• Books: Bury the Chains by Adam Hochschild, Endless War: Hidden Functions of the "war on terror" by David Keen, Capital Vol. 1, Tin Drum by Günter Grass, What is Islam? by Shahab Ahmed, Desiring Arabs by Joseph Massad, Spies, Soldiers and Statesmen by Hazem Kandil, La Condition Humaine by André Malraux, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, Imagined Community by Benedict Anderson, Culture and Imperialism by Edward Said, The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon, The Richness of Life by Stephen Jay Gould, Children of the Alley by Naguib Mahfouz, The Mass Psychology of Fascism by Wilhelm Reich, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, 1984 by George Orwell, Noli me Tangere by José Rizal, Age of Extremes by Eric Hobsbawm, ذهنية التحريم لصادق جلال العظم, Karl Marx by Francis Wheen, وليمة لأعشاب البحر لحيدر حيدر, Candide by Voltaire, النزعات المادية في الفلسفة العربية الإسلامية لحسين مروة, Listen Little Man by Wilhelm Reich ..
  • Films: Alexanderplatz by Rainer Fassbinder, Clockwork Orange, Apocalypse Now, The Battle of Algiers, films by P. P. Passolini, Persepolis, Midnight Express, 1984, Papillion, Gangs of New York, Sophie Scholl, Life of Brian, Ivan the Terrble, Battleship Potemkine ...

Friday, May 26, 2017

"It's a weird time. This week I'm noticing two rather disturbing bandwagons rolling, both arising from Manchester. One is about UK domestic politics and the other international politics but they are linked by an understandable desire not to see the attack as being used to advance the agenda of the Tories and specifically, to help their election campaign. Both though are ultimately very unhelpful. One is about the need for soldiers on the streets because Theresa May cut police budgets as Home Secretary. I've seen unlikely people sharing tweets from redundant cops. Tempting to undercut May this way, but wrong - more armed cops do not equal fewer attacks like Manchester. The other is pinning the blame for Manchester on the UK intervention in Libya. Again, understandable. 

But it's important to see that the problem in Libya was not the attempted regime change as such but the regime that people tried to change i.e. Gaddafi's tyranny. It was a regime that - like Saddam Hussein's and Assad's - had been alternately sanctioned/attacked and supported by the west. If you leave out that context, and focus on 'regime change' you are in effect saying that it would have been better to leave dictatorships in place, because look at all the mess. You are saying, Arabs can't have democracy and if they try, all they get is armed militias fighting each other and bombing 'us.' Of course foreign intervention is part of the problem - including Russia's and Iran's in Syria - but it's not the whole story. 

Unlike Iraq, there were popular uprisings in Syria and Libya, and there probably would have been one in Iraq as well. You can't expect such revolts in countries with colonial borders, ethnic and religious sectarianism encouraged by colonial and post-colonial regimes, and brutal dictatorships, to be straightforward and over quickly. People in Libya and Syria are in it for the long haul and they are suffering far more than we are and need our support, not a crass dismissal of what they are trying to fight for, freedoms we already have."

— Sue Sparks


I would use "neo-colonialism instead of the academic misleading term "post-colonialism".

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