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Category: 1204DC (April)

Michael Hastings the 32 year old USA journalist and contributing editor at Rolling Stone magazine renowned for his profile story of General Stanley McChrystal the then commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, has published an article titled ‘The Rise of the Killer Drones: How America Goes to War in Secret, an inside look at how killing by remote control has changed the way we fight” In the article Hastings states, “Drones offer the government an advanced and precise technology in its War on Terror – yet many of those killed by drones don’t appear to be terrorists at all. In fact, according to a detailed study of drone victims compiled by the Bureau for Investigative Journalism, at least 174 of those executed by drones were under the age of 18 – in other words, children. Estimates by human rights groups that include adults who were likely civilians put the toll of innocent victims at more than 800. U.S. officials hotly dismiss such figures – “bullshit,” one senior administration official told me. Brennan, one of Obama’s top counterterrorism advisers, absurdly insisted last June that there hadn’t been “a single civilian” killed by drones in the previous year.”


Inspired by Rolling Stone image source ctv

Jason Hickel a USA Anthropologist specializing in democracy, violence, globalization, and ritual has published an article on Sham Media speaking of today’s dominant economic ideology ‘ neoliberalism’ being taken for granted as natural and inevitable.  In the article Hickel states “In the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher had to convince people that there was “no alternative” to neoliberalism.  Today, this assumption comes ready-made; it’s in the water, part of the common-sense furniture of everyday life, and generally accepted as given by the Right and Left alike.  But it has not always been this way.  Neoliberalism has a specific history, and knowing that history is an important antidote to its hegemony, for it shows that the present order is not natural or inevitable, but rather that it is new, that it came from somewhere, and that it was designed by particular people with particular interests. If an economist living in the 1950s had seriously proposed any of the ideas and policies in today’s standard neoliberal toolkit, they would have been laughed right off the stage. At that time pretty much everyone was a Keynesian, a social democrat, or some shade of Marxist. … neoliberal policy is directly responsible for declining economic growth and rapidly increasing rates of social inequality – both in the West and internationally.”


Inspired by Jason Hickel image source Sham Media

Gregory Shvedov the 35 year old Russian Human Rights activist and journalist renowned for his efforts in promoting human rights in Russia has been profiled by Katrina vanden Heuvel in an article for The Nation, where she states, “With his full red beard and pale complexion, Gregory Shvedov could be taken for a nineteenth-century Russian novelist. Yet Shvedov is an editor fiercely committed to independent journalism at a time when international media monitors rank Russia as among the world’s most dangerous countries for reporters. …Shvedov founded Caucasian Knot (Kavkazkii Uzel), which since its launch in 2001 has become the leading independent source of news, in Russian and English, about the Caucasus. The site has some fifty local correspondents working in twenty locations in the conflict-ridden region—a patchwork quilt of Russian and independent republics including Chechnya, Dagestan and Azerbaijan. Since the end of the Soviet Union in 1991, this vast and complex region has been ravaged by civil war, occupation, violence, torture, kidnappings, terrorism, corruption, rising unemployment and growing Islamic radicalism. After September 11, 2001, by aligning himself with President George W. Bush’s “global war on terror,” President Vladimir Putin was able to largely silence international criticism of Russia’s actions in the Chechen war.”


Inspired by Katrina vanden Heuvel image source wpfd2011

Pepe Escobar the 57 year old Brazillian journalist has published an article on Aljazeera speaking to the pain of millions in Spain who refuse to lay down and see their lives destroyed for the benefit of a banking minority. In the article, Escobar states “Make no mistake; the future of the euro is being played in Spain. The euro may win – but at a price; millions of Spaniards as “collateral damage”. It took less than 100 days in power for the right-wing Popular Party (PP) government led by Mariano Rajoy to face its first general strike…The strike was a response to Rajoy’s EU-imposed labour market reforms…That includes extremely harsh cuts in health, education and social services. …900,000 people marched in Madrid, 800,000 in Barcelona and hundreds of thousands more in 111 cities, especially Valencia and in the Basque country (the unionist vanguard in Spain). In Zaragoza, a city of 700,000, at least 150,000 people may have been in the streets… The country virtually stopped – at a 77 per cent overall rate… There’s serious talk of organising a European general strike. After all, the indignados started their movement in Spain, in May 2011 – the inspiration for Occupy Wall Street, a new, self-organised push for a global solidarity culture…”


