Rene -- BUSH IS NOW THE EMBARRASSING UNCLE THE REPUBLICANS JUST CAN'T HIDE
BUSH IS NOW THE EMBARRASSING UNCLE THE REPUBLICANS JUST CAN'T HIDE
by Gary Younge, firstname.lastname@example.org
by The Guardian/UK
Published on Monday, August 20, 2007
With the departure of Karl Rove, the stench of failure hangs over
the president - and his party wants to ignore the smell
George Bush likes his sleep. While campaigning for the presidency
in 2000 his prize possession was a feather pillow. On the night that
Saddam Hussein was executed he went to bed at 9pm with strict orders
not to be woken. When the then CIA director, George Tenet, tried to
alert him to news of the first night's bombing of Iraq he was sent
away. "He is the type of person who sleeps at 9.30pm after watching
the domestic news," Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah told Okaz,
a Saudi newspaper.
But one can't help wondering if Karl Rove's resignation might not
disturb his slumber for his remaining months in the White House. Rove,
Bush's consigliere for the past 30 years, left last week in much
the same manner as he had stayed: misleading the public. He told the
nation that he wanted to spend more time with his family. Maybe he
should have checked with his family first.
His only son leaves for college in just a few days.
Rove is leaving because there is nothing more for him to do; Bush
is letting him go because he no longer has any use for him. His
departure effectively marks the end of the Bush presidency - from
hereon in Bush's tenure is about keeping the troops in Iraq and as
many of his administration out of handcuffs as possible. Last week
Fox News asked the neocon commentator Charles Krauthammer how much
time Bush had to promote his agenda. "None," said Krauthammer. "It's
over. There is no agenda."
But while the left loves to revel in Bush's woes, it invariably revels
in the wrong woes. Bush's problem is not that he has failed on our
terms - humanism, equality, peace and democracy - but that he has
failed on his own.
True, his low approval ratings reveal a president approaching
But then, unlike Nixon, Bush has never craved popularity. He pushed
through most of his most pernicious legislation after having lost the
popular vote in 2000. This is a man who understood 51% of the vote
in 2004 as an overwhelming mandate. "I'll reach out to everyone who
shares our goals," Bush said.
"I earned capital in the campaign, political capital. And now I intend
to spend it. It is my style."
True, too, that the Iraq war is going badly. But then it has never
been going well, and that has never seemed to bother him either. He has
described himself as "the decider", but never "the contemplator". This
too is his style.
In any case the Bush agenda was always more far-reaching than
anything that can be accounted for by mere polls, war, or the loss
of human life. The ultimate aim of his presidency was to realign
American politics to cement a conservative electoral majority for
a generation. The cornerstone of his domestic agenda was to build
on the Republicans' traditional base of evangelists, southerners,
white men and the wealthy, by winning over Catholics, married white
women and a sizable minority of Latinos with a mixture of policies
and pronouncements on immigration, homophobia, abortion and social
Rene -- WHEN THE OCCUPATION GETS REALLY FILTHY
Palestine / Israel
MIDEAST: WHEN THE OCCUPATION GETS REALLY FILTHY
Nora Barrows - Friedman
IPS-Inter Press Service
Aug 21, 2007
BETHLEHEM, Aug 21 (IPS) - In the orange glow of another sunset,
Awad Abu Swai, 36, stands underneath a towering fig tree, a sample of
its fruit in his hand. He peels back the bright green skin to expose
crimson jelly and seeds inside"The Israeli military came inside the
valley and cut about 50 apricot and walnut trees since May. And now,
they are coming to cut more trees. This is all because of what they
are building through this land -- my land. Here, they are building a
sewage channel to run raw sewage through this valley collected from
four Israeli settlements near here."
Abu Swai is one of approximately 4,000 residents of the Palestinian
village of Artas, located southeast of Bethlehem city. Artas is known
regionally for its succulent vegetables, and fruit and nut trees. But
over the last few months Israeli occupation forces have brought dozens
of bulldozers to the eastern valley fields of Artas to construct
a wall that will cut villagers off from this fertile land, while a
concrete tunnel for raw settlement sewage grows longer each day.
Efrat settlement colony, part of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc
that stretches around several villages and towns near Bethlehem,
sits perched on a hill over Artas. Below the settlement, a colony
which houses approximately 9,000 Israelis and immigrants, Israeli
bulldozers and earth movers work day and night constructing the sewage
channel and building the wall.
