These are all the Blogs posted on Tuesday, 11, 2009.
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Guess Who Controls The Mexican Prison System?
While over 27 million Americans legally pop prescription happy pills (also known as anti-depressants) others still prefer the illegal varieties and thus the lucrative black market is booming. This provides so much money that Mexican drug lords actually control the Mexican prison system. The war on drugs has done nothing but keep the price of drugs high thus fuelling corruption. New Duranty:
MEXICO CITY — The surveillance cameras captured it all: guards looking on nonchalantly as 53 inmates — many of them associated with one of Mexico’s most notorious drug cartels — let themselves out of their cells and sped off in waiting vehicles.
The video shows that prison guards only pulled out their weapons after the inmates were well on their way. The brazen escape in May in the northern state of Zacatecas — carried out in minutes without a single shot fired — is just one of many glaring examples of how Mexico’s crowded and cruel prison system represents a critical weak link in the drug war.
Mexico’s prisons, as described by inmates and insiders and viewed during several visits, are places where drug traffickers find a new base of operations for their criminal empires, recruit underlings, and bribe their way out for the right price. The system is so flawed, in fact, that the Mexican government is extraditing record numbers of drug traffickers to the United States, where they find it much harder to intimidate witnesses, run their drug operations or escape.
The latest jailbreak took place this weekend, when a suspected drug trafficker vanished from a Sinaloa prison during a party for inmates featuring a Mexican country music band. The Mexican government is considering isolating drug offenders from regular inmates to reduce opportunities for abuse...
That would also allow government to control who gets the cushy jobs guarding the drug offenders which would solidify a system of patronage and kickbacks. Great idea.
Posted on 08/11/2009 5:45 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Alice in America
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it is surely one of the finest attributes of a human being. Children have it, but it is generally beaten out of them by adolescence. Young people – not just the youth of today – are sadly incurious, and our education system does little to help. Curiosity is lacking in the Muslim world, all questions having been answered for all time by Mohammed.
Does university encourage curiosity? It encouraged mine. This was in the days of more generous student support, so that I was not obliged to spend every spare moment working to fund my education. And I went to a university where we were not at all spoon-fed. Failure to think for myself would have been unacceptable, as would failure to justify my thoughts, such as they were. These days, at many institutions, the opposite is true, and independent thought is penalised.
In yesterday’s Times, Helen Rumbelow writes about the “Americanisation” of British universities. Before any hackles rise across the pond, there is a reason for her defensiveness: she is writing in response to a report which claimed that American students work much harder than British students.
Any student crossing the Atlantic to go to an American university is in not just for a culture shock, but a future shock. I knew this from the moment that I was teleported from a perpetually grey, damp and mouldering campus in the UK, blinking into the sunshine of Stanford, California.
All was quiet until I heard the deep rumble of Rollerblade on marble (back then British people couldn’t Rollerblade. Still can’t, for that matter). It was the first real live American student I saw: a girl with backpack, baseball hat, and wheels. “Late for class, late for class” she kept muttering, like the White Rabbit in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, as she zoomed off. And, like Alice, I followed.
What I found was deeply weird to me, different in almost every aspect from my undergraduate degree in 1990s England. Fifteen years on, I see that alien ethos beginning to take hold on British campuses. In Lewis Carroll’s book, the White Rabbit represents the busy and anxious; Alice in Wonderland is pure curiosity. So the Americanisation of our British campuses represents the triumph of the White Rabbit over Alice, the triumph of the busy over the curious.
This is why I was alarmed by the report from the House of Commons select committee on universities in the past week. It created a storm by claiming that layabout British students do about half the amount of academic work of their American counterparts. Its Students and Universities report lambasted the low workrate of British students — 30 hours a week — suggesting that there was a connection between that and the variable quality of British institutions.
I say: it’s not as simple as that. Do undergraduates at American universities work harder than their British counterparts? Yes. Do they work better — as in more imaginatively, and independently? Probably not. And that is because they do not have that luxury.