Inspired by Pepe Escobar image source

Robert Costanza the 61 year old USA ecological economist and professor of sustainability has published an article on Aljazeera questioning what we can expect from Rio+20, arguing “We should engage in a global dialogue to envision the future we want – and devise an adaptive strategy to get us there.” In the article Costanza states, “…Rio+20 may be the most critical and potentially most influential meeting of its kind ever. What would have to happen for this to occur? In a nutshell, our view of the world will have to change. Our fundamental goals will have to change from an unsustainable emphasis on economic growth to a much broader vision of human well-being that acknowledges our dependence on nature and on each other. …The ongoing financial crisis, the climate crisis, the crisis of well-being and happiness and the Occupy movement, all represent accumulating trends. The Rio+20 meeting could be the trigger to get off the growth bandwagon and start down the path to a more positive vision of the world we all want… We may have to wait for deeper crises, for a more severe collapse. I hope not. While it is not wise to raise expectations too high, it is also not wise to give up hope. Let us hope for the best.”


Inspired by Robert Costanza image source Eppyie

Allison Margaret Kilkenny the 28 year old USA social critic has published an article on The Nation speaking to the ‘Spring Awakening’ resurgence of the Occupy Wall Street movement and Tax Day protesters taking to the streets in New York City. In the article, Kilkenny states ”It’s time for the big banks and corporations to pay their share of taxes like the rest of us do. …the major corporations and 1 percenters pay little to nothing in taxes. Though the right’s favorite talking point is that America has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world at 35 percent, this doesn’t take into account corporations’ tax-evading practices. The S&P is home to 115 companies that receive more in credits than they pay out. It is this unbalanced system—where extremely wealthy individuals and corporations reap the rewards of rigging the US political system and tax code, while poor people are forced to sacrifice their already meager means… Meanwhile, it seems as though the financial elite simply don’t understand what this chatter about loopholes and tax-dodging is all about.”


Inspired by Allison Kilkenny image source netrootsny

Dan Meridor the 64 year old Israeli deputy Prime Minister a longtime member of the Likud party and Minister of Intelligence and Atomic Energy, has admitted Iran’s President Ahmadinejad was misquoted, never saying that Israel must be wiped off the map. Speaking to the Arab network Aljazeera, Meridor stated “They [Iranian leaders] all come basically ideologically, religiously with the statement that Israel is an unnatural creature, it will not survive… They didn’t say ‘we’ll wipe it out,’ but (rather) ‘it will not survive, it is a cancerous tumor, it should be removed’. They repeatedly said ‘Israel is not legitimate, it should not exist’.” An English translation of a speech attributed to Ahmadinejad in 2005 at the “World Without Zionism” conference highlights the problem in translating a Persian metaphorical turn of phrase where there is no exact English language equivalent. The importance of these translation issues rests with how Israel has used the words to garner global support against these Iranian overt threats toward Israel “In the words of Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister: “They are the leaders of Iran who called for a new Holocaust and who vowed to wipe Israel off the map.””


Inspired by Dudi Cohen image source דן מרידור, מאיר שמגר

Robert James “Bob” Brown the 67 year old Australian senator and Parliamentary leader of the Australia Greens has announced he will be stepping down from parliament in June (2012). Brown had led the Australian Greens from the party’s foundation in 1992 until now handing over the leadership to his deputy Christine Milne, a period in which polls grew to around 10% at state and 14%at Federal. Brown’s Greens party has championed the rights in Australia of asylum seekers and been an advocate for the self-determination of countries such as East Timor and West Papua. From 2002 to 2004 when minor parties held the balance of power in the Senate, Brown became a well-recognised politician. With a historic result in the 2010 election, the Green’s again hold the balance of power in the Senate, giving his party more than 1.6 million votes with nine senators elected. The scale of his win enabled him to seal a deal with Prime Minister Julia Gillard allowing her to form Government after the cliff hanger election. Brown intends spending his retirement bushwalking and writing, living in Hobart with his fellow activist partner and farmer Paul Thomas. Brown was the first openly gay member of the Australian Parliament and to lead an Australian political party.