Artas villagers have kept up an active and defiant campaign over the
last year after unofficial information was leaked to the community that
the village was in danger. Villagers watched in shock as bulldozers
kept moving down the hillsides from Efrat toward the orchards on the
Since May, Abu Swai has led actions as head of the popular committee
in Artas, inviting international and Israeli peace activists to join
villagers in their fight against the occupation administration's
designs on this land.
Non-violent protesters have been shot at, beaten and arrested by
Israeli occupation soldiers and private settlement security guards. Abu
Swai tells IPS that he was imprisoned for five days after being badly
beaten by an Israeli soldier during a non-violent demonstration as
he tried to protect his land.
Jesal -- Guantánamo in Germany
Guantánamo in Germany
Richard Sennett and Saskia Sassen
Tuesday August 21, 2007
'Terrorism" has two faces. There are real threats and real terrorists,
and then again there is a realm of nameless fears, vague forebodings and
irrational responses. The German federal police seem to have succumbed
to the latter: on July 31 they raided the flats and workplaces of Dr
Andrej Holm and Dr Matthias B, as well as of two other people, all of
them engaged in that most suspicious pursuit - committing sociology.
Dr Holm was arrested and flown to the German federal court in Karlsruhe;
he has since been put in (pre-trial) solitary confinement in a Berlin
jail. Of course the police may have solid, rational knowledge they are
withholding, but their public statements belong to the realm of farce.
Dr B is alleged to have used, in his academic publications, "phrases and
key words" also used by a militant group, among them "inequality" and
"gentrification". The police found it suspicious that meetings occurred
with German activists in which the sociologists did not bring their
mobile phones; the police deemed this a sign of "conspiratorial
Rene -- STARVING GAZA
Palestine / Israel
by Chris Hedges
Published on Monday, August 20, 2007
Gaza has become the Sarajevo of the Middle East. Israel, in an action
similar to that of the Serbs in Bosnia, has surrounded and cut off
nearly a million and a half Palestinians in the Gaza Strip since the
Islamic militant group Hamas took control in June. Electric fences
and watch towers manned by Israeli soldiers keep the Palestinians
trapped inside the strip. The land and sea blockade, the halting
of all but minimal humanitarian aid and the refusal to allow Gaza
to receive financial support are crushing Gaza's industry, farming
The tactic is clear: Israel and the United States will strangle Gaza
by cutting off all money and goods, including fuel and most food,
to reduce one of the most densely populated places on the planet to
an impoverished ghetto. Hunger and anarchy, they hope, will motivate
Gazans to turn on Hamas, and the anarchy will perhaps be used to
justify a reoccupation by the Israeli military and see the return
of the quisling President Mahmoud Abbas, who was ousted after he
led an abortive coup to overthrow the democratically elected Hamas
government. He is now in the West Bank.
The Bush administration has, in an effort to bolster the credibility
of Abbas, promised to provide his government with $190 million in
aid and $80 million in security assistance. And the Israeli prime
minister has traveled to Jericho to tout Abbas as a partner for peace.
Rene -- POEMS FROM GUANTÁNAMO
August 19, 2007
Notes on Prison Camp
By DAN CHIASSON
POEMS FROM GUANTÁNAMO
The Detainees Speak.
Edited by Marc Falkoff.
72 pp. University of Iowa Press. $13.95.
This short book prints 22 poems by detainees at the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, that have been cleared for release by the United States military. The poems — some by accomplished writers, others by first-time poets — suffer “some flaws,” as the book’s editor, Marc Falkoff, himself a lawyer for 17 detainees, puts it. It is hard to imagine a reader so hardhearted as to bring aesthetic judgment to bear on a book written by men in prison without legal recourse, several of them held in solitary confinement, some of them likely subjected to practices that many disinterested parties have called torture. You don’t read this book for pleasure; you read it for evidence. And if you are an American citizen you read it for evidence of the violence your government is doing to total strangers in a distant place, some of whom (perhaps all of whom, since without due process how are we to tell?) are as innocent of crimes against our nation as you are.
