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Tag: Aljazeera
Girls are even more malnourished (November 15 2012) Girls are even more malnourished (November 15 2012)

Thomas Chandy the Indian CEO of Save the Children has published an article on Aljazeera titled ‘India’s malnutrition problem is a systemic issue’ describing how girls in India are more malnourished as “inadequate resources of families are divided preferentially among men”. Chandy states “…India has still not managed to get a grip on the problem of malnutrition its children face, a fact that India’s prime minister this year called a “national shame”. The facts are daunting – as many as nearly half of India’s children below five years are malnourished. Girls are even more malnourished … grow[ing] up to be anaemic, deliver underweight babies who face an increased risk of dying and being sick right after their birth. India ranks 76 among 80 middle-income countries rated for the “best place to be a mother” according to the Save the Children’s Mothers’ Index released in May 2012. The problem of malnourishment in India is a reflection on its deeply entrenched poverty and a lack of functionality of its systems. Policymakers from the comfort of their oversized public-funded accommodation while examining the failure of their policies often argue that a country of India’s size – both in terms of geography as well as population – is difficult to administer. What they admit a little reluctantly is that the government-supported institutions are neither effective nor accountable to the people, and that the budget allocations in sectors critical for people’s well-being are still abysmally low. India’s wealth – no longer so new-found – has so far not filtered down to the areas which would make considerable difference to the lives of its common people.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Facebook

Naming and shaming hits Greece (November 13 2012) Naming and shaming hits Greece (November 13 2012)

John Psaropoulos the Greek Freelance journalist and Director of Development for AKTO College in Athens has published an article on Aljazeera titled ‘Naming and shaming hits Greece’ highlighting how a new website dedicated to sharing stories on corruption in the public sector is creating a flutter. Psaropoulos states “…Greece’s first website dedicated to sharing stories of corruption in the public sector. The response has been impressive – after just two weeks online, the site has logged 40,000 visitors and highlighted more than $85,000 in bribes requested and paid. “What we’ve noticed is how incredible the bribes can be,” says Panos Louridas, one of several volunteers who built the website. “The funniest thing I saw was a hospital patient who had bribed staff to allow his wife to sleep in an empty second bed in his room. It was reported by a patient in an adjacent room.” Anyone can make an anonymous entry on, loosely translatable as “Stop it. Period”. Names and dates are not mentioned, but institutions are – the top eight by number of entries are hospitals. …The site is a cast list of corrupt characters: the tax collector who blackmails a business, the surgeon who turns public healthcare into private practice, an official who wants a grigorosimo, or speed-up fee to avoid delays. Corruption is a big part of Greece’s unrecorded and untaxed economy, estimated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development at roughly $90bn this year, dwarfing the deficit of $17bn. …”It is well known that the vast majority of tax collectors is deeply corrupt,” says a former minister who spoke on condition of anonymity. “This shop cannot be easily fixed. You have to break lots of eggs.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Aljazeera video

We struggle every day against our obstacles (November 11 2012) We struggle every day against our obstacles (November 11 2012)

Mohammed Matter ‘Abu Yazan’ the Palestinian political activist, writer and a member of Gaza Youth Breaks out movement, writes “My story is marked by violence, persecution, arrests, abuse and resistance.” Matter has published an article on Aljazeera stating “It has been almost two years now since we wrote our manifesto. We called it a manifesto, but in reality, I’m not sure what it was. Was it a manifesto, or was it a cry for help? Perhaps, an accusation, or even perhaps a demand to the world and to ourselves; a demand for change from the outside and from within. It was before the uprisings began around us, and they have been roaring the last two years in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria and Bahrain. But we had felt like shouting in the dark, and while this raging had brought light into the darkness of the dictatorships around us, the night around us has not thinned even a bit. No, if anything, it has only become darker. … We struggle every day against our obstacles and for our dreams, and you can see that in all the amazing creativity coming out of Gaza, in our art, poems, writing, videos and songs, you can hear it and meet us in the talks we give all over the world. Yes, we wrote a manifesto, and maybe that was just the bright and loud outcry of the beginning of a journey, whose path is hard and tiring, thorny and also often very quiet and dark. But it is always there. So two years later, we say: We will be free. We will live. We will have peace. And we are always out there, fighting our daily struggle, full of the resistance we inherited from a long struggle for Palestine. We live and write and say and sing silent or loud manifestos every day. Just listen to us.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Facebook

Leading a mission to wipe out illiteracy in Nepal (November 10 2012) Leading a mission to wipe out illiteracy in Nepal (November 10 2012)

Uttam Sanjel the 35 year old Nepalese is said to be a powerhouse of altruistic energy, dedication and optimism in leading a mission to wipe out illiteracy in Nepal with low cost private education. Aela Callan states in an Aljazeera article “On first appearances, Uttam Sanjel is almost a caricature. Dressed in a traditional Nepali dhaka topi hat and an over-sized blue blazer, he performs in front of 3,000 of his students at a bamboo “Samata” school assembly like the Bollywood actor he dreamed of one day becoming. His permanent smile and cheery turn of phrase show a determination for positivity, no matter what the challenge. …Uttam’s mission is to provide quality education for all children in Nepal. His schools are very cheap – students only pay 100 rupees (just over one dollar) each month. His students are from impoverished backgrounds. They have to find their own uniforms, but sometimes he even pays for their books. …Uttam seeks outside funding so that he keeps a good distance away from [the government] mess. He does not want the government, NGOs or even INGO’s meddling in his school and its affairs. Private donations from “education lovers,” as he calls them, fund 75 per cent of his operating costs. He claims to run all 19 schools on $250,000 in donations per year. “Give and forget,” is Uttam’s philosophy, and it works – almost.  The biggest limitation in what he is doing is that this is a one-man show. Each month, he looks in his bank account to see if there is enough money to pay his dedicated teachers. Sometimes there is not.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Article.wn

