Showing posts from March, 2019
The great visionary of Arab cinema
Gender and Empire Essential readings I would add to the list: Desiring Arabs by Jospeh Massad
This has been going on for decades. The gender pay gap in Easyjet and British Gas, for example, is above 45%. We should add that in a few workplaces unions are not allowed and that they have done little to fight the injustice because they have been weakened and "neoliberalised", and parliament knows about it. But it seems that at universities unions have been passive or complicit. One can only wonder how many of these employees, workers, students, professors believe in "liberating" other women in far away countries. I've often heard white students in their teens studying in two elite universities, who want "to help and empower" women in Africa and the Middle East! Cultural arrogance has blinded them from seeing what is around them and how capitalism works. Big university gender pay gap revealed See also You are not only exploited, you are more exploited than others Ethnic academic minority pay
A Hundred Netanyahus
Interesting. The approach to the subject though goes with the FT's line: championing entrepreneurship.  To be able to access the article, you should google the title below. The other side of Chinese investment in Africa
Comedy and Dissent in the Algerian Popular Protests
Egypt's crackdown on workers' rights
What is all the fuss about? Some "democrats" complaning about transparency? The SAS has been involved in operations for decades. It has been "liberating people" and secure defense for "our regional partners." Just watch any documentary and you will how "the heroes" of SAS and how they defend 'our country' in far away countries and restore "peace" and "stability". 'Serious' questions over SAS involvement in Yemen
"Developing", "underdeveloped" or "uneven development"? The following was written in 1973, but I think it is still something that should make us think of its argument and how (ir)/relevant it is today. "In some quarters, it has often been thought wise to substitute the term ‘developing’ for ‘underdeveloped’. One of the reasons for so doing is to avoid any unpleasantness which may be attached to the second term, which might be interpreted as meaning underdeveloped mentally, physically, morally or in any other respect. Actually, if ‘underdevelopment’ were related to anything other than comparing economies, then the most underdeveloped country in the world would be the U.S.A, which practices external oppression on a massive scale, while internally there is a blend of exploitation, brutality, and psychiatric disorder. However, on the economic level, it is best to remain with the word ‘underdeveloped’ rather than ‘developing’, because the latter creat
Music عمر خيرت - ليلة القبض على فاطمة
Postcolonialism or neocolonialism? An example from Tunisia
"Assad's loyalists are turning on the government"
The People's Republic of Walmart ?
The white curriculum When I asked two students doing Gender Studies at LSE last year, one of them was doing an MA, and three students at UCL studying something similar, none of them could name an Arab feminist or author. " The results indicated a grim reality . Non-Africa based scholars represented between 73.2 and 100 per cent of cited authors in surveyed reading lists. Out of the 274 assigned readings for a Development Studies course at a leading British university, only one reading was from an author based at an African institution. The narrow dissemination of research from African institutions in ‘prestigious’ journals confines the repertoire of methodological tools that are available in research and limits learning and teaching. It also allows dominant approaches and paradigms in some disciplines to remain unchallenged. For instance, in the fields of economics, and particularly in US universities, orthodox paradigms became hegemonic to the extent of excluding different


"Britain is a racist country, and prejudice exists within all parties. Labour has attempted to deal with antisemitism in its ranks, not always successfully or adeptly. The Conservatives have ignored the problem. It is not whataboutery to argue that no political party should harbor racists of any hue. But the Conservatives have been able to ignore their own issues and problems because Islamophobia is more broadly acceptable among the public and the media class." The Tories' Islamophobia problem
The Arab uprisings: an appraisal Comparing the Arab uprisings with the revolutions of the 1970s like the ones in Yemen, Nicaragua and Iran, social theorist Asef Bayat, pinpoints some crucial differences between them. The Arab revolutions, he rightly, argues, lacked an intellectual anchor. In contrast also to the ideas and visions behind the English revolution, the American revolution, the French revolution, and more recently, the Iranian revolution of 1979, the Arab uprisings lacked  leadership strategies.  Moreover, the Arab revolutions lacked that radicalism that marked the twentieth-century revolutions: anti-capitalism, anti-imperialism, social justice, etc. Instead, the prevailing voices from Tunisia to Yemen, from Libya to Syria, were the voices of legal reform, accountability and human rights. The predominant secular and Islamist currents took the free market and neoliberal capitalism for granted and uncritically.  Property relations and structure of power went unchall