All of which is to say, reading “Poems From Guantánamo” is a bizarre experience. “The Detainees Speak” is this book’s subtitle: but putting aside the real question of whether lyric poets ever “speak” through their art, in the sense of revealing a historical person’s actual life story (they have rarely done so through poetry’s long history, and often poets “speak” least revealingly precisely when they claim to be telling the truth), in what sense could these poems, heavily vetted by official censors, translated by “linguists with secret-level security clearance” but no literary training, released by the Pentagon according to its own strict, but unarticulated, rationale — “speak”?
Given these constraints, a better subtitle might have been “The Detainees Do Not Speak” or perhaps “The Detainees Are Not Allowed to Speak.” But the best subtitle, I fear, would have been “The Pentagon Speaks.” To be sure, it’s hard to imagine a straightforward propagandistic use for the lines “America sucks, America chills, / While d’ blood of d’ Muslims is forever getting spilled”; but you can’t help suspecting that this entire production is some kind of public relations psych-out, “proof” that dissent thrives even in the cells of Guantánamo. (Does that sound paranoid? Can you think of another good reason the Pentagon would have selected these lines out of thousands for publication?)
You have to be in the mood for some death-defying Orwellian back-flips, then, to read “Poems From Guantánamo.” When Martin Mubanga, an “athletic kickboxer” and a “citizen of both the United Kingdom and Zambia” (the poems come with extensive biographical notes, often more evocative than the poems themselves) refers to “hard-core detainees like you an’ me” — is this a case of the Pentagon’s missing the irony or, more likely, has the Pentagon deemed that analogy so absurd as to reveal a dangerous criminal mind-set? Since the poem, written in an absurd ersatz-gangsta patois, possesses exactly zero literary interest, what is a reader to do besides try to locate the governmental cunning in clearing it for publication?
Statement of three of the accused in one of the § 129a proceedings against the militant group (mg)
"War on Terror"
Statement of three of the accused in one of the § 129a proceedings against the militant group (mg)
Three of the accused, 12.08.2007
On the morning of July 31, 2007, our apartments were searched by officers of the Federal Criminal Police (BKA) at the directive of the Federal Prosecutor (Bundesanwaltschaft). The charge put forth is membership in a terrorist association, the so-called militant group, on the basis of to § 129a StGB.
Only through this incident did we learn that the authorities have been investigating us for almost a year. These preliminary proceedings have allowed the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation (BKA) and other federal agencies to surveil and invade our private sphere all the way into its most intimate realms. Our partners, friends, families and colleagues have all been affected by these surveillance measures. Our longtime friend and colleague Andrej H. has been arrested. The father of three children has since been detained in preterial confinement in Berlin-Moabit.
The Federal Prosecutor (BAW) justifies these massive attacks on our civil liberties in the arrest warrant with an array of outrageous constructs.
We gather the following allegations against us from the few documents available to us as yet:
Two of us are said to have authored scholarly publications allegedly containing »key words and phrases that have also been used in writings of the ›militant group(s)‹«. The BAW also attests that we possess the »intellectual capabilities« required for composing the mg statements claiming responsibility for their attacks. Furthermore, the BAW claims that we have access to libraries which we can use for research. Andrej is also said to have been involved in organizing protests against the G8 summit, concentrating on topics that the mg, too, has used as rationale for their attacks.
One of us is also accused of having authored a journalistic article about a public conference where speakers discussed a 1972 militant attack. The mg allegedly also wrote about this attack some months earlier. This provides evidence, according to the BAW, that the author is a member of the mg.
In two cases, the BAW accuses us of having contacts with individuals who are suspects in another – so far inconclusive – criminal investigation against the mg. Both contacts are primarily job-related. Furthermore, all of us are charged with »having multiple contacts to the extreme left-wing scene in Berlin«. It is not mentioned that we also maintain countless contacts to political parties, community organizations, trade unions and social movements.
What we conclude from these charges:
Rene -- Engaged research = Terrorism: Germany arrests social scientists
An open letter which can be sent:
Engaged research = Terrorism: Germany arrests social scientists
Germany arrested urban sociologist Andrej Holm because of his academic activities. He was accused of being member of a “terrorist association” called “militante gruppe” (militant group) who is suspected to be behind arson attacks against police and army vehicles.