Inspired Ben Eltham by image source Australian Greens

Mullah Dawran the Afghanistani senior Taliban commander in the northeastern province of Kunar has been interviewed by Qais Azimy and Mujib Mashal in an article published on Aljazeera, giving a rare insight into “morale and mentality of many who fight for the Taliban”. In the interview Dawran states, “We have two goals: one, if we still see these people in the areas where we fight for the cause, we can’t say we have won, that we have brought a Sharia system. Because in a Sharia system, you first get rid of the infidels and then those who committed big sins – the traitors. They fought alongside the infidels against Islam. The second goal is that when the Americans leave, they leave us these saplings. These saplings that they planted with their hands – we want to uproot them so they dry out… The history of jihad shows the result of jihad is either victory or martyrdom on the battlefield. In negotiations, Sharia is stepped on. When you and I talk, and we have different opinions, I am obliged to accept some of your views if you accept mine, otherwise it would not be negotiations. I approve such negotiations that will not step on Sharia…”


Inspired by Qais Azimy and Mujib Mashal image source iwandahnial

Andrea Mammone the UK historian and political commentator has published an article on Aljazeera on the potential damage from the austerity measures titled Austerity v’s solidarity: Democratic legitimacy and Europe’s future. In the article Mammone states, “The rebirth of ethnic-based nationalisms, the rise of right-wing extremist feeling and Europhobia are a likely new threat and will be forged with mounting social and workers’ protests. Yet, the Euro-dream was specifically to bypass these nationalistic divisions and create an all-inclusive porous European citizenship. This led to a reconsideration of concepts such as space, borders and belonging – and is, with some difficulties, aiming to create a European public sphere. The “market” economy was only one (though very important) of the pillars that had to contribute to build all this, but it was not the unique one. “Solidarity” was the other (at least implicit) pilaster. It is known that Germany was in fact helped after the Second World War without imposing severe austerity plans. Some of the measures now imposed upon Greece and perhaps tomorrow upon Italy, Spain, Portugal or some central or eastern European nations, may be to some extent necessary – but some political-economic flexibility and democratic legitimacy are essential, too.”


Inspired by Andrea Mammone image source twitter

Hafiz Muhammad Saeed the 61 year old Pakistani amir of Jama’at-ud-Da’wah held a press conference to responded to the USA’s $10 million reward for information leading to his capture. Jama’at-ud-Da’wah is a charity organization that is widely considered to be a cover organization for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), one of the largest and most active Islamic terrorist organizations in the world, believed to be behind the 2008 Mumbai bombings. The organization is banned as a terrorist organization by India, the USA, the UK, the EU, and Russia. Saeed claims he condemns the Mumbai bombings and he had nothing to do with them. Saeed, lives relatively openly in Lahore, and stated in the press conference, “”I am living my life in the open and the US can contact me whenever they want… America should just give the reward money to me!… This is a laughable, absurd announcement… Here I am in front of everyone, not hiding in a cave… If the U.S. wants, I am ready to share my schedule with them… It is obvious this has been done to please India… Our work is based on humanity and our organization works solely for this.”


Inspired by Abby Ohlheiser image source Facebook

Willard Mitt Romney the 65 year old US businessman, politician and 2012 Republican Party presidential candidate and likely nominee has been profiled by Bob Abeshouse on Aljazeera on the likely effect of his being Mormon on his race for the White House. Abeshouse states, “…a significant minority say that they would think twice about voting for a Mormon as president. Evangelical Christians are especially concerned, with some believing that Mormonism is more a cult than a mainstream Christian creed. Others fear a Romney administration would be unduly influenced by the church’s attitude to such matters as polygamy, gay rights and abortion… Evangelical Christians in the US have had a long competition with Mormons for converts. Evangelicals regard the idea that humans can progress to godhood as blasphemous, and take issue with many Mormon practices and doctrines, such as so-called endowment rites. In these temple rituals Mormons pass between rooms representing different stages of the eternal progression they believe all humans participate in – from the Garden of Eden to the earthly world to celestial heaven… Romney has done his best to avoid all discussion of his Mormon faith in the 2012 race. …his Mormonism could be “the x-factor” that costs him the election in a tight race against Barack Obama for the White House in November.”


Inspired by Bob Abeshouse image source Gage Skidmore

Kenan Evren the 94 year old Turkish former General and President of Turkey, assumed as a result of leading the 1980 military coup is to stand trial along with another surviving leader Tahsin Sahinkaya of the bloody coup for executions, mass arrests and crackdowns on political freedoms during his reign. A court in Ankara has began hearing the case against the former dictator where he will be held to account for his actions despite having declared he would prefer to suicide than appear before the court. Evren is in poor health and his testimony is anticipated to be heard via a video hookup in lieu of his appearance before the court. On the first day of the trial, protestors gathered outside of the court calling for justice at this historic moment 30 years after the events, given the trial could not commence without a constitutional amendment to overturn his immunity from prosecution taking place in 2010. During Evren’s three year reign half a million people were arrested, fifty executed and many hundreds dying while in prison or just tortured and disappearing.