"The case would help shatter the nation’s two-party system, transform how the public viewed the people running the country and, eventually, bring down a government." Spain's Watergate
Sixteen years after the  United States  invaded  Iraq  and left a trail of  destruction and  chaos in the country and the region, one aspect of the war remains criminally underexamined: why was it fought in the first place? What did the Bush administration hope to get out of the war? ," asks Ahsen I Butt Butt has tried to re-examine the motives of the U.S. in invasing Iraq: " Put simply, the Iraq war was motivated by a desire to (re)establish American standing as the world's leading power." He has hit the nail once or twice, but he has not explored what this re-establishment of "the world's leading power" consists of. Nor does he he provide the historical conjuncture and context: the domestic sociology in the U.S., the continuation of 1991 invasion and the collapse of the Soviet Union and "globalisation".  Reviewing Andrew Bacevich's American Empire , Peter Gowan draws a much better picture of the motives behind the invasion of 2003
A page from Yemen's history: 1967 While the British and their allies supported the royalist North, the new government of South Yemen embarked on a programme of nationalisation, introduced central planning, put limits on housing ownership and rent, and implemented a land reform. By 1973, the GDP of South Yemen increased by 25 percent.  And despite the conservative environment and resistance, women became legally equal to men, polygamy, child marriage and arranged marriage were all banned by law. Equal rights in divorce were also sanctioned. The Republic also secularised education and sharia law was replaced by a state legal code. Sources: Asef Bayat, Revolution without Revolutionaries: Making Sense of the Arab Spring ,  2017, p. 5.  Maxine Molyneux, Aida Yafai, Aisha Mohsen and Noor Ba'aba, Women and Revolution in the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen , Feminist Review, issue 1, 1979, pp.4-20.
Canada and Israel "Rather than pressure corporations to act more ethically – a concept that often seems in direct conflict with their bottom-line imperative of making a profit – campaigners might work for deeper reforms, such as public control or ownership of enterprises like Bombardier. Or, perhaps more radically, look to indigenous society itself for ideas on how to curb the capitalist profit motive." Bombardier Abroad: Patterns of Dispossession
An excellent summary of Political Islam Compare the following with the conventional, cultural arrogance of the gladiators of the international "liberal order" (i.e. Western imperialism) and the media pundits. "Political Islam or Islamism is the consequence of the social frustrations, articulated around the social divisions of class and generation that followed from the economic crises of the global neo-liberal experiments of the 1970s and 1980s. The demographic revolution produced large cohorts of young Muslims, who, while often well educated to college level, could not easily find opportunities to satisfy the aspirations that had been inflamed by nationalist governments. Although these diverse studies of Islam are primarily concerned with the modern period, in order to understand such contemporary social movements as Islamism, we need to start in the nineteenth century. Broadly speaking we can identify four periods of Islamic political action in response to the soc
Revolution without Revolutionaries "People may or may not have ideas about revolution for it to happen. For the outbreak of a revolution has little to do with any idea, and even less with a 'theory,' of revolution. Revolutions 'simply' happen. But having or not having ideas about revolution does have critical consequences for the outcome when it actually occurs. Having lived in both Iran and Egypt just prior to their revolutions, I was struck by how different these experiences were. I was enthralled by the Arab Spring's more peaceful, open, pluralistic, and less repressive texture but was perplexed by its nonradical, loosely organised, exposed, and perilous quality." —Asef Bayat, Revolution without Revolutionaries: Making Sense of the Arab Spring , 2017, Preface, xi (in paperback ed.) "The speed, spread, and intensity of the recent revolutions extraordinarily unparalleled, while their lack of ideology, lax coordination, and absence of any galv
Reminiscent of the Carter and Reagan era "By implicitly authorizing the Honduras security deals, the US “deputized” Israel to gallop into the region and whip up a posse of right-wing proxy reinforcements in Central America that the US could count on when needed." Israeli arms industry 'great leap' in Central America
New Zealand "[W]hat it is not is shocking. There is nothing shocking about it. How can there be? Have you not been paying attention? Much of his rhetoric and references are borrowed from the political and mainstream media. “People who can only condemn racism and Islamophobia — being ‘horrified’ and ‘shocked’ — only when so much blood is spilled are part of the problem,” the Cambridge academic Priyamvada Gopal  observed on Twitter  on Friday. “Because the rest of the time, they are busy normalising and minimising them.”  —Mehdi Hasan Hasan though seems to legitimise the very same people he is condemning by appealing to them " to stop their anti-Muslim rhetoric ."
