Thursday, June 21, 2018

What I do worry about is the fact that writers have become so frightened of being political. The idea that writers are being reduced to creators of a product that is acceptable, that slips down your throat, which readers love and therefore can be bestsellers, that’s so dangerous. Today, for example in India, where majoritarianism is taking root – and by majoritarianism, I don’t just mean the government, I mean that individuals are being turned into micro-fascists by so many means. It is the mobs and vigilantes going and lynching people. So more than ever, the point of the writer is to be unpopular. The point of the writer is to say: “I denounce you even if I’m not in the majority.”

"The point if the writer is to be unpopular"
The world's biggest store of plutonium is in ...
and a few years ago the plant was breached by greenpeace activists!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

An Egyptian woman back from shopping to her remote village of Qantara Sharq in Ismaiiliya.
A photo by Mohamed Ali Eddin on Everyday Egypt.

"Even as the perpetually fragmented opposition faces harsh repression, it is finding common ground in the issues of corruption and economic justice. State efforts that shut down all remaining spaces for open debate represent, in a sense, an admission that its strategies of vote rigging, gerrymandering, and soft coercion, practiced since the 1960s, have either failed or backfired. Unfortunately, the state seems to have decided to rely less on guile, and more on naked force. The labor movement is also forging new alliances in the face of opposition. Workers, both citizen and noncitizen, are confronting both a populist anti-immigrant backlash and a wave of privatization and austerity. But in response to these challenges, noncitizen workers affiliated with unions abroad have launched campaigns with Kuwaiti labor unions, which have themselves mobilized to combat cuts in wages and benefits."

Crackdowns and coalitions in Kuwait

A comment: while in the beginning there is a mention of anti-imperialist struggle, in the cocluding paragrapghs, the writer seems to hope for a "pressure" from American impeialism on the ruling family!
South Korea

"The Oracle Korea Workers Union was formed in October 2017 in response to unfair and non-transparent salary and compensation systems. The average working hours at Oracle Korea are about 80-100 hours per week, yet most workers have seen no wage increase over the last 10 years."

Oracle workers on strike
"The central point is this: identities are fluid, constantly defined and redefined through economic and political struggles. The predominance of ethnic and sectarian conflict is a phenomenon that itself needs to be explained — not assumed to be an unavoidable driver of discord."

The Tribalist Trap
Syria as an example
Note that the author while generalizing when talking about "Western-backed regimes", failed to say that in the case of Syria the regime is a Russian- and Iranian-backed regime.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

To you I pledge my love
My poverty, my misery, and my debt
My failures and frustrations with my meager salary
To you I pledge my humiliation.
My head hung low and my eyes avoiding those of my children
For whom I can't provide
To you I pledge my heart!

Walid Taha, A Bit of Air
Translated from Egyptian Arabic by Anita Husen

لك حبي
وفقري وبهدلتي وأقساطي
وانحطاطي وإحباطي من مرتبي
اللي مش كافي وذلي
ودلدلة كتافي
وعيني المكسورة أدام ولادي
من قصر الأيادي

Monday, June 18, 2018

"Rocking the foundations of Islam"

The title is ridiculous. Yes, it is reductionist to say that one man, the narrator Bukhari, means Islam. It is also reductionist to imply, through the title of the article, that a book refuting al-Bukhari rocks the foundations of "Islam". 
An average Joe
Walking slow
Went home, slept .. woke
Only to find himself ...
                                an average Joe!

Walid Taher, A Bit of Air
Translated from Egyptian Arabic By Anita Husen

واحد عادي 
ماشي هادي
روح نام .. صحي
... لقى نفسه
! واحد عادي