My fellow students came to class not late, hungover and chatting about bands; but fiddling with their car keys and worrying about their résumés. They had second jobs to keep up with the fees — and parents who had worked all their lives to give them this honour, or scholarships they did not want to blow away. They needed a good job to pay all this back and didn’t have time to mess around. The grounds encompassed a shopping mall, a golf course, several open-air swimming pools and some beautiful Californian hills, but it was the culture of the enormous business school that dominated.
The students’ businesslike commitment to study was matched by the businesslike working week they followed. Grades could be based on class participation, and mid and end-of-term exams were supposed to check whether you had kept up with the reading workload. The exchange of ideas was prized more than uniqueness. For this reason, the same class had to undertake the same preparation, no time for an individual’s fascinating journey into uncharted waters. There was a great incentive to accept your teacher’s orthodoxy, as he or she awarded the grades.
In short, the undergraduates experienced a corporate culture, professional hours and dress, and a businesslike attitude to study that was entirely related to their necessarily ruthless focus on the future job market in order to pay off accrued debts. It is no coincidence that when American-style fees and debts began to enter British undergraduate life, so too did American-style undergraduate culture. British students may still seem lazy compared with the Americans, but I bet they are catching up.
The White Rabbits are chasing out Alice.
A pity, if true. The White Rabbit is not just a university animal, still less is he confined to American universities. Politicians, academics, journalists and novelists are all turning into White Rabbits, churning out books and speeches that never deviate from the party line. Curiouser and curiouser, as Alice might say, before the Rabbit gave her something more important to do.
Posted on 08/11/2009 6:05 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Tiny Rowland, Thou Shouldst Be Living At This Hour
No truth to it, of course, but would that there were.
Posted on 08/11/2009 7:04 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Fred And Adele
Posted on 08/11/2009 7:11 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Fred and Adele, some of whose early performances have just been posted, have appeared together at this site before, in connection with a game of Scrabble. See here.
And Fred has appeared, without Adele, in one or two of the Interludes.
But Adele has in veiled fashion also been alluded to, in the two postings here and here.
Find, and then explain, that allusion in the Comments.
Posted on 08/11/2009 7:15 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Listening (Respectfully) To A Dope
From The Jerusalem Post:
"Senior New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman gave a lecture last week to a number of members of the IDF General Staff. He spoke to them about his impressions of his recent visits to Arab countries.
Friedman visited Israel and the territories last week and published a two-part column on the situation in the territories after most IDF checkpoints were removed and Palestinian security forces moved in.
Friedman met personally with IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi during his visit, and spoke to the deputy chief of staff, the head of Military Intelligence, the head of the Home Front Command and the head of the planning branch."
Why would intelligent people in Israel endure, even for a half-hour, someone as ignorant and stupid as Tom Friedman? Not to find out about his "impressions of his recent visits to Arab countries" which breathless accounts ("When I had dinner with the top people in Damascus recently, a leading entrepreneur told me that...") always appear in his columns anyway, but in order, of course, to flatter him. For the calculation is that this dope is, in the United States, read by other dopes, who get what information they can about the Middle East from Tom Friedman, and it's best to play along, and pretend he has something to say of value.
Still, it's maddening when the intelligent have to endure, even for a half-hour, even for five minutes, the unintelligent. Feel sorry for IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, and the deputy chief of staff, and the head of Military Inteligence, and the head of the Home Front Command, and the head of the planning branch. As if they don't have trouble enough.
Posted on 08/11/2009 8:05 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Tale Of Two Conferences: Nashville’s Loews Vanderbilt Manager Tom Negri Strikes Blow At First Amendment, Exposes Treason Lobby Lovefest
Thomas Allen, who participated in the NER symposium in Nashville follows up on Tom Negri of Loews hotel and the amnesty lobby he promotes at VDARE:
The Left has a narrative for each situation, but every once in a while one of the players flubs his part and the narrative veers off the script. When that happens, one thing leads to another and before you know it, the drama has taken on a life of its own.
But mentioning the conference at all was the first misstep in the narrative.