Inspired by Cumhuriyet Gazetesi image source Forumcax

Peter Rothberg the associate Publisher of The Nation magazine has published an article titled the 99% Spring, where he states, “Since Occupy Wall Street emerged last September, debates over its impact have roiled both liberals and conservatives confused by the fact of a (successful yet) leaderless movement lacking concrete demands. But something seems to be working. The 99% Spring is just the latest recent example of OWS’s influence. An impressive coalition of liberal-left groups and organizations, led by and including the AFL-CIO, Greenpeace, the Working Families Party,, Campaign for America’s Future, United Students Against Sweatshops, CodePink, Global Exchange and Color of Change aims to recruit and train 100,000 Americans “to tell the story of what happened to our economy, learn the history of non-violent direct action, and use that knowledge to take action on our own campaigns to win change.” A cross-section of the country—from carpenters and stay-at-home moms to business people, students and farmers—has signed up for hundreds of sessions so far, according to an AP report. To me, the simple fact that the cream of the liberal-left establishment is promoting direct action trainings in the six-months before a presidential election rather than focusing all its energies on the electoral horse race is dramatic testimony to Occupy’s impact.”


Inspired by Peter Rothberg image source twitter

Enrique Peña Nieto the 45 year old Mexican politician former governor and member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party that held power for 71 years before its dramatic decline, is surging in the polls in the lead up to the Presidential election to be held mid this year (2012). Peña Nieto’s surge is at the expense of current incumbent President Felipe Calderon’s conservative National Action Party, being held accountable for the 50,000 killed in Mexico in the current Drug Wars. In an Aljazeera report, a Latin American analyst Rodolfo Pastor stated, “The PRI made sure that there was order and progress, even if it was relative, even if it was also linked to profound inequality and poverty and, of course, pacts had to be made. I think that besides the wonderful discourse that Pena Nieto as a fresh face, as a telegenic candidate is making right now, there is this off-the-record message by the PRI to the Mexican people: ‘Listen, we may be corrupt, we may be authoritarian, but we’re going to take care of things, we’re going to make sure things work again’.” A third candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of leftist coalition parties missed out on winning the last election by only 1%.


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Edgar Alberto Domínguez Cataño

Sweta Vohra the US producer of FaultLines at Al-Jazeera English from Washington DC has published an article with Jordan Flaherty on the history of an occupation, referencing how the OWS movement went from a small group of NYC protestors to a broader people’s movement. The article states, ”When people gathered in Zuccotti Park on September 17, the anger at corporate greed was a unifying call. This was a protest that in large part was about shifting power from the wealthy to the many. It was a mostly white crowd, but it sought to incorporate a wide range of voices. The economic crisis in the US had made the white middle class question their future. Soaring unemployment rates, suffocating student loan debt, and thousands of foreclosures began to close in. This reality propelled the Occupy movement forward. And many feel that the presence of so many relatively privileged white people brought increased media attention and public sympathy. Organisers told us they immediately saw the next step as needing to raise awareness among the many young people new to activism that came flocking to occupations.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source twitter

Irina Aleksandrovna Antonova the 90 year old Russian Director of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow for the past 50+ years has been the subject of an article by Anna Somers Cocks published in The Art Newspaper titled ‘Firmly in the saddle at 90’. Cocks states, “She has served there for 67 years, joining it one month before the end of the Second World War. “It was August 1945”, she remembers: “The works of art confiscated from the Dresden museums were arriving as war reparations [most were returned in 1955 as part of a political treaty with East Germany]… Since 1961, she has been the highly respected director of the museum, which is only ten years older than herself. Its centenary and her birthday will be celebrated together in great state at the Bolshoi Theatre on 31 May. Directors of the leading museums of the world, members of the exclusive and discreet Bizot Group, a kind of museum summit, are coming to pay homage to a woman who has skillfully navigated the dangerous political shoals of her country and has represented it with distinction abroad.”