Critical portrayal of life in Cuba (November 1 2012) Critical portrayal of life in Cuba (November 1 2012)

Yoani María Sánchez Cordero the 37 year old Cuban blogger, who achieved international fame and awards for her critical portrayal of life in Cuba under its current government, has been arrested along with her husband held while en route to attend the trial of Spanish activist. An Aljazeera states “Sanchez could not be reached by telephone, but her Twitter account includes entries from Thursday in which she recounted scenes from a cross-country trip, including two stops by police to fumigate her car, apparently for mosquitoes. Sanchez, through her blog Generation Y and other writings, has become Cuba’s best-known dissident and has won various awards overseas, but is never allowed out of Cuba to collect them. She was reported last week to have filed a complaint against Cuba with the Inter-American Human Rights Commission for repeatedly refusing to grant her a travel visa. The newspaper El Pais in Madrid said on its website Sanchez was its freelance correspondent and that it had tried to reach her by phone without success. Sanchez, her husband and others apparently were on their way to Bayamo for the trial of Carromero, who is charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter for the death of Paya and his colleague Harold Cepero. Carromero was driving a small rental car with Paya, Cepero and Jens Arons Modig, a Swedish political activist, aboard when he lost control on a section of road under repair and crashed into a tree near Bayamo. He and Modig, who were not seriously hurt, said they were driving the dissidents to meet supporters.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Facebook

Syria artists in a time of revolt (October 30 2012) Syria artists in a time of revolt (October 30 2012)

Jane Ferguson the British Freelance Journalist currently with Aljazeera has published an article titled ‘Portrait of Syria artists in a time of revolt’ discussing how artists who fled the country had experienced “torture” by security forces but are still intent on continuing their work. Ferguson states “Many of them [Artists] have been detained, beaten and disappeared by the government for focusing their talents on the ugliest of truths around them. In times of war, writers, painters, filmmakers and photographers often mirror its horror. We now look upon great works such as Pablo Picasso’s Guernica and Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls, with nostalgia – neatly cleansed of the terror that inspired them. Fast forward a generation and works born from the Syrian revolution will likely be part of our contemporary art world. But first Syrian artists must survive, and to do that many have fled the country. Filmmaker Firas Fayyad tried to board a flight from Damascus Airport last November. … they put a bag over his head, threw him into a car, and drove him to the first of a series of underground detention centres where he said he was beaten and interrogated repeatedly for four months. …After his release in March, Fayyad knew he was being watched, and could be arrested again at any time. He left the country on foot. …He is now working to challenge the Assad government as an exiled activist, even though the once peaceful rebellion has transformed into an increasingly violent civil war.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Linkedin

Property of a commercial oligarchy (October 27 2012) Property of a commercial oligarchy (October 27 2012)

Lewis H. Lapham the 77 year old American writer and editor describes how American democracy became the property of a commercial oligarchy in an article published on Aljazeera titled ‘Feast of fools’. Lapham states “ Forbidden the use of words apt to depress a Q Score or disturb a Gallup poll, the candidates stand as product placements meant to be seen instead of heard, their quality to be inferred from the cost of their manufacture. The sponsors of the event, generous to a fault but careful to remain anonymous, dress it up with the bursting in air of star-spangled photo ops, abundant assortments of multiflavoured sound bites, and the candidates so well-contrived that they can be played for jokes, presented as game-show contestants, or posed as noble knights-at-arms setting forth on vision quests, enduring the trials by klieg light, until on election night they come to judgment before the throne of cameras by whom and for whom they were produced. Best of all, at least from the point of view of the commercial oligarchy paying for both the politicians and the press coverage, the issue is never about the why of who owes what to whom, only about the how much and when, or if, the check is in the mail. No loose talk about what is meant by the word democracy or in what ways it refers to the cherished hope of liberty embodied in the history of a courageous people. The campaigns don’t favour the voters with the gratitude and respect owed to their standing as valuable citizens participant in the making of such a thing as a common good. They stay on message with their parsing of democracy as the ancient Greek name for the American Express card…”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source 3quarksdaily

Must put the marginalised at the centre (October 25 2012) Must put the marginalised at the centre (October 25 2012)

Pauline Rose the British Director of the EFA Global Monitoring Report and former Senior Policy Analyst with the GMR team has published an article on Aljazeera titled “’Education First’ must put the marginalised at the centre” stating there is a need to draw attention to unacceptable levels of education inequality across countries and between groups. Rose states “Goal-setting often leads to attention being paid to low-hanging fruit – those easiest to reach, making it possible to show progress most quickly. Unfortunately, in education, this approach has left 61 million children – many of them poor, girls and those living in remote rural locations – missing out on the push towards getting all children into school by 2015. It is welcome that one of the three areas being addressed by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, in his new global initiative launched on September 26, 2012, “Education First” is putting every child into school. To achieve this important intention, future goals and any discussions of a post-2015 agenda must include equity-based targets so that the marginalised benefit from progress. This is a remediable injustice and one which we must all work to resolve. …Some children or young people may have been disadvantaged by more than one factor in their access to school. …A key reason for the likely failure to reach the 2015 deadline of the six Education for All goals is because marginalised have not been given enough attention.  For this reason, education goals set after 2015 must include equity-based targets.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Twitter