Had the May 29 conference never been mentioned, it would have come and gone quietly. But once it hit the local news, the manager of the Loews Vanderbilt hotel, Tom Negri,[email him |email Loews Corporation] was in a bind. Should he allow a gathering of "Islamophobes" in his world-class luxury establishment? At that point, he might have been able to ignore the story by letting the conference go on. After all, he had agreed four months earlier to book the conference and knew the topic was "Understanding Jihad in America, Israel and Europe". (Full disclosure: I gave a talk entitled "How Are They Getting In?")
But instead of letting the show go on, Negri cancelled it with 3 days notice—"for the health, safety and well-being of our guests and employees".
Ironically, NER conference organizers had tried to interest local news media in the project—unsuccessfully. But now the uproar over the symposium cancellation had been picked up by The Associated Press and the organizers were fighting off pleas from the media who wanted to cover the proceedings in the new and unpublicized location.
There are a few plausible theories for the motivation behind the Loews boot.
Perhaps hotel manager Negri thought the symposium attendees and organizers were dangerous. But the primary demographic of the panelists—middle-aged and elderly academics, including one college president, and current or former government employees—would not seem a likely source of violence.
Moving from least plausible theory to more likely possibilities: perhaps Loews got a call from groups opposed to discussing Jihad? Maybe there was a real threat of harm from that side. Ask Geert Wilders!
I’m afraid we will never really know what happened. Mr. Negri has refused to say why he felt the conference would adversely affect the "health, safety and well-being" of the hotel’s guests and employees. He has also refused to say whether he actually received any communication to that effect.
But, that brings up a third and, to me, completely plausible explanation for the abrupt cancellation. The Monday after the symposium there was to be a "press conference" held by the local Treason Lobby to kick off the national campaign for "immigration reform", aka amnesty. The accidently publicized Jihad symposium would have been an embarrassment to Mr. Negri, who was publicly allied with the amnesty campaign.
Or maybe the cognitive dissonance required by having a symposium about Jihadists in America followed by a press conference announcing a strategy to let them all in was just too much.
At any rate, the publicity brought on by the Scene article threatened the cozy amnesty press conference by bringing unwanted attention to the goings on in Loews hotel that weekend. Cancelling the symposium only increased the likelihood of "outside" interest in the press conference, as folks started looking at who, exactly, the Jihad symposium was likely to offend. Certainly, it’s the only reason I heard about the press conference and attended.
As part of the publicity counter spin, The Tennessean reported on the amnesty press conference the next day,[Nashville coalition pushes immigration changes,June 2, 2009] but did not say where it had been held. Identifying the location might have suggested a connection in the readers’ minds to the ousted Jihad symposium—something better left alone.
As even The Tennessean pointed outthe amnesty press conference offered almost nothing in the way of details about the plan.
In fact, this was an unusual press conference in many ways. The event was not announced anywhere in the media and only certain media were present. There were no talk radio hosts, no local Fox affiliate—friendly media only, please!
Now I know the purpose of a press conference is to communicate with the press, not necessarily with the public. But, exclude enough of the broader media, and at some point the event ceases to be a "press conference" and is better described as an organizing meeting for your friends.
I believe the intent was to keep quiet about the amnesty meeting until it was over. But thanks to the Jihad symposium cancellation, which was caused by Scene article, the amnesty press conference was attended by some who also attended the Jihad symposium and received more attention than probably intended.
Tellingly, Avi Poster, [email him] the amnesty campaign organizer, told the press conference/ organizing meeting: "NPT [Nashville’s Public Broadcasting affiliate] is partnering with us" for the "immigration reform" campaign. At one point, Poster even extended his thanks to "our friends in the media" for "coming out in response to our plea for help". But realizing this was a gaffe, even for this audience, he quickly backtracked and tried to reword his remarks.
Continue reading here.
Posted on 08/11/2009 11:50 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
No to Jewish State of Israel say Hussein Agha and Robert Malley in Times Op ed
I read the Hussein Agha - Robert Malley New York Times Op Ed, "The Two State Solution Doesn't Solve anything," on-line this morning and knew ahead of their conclusions where they were going-deconstruction of Israel as a Jewish State. After engaging in casuistry they sprang their bottom line in the concluding paragraph:
But two states may not be a true resolution if the roots of this clash are ignored. The ultimate territorial outcome almost certainly will be found within the borders of 1967. To be sustainable, it will need to grapple with matters left over since 1948. The first step will be to recognize that in the hearts and minds of Israelis and Palestinians, the fundamental question is not about the details of an apparently practical solution. It is an existential struggle between two worldviews.