Inspired by Anna Somers Cocks image source

Joel Tenenbaum the 28 year old doctoral student in physics at Boston University is part of a team undertaking a scientific analysis of language usage over the past two centuries in literature. In an article by Alison Flood published in the Guardian, Tenenbaum’s team states in their report “words are competing actors in a system of finite resources” with a “drastic increase in the death rate of words… Most changes to the vocabulary in the last 10 to 20 years are due to the extinction of misspelled words and nonsensical print errors, and to the decreased birth rate of new misspelled variations and genuinely new words… The words that are dying are those words with low relative use. We confirm by visual inspection that the lists of dying words contain mostly misspelled and nonsensical words… Analogous to recessions and booms in a global economy, the marketplace for words waxes and wanes with a global pulse as historical events unfold, and in analogy to financial regulations meant to limit risk and market domination, standardisation technologies such as the dictionary and spellcheckers serve as powerful arbiters in determining the characteristic properties of word evolution.”


Inspired by Alison Flood image source P2P Webblog

Michael Rakowitz the 38 year old Iraqi American Artist and Professor renowned for his conceptual art displayed in non-gallery contexts has a new installation work on the streets of Chicago, titled ‘Enemy Kitchen’. The work is a continuing project begun in 2004 as a collaboration with his Iraqi-Jewish mother. Rakowitz states on his web “…the first incarnation of the project  …with a group of middle school and high school students who live in Chelsea… Some had relatives in the US Army stationed in Iraq. …In preparing and then consuming the food [Baghdadi recipes], it opened up another topic through which the word ‘Iraq’ could be discussed… The project functioned as a social sculpture: while cooking and eating, the students engaged each other on the topic of the war and drew parallels with their own lives, at times making comparisons with bullies in relation to how they perceive the conflict.” This new phase of the project encompasses a mobile food truck in Chicago at the Smart Museum of Art. The food truck features a different Iraqi cook each day, serving cuisine from different regions of the country, and will be staffed by American veterans of the Iraq War who act as servers and sous-chefs.”


Inspired by Ruth Lopez image source Vimeo

Maurizio Seracini the US diagnostician of Italian art specializing in non destructive analyses of art and architecture is investigating the whereabouts of a lost Leonardo da Vinci fresco, possibly hidden behind another wall painting in Florence. Seracini has adopted medical and military technologies to conduct diagnostics of art with minimal destruction of the artwork itself. Kate Deimling has published an article on ArtInfo, stating “…after receiving permission from Florentine authorities, Seracini and his team drilled six holes in the wall painting that may conceal da Vinci’s “Battle of Anghiari.” …to insert endoscopic probes and search behind it. …locations were chosen that were cracked or previously restored, so that there would be no damage to Vasari’s original work. …analysis of red, beige, and black pigment samples retrieved by the probes suggests that they are traces of paint, and the black material in particular shows “a chemical composition similar to black pigment found in brown glazes on Leonardo’s ‘Mona Lisa’ and ‘John the Baptist.’” Diemling in her article discusses the significant opposition Seracini and his backers are confronting from various scholars and researchers in the quest to locate the missing work after 450 years.


Inspired by Kate Deimling image source Wikimedia

Pieter Wezeman the 42 year old Dutch Senior researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfer Programme with expertise in Arms flows and procurements claims the Asian states are the largest of the arms buyers of the world. In an article published on the Press Service News Agency, Thalif Deen following his interview with Wezeman states “China, India and South Korea – three of the most vibrant economies in Asia – are also beefing up their military arsenals with new weapons systems from the United States, Russia, Germany, France and the UK… beating out the traditional frontrunners – the rich, oil-blessed Middle Eastern countries. India was the world’s single largest recipient of arms, accounting for 10 per cent of global arms imports, followed by South Korea (six per cent of arms transfers), Pakistan (five per cent), China (five per cent) and Singapore (four per cent). The five biggest arms suppliers in 2007-2011 were the United States, Russia, Germany, France and the UK. With the exception of Germany, the four other suppliers are veto-wielding permanent members of the UN Security Council. The top five suppliers accounted for 75 per cent of all international arms transfers.”