Holm was arrested because his publications contain keywords and phrases, which are also used in the texts written by the Militante Gruppe (especially the term “gentrification"). The warrant also claims that Holm is intellectually capable of authoring the rather sophisticated texts of the militant groups, since he has a PhD in political science. This person is also said to be suspicious because »he works in a research institution and thus has access to libraries, which he can use inconspicuously for doing the research needed to produce the texts of the militant group«.
After lots of emails the protest against German authorities has become global. The American Sociology Association demands that the Federal Prosecutor immediately release Andrej Holm and the other imprisoned from jail at once:
Rene -- US Food Aid is `Wrecking' Africa, Claims Charity
US Food Aid is `Wrecking' Africa, Claims Charity
Published on Friday, August 17, 2007 by the Independent/UK
by Leonard Doyle
WASHINGTON - Critics of US food aid subsidies say they help cause
obesity among Americans and starvation among Africans.
Now Care, one of the world's biggest charities, has announced that it
will boycott the controversial policy of selling tons of heavily
subsidised US produced food in African countries. Care wants the US
government to send money to buy food locally, rather than unwanted US
The US arm of the charity says America is causing rather than reducing
hunger with a decree that US food aid must be sold rather than directly
distributed to those facing starvation. In America, the subsidies for
corn in particular, help underpin the junk food industry, which uses
corn extracts as a sweetener, creating a home-grown a health crisis.
The farm lobby meanwhile has a stranglehold on Congress, which has
balked at making any changes that would interfere with a system that
promotes overproduction of commodities.
Critics of the policy say it also undermines African farmers' ability
to produce food, making the most vulnerable countries of the world even
more dependent on aid to avert famine.
Under the system Washington buys tens of millions of dollars of surplus
corn and other products from agribusiness. The food, which can only be
exported on US flagged ships, is then sold by charities to raise money
to pay for emergencies.
Globally, about 800 million are chronically hungry and the number is
rising every year. US farmers love the present system, but it is slow
and unresponsive when there are food emergencies.
Rene - Guantanamo man's family release 'torture' dossier
Guantanamo man's family release 'torture' dossier
· Relatives of UK resident publicise allegations
· Family of Libyan national release detailed dossier
Saturday August 11, 2007
A British resident held by the US as an alleged terrorist has claimed
his captors repeatedly tortured him, subjecting him to beatings, sexual
abuse and threats of execution.
Omar Deghayes, 37, is one of five British residents who the United
Kingdom government last week asked the US to release from GuantanÃ¡mo
Bay, after years of refusing to help them because they were not UK
Yesterday the family of Mr Deghayes decided to release a detailed
dossier of alleged torture which the former law student dictated to a
lawyer who visited him in the Cuban internment camp.
He is a Libyan national whose family fled to the UK after their trade
unionist father was murdered by the Gadafy regime in 1980.
Mr Deghayes was captured in Pakistan - his family claim by bounty
hunters - after the US attacked Afghanistan. They say he had gone there
to start a business exporting dried fruit to a leading supermarket.
In the dossier, he claims to have seen US guards kill people, witnessed
prisoners being partially drowned, and saw the Qur'an thrown into a
toilet by a US guard.
The new claims come after earlier Guardian reports of Mr Deghayes's ill
treatment, including allegations that he was left blinded in one eye
after a soldier plunged his finger into it, and claims that he had
human excrement smeared on his face.
Avi -- Amira Hass -- High Court has been wrongly besmirched
Palestine / Israel
High Court has been wrongly besmirched
By Amira Hass
As a war of petitions rages between supporters of the Supreme Court and supporters of the justice minister, it should not be forgotten that on the really important issues, Supreme Court justices demonstrate national responsibility and are synchronized with the prevailing mood. They proved this once again last week when they accepted the state's position that 10 students from the Gaza Strip should not be permitted to travel to the West Bank for two months in order to complete a clinical internship, without which they will not be able to work as occupational therapists in Gaza. There is currently only one certified occupational therapist working in the strip.
With respect to their age, the petitioning students "belong to the risk group of those who seek to destroy Israel"; Hamas will attempt to export the war "from the Gaza Strip to Judea and Samaria" [the West Bank]; and relations between Gaza and Israel have only degenerated since the disengagement. These are the main arguments that were submitted by the state and accepted by the Supreme Court justices, who are being wrongly besmirched.