World Bank and the development delusion (October 20 2012) World Bank and the development delusion (October 20 2012)

Jim Yong Kim the 52 year old Korean-American physician, anthropologist and current President of the World Bank has been the subject of review by Jason Hickel in an article published on Aljazeera titled ‘The World Bank and the development delusion’. Hickel states “When Jim Yong Kim took the helm of the World Bank in July, progressives in the development community hailed it as a turning point in the fight against poverty. For once the Bank is headed not by a US military boss or a Wall Street executive, but by an actual expert in the field of development. …I have deep respect for Kim and his past accomplishments, but I do not share the optimism that has overcome the development community. I find it astounding that we continue to place our hope for the end of poverty in an international financial institution that is fundamentally beholden to the interests of Wall Street and the US government. And we do so against all the available evidence. History shows that most of the countries that have come under the sway of the World Bank – and its sister institution, the IMF – have experienced declining development outcomes over the past 30 years or so.  …Kim probably won’t be able to accomplish these reforms because they would run up against enormously powerful economic interests. Real change will require rebuilding the global justice movement by linking together organisations that have been working on these issues for decades. As neoliberal policy has ravaged the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world, there’s a lot of anger out there ready to be mobilised. A revolution lies waiting in the wings; we have only to call it forth.”


Inspired by Jason Hickel image source NIH

The culture of corruption (October 19 2012) The culture of corruption (October 19 2012)

Nadine Gordimer the 88 year old South African writer, political activist and recipient of the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature has spoken to Aljazeera on the ‘The culture of corruption’ and questions what happened to the democracy that Nelson Mandela and other South African leaders ushered in? The Aljazeera article states that “Social unrest these days is part of the fabric of South African life. The promise of what was once called the rainbow nation still to be realised. A different perhaps more ominous chapter has opened in this country – there is widespread public discontent with what is perceived as endemic corruption, and deep disappointment if not anger at the gross inequality that is still so much part of the society. How did it come to this? What happened to the democracy that Nelson Mandela and other great leaders ushered in? …Gordimer who for decades has provided a mirror in which the people of South Africa could view themselves. …She became a member of the African National Congress at a time when the movement was outlawed in South Africa and though many of her works were banned, she never stopped writing, never softened the voices of those entangled in the racist maze that was the system of apartheid. And in the years since the ANC came to power she subjected the new rulers to the same honest and rigorous scrutiny she applied to the white government they replaced. She continues to probe, to reveal truths that many would rather remain hidden. And above all, Nadine Gordimer continues to reject censorship of ideas in any form, her mantra unchanged through decades that a people can only be free if they are free to say what they want.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Bengt Oberger

Offended in their religious feelings (October 18 2012) Offended in their religious feelings (October 18 2012)

Jorge Sampaio the 73 year old Portuguese former President and now the United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations claims ‘All citizens should have the right not to be gratuitously offended in their religious feelings’ in an article published on Aljazeera titled ‘Wake up call to speak out for our common values and rights’. Sampaio states “The indignation that has flared up in so many countries against a provocative video, produced in murky circumstances and aimed at offending one group’s religious beliefs, is legitimate and fully understandable.  No believer, be they Muslim, Christian, Jewish, to mention only the religions of the Book – is ready to accept indecent attacks on matters they hold sacred. …it is important to recognise that one person’s contemptible actions do not represent an entire nation, or everyone in a particular group or of a certain faith. Here, I must emphasise the crucial responsibility that falls on political and religious leaders to speak out to their constituencies, urging them to be mindful of this fact.  … In democratic societies and increasingly all over the world, people are free to voice their rights. Let’s join all our voices and work together to address in an appropriate way the alarming rise of extremism, religious hatred and hate speech, all of which undermine people’s expectations of a better life in dignity, freedom and security. We need to be bold and take action urgently to turn the possibility of living together in diversity, dialogue, respect and peace into reality.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Wikipedia

Perfectly easy way to rescue newspapers (October 16 2012) Perfectly easy way to rescue newspapers (October 16 2012)

David Leigh the 66 year old British journalist, author and the investigations executive editor of The Guardian is the subject of an article by Dan Hind on Aljazeera titled ‘Reincarnating the newspaper industry’. Hind states “…Leigh set out what he called a “perfectly easy way to rescue newspapers, ensure media plurality and monetise the web” – add a £2 ($3.2) monthly levy on broadband fees and thereby raise around £500 million ($807 million) a year. The money would then be distributed to news operations “according to their share of UK online readership”. …Revenues from print sales are in steep decline, he said, and paywalls won’t work in the UK, because of the BBC. …The lean pickings from web advertising on a free newspaper site will only pay for a fraction of the high-quality investigative journalism that commercial newspapers generate. We’ll just get the timid BBC on the one hand, and superficial junk on the other.” …here’s what I see as the main problem with Leigh’s suggestion. The distribution mechanism he proposes will not serve the stated aim. …While some good investigative journalism does appear in British newspapers, it accounts for only a tiny fraction of content as a whole. Much more space is given to celebrity gossip, chitchat from Westminster, lifestyle features, sports coverage, scare stories about immigrants, half-baked nonsense about the economy and similar “superficial junk”. …Leigh’s levy would go to those news operations with large online readerships, regardless of the amount of “high-quality investigative journalism” they commissioned and published. This will tend to reward, and preserve, incumbency.”


