Tariq Ali: Conversations with History

While I agree with much of what Tariq is saying, he presents a less nuanced analysis of the origins of the Afghanistan war than he does in his book. He repeats the Leftist conventional wisdom on the subject. It was neither Carter’s nor Brzezinski’s war. Yes, we all know Brzezisnki bragged to a French newspaper that he was responsible for trapping and defeating the Soviets. In actual fact, US support for the Mujahideen was token under Carter. It was only under Reagan and Bill Casey that it finally took off. (thanks Elisa)

Host Harry Kreisler welcomes writer and journalist Tariq Ali for a discussion of Pakistan and it relations with the United States. He places the present crisis in its historical context exploring the origins of the Pakistani state, the failure to forge a national identity, the inability and unwillingness of Pakistani leaders to address the country’s poverty and inequality, and the role of the military in the country’s spiral toward violence and disunity. In this context, Tariq Ali highlights the significance of the U.S. relationship throughout Pakistan’s history and he analyzes current US policy and it implications for stability in the region.

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Financial Barbarians at the Gate

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The Financial Barbarians at the Gate is a Guns and Butter interview with economist / historian Michael Hudson.  In it he discusses the historical takeover of the economy by the finance sector.

Financial Barbarians at the Gate (59:53): MP3

One point of note is that the illegal war of aggression in Iraq is not a war related to economics but to the strategic interests of Israel.  Hudson, explaining American Imperialism, states that “unlike England the United States didn’t have to invade countries, at least before the oil grab in Iraq” and instead drained countries through the US monetary system.  It’s revealing that he suggests Iraq as a change in economic policy, it was not about economics, the oil lobby in Washington didn’t want a war, they wanted an end to brutal sanctions to gain conventional access to the oil.

Gore Vidal: ‘The Most Interesting Man in the World’

Gore Vidal with Bill Maher:

The whip-smart and ever-sly Gore Vidal visited “Real Time” on Friday, giving his historical and sometimes hysterically funny take on the state of the United States. He also revisited a few key moments from his personal history, illustrated by some priceless archival footage found by Bill Maher’s crack research team. Is it too soon to make an Amelia Earhart joke? It’s not too late to make one about Sarah Palin, apparently.

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Edward Said – Culture and Imperialism

edwardsaidThe late Edward Said speaking in 1993 on Culture and Imperialism.

Edward Said – Culture and Imperialism (57:23): MP3

Imperial power is constructed on a bedrock not only of force but of culture as well. Culture provides the underpinning, justification and validation of empire. Its crudest manifestation is perhaps Kipling’s “White man’s burden.” A more refined version is the French “mission civilisatrice,” civilizing mission. Imperialism is often thought of as a European phenomenon of the past. In fact it continues today in new shapes and forms. The US carries out its imperial policies behind the facade of democracy and freedom. Culture and politics produce a system of control that transcends military power to include a hegemony of representations and images that dominate the imaginations of both the oppressor and the oppressed.

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The Haitian Slave Revolt

paulfootThe following is an illuminating lecture by Paul Foot on the Haitian slave revolt where he challenges the perception that British goodwill ended slavery. The lecture is based on C.L.R. James’ classic study The Black Jacobins. There is also an excellent documentary on this topic titled Egalite for All: Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian Revolution.

Paul Foot – The Haitian Slave Revolt of 1791 (57:27): MP3

Paul Foot vividly describes how the most successful slave revolt in history, which began in 1791, came to be closely allied to the events of the French Revolution and how each in turn influenced the other.

Taking self-emancipation as his main theme, Foot also challenges the idea that it was William Wilberforce, the British Tory MP and factory owner, that brought about the abolition of the most brutal and systematic regime of bondage and exploitation.

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Holocaust in Palestine

H/t to Mohammed Omer for posting this on Facebook.

The following YouTube from France is a powerful depiction contrasting life in Palestine and for Jews during the European Holocaust. When will ordinary Americans and American politicians understand these similarities? Who knows. But we will do whatever it takes to change American views toward Palestine and the Mideast… one step at a time.  

The Zionist Story

The Zionist Story, an independent film by Ronen Berelovich, is the story of ethnic cleansing, colonialism and apartheid to produce a demographically Jewish State.

Ronen successfully combines archival footage with commentary from himself and others such as Ilan Pappe, Terry Boullata, Alan Hart and Jeff Halper.

An excellent film, my one criticism is that there is little mention of the Zionist lobby; an additional interview with Walt or Meirsheimer would have been of value.

I have recently finished an independent documentary, The Zionist Story, in which I aim to present not just the history of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, but also the core reason for it: the Zionist ideology, its goals (past and present) and its firm grip not only on Israeli society, but also, increasingly, on the perception of Middle East issues in Western democracies. Continue reading “The Zionist Story”