Rene -- New Israeli highway separates Palestinians
Palestine / Israel
New Israeli highway separates Palestinians
By Steven Erlanger
Friday, August 10, 2007
JERUSALEM: Israel is constructing a road through the West Bank, east
of Jerusalem, that will allow both Israelis and Palestinians to travel
along it - separately.
There are two pairs of lanes, one for each tribe, separated by a tall
wall of concrete patterned to look like Jerusalem stone, an effort at
beautification, indicating that the road is meant to be permanent. The
Israeli side has various exits. The Palestinian side has few.
The point of the road, according to those who planned it under the
previous prime minister, Ariel Sharon, is to permit Israel to build
more settlements around east Jerusalem, cutting the city off from the
West Bank but allowing Palestinians to travel unimpeded north and
south through Israeli-held land.
"The Americans demanded from Sharon contiguity for a Palestinian
state," said Shaul Arieli, a reserve colonel in the Israeli Army who
participated in the 2000 Camp David negotiations and specializes in
"This road was Sharon's answer, to build a road for Palestinians
between Ramallah and Bethlehem but not to Jerusalem," Arieli
said. "This was how to connect the West Bank while keeping Jerusalem
united and not giving Palestinians any blanket permission to enter
Sharon talked of "transportational contiguity" for Palestinians in a
future Palestinian state, meaning that although Israeli settlements
would jut into the area, Palestinian cars on the road would pass
unimpeded through Israeli-controlled territory and even cross through
areas enclosed by the Israeli separation barrier.
The vast majority of Palestinians, unlike Israeli settlers, will not
be able to exit in areas surrounded by the barrier or enter Jerusalem,
even the eastern part, which Israel seized in 1967.
The road bars such stops by having Palestinian traffic continue
through underpasses and over bridges, while Israeli traffic will have
interchanges allowing turns onto access roads. Palestinians with
Israeli identity cards or special permits for Jerusalem will be able
to use the Israeli side of the road.
The government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has recently made
conciliatory gestures to the Palestinians and says it wants to
facilitate the creation of a Palestinian state. But Olmert, like
Sharon, has said that Israel intends to keep the land east of
To Daniel Seidemann, a lawyer who advises Ir Amim, an Israeli advocacy
group that works for Israeli-Palestinian cooperation in Jerusalem, the
road suggests an ominous map of the future, in which Israel keeps
nearly all of east Jerusalem and a ring of Israeli settlements
surrounding it, between largely Arab east Jerusalem and the rest of
the West Bank, which would become part of a future Palestinian state.
Anj -- The Mercenary Revolution
August 13, 2007
Flush with Profits from the Iraq War, Military Contractors See a
World of Business Opportunities
The Mercenary Revolution
By JEREMY SCAHILL
If you think the U.S. has only 160,000 troops in Iraq, think again.
With almost no congressional oversight and even less public
awareness, the Bush administration has more than doubled the size of
the U.S. occupation through the use of private war companies.
There are now almost 200,000 private "contractors" deployed in Iraq
by Washington. This means that U.S. military forces in Iraq are now
outsized by a coalition of billing corporations whose actions go
largely unmonitored and whose crimes are virtually unpunished.
In essence, the Bush administration has created a shadow army that
can be used to wage wars unpopular with the American public but
extremely profitable for a few unaccountable private companies.
Since the launch of the "global war on terror," the administration
has systematically funneled billions of dollars in public money to
corporations like Blackwater USA , DynCorp, Triple Canopy, Erinys and
ArmorGroup. They have in turn used their lucrative government pay-
outs to build up the infrastructure and reach of private armies so
powerful that they rival or outgun some nation's militaries.
"I think it's extraordinarily dangerous when a nation begins to
outsource its monopoly on the use of force and the use of violence in
support of its foreign policy or national security objectives," says
veteran U.S. Diplomat Joe Wilson, who served as the last U.S.
ambassador to Iraq before the 1991 Gulf War.
The billions of dollars being doled out to these companies, Wilson
argues, "makes of them a very powerful interest group within the
American body politic and an interest group that is in fact armed.
And the question will arise at some time: to whom do they owe their
Precise data on the extent of U.S. spending on mercenary services is
nearly impossible to
obtain - by both journalists and elected officials-but some in
Congress estimate that up to 40 cents of every tax dollar spent on
the war goes to corporate war contractors. At present, the United
States spends about $2 billion a week on its Iraq operations.