"The fact that there is resistance and striving for justice, for which these several hundred mothers stand, does not really fit into this picture. Whatʹs more, the defence of human rights has become institutionalised – like for instance in Germany. We are no longer living in the 1970s or 1980s, when thousands of people took to the streets for democracy and human rights. Today, people prefer to sign petitions on the Internet." Iran: the summer of 1988 A dark chapter in Iranian history
We are all in it together: one people, one nation with great values. The Price of Austerity in England See also Robin Hood in Time of Austerity
Two extremist, radicalised, Algerian women from the Revolutionary Spartacist League of World Revolution, Genuine Democracy and Global Justice are conspiring on how to overthrow the regime! Source: Journal el Bilad, 15 March 2019
Algeria The political economy of regime survival
Violence in New Zeland Some extremists (Clinton, May, Modi, Erdogan, el Sisi ...) are condemning other extremists.
"Hobbes once remarked that if you are forced at gunpoint to go through a door, you are still free to go through it: you can be forced and be free. For most of us today this is a perversity that smacks of Stalinism. But what if someone throws walls around you on three sides and then leaves you to decide for yourself what to do? Are you still free to determine your future, assuming that the wall builder has at least as much right to build the walls as you do? ... [U]unfortunately most conventional discussion ... either fails to spot the walls or assumes that they are natural structures deriving from the very substance of market economics, rather than the work of political hands. As a result, conventional wisdom does not for a moment doubt that ... peoples ... have at last entered the realm of freedom and self-determination... [W]hat right do a handful of capitalist states assert their political power over the world economy? It is in this field of what conventional liberal thought
Algeria Many Algerians taking part in the on-going social-political movement are crazy and uneducated. They speak about "a colonialism that has been oppressing them for decades." They don't know that in prestigious universities in the West students are taught about "Post-colonialism" and "Development". Algerians should learn from "the highly educated" Westerners and stop blaming the Other for their ills. The Other has been trying to help them in all sorts of manners: "aid, loans, NGOs, weapons, support of regime to guarantee stability, bying their resources at fair price, spreading liberal values," etc. Algerians should learn from the "experts" and listen to the heads of international institutions like the World Bank and the IMF. الدول العربية  بحاجة الى ثورات حقيقية لا لتغيير ما يسمى رئيس الدولة، بل لاجتثاث الدولة العميقة  واستخبارات وعسكر وحيتان المال والنفوذ الخارجي، بحاجة إلى ثورات  لإنجاز الاستقلال الحقيقي عن ا


The New Yorker has just discovered this: The Middle East's Great Divide is not Sectarianism Too late though. 
'Neoliberalism': not so bad? See also Bill Gates poverty is decreasing How poor countries develop rich countries
How poverty in modern Britain echoes the past
Algeria 09 March 2019 All signs indicate so far that another social movement will be co-opted (by the regime and the imperial powers), diverted (through a manoeuvre by the military) and if not, crushed. "The people want the overthrow of the gangster regime" "Leave" (one of the slogans that had been raised in the Tunisian uprising) Algeria's angry youth (the Guardian) and a view of an Algerian activist: "A few thoughts on developments in Algeria as well as the way they are being represented in both Algerian and international (social) media.  First, it goes without saying that we are living through incredibly exciting times. Just yesterday, 15 MILLION Algerians took to the country's streets and even more if we take into consideration protests taking place in solidarity elsewhere across the world. Second, it also goes without saying that for those of us who have been involved  in social movements over the past several yea
From the archive A reply to the liberal logic of Fred Halliday Still useful for today's geo-economic politics whether for the recent American categorazation of Hizbollah as "a terrorist" organisation or the one-sided view on the Bolivarian revolution.
Macron and co. " If any anti-Jewish expression in the world always worries me, I feel a certain disgust at the flood of hypocrisy and manipulation orchestrated by those who now want to criminalize anyone who criticizes Zionism." —Shlomo Sand Semites, Anti-Semites, Zionists, Anti-Zionists
Demographic demise
"Strategical partners" German arms feeding the Yemen conflict
"All citizens are supposed to be equal but citizens from minority ethnic communities are, in fact, less equal than others." When do you become "British enough"?