Inspired by Dan Hind image source Twitter

Got no personal interest in closing it down (October 13 2012) Got no personal interest in closing it down (October 13 2012)

John Christensen the British economist co-founder of the Tax Justice Network and director of its London-based International Secretariat, plays a leading role in campaigning for tighter regulation and control of tax havens and offshore finance centres. Christensen told Aljazeera: “In many cases it’s the politicians and their cronies and their families and the business people who sponsor the political parties who are using these offshore financial services so they got no personal interest in closing it down. If they wanted to close it down they could do it tomorrow. It’s not a question of rocket science and how difficult to do that, all they have to do is improve information exchange between countries and require disclosure of information about offshore accounts, offshore companies, offshore trusts. The fact of the matter is they don’t want to do it because they themselves are complicit with the process.” An Aljazeera article states “A new report has now revealed that some of the world’s richest people have more than $30 trillion stashed in offshore tax havens. A global elite group of super-rich has exploited gaps in cross-border tax rules to hide an extraordinary amount of wealth offshore. Research commissioned by the campaign group Tax Justice Network says the value is as much as the gross domestic products of the US and Japan combined. …the world’s super-rich have taken advantage of lax tax rules to siphon off possibly as much as $32 trillion from their home countries and hide it abroad. In fact, G20 member countries, both developed and emerging economies, have been pledging to close down tax havens since 2008.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Save India

Chronicle of a death foretold (October 7 2012) Chronicle of a death foretold (October 7 2012)

Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif the 32 year old Yemini citizen detained for over 10 years at the American naval base at Guantanamo Bay has died in custody without having ever been charged with a crime. Murtaza Hussain has published an article on Aljazeera titled ‘Chronicle of a death foretold’ in which he states “The cause of his death has been recorded as unknown and may never truly be known, but Latif had long suffered from feelings of extreme depression during his time in jail, having made several suicide attempts in the previous years. …Latif was initially captured by Pakistani bounty hunters in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks when a mixture of confusion and desire for vengeance resulted in the effective labeling of any military age Arab males found in Afghanistan and Pakistan as potential terrorists. He had been receiving medical care in Amman, Jordan for chronic injuries he had received from a car crash in Yemen that had fractured his skull and caused permanent damage to his hearing. Lured to Pakistan by the promise of cheap healthcare, once the war started he ended up caught in the dragnet of opportunistic bounty hunters who detained him, proclaimed him a terrorist and handed him over to the US military in neighboring Afghanistan …in order to collect large cash incentives from the US military for their handover. No evidence was ever found connecting him to terrorism or violent militancy of any kind… Indeed, when he was apprehended he was found not to be in possession of weapons or extremist literature of any kind – what he had with him were copies of his medical records.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source JTF-GTMO

The insult, the injury and indignities of empire (October 5 2012) The insult, the injury and indignities of empire (October 5 2012)

Abdullah Al-Arian the 31 year old Assistant Professor of history specializing in the modern Middle East has published an article on Aljazeera titled ‘The insult, the injury and the indignities of empire’, citing during colonial times, scathing critiques of Islam were often met by Muslims with thoughtful and measured responses. Al-Arian states “…the United States and its European allies hope to absolve themselves of any culpability for the recurring hostility expressed by populations in the Middle East and beyond. To deny historical experiences and current political realities allows one to miss the point entirely: that the offence caused by the steady flow of anti-Islamic cultural production is quite literally adding insult to injury. And it is much easier for all of those involved to focus on the insult rather than the injury. There is little new in the amateurish hate-filled film that emerged out of the bowels of an Islamophobia industry that has picked up considerable steam in the last decade. Aside from trading the physical soapbox for the digital one of YouTube, anti-Islamic screeds have not evolved much since the era of the Crusades, relying primarily on a thoroughly discredited historical narrative of Prophet Muhammad’s life and mission that acted as a kind of medieval war propaganda. …Anyone seeking to understand the recent upheavals need only contrast the latest response with historical ones. Internal Muslim condemnations against the protests have relied primarily on Muhammad’s example of ignoring insults against his person. But in fact, there is a long tradition of Muslim tolerance for insults against their faith and its founder.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source usavsalarian

Unjust fate of an American terrorist (October 3 2012) Unjust fate of an American terrorist (October 3 2012)

Muhammad Salah the 59 year old Palestinian-born citizen of the United States has been profiled by Charlotte Silver in an article published on Aljazeera titled ‘The unjust fate of an American terrorist’. Silver states “In 1993, Salah was a grocer in the suburbs of Chicago; a husband and father of four children. He was described as soft-spoken and keen on community volunteer work. Today, Salah is the sole person residing in the US who is labelled a “terrorist”. The status, assigned to him in 1995, has rendered his every movement, purchase, transaction and life decision – from the mundane to the substantive – subject to review by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). “He is, essentially, internally banished. He cannot engage with anyone, and no one can engage with him,” said David Cole, an attorney with the Centre for Constitutional Rights… “Internal banishment” is a form of punishment in which the government determines with whom the sentenced is permitted to speak. It gained notoriety by its wide use under South Africa’s apartheid regime. …Salah has never been told why he was placed on the list, never been convicted of anything and he has an eternal sentence of internal banishment under constant surveillance. …Salah filed a lawsuit to lift this surreal siege on his life – a siege so total it has prevented even civil rights organisations from contacting and helping him access his legal rights.  …”All we know, is that in 1995 the Treasury added him to the list. They didn’t give him notice or any reason, and never disclosed anything about why he was added,” said Cole.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source ibloga