For years, virtually all attention has been focused on the question of a future Palestinian state, its borders and powers. As Israelis make plain by talking about the imperative of a Jewish state, and as Palestinians highlight when they evoke the refugees’ rights, the heart of the matter is not necessarily how to define a state of Palestine. It is, as in a sense it always has been, how to define the state of Israel.
Forget about even the usual anti-Israel bi-national solution, a virtual impossibility after last week's fractious Fatah convention-see here. As Barry Rubin in a GLORIA article “Fatah Congress Election: Surprising Results” cited, the successors to aging PA President Mahmoud Abbas are fanatics seeking Israel’s destruction:
But there is one aspect of this result so dangerous that it might outweigh everything else. At number one with two-thirds of the vote--a remarkable sign of popularity--is Abd al-Mahir Ghuneim. He is increasingly being spoken of as Abbas's successor.
Ghuneim is an unrepentant hardliner, an open opponent of the Oslo agreement. If he becomes the leader of Fatah--and hence of the PA and PLO--you can forget about peace. Violent conflict becomes far more likely. Watch this man: he is the future of the Palestinian movement.
The people everyone will be watching are the four guys with their own base of support, three security agency heads--Muhammad Dahlan, Jibril Rajoub, Tawfiq Tarawi--and West Bank grassroots' leader Marwan Barghouti. Since Barghouti is in an Israeli prison, however, he will probably play a smaller role. It is easy to call these three leaders of a Young Guard but remember they are all personal rivals, and that's what's most important.
There are four real hardliners: Abd al-Mahir Ghuneim, Salim al-Zanoun, Abbas Zaki, and Nasser Kidra. Zanoun is the former head of the Palestine National Council who rejected changing the Charter to accept Israel's existence; Zaki is an old-style Arab nationalist. Kidra is seen as representing the legacy of his uncle Yasir Arafat.
Malley, product of an Egyptian Jewish and American left intellectual Jewish union, was the International Crisis Group (ICG) maven on the Middle East to the Clinton Administration. He became infamous as the ICG's pathfinder in conducting outreach to Hamas, Syria, Hezbollah, a purportedly as an Obama foreign policy consultant until some criticism surfaced and he took a low profile. Both Malley and his co-author Hussein Agha, who is at the Belfer Center of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, had made plain their observations about Middle east peacemaking for the incoming Obama Administration in reviews of books on the failed Peace Process in the pages of the New York Review of Books-"How Not to Make Peace in the Middle East" .
In Israel, endemic governmental weakness and instability and deepening social fragmentation, combined with the spoiling capacity of small yet increasingly powerful settler constituencies, call into question the state's ability to achieve, let alone carry out, an agreement that would entail the uprooting of tens of thousands of West Bank settlers. The generation of Israeli founding fathers, perhaps, might have succeeded in carrying off such a withdrawal, though it says something that even they didn't try. Their successors, more factional chiefs than national leaders, are not so well equipped.
Among Palestinians, moreover, the prize of statehood is losing its luster. The two-state solution today matters most to those who matter least, the political and economic elite whose positions, attained thanks to the malpractices of the Palestinian Authority, would be enhanced by acquiring a state. To many others, the dividends of such a solution—a state in Gaza and much of the West Bank—risk being outweighed by the sacrifices: forsaking any self-defense capacity, tolerating Israeli security intrusion, renouncing the refugees' right of return, and compromising on Jerusalem.
Amid all this, the question of what ought to be done on the Arab–Israeli front remains unanswered, and that may not be a bad thing. With so much that is novel, and with so much having gone so wrong for so long, basic issues should first be addressed. Among them are the reasons for recurring failures, the effectiveness of US mediation, the wisdom and realism of seeking a comprehensive, across-the-board settlement of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, or even the centrality of that conflict to US interests and the benefits that would accrue to America from its resolution. One also might ponder reasons behind America's chronic ineffectiveness in persuading lesser powers (Arafat, Hamas, Syria, or Hezbollah) to acquiesce in its demands, a pattern that suggests incapacity to identify local political forces, understand their interests, or comprehend their appeal.