An alternative to Emmeline Pankhurst , a defender of the British Empire, celebrated by the London School of Economics and Manchester City Council. Freda Bedi
"Human Rights" in Tunisia Context: it was during an era the Tunisian regime was hailed as "the best student" by the IMF and a "liberal secular" regime under Bourgiba (1956-1987), and was in good relations with the US, France, Britain, Italy and others while torture, repression and plunder went on. Now any complicity is forgotten. From the liberal   Guardian to the Financial Times and the Economist , the talk now is about a "nascent though weak democracy" and "transitional justice". Meanwhile, the international financial institutions carry on with their debt enslavement programme and "restructuring". 
From the archive We tried to help the "Libyans" get rid of a mad man and organise  the first 'free' elections. But, they didn't understand what 'democracy' mean. So, they started killing each other in a civil war. The disaster in Libya and Who said Gaddafi had to go? Book Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya
"There is a powerful impulse within the electorates of the NATO states for their governments to give a lead to the world and really help the less fortunate overwhelming majority of humanity to improve their lives and strengthen their security and welfare. But we must bear in mind two unfortunate facts: first, that the NATO states have been and are hell-bent on exacerbating the inequalities of power and wealth in the world, on destroying all challenges to their overwhelming military and economic power and on subordinating almost all other considerations to these goals; and second, the NATO states are finding it extraordinarily easy to manipulate their domestic electorates into believing that these states are indeed leading the world’s population towards a more just and humane future when, in reality, they are doing no such thing."  —Peter Gowan, NLR, March-April 1999
British researcher Alex de Waal has written the following about the famine in Yemen: 
"Yemen, however, stands out. A UN report published last month estimated that 80 per cent of the population – 24 million people – required some sort of humanitarian assistance. The number in ‘acute’ need is now estimated at 14.3 million, 27 per cent higher than in 2018. The famine is the world’s worst since North Korea in the 1990s and the one in which Western responsibility is clearest. Even before the war, Yemen was poor, dependent on food imports and suffering from water scarcity. Coalition aircraft now strike military and civilian targets, including agricultural project offices, irrigated farms and terraces, fishing ports and fishing boats, clinics and hospitals, busy markets teeming with vendors and shoppers. Fishing on the Red Sea coast, formerly a major livelihood – fish exports were Yemen’s second biggest earner after oil – is almost at a standstill. The coalition blockade extends to th
What is common in these two stories? 1. Canadian PM " Trudeau has denied wrongdoing and says any lobbying by him or his inner circle for engineering giant SNC-Lavalin was done to protect jobs. SNC-Lavalin is one of the world's largest engineering and construction companies. The company faces fraud and corruption charges in relation to approximately C$48m ($36m; £28m) in bribes it is alleged to have offered to Libyan officials between 2001 and 2011, when Muammar Gaddafi was in power." In 2016 Canada was the second provider of weapons to the Middle East.  2. " UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia ruled lawful . Equipment sold to Saudi Arabia includes Typhoon and Tornado fighter jets, as well as precision-guided bombs. The sales contribute to thousands of engineering jobs in the UK, and have provided billions of pounds of revenue for the British arms trade."
"Fittingly for the fact that Assad has maintained his firm grip on power, an emotionally charged story of a child and his fate satiates the middle-class, very white desire to carry the weight of the evil world on our shoulders, albeit without consequences or responsibility. Oh what a dreadful place the rest of the world is!" The white perspective
Breaking news We have never been so close to equality, global justice, development and prosperity for all. Now both the IMF and the World Bank are headed by women! That will certainly make a radical change in the operation of global capitalism. 
"The British never had the capacity to reshape coercively the internal arrangements of other capitalist  states. Their speciality was taking over and reshaping pre-capitalist societies, defeating traditionalist forces of resistance within them. So the principle of absolute states’ rights and non-interference was perfectly acceptable to the British, once they had reached the limits of their empire.  But Washington had a different and more advanced agenda: first, to penetrate existing capitalist states and reorganize their internal arrangements to suit US  purposes; and second, to defeat any social forces there that rejected the American path to modernity in the name, not of traditionalism, but of an alternative modernity. The UN model simply did not address these issues which were so central for Washington. Indeed, it offered a notional defence against American interference in its emphasis on national sovereignty. As a result, the UN politico-legal order was a cumbersome obstacl
Anti-union harassment and victimization escalate at AB InBev Sonepat India