Inspired by Thalif Deen image source Thella Johnson

Mae Azango the Liberian newspaper reporter renowned for her reporting of stories of ordinary Liberians has been in hiding since her reporting on the taboo practice of female genital mutilation. Azango’s article described how tribes still practice genital mutilation, resulting in her receiving death threats “…tell me that they will catch me and cut me so that will make me shut up” despite human rights groups and The World Health Organization having campaigned to stop the practice. Azango has been interviewed by Jina Moore, where she detailed a witness’s account “Four women held her down, and a woman cut her,  …many girls were circumcised at the same time.  …when they cut them they don’t use any form of anesthesia. And it hurt. She said it hurt so much. Why should you carry a woman through that? Grabbing her and torturing her and cutting her is a violation of her rights. …If it was a white woman or a foreign journalist doing it [reporting], nobody would have a problem with the story, but because I’m a Liberian and I live in Liberia, I should know my role. I should know my line of demarcation.”


Inspired by Jina Moore image source New Narratives

Patrick Rouxel the French filmmaker has released a “visual essay ‘Green’ about the impact of deforestation in Indonesia as seen through the eyes of a dying orangutan [with] stunning images of the natural world and its biodiversity are counter-pointed with scenes of their destruction and the resulting cruelty to animals.” Rouxel in an article published on Aljazeera states “I know that the impact of the film is insignificant regarding the global picture. I know that human greed and indifference will eventually destroy all of Indonesia’s forests, but I still prefer to fight and resist rather than do nothing. I didn’t put any shots of local Dayak people in the nature sequences of the film because these sequences refer to today’s forests, the ones where orangutans and many other species are presently being wiped out to make room for oil palm plantations. Today in Kalimantan, there is hardly any forest left with both Dayaks and orangutans still living in them. Usually, where there are Dayaks all the orangutans would have long been shot and eaten. It is mostly in the patches of forest where there are no Dayak hunters that one can still find orangutans.”

Inspired Patrick Rouxel by image source Earth Touch

John Barry Humphries the 78 year old Australian comedian satirist and Dadaist artist renowned for his on-stage character and alter egos Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson, has announced the pending retirement of the Dame and Sir Les. The Dame Edna character is famous for her ‘Wiseria hue’ (lilac) coloured hair along with the “face furniture” cat eye glasses, her favourite “gladdies” flowers (gladiolas) and repetition greeting “Hello Possums”. The character evolved from an ultra conservative drab Melbourne housewife of the 1950’s that satirized the suburbia of Australia, into an outlandish character “Megastar” with her elevation of a ‘Damehood’ as her popularity grew internationally. Humphries in his character as Dame Edna has interviewed many celebrities on chat shows, treating them as ordinary people, satirizing the celebrity cult with a mix of prudishness and class snobbery. On the pending retirement, Humphries stated “Edna will crop up on television I guess but not in a live show, the fact of the matter is that I’m beginning to feel a bit senior. It’s the best aerobics you could do, leaping around on stage, but it’s grueling when there are other things to do.”


Inspired by @abcnews image source Aurelien Guichard

Jonathan Laurence the US associate professor of Political Science has published an article on Aljazeera discussing Europe’s alienation of Muslims through laws restricting Islamic symbols that fuel political distrust. Laurence states “As Muslims and non-Muslims despair about the prospect of long-term Islamic integration in 21st century Europe, disagreement over the urgency and necessity to restrict Islamic symbols in the public sphere – from clothing to architecture and food – is at the origin of a potentially grave misunderstanding. Religion is not the primary factor of identity for most European Muslims, but the current atmosphere has enhanced a feeling of group stigmatisation and a shared sense of injustice where previously few bonds existed. This has fed a growing confrontation, foreshadowed in two competing narratives of victimisation dividing Muslims from non-Muslims in Europe, which continue to gain strength… There is the growing danger that the modest accomplishments of religious integration will be undone before Muslims’ incorporation has taken place. Europe’s Muslims increasingly perceive the sum total of public debate about them as simple religious persecution – an uncanny admixture of the political distrust that drove the Kulturkampf and the religious resentment that fuelled traditional anti-Semitism.”


Inspired by Jonathan Laurence image source NYC French Consulate

Michael Francis Moore the 57 year old US filmmaker, social critic and activist has published an article calling out for the occupy movement to take political action from within the political system. Moore states “Here’s what we dont do: don’t turn Occupy Wall Street into another bureaucratic, top-down organization. That will certainly kill it. Baby boomers who grew up working within traditional organizations need to calm down and not shoehorn this movement into the old paradigm of “Let’s elect people to office and then lobby them to pass good laws!” Let Occupy take its natural course. The candidates for office that we need are in this movement. (Are you one of them? Why not? Someone has to do it, and it would be better if it was you!) The laws that must be enacted to make this a more just nation will come in due time. And not ten years from now; some of this will happen this year. The leading candidate for Congress from my hometown of Flint, Michigan, has already taken a pledge to make “getting money out of politics” his top goal once in office. Others have joined him. We need to vote for them and then hold them to it.”


