Rahimullah Yusufzai on Faisal Shahzad and breaking news from the tribal region

Rahimullah Yusufzai, who is one of PULSE’s 20 Top Global Media Figures of 2009, interviewed by Dori Smith of the excellent Talk Nation Radio.

Pakistan’s tribal border regions and North Waziristan are dangerous, veteran journalist and editor Rahimullah Yusufzai sheds light on regional militant groups, and local reaction to Faisal Shazhad case. Was it a conspiracy, people ask?

The family of Faisal Shazhad are shocked and wondering what happened. Faisal Shazhad’s Father is a liberal, explains Yusufzai, and the family is not particularly religious. Mysteries will surely surround this case for some time to come.

Putting the world at risk?

Gareth Porter, one of PULSE’s 20 Top Global Media Figures of 2009, on Al Jazeera’s Inside Story discussing Iran and the NPT.

Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, has warned that Iran’s nuclear ambitions are putting the world at risk. Have the NPT conferences become a platform to settle political accounts and an opportunity to lobby against adversaries? Does the treaty help rid the world of nuclear weapons or does it advocate maintaining the status quo? And will Obama’s nuclear undertakings help patch the gaps of the NPT?

Current State of Investigative Reporting

Newspapers across the nation are in serious trouble, pummeled by the recession, by declining revenue […]and readership, and by competition from round-the-clock online resources. Speaking at a reception marking the launch of the New England Center for Investigative Reporting at BU, Seymour Hersh, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and an author, speaks about the current state of investigative reporting.Hosted by New England Center for Investigative Reporting on May 19, 2009.

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The Carnival at Novara and Unmasking of a Racist Regime

by Huma Dar

The police, in the northern Italian town of Novara, fined a 26-year-old Tunisian woman for wearing a black niqab; she was going to a mosque for the Friday prayers.  According to the New York Times she was fined about $650 under a regulation introduced in January 2010.  Apparently, Novara — a bastion of the xenophobic Northern League — “bans clothing in public that prevents identification by the police.”

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Avatar in the Real World – James Cameron on Indigenous Struggles

Ever since Bono declared his intention to “bring some sex appeal to the idea of wanting to change
the world
” on the front pages of Vanity Fair, I’ve been suspicious of celebrity endorsements of struggles for social justice. James Cameron, the director of the brilliant Avatar, is an exception, however. In this interview on the Riz Khan show, Cameron speaks about his recent visit to Brazil and the resistance of local communities to the construction of the Belo Monte Dam, which threatens the destruction of the homeland of tens of thousands of people. In eminently sensible and respectful terms, he discusses his support for their struggle and his reaction to the way indigenous activists around the world have embraced the motif of the Navi struggle against corporate imperialism so masterfully depicted in Avatar. What is more, it seems his initial reluctance to acknowledge the parallels between the Navi and the Palestinian struggle is waning too.

Below the fold, you can find another recent IPS interview with Cameron where he further discusses the relationship between Avatar and and its appropriation by indigenous activists. (For previous PULSE posts on Avatar see the review by Kim Bizzari and Max Ajl’s response to Slavoj Zizek.)

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The Only Democracy in the Middle East: 30.04-01.05.2010

Four people arrested in Bil’in. As you can tell by the video’s last few minutes, as friend and journalist, Tommy Donnellan, is being carried off, the army knows that he is of the press. What do you call it when the authorities arrest the press, again?

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Clan, State, Islamic Polity

Abdelwahab el-Affendi

Could the root causes of the Arab-Muslim ‘malaise’ be cultural? That’s what journalist Brian Whitaker suggests in his book ‘What’s Really Wrong With the Middle East’. The thesis sounds suspicious, but Whitaker isn’t a cheap Orientalist, and he uses interviews with Arabs as his raw material. The key issues his informants keep pointing to are indeed the issues that, wherever you meet them, young Arabs complain about. These include an undue emphasis on submission and obedience in the education system, at work, and in the home, the social valorisation of conformity, and a corrupt public space.

The personal is the political. The problem in every sphere is one of overbearing authority, and it’s true that this is ultimately family-based, ultimately the result of overly-narrow personal identifications. In fact, I would argue that tribalism, nepotism, sectarianism, even forced marriage and honour killing, are all manifestations of the tyranny of the clan. And the tyranny of the clan is the result of bad governance.

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Suicide Bombers

The Riz Khan show asks what motivates a person to sacrifice their own life in order to kill others. There are sensible answers from the venerable Robert Pape, Director of the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism and author of Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, and much twaddle from Farhana Ali, a particularly clueless terrorologist. If this stupid woman is serving as a ‘senior instructor for the US Afpak team’, then God help America and God help the people of ‘Afpak’. (I suspect Pape was thinking the same. His laughter at the end of the interview was eloquent).

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