Today's Op-ed is in the tradition of the Times dissing Israel and impressing the Obama White House with being a media pimp for their worst intentions when it comes to a Jewish Israel.
Posted on 08/11/2009 12:45 PM by Jerry Gordon
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
A Musical Interlude: If You Want The Rainbow, You Must Have The Rain (Ben Selvin Orch., voc. Annette Hanshaw)
Posted on 08/11/2009 7:29 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
More "Youth" Riots Around Paris
We are left to guess whether these are Muslim riots or not, but one cannot help remembering Theodore Dalrymple's prescient article from 2002, "The Barbarians at the Gates of Paris." Canadian Press:
BAGNOLET, France — Youths rampaged overnight through a suburban Paris housing project, torching eight cars and a bus in a second night of violence prompted by a teenager's death, officials said Tuesday.
Overall, however, tensions appeared to be subsiding in the town of Bagnolet, with less damage than the night before.
Nine people were detained in the unrest early Tuesday, said regional administration spokeswoman Samira Amrouche.
She said the situation was "relatively calm" compared to the previous night, when 29 cars were burned and young people hurled Molotov cocktails at police.
The anger erupted when an 18-year-old pizza deliverer died in a motorcycle crash after fleeing a police check Sunday night. The unrest that night prompted police to send about 40 vans of riot officers to the housing project Monday night.
A helicopter beamed a spotlight into the area early Tuesday as bands of youth taunted police in a cat-and-mouse game typical of suburban unrest in France. Group of youths set street fires and hurled stones and other objects at police.
After daybreak, residents took stock of the destruction. A Moroccan tourist bus, its Arabic lettering mostly charred off, stood beneath an overpass, little more than a tangle of metal seat frames. Pigeons picked through scraps from burned garbage cans...
Posted on 08/11/2009 7:33 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
A Musical Interlude: The Little Things You Used To Do (Helen Morgan)
Posted on 08/11/2009 2:54 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
by Mary Jackson (August 2009)
Last week I saw Pornography. Too much information, you may be thinking, or perhaps you already know that Pornography is the name of a new play by Simon Stephens, currently running at the Tricycle Theatre in north London. I knew better than to expect any real pornography; it wouldn’t do for a cutting-edge play to have a title that told you what it was about. more>>>
Posted on 08/11/2009 3:50 PM by NER
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Kabylia And Kurdistan: A Berber View
From the Berber website Kabylia.net:
Will the Kabyle sun raise in Iraqi Kurdistan?
From the outset, what is common between Kabylia, a mountainous Berber region in the western Mediterranean and Kurdistan, a mountainous region in the Middle East?
However, if we look closely, the parallel fate that history has reserved for these two entities is startling. Same demographic weight (a fifth of the population of Iraq and Algeria), populated from ancient times by hardened mountaineers very attached to their autochthonic culture which are marginalised and oppressed by the regimes in place, Kabylia and Kurdistan are confronted to similar challenges. At the time when major historical events are shaking these two regions (The Black Berber Spring in Kabylia, the fall of Saddam Hussein for the Kurds in Iraq), a comparative study of the way Kabyles and Kurds are preparing for their respective future is food for thought.