Inspired by Michael Moore image source David Shankbone

Danny Schechter the US investigative journalist and independent filmmaker has published an article on Aljazeera discussing the global financial crisis as a human rights issue, calling on the UN to protect citizens from inequality and abuse by decisions of the elites. “As a long-time human rights advocate…  I think it’s important we recognise that there are economic and social rights as well as political ones, and that if the UN has the duty to “protect” ordinary people against military abuses, it also has the obligation to protect citizens who are being abused by the decisions of the 1 per cent – bankers, economic policymakers and big business honchos… An organisation like the UN, whose charter begins with the words “We The People”, has to try to defend the interest of economic victims as well as political ones, because national governments have been bought or silenced by the very vested economic interests that are ravaging so many of our communities… In most of the media, this crisis has been treated with a perverse logic: that no one was responsible since everyone was financially irresponsible and thus everyone is to blame – while at the same time no one is blamed.”


Inspired by Danny Schechter image source

Bo Xilai the 62 year old Chinese member on the Politburo of the Communist Party of China and Secretary of the Chongqing Committee has been relieved of his duties and reprimanded by Premier Wen Jiabao. Observers believe Bo’s downfall is a consequence of the Wang Lijun scandal, in which his Lieutenant Wang is speculated to have attempted to seek US political asylum with evidence of Bo’s criminal activities. An open letter claimed to have been written by Wang appeared in international Chinese-language websites, criticizing Bo and accusing him of corruption, referring to him as a “hypocrite” and “the greatest gangster in China”. Bo was expected to have been offered a position on the Standing Committee of the Politburo, a committee of nine people that effectively control the nation of which the majority are due for replacement. Bo’s decline is seen as a victory for the political right particularly among the reformers and advocates of private enterprise. His advocates on the left however reacted angrily on various websites claiming the dismissal a conspiracy by enemies of the state, resulting in many of the sites being shut down by authorities. Vice Prime Minister Zhang Dejiang is stepping into the secretary role at Chongqing.


Inspired by Andrew Jacobs image source

Rowan Douglas Williams the 61 year old UK Anglican bishop, poet and theologian and current Archbishop of Canterbury has announced he will be stepping down at the end of 2012 to take up a senior position as master of Magdalene College at Cambridge University. Williams as the senior bishop of the Church of England is the symbolic head of the international network of Anglican and Episcopal churches, representing nearly 80 million people in the Anglican Communion. Williams renown for being outspoken on social issues stated, “It is a job of immense demands and I would hope that my successor has the constitution of an ox and the skin of a rhinoceros… he will, I think, have to look with positive, hopeful eyes on a church, which for all its problems is still, for so many people, a place to which they resort in times of need and crisis, a place to which they look for inspiration… I think the Church of England is a great treasure.” Williams’ departure leaves a church deeply split and on the verge of a fundamental schism, with little indications its divisions over opening the Anglican priesthood to women and gays can be reconciled by any potential successor.


Inspired by Andrew Brown image source Brian

Michel Bauwens the 53 year old Belgian Peer-to-Peer theorist and founder of the P2P Foundation claims in an article published on Aljazeera that “The Occupy Wall Street movement is a model for a new economic paradigm, in which value is first created by communities [an emerging open-source civilization – as a business model].” Bauwens states, “Occupy and open-source models illuminate a new possible reality, in which the democratic civic sphere, productive commons and a vibrant market can co-exist for mutual benefit: At the core of value creation are various commons, where innovations are open for all to share and to build upon; These commons are protected through non-profit civic associations, which empower that social production; Around the commons emerges a vibrant commons-oriented economy comprised of ethical companies… Where these three circles intersect, citizens decide on the optimal shape of their provisioning systems. This model can exist as a submodel within capitalism, and to some extent already does so in the present system, as the open-source software business ecology. It could also become, with some necessary hacks, the core logic of a new civilisation. Occupy has not just shown us prefigurative politics, but prefigurative economics as well.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Jane Mejdahl

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