Controversial figure in Netherlands and abroad (September 29 2012) Controversial figure in Netherlands and abroad (September 29 2012)

Geert Wilders the 49 year old Dutch far-right politician, founder and leader of the Party for Freedom the fourth-largest political party in the Netherlands best known for his criticism of Islam, summing up his views by saying, “I don’t hate Muslims, I hate Islam”, views that have made him a controversial figure in the Netherlands and abroad. Anno Bunnik has published an article on Aljazeera titled ‘The rise and fall of Geert Wilders?’ stating “…Wilders is labelled the sorcerer’s apprentice. Trained by one of the most prominent Dutch politicians in recent decades – “sorcerer” Frits Bolkesteijn – Wilders transformed from a relatively unknown Member of Parliament into the most outspoken and influential politician in the Netherlands. But his magic seems to have worn off, as Dutch voters are increasingly getting tired of his yearning for political hysteria. …Even when Wilders-admirer Anders Breivik slaughtered 77 children and young adults in Norway it did not harm his position. PVV-voters are able to distinguish between a terrorist and a legitimate politician, even if they share similar views. Nothing seemed to stop Wilders rise to power. …Wilders, however, failed to observe … the majority of voters simply do not want more political crises, but instead long for politicians to take up their responsibilities – even if that means tough austerity measures. Not a single person that I spoke to in recent weeks, irrespective of their background, is really looking forward to yet another general election. Most voters hold Wilders accountable for tearing down the minority government and blame him for prioritising his own interest over national interest.”


Inspired by Anno Bunnik image source Twitter

Now my play yard to fight by words (September 27 2012) Now my play yard to fight by words (September 27 2012)

Yehia Jaber the Lebanese poet celebrated for the bitter comedic work he often performs like stand-up comedy has been profiled by filmmaker Roxana Vilk on Aljazeera. In the profile titled ‘Yehia Jaber: Laughter is My Exit’, takes us on a journey across Lebanon, and into his past, to explain why this former fighter of Lebanon’s long civil war now battles for change with nothing but words. Vilk states “There is something very enticing about filming poets. Here are these characters, reflective and questioning by nature, living through a truly historic time of change in the Middle East. …when I first met him, it was his laughter that immediately drew me in: it is warm, infectious, and cannot help but gather you up in its path. …he is everything you imagine a poet to be, questioning society and politics around him, and spot on with his sharp, funny observations of life. …Lebanon’s history is complicated. The country has been ravaged by so many wars, and Yehia with his own complex past seemed like the perfect quirky character to guide us. “In this comedy that is Lebanon,” as he sees it, “we are always re-building and re-war-ing.” …[he] become a communist fighter during the civil war and the consequent invasion by Israel. It was the horror and disillusionment of his fighting years that finally led him to pick up his pen. “Now this violence inside me, it will be by words, because there is no blood. Perhaps this is now my play yard to fight by words,” he says.”


Inspired by Roxana Vilk image source Twitter

Transformed from a shadowy ex-convict (September 24 2012) Transformed from a shadowy ex-convict (September 24 2012)

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula the 55 year old Egyptian-American Coptic Christian has been named as the writer, producer and distributor of the anti-Islamic film Innocence of Muslims that has inflamed anti-american violence across the middle east and major cities of the west. Ben Piven in an article published on Aljazeera states “After a film insulting the Prophet Muhammad triggered mass protests in Muslim-majority countries across North Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula has been transformed from a shadowy ex-convict into an international man of mystery. Reporters and police began camping out next to the 55-year-old Nakoula’s house outside Los Angeles, as US law enforcement officials confirmed Nakoula’s central role in the notorious anti-Islam video. But questions remain about Nakoula’s exact role in the production of the film, and rumours continue to circulate about the video’s dissemination. …probation officers briefly interviewed – but did not technically arrest – the Coptic Christian resident of southern California who has been on probation since his conviction for financial crimes. As part of his release terms, he was forbidden from using computers or the internet for five years. His probation order also warned Nakoula against using false identities. Nakoula has already admitted uploading the trailer to the internet, which could constitute a violation of the terms of his five-year probation. It was not immediately clear whether Nakoula was the target merely of a probation violation check, a new criminal investigation – or part of the broader investigation into the deaths of US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Libya possibly related to outrage over the video.”


Inspired by Ben Piven image source Nick Stern

An ethical duty to support the Syrian people (September 22 2012) An ethical duty to support the Syrian people (September 22 2012)

Mohamed Morsi Isa El-Ayyat the 61 year old President of Egypt and a leading figure in the Muslim Brotherhood. He became Chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party when it was founded by the Muslim Brotherhood in the wake of the 2011 Egyptian revolution. In an article published on Aljazeera by Hamid Dabashi titled ‘Morsi in Tehran: Crossing the boundaries’, Dabashi states “When during his speech at the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran the Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi declared it an “ethical duty” to support the Syrian people against the “oppressive regime” of Bashar al-Assad in Damascus suddenly, for a clear moment, he became the messenger of the Egyptian Revolution for the Syrian people, and by extension for the rest of the Arab and Muslim world – that Egyptians as a liberated nation stand with them. The utterance, in and of itself, suddenly placed Egypt as the leader of the potentially free and democratic Arab and Muslim world – dismantling the old cliché of the US as the self-designated “leader of the free world”. Morsi spoke with a presiding authority that stems from no religious conviction, but from a moral imperative that only a liberated nation can momentarily invest on their elected officials. …Egypt has emerged as a moral voice from the heart of its revolution and as such it is a force that Morsi’s speech in Tehran made abundantly clear. Beyond anything that any other country or political figure could do, President Morsi’s speech dismantled the entire propaganda machinery of the Islamic Republic, forced its official news agencies deliberately to mistranslate his words, replace the “Syrian government” for where Morsi had said “Syrian people”, and prompted a walkout by the Syrians delegation.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Press TV

