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Tag: researcher
The Battle for the 21st Century (November 24 2012) The Battle for the 21st Century (November 24 2012)

David Wearing a postgraduate writer and researcher studying British foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa, and co-editor of New Left Project has published an article on Aljazeera titled ‘The Revenge of History: The Battle for the 21st Century’. Wearing states “The triumphalist atmosphere in Western capitals following the demise of the USSR produced assessments of America’s status as the world’s only superpower that ranged from the hubristic to the outright irrational. As Bush the First announced a “New World Order” based on Washington’s military and economic supremacy. …In 2004, a senior presidential aide told a writer for the New York Times magazine, “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality… we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors… and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” In the end, the neo-conservatives’ “New American Century” lasted around seven years, from the al-Qaeda attacks on Washington and New York that fired the starting gun on the “War on Terror” to the departure from the White House of a much diminished George W Bush, with the quagmires of Iraq and Afghanistan having demonstrated “the limits, rather than the extent, of US military power”, in the words of British newspaper columnist Seumas Milne. Meanwhile, the banking crash of 2008 exposed the Anglo-American model of hyper-financialised, deregulated capitalism as a catastrophic failure. For the Nobel economics laureate Joseph Stiglitz, the fall of Wall Street was to “market fundamentalism” what the fall of the Berlin Wall was to Communism. The idea that “democratic market capitalism [is] the final stage of social development” and “that unfettered markets, all by themselves, can ensure economic prosperity and growth” had now been conclusively discredited.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source The Guardian

Israeli policies reminiscent of apartheid (November 17 2012) Israeli policies reminiscent of apartheid (November 17 2012)

Heidi-Jane Esakov the South African researcher at the Afro-Middle East Centre, a Johannesburg-based think-tank, has published an article on Aljazeera titled ‘Israeli policies of dispossession reminiscent of South African apartheid’ discussing how plans to displace bedouins in Israel are reminiscent of the forced removals of blacks in Sophiatown. Esakov states “During the forced removals of the South African suburb of Sophiatown in 1955, around 65,000 residents were moved and “dumped in matchbox houses” in black townships. Only a few years before that, in 1948, Bedouins of Israel’s Naqab/Negev region, who Israel had not expelled, were also forcibly moved “from their ancestral lands into a restricted zone called the Siyag (literally, ‘fenced in’)”. And, just as Sophiatown was completely bulldozed, the Negev village of Al-Arakib was recently razed to make way for a Jewish National Fund forest. As a South African it is particularly difficult not to see the stark parallels between the experiences of black South Africans under apartheid and of Palestinians today. …The villagers of Umm al-Hiran and Al-Arakib are citizens of Israel: Its Arab citizens that Israel prides – and parades – as proof of its democracy. They are, however, not Jewish, a critical determiner of who is entitled to what land and how rights are allocated. …It is not for the oppressor to decide how the oppressed should understand their oppression. But, how is whites-only different to Jewish-only? And, if the forced removal of 30,000 Bedouins to make way for 250,000 Jews is not “systematic oppression… with the intention of maintaining the regime”, what, then, is it?”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Twitter

Dodging the drones: How militants have responded (September 21 2012) Dodging the drones: How militants have responded (September 21 2012)

Aaron Y Zelin the American researcher focusing on Salafi politics, global jihadi activism and reactions to the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa has published an article on Afpak titled ‘Dodging the drones: How militants have responded to the covert US campaign’. Zelin states “Over the past decade U.S. drone strikes have killed between 1,800 and 3,100 people in Pakistan, along with hundreds more in drone attacks in Yemen and Somalia, as a result of the United States’ efforts to combat al-Qaeda and its affiliates. The rise in strikes since the beginning of the Obama administration, and the growing stridency of questions surrounding the legal, moral, and practical efficacy of the program, have led to a lively debate among the commentariat. This debate is indeed important, but it is also crucial to understand how the drone program has affected the jihadis, and how jihadis have deployed the issue of drones in their propaganda. This is a necessary part of gaining a wider understanding of whether the program is a worthwhile endeavor. …In the documents collected by Navy SEALs during their raid of Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan last May, bin Laden nicknamed Pakistan’s tribal areas the “circle of espionage” for the network of spies that helps identify targets and place tracking devices for the strikes. …The fear of infiltrators has created an atmosphere of paranoia within the jihadi movement, and has led many of al-Qaeda’s operatives in the Pakistani tribal areas to move to more urban areas like Karachi. …Bin Laden also suggested that individuals flee to Afghanistan’s Kunar province, where he thought they would be safer from the spy networks that have supported the drone campaign.”


Inspired by Afpak image source Washinton Institute

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

Rebecca MacKinnon the US journalist blogger and co-founder of Global Voices Online, and former researcher for the George Soros funded Open Society Institute, believes the issues she raised in calling on internet users to “take back the Net” have “grown more obvious and urgent”. MacKinnon in a recent TEDTalk presentation highlighted that global information technology companies have become the new “sovereigns of cyberspace.” MacKinnon calls on the world’s Netizens to “…work to make sure that the Internet, the geopolitical system, and the international economy evolve in a way that serves everybody’s rights and interests, not just those of the most powerful one percent … The time has come to occupy the Net. Existing political and legal frameworks have so far proven incapable of preventing and constraining the abuse of digital power … political innovations [are] needed to ensure that government and technology really do serve the world’s people — and not the other way around.”


Inspired by Huffington Post image source Joi Ito

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