Robert Skidelsky and Paul Jay discuss Keynes, the IMF, concentration of ownership, political power and rebellion.
Johann Hari on Democracy Now!
A Syrian in Banyas addresses accusations that the uprising is Salafi-led.
by Helen Thomas
Hats off to Richard Forer, who courageously and truthfully examines an alternate viewpoint in his book, Breakthrough: Transforming Fear Into Compassion — A New Perspective on the Israel-Palestine Conflict.
Forer, who grew up in a secular, unaffiliated Jewish home, is the identical twin of a prominent member of an ultra-Orthodox sect of Judaism, and was himself a member of AIPAC, America’s pro-Israel lobby. He knew where his allegiances used to lie — anything Israel did was justifiable in his mind.
During summer 2006, Forer visited the Middle East and underwent a profound spiritual transformation. He saw destroyed villages, displacement, land confiscation, imprisonment without trial, torture and other inhuman treatment of the Palestinians and knew he needed to share his truth.
So many Americans of Hebrew heritage cannot face the truth of the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians in the land they conquered and now occupy. Forer emerged from the struggle to realize that he could have been wrong. It takes brave people who are willing to abandon long-held beliefs that the Israelis could do no wrong. Somehow their victimhood justified their ruthless behavior toward the Palestinians.
By last Friday, if it hadn’t already done so, the Syrian regime effectively declared war on its own people, killing at least a hundred protestors. Throughout this week parts of Syria have fallen under outright siege. The tanks and infantry which haven’t peeped across the occupied Golan since 1973 entered the southern city of Dara’a, cutting roads, telephone and internet, water and electricity. Reports from the city speak of food shortages, generalised terror, and corpses stinking in the streets. Snipers are firing at pedestrians in the Damascus suburb of Douma. Tanks surround the coastal city of Banyas. Madaya, a mountain town on the Lebanese border, is also occupied. The regime may wish to stop weapons being smuggled across the border, or it may wish to stop Syrians fleeing via the smuggling routes. Thousands have crossed to Lebanon in recent days, and at least five hundred have been rounded into the regime’s torture chambers.
The violence has been massive, but also tactically applied. The sudden escalation is intended to shock the population into obedience. Yet live ammunition has not been used everywhere. Security forces have tried not to kill protesting Kurds in the north east, fearing that would trigger a genuine armed insurrection. Demonstrations in central Damascus have been dispersed with batons and tear gas rather than live fire. The regime doesn’t want to kill the sons of important businessmen, not yet at least.
Hero or villian, Julian Assange stunned the world when he leaked more than 90,000 war files. Accompanying Assange through every step of the unfolding drama, this report reveals a man on a mission.
My contribution to the Journal of Postcolonial Writing’s Pakistan Special.
Seventeen years ago, as a very young man, I arrived in Karachi. Apart from six months in Beirut in my babyhood, this was my first time outside Europe. I didn’t know what to expect, although I had stereotypes from my British experience of what a Pakistani was (a Mirpuri, with brown skin and eyes, probably a cab driver).
The airport was spacious and anonymous, until the exit. Here tens of faces squashed against the glass doors, most of them cab drivers trying to make a personal connection. I was offered hashish in the cab, taken to an expensive hotel – which I refused – then to a hotel for cockroaches, but very cheap and very friendly. The man at the desk had black skin and blue eyes.
I liked Karachi. It was bustling, lively and engaging. The food was spicy and the weather was pleasantly hot. There appeared to be no social restraint on spontaneous conversation with strangers. It wasn’t Britain. I was pleased to find a word or two of Arabic helped greatly.
by James Abourezk
You remember Helen Thomas? She was the senior White House Correspondent who always opened Presidential press conferences and closed them by saying the magic words: “Thank you Mr. President.” Her Wikipedia entry cites her professional accomplishments:
“Helen Thomas (born August 4, 1920) is an American author and former news service reporter, member of the White House Press Corps and opinion columnist. She worked for the United Press International (UPI) for 57 years, first as a correspondent, and later as White House bureau chief. She was a columnist for Hearst Newspapers from 2000 to 2010, writing on national affairs and the White House. She covered every President of the United States from the last years of the Eisenhower administration until the second year of the Obama administration. She was the first female officer of the National Press Club, the first female member and president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, and the first female member of the Gridiron Club. She has written six books; her latest, with co-author Craig Crawford, is Listen Up, Mr. President: Everything You Always Wanted Your President to Know and Do (2009).”
Helen was cashiered from her position as a Hearst columnist after she answered a question by a Rabbi with a video camera who asked her to talk about Israel. She answered—honestly—that the Israelis should get the hell out of Palestine. The Rabbi’s follow up question was, “Where should they go?”
“Back where they came from,” she answered, citing Germany, Poland, and elsewhere.
Now, we all know that those countries that were so murderous and cruel to European Jews are not what they were in the 1940s. But, judging from the reaction of the media, and from Abe Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League, one would have thought that she was sending Israeli Jews back to the 1940s. It was a media firestorm that engulfed her, sending a message to anyone else who might stray from the official party line on Israel.
Saudi-backed Bahraini forces injured a woman who was part of a group of women trying to prevent the destruction of a religious site. In addition, two female student and four female medics have been detained. Bahrain’s Human Rights Center reports that 1,041 people have been detained since protest began, including 64 women. As part of the crackdown on anti-government protests, the Saudi-backed forces are also raiding hospitals and schools and have destroyed many mosques and holy sites.
That we might live.
Dumuzi, on the blood river’s brink
Takes the plunge.
Israa Yunis, seven years old, takes the plunge
And the little boys of Dara’a whose skulls they smashed
The brave men of Jableh, the warm women of Bayda
The intellectuals, the street kids, the people of truth
Walk into the waves.