Epic struggle between good and evil (September 19 2012) Epic struggle between good and evil (September 19 2012)

Tarak Barkawi the American Senior Lecturer in War Studies believes that Tony Blair and Desmond Tutu share a vision of world politics as an epic struggle between good and evil, in an article he published on Aljazeera titled ‘Invasions and evasions: The Tutu-Blair paradox’. Barkawi states “Retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu refused recently to appear with former prime minister Tony Blair at the Discovery Invest Leadership Conference in Johannesburg. Tutu did not want to speak alongside a leader who had lied. “If leaders may lie, then who should tell the truth?” asked Tutu. The lie in question was the formal US-UK justification for the invasion of Iraq: that “intelligence assessments” had established that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD). …Tutu accuses Bush and Blair of “destabilising” and “polarising” the world “to a greater extent than any other conflict in history”. …accuses the Anglo-American leaders of being “playground bullies”. He even blames them for the current situations in Iran and Syria. …However, allowing finance capital and big banks to range unchallenged and unregulated certainly has cost Western governments vast amounts of treasure. As for blood, just how much sweat and tears, hopelessness and stunted lives, among millions suffering in the Great Recession of recent years, equate to some few thousands killed and displaced by petty warlords? Desmond Tutu needs to reconsider just who the great purveyors of lies and human suffering are in the contemporary world. The rest of us need desperately a new political and ethical language by which we can equate the suffering caused by the economy with that inflicted by force of arms.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source New School

No justice for Rachel Corrie (September 17 2012) No justice for Rachel Corrie (September 17 2012)

Neve Gordon the 47 year old Israeli Philosopher of Politics and Government, supporter of the two state solution and member of the Israeli peace camp, has released an article on Aljazeera titled ‘No justice for Rachel Corrie’. Gordon states “Twenty-three-year-old Rachel Corrie …[while] demonstrating against the Israeli military’s massive demolitions of houses on the Egyptian border … was crushed to death by a Caterpillar D9R Israeli military bulldozer … the family filed a civil suit in Israel against the State of Israel and the Defence Ministry. …according to the Israeli military … close to 6,000 grenades were thrown at the IDF in the region, there were 1,400 shooting incidents between the IDF and Palestinians, and 150 roadside bombs were detected. Writing for Haaretz, Amira Hass reveals that bullets were fired in both directions. …101 Palestinians were killed in the region, forty-two of them children. One Israeli soldier was also killed during the same period. The defence team used these statistics against Corrie, claiming that she put herself in harm’s way, but one could, more persuasively I think, say that she was an incredibly courageous human being who believed that all people should enjoy basic rights, such as freedom, self-determination and security. And Rachel was willing to struggle for such rights. Haifa District Court Judge Oded Gershon showed no empathy toward this line of thinking, and on August 28 handed down his verdict: the State of Israel and the Defence Ministry were not responsible for Rachel Corrie’s death.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source openshuhadastreet

Trolling for trolls in the real world (September 14 2012) Trolling for trolls in the real world (September 14 2012)

April Alliston the American Professor of Comparative Literature and Guggenheim Fellow has published an article on Aljazeera titled ‘Trolling for trolls in Disney World and the real world’ referring to the increase in internet trolling – much of it misogynistic and damaging. Alliston states “You may have thought trolls were those fairytale ogres who lurked under bridges once upon a time, or maybe those vintage naked plastic dolls with the big shocks of brightly-coloured hair that are so ugly they’re cute. But recently, trolls – fictional and nonfictional – are turning up everywhere, from cyberspace to the school bus, on screens large and small, showing us how fantasy can disturb reality, and folks from schoolboys to grannies can turn into trolls. A global outcry faulted British police last week for penalising trolls who use Twitter for hate speech. After his close friends were ridiculed and lambasted online following the stillborn birth of their child, television host Piers Morgan declared this week, “But what I am going to do is go to war with these trolls.” Earlier this summer another global outcry led to the suspension of schoolboys who aped cyber-trolls in person. The one thing that’s clear is how confused we all are about the line between fantasy and reality, words and deeds, victims and trolls. …While speaking out against internet trolls is gaining momentum, shouldn’t the incidents of cruel trolling be decreasing, not increasing? Instead of rewarding their victim by sending her away from the real world, let’s teach everyone – schoolchildren and adults – that trolling isn’t tolerated.”


