to give up her bus seat for a white passenger) in support of Western Saharan human rights activist Aminatou Haidar.  Haidar is in the third week of a hunger strike after being deported against her will by Moroccan authorities occupying her homeland.  You can watch Democracy Now!’s coverage of Haidar’s plight here.

Statement concerning Sahrawi human right’s activist Aminatou Haidar 

Haidar’s boarding card and Rosa Parks’s seat

On the 1st December 1955, in Montgommery, Alabama,  Rosa Parks refused to obey a bus driver and give up her seat to a white passenger.  On Friday the 13th of November 2009 Aminatou Haidar refused to fill out her boarding card as instructed by the authorities in Laayoun (where she lives)  in Morocco controlled Western Sahara.  

Continue reading “Loach and Laverty Support Aminatou Haidar”

Pakistan and the Global War on Terror: An Interview with Tariq Ali

by Mara Ahmed, with Judy Bello

Tariq Ali and Mara Ahmad at Hamilton College, NY.

Mara Ahmed and I were given the opportunity to interview Tariq Ali when he spoke at Hamilton College in Upstate New York on November 11, 2009, during his recent speaking tour of the United States. Tariq, a native of Pakistan who lives in England, is a well known writer, intellectual and activist. He has traveled all over Southwest Asia and the Middle East while researching his books. Mara, who is working on a film highlighting the opinions of the Pakistani people regarding the current situation in Pakistan and the Western initiated ‘Global War on Terror’, had a lot of questions for Tariq about the internal state of Pakistan. I wanted to ask Tariq for his opinion about the effects of American foreign policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and what alternatives he thought might be available.

Mara: What is the role of Islamophobia in the Global War on Terror? Many American war veterans have described the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as imperialistic, racist and genocidal. Your comments?

Tariq: Well, I think Islamophobia plays an important part in things, because it creates an atmosphere in which people feel, “Oh, we’re just killing Muslims, so that’s alright.” And this situation is becoming quite serious in the United States and in large parts of Europe, where people feel that the fact that a million Iraqis have died is fine because they’re not like us, they’re Muslims. So, Islamophobia is becoming a very poisonous and dangerous ideological construct which has to be fought against.

Continue reading “Pakistan and the Global War on Terror: An Interview with Tariq Ali”

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