While much has been made of the Bush administration's "failure" to
build international consensus for the invasion of Iraq, perhaps that
was never the intention. When U.S. tanks rolled into Iraq in March
2003, they brought with them the largest army of "private
contractors" ever deployed in a war. The White House substituted
international diplomacy with lucrative war contracts and a coalition
of willing nations who provided token forces with a coalition of
billing corporations that supplied the brigades of contractors.
'THERE'S NO DEMOCRATIC CONTROL'
During the 1991 Gulf War, the ratio of troops to private contractors
was about 60 to 1. Today, it is the contractors who outnumber U.S.
forces in Iraq. As of July 2007, there were more than 630 war
contracting companies working in Iraq for the United States. Composed
of some 180,000 individual personnel drawn from more than 100
countries, the army of contractors surpasses the official U.S.
military presence of 160,000 troops.
In all, the United States may have as many as 400,000 personnel
occupying Iraq, not including allied nations' militaries. The
statistics on contractors do not account for all armed contractors.
Last year, a U.S. government report estimated there were 48,000
people working for more than 170 private military companies in Iraq.
"It masks the true level of American involvement," says Ambassador
How much money is being spent just on mercenaries remains largely
classified. Congressional sources estimate the United States has
spent at least $6 billion in Iraq, while Britain has spent some $400
million. At the same time, companies chosen by the White House for
rebuilding projects in Iraq have spent huge sums in reconstruction
funds - possibly billions on more mercenaries to guard their
personnel and projects.
The single largest U.S. contract for private security in Iraq was a
$293 million payment to the British firm Aegis Defence Services,
headed by retired British Lt. Col. Tim Spicer, who has been dogged by
accusations that he is a mercenary because of his private involvement
in African conflicts. The Texas-based DynCorp International has been
another big winner, with more than $1 billion in contracts to provide
personnel to train Iraqi police forces, while Blackwater USA has won
$750 million in State Department contracts alone for "diplomatic
Anj -- State Policies on Muslim Education: A Re-Appraisal*
*State Policies on Muslim Education: A Re-Appraisal*
That Muslims, as a whole, are one of the most deprived communities in
India,including in terms of education, is a well-known fact. Discussions
about Muslim educational deprivation or 'backwardness', as it is sometimes
referred to, often revolve around the issue of madrasas. Even government
policies on Muslim education reflect this concern with madrasas. Often,
announcements by various governments about schemes for Muslim education deal
almost wholly with madrasa education. This, what one can call inordinate
obsession with madrasas, urgently needs to be critiqued.
An oft-heard argument is that Muslims are themselves responsible for their
own educational 'backwardness' as they prefer to send their children to
madrasas rather than to 'modern' schools. The assumption here is that
Muslims are somehow so 'fanatic' about their religion or that they see their
religion as so fiercely opposed to 'modernity' that they simply do not want,
or refuse, to send their children to 'modern' schools. Muslims thus come to
be framed, interpreted and understood solely in terms of religion, in a
manner that is vastly different from the way the behaviour of other
religious communities is understood. In this way, Muslims also come to be
blamed entirely for their own educational marginalisation, and the fact that
widespread Muslim poverty and the role of the wider society and the state in
perpetuating Muslim economic and educational deprivation is completely
ignored. This assumption runs as a hidden sub-text that underlies government
policies on Muslim education. Since Muslim education thus comes to be
reduced largely to madrasa education, government policies generally focus on
this sort of education alone.
This assumption is, however, baseless and urgently needs to be questioned.
For one thing, as the Sachar Committee Report shows, hardly four per cent of
Muslim children study in full-time madrasas. Secondly, many Muslim parents
choose to send their children to madrasas simply because they cannot afford
the cost of sending them to 'modern' private schools or because they feel
that a madrasa education will at least ensure their child a job as a
religious specialist as well as merit in the Hereafter, neither of which
education in a government school can provide. Thirdly, this assumption
ignores the fact of the growing eagerness among Muslims for 'modern'
education, and in fact, the growing involvement of Muslim religious
organizations in seeking to provide both 'modern' as well as Islamic
education to Muslim children. This development is easily observable in any
Muslim locality, with the mushrooming of private schools, often so-called
English medium schools. This phenomenon is, in a sense, also a reflection of
the dissatisfaction that many Muslims feel with the public school system,
whose ethos and curriculum is, in many cases, Hinduistic and sometimes even
hostile to Muslims.