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Veils, polleras and mini-skirts (September 10 2012) Veils, polleras and mini-skirts (September 10 2012)

Manuela Lavinas Picq the former professor and researcher at Amherst College and currently researching in Brazil on politics for indigenous women in the Andes, has released an article on Aljazeera titled ‘The politics of veils, ‘polleras’ and mini-skirts’, where veils and ‘polleras’ are modern expressions of “political contestation and negotiation” between state and society. In the article Picq states “What a difference a piece of cloth makes. Indigenous’ polleras, or Muslim headscarves tend to be read as signs of poverty and subjugation whereas a mini-skirt usually asserts a woman’s emancipation. Of course, women’s rights do not reside in dress. Yet the way one dresses has political significance. A mini-skirt or a headscarf can both be symbols of oppression or emancipation, depending on the context. At first sight, indigenous women wearing polleras in the Bolivian Congress do not seem to have much in common with young Muslim women defending their right to wear the scarf to attend French universities. Looking closer, however, their insistence in bringing cultural attire into public realms points at similar practices of resistance. In both cases, clothing becomes a strategic site of political contestation to negotiate rights and authority. …Both polleras and veils are perceived as signs of cultures that keep women down, cultures that have not yet achieved political modernity. As different as they may be, in the collective imaginary both are signs of the oppression of women, visual reminders of gender inequality and implicitly indicators of underdevelopment. …Today, wearing polleras on the floor of the Peruvian Congress or headscarves in French universities represents a more fundamental challenge to oppressive power structures than women donning high fashion silk “power suits” as they struggle for conventional forms of success in the executive suites of governments or multinational corporations.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Sertaobras

Secret history of your favourite hamburger (September 8 2012) Secret history of your favourite hamburger (September 8 2012)

Rose Aguilar the American progressive journalist and radio host has published an article on Aljazeera titled ‘The secret history of your favourite hamburger’ reporting on multiple undercover investigations over the years show horrific animal cruelty, neglect and abuse at slaughter plants. In the article Aguilar states “Thanks to the brave and compassionate souls who go undercover into slaughterhouses with hidden cameras, the truth about horrific cruelty to animals is no longer being hidden from the public eye. …Because undercover videos showing the most horrific animal cruelty you can imagine are released on a regular basis and receive widespread media coverage, the meat, dairy and egg industries are feverishly working to keep you in the dark by prosecuting the whistleblowers, not the factory farm owners. Those who oppose animal cruelty know what they’re trying to hide. …The USDA exempts birds from its enforcement of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, which requires that farm animals be insensible to pain before they’re shackled and killed. Most people are appalled to learn that because the meat, dairy and egg industries are so powerful, not a single federal law provides protection to animals on factory farms. …Images of cows, pigs and birds being brutally tortured are powerful and the slaughter industry knows it. That’s why they’re working to pass Ag-Gag bills across the country. They don’t want you to know the truth. In March, with the help of agricultural lobbyists, including the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and the Iowa Dairy Association, Iowa became the first state in the country to make it an offense to capture undercover video exposing animal abuse.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Twitter

It is not easy being Muslim (September 2 2012) It is not easy being Muslim (September 2 2012)

Butheina Kazim the United Arab Emir ant New York-based Scholar of Media, Culture and Communication discusses among many things, the difficulty of being Muslim in an article published on Aljazeera. In the article Kazim states “The holy month of Ramadan is notorious for its wide assortment of television viewing. Broadcasting tycoons and media moguls of the pan-Arab television industry spend the better half of the year carefully preparing the brain stuffing that they would peddle to Arab audiences …There’s your celebrity Quran-readers who make an appearance every year, usually an hour or so before iftar followed by your staple live Q&A Fatwa Sheikh Show with list of questions that seems to have been dropped down as a recycled standardised list of Ramadan concerns for the past decade. …For the soul-searching, information-rife, questioning Muslim youth, there is little consolation in such superficial attempts at spiritual pacification. Outside the grasp of the television screens, Ramadan is the season for those seeking to use the annual routine-shuffle and disruption of the quotidian to grapple with the tough questions of the spirit and matters of the heart. Riddled with questions about their place in the world, an increasing number of Muslim youth in the Arab world are becoming impatient with this regimen; and they want answers. It’s a scary world out there. Rohingya Muslims are being massacred in Myanmar, Syria is a battlefield of warring ideologies spilling blood, girls are being married off to their rapists and Pamela Geller is on yet another anti-Muslim mission across the US transportation systems. It is not easy being Muslim.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Twitter

Illes Relief should be returned to Geneva (August 28 2012) Illes Relief should be returned to Geneva (August 28 2012)

Maryvelma Smith O’Neil the American Historian and activist for Palestinian statehood has published an article on Aljazeera arguing the Illes Relief as a prized treasure should be returned to Geneva rather than squandered in Jerusalem. In the article O’Neil states “The model relief was made by Stephan Illés, an enterprising young Hungarian Catholic, who arrived in Jerusalem in 1864. He spent his days quietly binding books to earn a living, but escaped after dark into a marvellous miniature world of his own creation. From 1872 to 1873, he painstakingly crafted a 4.5 by 5 metre (15 by 16ft) 3D model to make what came to be known as the Illés Relief – a 19th century Google Map of Jerusalem. …Back in Geneva, the Maison de la Réformation council had been assured that the relief would be seen by thousands of museum-goers. However, finding it today demands directed curiosity or deliberate intention – since it is tucked away deep in the subterranean level, where it attracts few visitors – as recently attested by a museum guide. It is the only artifact in the museum, yet it is simply described on a plaque as “a 19th century model of Jerusalem”. This near absence of curatorial documentation does not fall in line with Professor Rubin’s valuation of it as “an accurate and detailed cartographic document and therefore an important and unique source for the study of the history and georgraphy of Jerusalem in the 19th century”. “


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Bangkok Allure

150 million people went missing in India (August 26 2012) 150 million people went missing in India (August 26 2012)

Johnny West the British journalist and founder of OpenOil a Berlin-based consultancy in oil and other extractive industries has published an article on Aljazeera titled ‘How 150 million people went missing in India’, in which he discusses how the media coverage of the country’s blackouts paid little attention to the millions of Indians who were not on the grid to begin with. West states “Reports [media] spoke of the 600 million people affected by the blackout across India’s north and east as cities plunged into darkness for two nights in a row – and the high priests of capitalism worried about the effect on what is euphemistically termed “global economic growth”. In fact, the real figure was more likely to be 450 million people – but that’s actually bad news. …A mere reporting glitch, of course, nothing intentional. But one that speaks volumes for the state of the global discussion about energy, how stuck it is in the 20th century, how riddled with ancient ideological canards. Those 150 million people who literally didn’t count belong to a global underclass of up to two billion people across Africa and Asia, mainly, who are off-grid. Who yesterday, today and every day, often go to sleep when it gets dark and live and work through summers of up to 50 degrees or winters of minus 20, without any means to cool or warm themselves other than keeping to the shadows or burying themselves in a mountain of blankets. In order to include them in the global energy debate, it is time for socially progressive thinking to revisit the issue of energy subsidies.”


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Egypt's nouveaux riches and the Palestinians (August 23 2012) Egypt’s nouveaux riches and the Palestinians (August 23 2012)

Joseph Andoni Massad the 49 year old Palestinian American Associate Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History has published an article on Aljazeera titled ‘Egypt’s nouveaux riches and the Palestinians’ in which he details how the beneficiaries of the post-Sadat financial success continue to sell out Egypt and the Palestinians. In the article Massad states “The Sadatist and nouveaux riches’ campaigns would invent stories about Palestinians having lost their country because they themselves were “sell-outs” and had “sold their country to the Jews”. These rumours continue to be widespread in Egyptian society, at all levels, till this very day, sustained as they are by the utter chauvinist hatred engendered by this petty uneducated class, who under Mubarak continued to rob the country clean and impoverish vast sectors of its population, in the process accumulating billions of dollars. The anti-Palestinian campaign was central to the Sadatist project of instituting an anti-Arab chauvinist Egyptian nationalism in place of Egyptian Arab nationalism. The charge that Palestinians sold their country is of course a distracting tactic used by an Egyptian comprador class which, in fact, did sell Egypt to the highest bidders (in addition to Americans and Israelis, Saudis have also been favourite buyers) since the 1970s and is fighting the current transformation of the country in order to be able to sell whatever is left of the country unhindered. … Hard as they try to keep the anti-Palestinian rumour mill going, Egypt’s comprador class of sellouts and their liberal press agents will continue to lose ground, as they are now recognised plainly for what they are and what they have been for the last four decades, enemies of the majority of Egyptians.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Open Library

The hunger wars in our future (August 20 2012) The hunger wars in our future (August 20 2012)

Michael T Klare the American Professor of Peace and World Security Studies published an article on Aljazeera titled ‘The hunger wars in our future’ highlighting the rising food prices due to drought may again lead to social unrest and violent conflict. Klare states “With more than one-half of US counties designated as drought disaster areas, the 2012 harvest of corn, soybeans and other food staples is guaranteed to fall far short of predictions. This, in turn, will boost food prices domestically and abroad, causing increased misery for farmers and low-income Americans – and far greater hardship for poor people in countries that rely on imported US grains. This, however, is just the beginning of the likely consequences. …Food – affordable food – is essential to human survival and well-being. Take that away, and people become anxious, desperate and angry. …many nations depend on grain imports from the US to supplement their own harvests, and because intense drought and floods are damaging crops elsewhere as well, food supplies are expected to shrink and prices to rise across the planet. …keep an eye out for the social and political effects that undoubtedly won’t begin to show up here or globally until later this year or 2013. Better than any academic study, these will offer us a hint of what we can expect in the coming decades from a hunger-games world of rising temperatures, persistent droughts, recurring food shortages and billions of famished, desperate people.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Facebook

A truly liberal society is a multicultural society (August 19 2012) A truly liberal society is a multicultural society (August 19 2012)

Mehdi Hasan the British television current affairs journalist with a philosophy politics and economics background has published an article on Aljazeera titled ‘In defence of Britain’s multiculturalism’, in which he questions if  multiculturalism is really dead in the UK as the political, media and theological establishments seem to suggest. In the article Hasan states “Multiculturalism is dead in the UK …. seems to be the depressing verdict of senior members of the British political, media and even theological establishments. In recent years, they have lined up to deliver the last rites for multiculturalism, their condemnation and critiques cutting across party and ideological lines. …attacks on “the British multicultural model” continue and intensify – and Islamophobia is on the rise. Multicultural cities such as Bradford, in the north of England, with big Muslim populations, are denounced as failures, smeared as ghettoised societies. Structural factors such as racism, poverty and industrial decline are ignored. …But I for one can’t help but be a defender of the UK’s multiculturalism …I am, after all, a product of multiculturalism; I consider myself to be British, English, Asian and Muslim. I see no contradiction between these ethnic, national, cultural and religious identities. …Britain has come a long way from the nativist and assimilationist 1960s; opinion polls suggest this is a nation at relative ease with its racial, religious and cultural diversity in all walks of life. It is now 2012, not 1965. In this age of globalisation and devolution, Britain cannot return to some fantasy of a halcyon mono-cultural past. In the 21st century, identity isn’t finite; loyalties do not have to compete. And the truth is that a truly liberal society is a multicultural society.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source

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