Anj -- Outcry as British Council quits Europe to woo Muslim world
This from Anj:
[Personally I don't think this is only about the art market. I think it is linked to the crumbling reputations of US and Britain not only in the Middle East but throughout the world.
For a recent project in Berlin, I was told that the US embassy here in Germany is particularly interested in supporting projects that have something to do with the Middle East. This is not the first I have heard of this interest by US embassies in Europe.
For me, this shift of the British Council is a part of an attempt to save its public face in the Middle East. It is definitely the cultural front of the war. And what I find troubling is that it is clearly a part of a long term strategy, which will rely on artists and cultural producers.
If their activities in Europe were a part of a kind of ideological war, including the Cold War struggle - an effort to insure victory against Communist influence; then we can understand that they are building the trenches for a long term engagement with the Middle East. They may be forced to leave Iraq, but digging these deep deep trenches only means they are in this one for the long haul.
We are scratching the surface here, which means that this is more complex and there is much more to be said and discussed about this, but just some very quick thoughts to add to Anj's- RG]
How the cultural imperialists widen their net!!
I would add that the agency behind this has nothing to do cultural altruism. It is monetary, and the high risk factor expressed by the BC representative is a smoke screen behind which lies the fact that a series of networks have been being built in the Middle East over the past few years that are supporting the development of an art market within Saudi Arabia. Hence events such as the Sharjah Biennial, the new Louvre in Dubai http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2007-03-06-louvre-abu-dhabi_N.htm, and the Christies auctions etc. The BC are making their presence known as that is where the art market is booming and all the interest in art from the ME, is created and boosted by curators, critics and museums in Europe and the US. All because a bunch of rich oil magnates are hiding their cash in art buying and hey bingo, the attention has now shifted .. It is all rather predictable ... xxanj
Outcry as British Council quits Europe to woo Muslim world
Helena Smith, Athens
Sunday August 5, 2007
It was the first visible sign of a cultural earthquake. Last week 8,000 books - the entire literary heritage of the British Council in Greece - were carted off to the English department of Athens University. Many of them are works by British hellenists, including poets such as Byron, or celebrate those who forged the bond between Britain and Greece.
It is not just in Athens that the British Council is winding down. Across Europe, half a century of promoting British culture and values is slowly being wound down in favour of a huge increase in funding for activities in the Middle East and Muslim world.
Anj -- Britain seeks Guantánamo releases
Britain seeks Guantánamo releases
Tuesday August 7, 2007
The British government has requested the release of five former UK residents being held in Guantánamo bay, the Foreign Office said today.
The foreign secretary, David Miliband, has written to the US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, asking that the men be freed from the US base in Cuba. They are not British nationals but had lived in the UK before they were detained, the Foreign Office said.
The decision by the prime minister, Gordon Brown, marks a break from his predecessor, Tony Blair, who generally held that the British government was not obliged to seek the release of Guantánamo inmates who had lived in Britain but did not hold citizenship.
The five - Shaker Aamer, Jamil el-Banna, Omar Deghayes, Binyam Mohamed and Abdennour Sameur - had been granted refugee status, indefinite leave or exceptional leave to remain before they were detained. Britain secured the release and return of all UK nationals held at Guantánamo by January 2005.
The Foreign Office said the new approach was aimed at speeding up the closure of the centre, and was in line with recent steps by the US to reduce the numbers of detainees.
Pedro -- Poemas de Guantánamo
EL PAIS DE MADRID
Poemas de Guantánamo
ARIEL DORFMAN 30/07/2007
No tiene como protagonista a Harry Potter, pero el libro que acaba de llegar
a mis manos encierra más magia que aquella que imaginó J. K. Rowling, y
también terrores más profundos que Voldemort, y bien valdría que todo el
mundo hiciera cola para leerlo. Aunque dudo de que así sea, ya que se trata
de un volumen parco, casi nimio, que desembarca por estos días
subrepticiamente en las librerías norteamericanas, y contiene tan sólo
veintidós modestos poemas de artífices enteramente desconocidos. Son poemas,...