From the 1960s, Kabylia and Kurdistan have both paid dearly for the crimes of Baathism. As the Algerian and Iraqi governments only swore by the doctrine of Arab nationalism, little Kabyle and Kurdish children learnt classical Arabic at school, as their parents had to face a ferociously Arab-speaking administration that they couldn’t possibly understand. Evidently, Kabyle singers and poets were as scarcely broadcasted on state-owned Algerian TV/ Radio as were their Kurdish counterparts on Iraqi TV/Radio. In general, Kabyle culture suffered the same fate in Boumediene’s Algeria as did the Kurdish culture in Saddam’s Iraq: downgraded, purposely pushed to disappear under the Baathist hammer. In both cases, the cultural tragedy resulted in Arabo-baathist cultural imperialism being largely ignored by the rest of the world. As good French souls, like Pierre Bourdieu, a renowned sociologist, called Algeria “A lighthouse of the Third World” for its progressive politics especially in education, the UNESCO awarded Saddam Hussein a prize for his fight against illiteracy in Iraq and the excellence of his education policy for the masses. The world was congratulating the dictators and pretended to think that what was actually a cultural genocide could be hidden under the slogan of “education policy” for the benefit of the people! The fate of Algerian Kabyles and Iraqi Kurds as distinct cultural communities looked like it was sealed already.
Despite all this, the political oppression brought about a strong resistance from the populations concerned. While “berberist” Kabyles were the first Algerians to enter in open opposition to the regime, first with the episode of “the bombers” of Mohammed Haroun in the 1970s, then in a more massive and spectacular manner in the large-scale riots of the Berber Spring in 1980, the Kurds have always led an active armed resistance against the successive regimes in Baghdad, especially under the leadership of the charismatic “general” Barzani. Culturally, Kabyle and Kurdish poets have produced works that have been very close: militant songs and texts in Tamazight or Kurdish to counter the official influence of the Arab language, historical research to re-appropriate the properly Berber or Kurdish history by the local population. Even the errors of the Berberist and Kurdish movements evolved in parallel fashion: While in Kurdistan, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan of Talabani becomes the main political rival of the Democratic Party of Kurdistan of Barzani in 1970 (the rift between the two parties degenerated into civil war between 1994 and 1998), in Kabylia, the Rally for Culture and Democracy of Said Saadi was created in the 1980’s in opposition to the older Socialist Forces’ Front of Hocine Ait Ahmed, resulting in a bitter split and dangerous rivalry inside the Berber Cultural Movement.
Kabyles and Kurds seem engaged for decades in a similar fight for the defence of their cultural rights against Arabism. However, one cannot but notice that historically, the content and form of Kabyle and Kurdish demands have remained very different to this day.
Historically, there exists a fundamental difference between the fates of Algerian Kabyles and Iraqi Kurds. To put it bluntly, the Kabyles have freely chosen to espouse Algeria while the Kurds have been forcefully wedded to Iraq. After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, allied to the German and Austrian-Hungarian empires at the end of the first world war, the Sevres treaty, signed on the 10th of August 1920, dismembered the Ottoman empire with, amongst other things, the creation of an independent Kurdistan. This solution was refused by the new Turkish head of state, Mustafa Kamal “Ataturk”. A new treaty, signed in 1923, gave to the new Turkish republic a large share of Kurdistan. The rest of the Kurdish territories have then been distributed between various states, along some artificial borders drawn by the imperialist French and British powers. That is how in 1924, the new, mostly Arab, state of Iraq, sees the addition of various Kurdish provinces. In all this, the Kurdish people never had their say. For them, the Iraqi nationality was imposed from the exterior. The Iraqi state was but a way to replace the Kurdish state expected in 1920. It’s very logical then that Kurds have always felt strangers and always in revolt in such a state with which they share neither language nor culture and of which they never asked to be part of.
On the opposite, the history of Kabyles in Algeria is that of too much love. There is no doubt that Algeria was a colonial creation with as artificial borders as Iraq’s, assembling Berber Touaregs, Berber Chawis, Berber Kabyles and Arabs who have nothing in common or little more the Shia Arabs, Sunni Arabs, Kurds, Chaldeans and Turkmen of Iraq (“Algeria is but a touristy denomination”, Kateb Yacine, an Algerian writer, used to say). However, contrary to Kurds who tended to reject Iraq, Kabyles have adhered to these borders, to this Algerian political space. When they started to form nationalistic anti-colonialist movements in the 1920s, they always refused to put up front properly-defined Kabyle demands which systematically faded in favour of an Algerian state. This political vision was really massive in Kabylia, which provided the bulk of nationalist Algerian militants against French rule, from the creation of the “North African Star” liberation movement in 1920 to the numerous guerrillas of Province III (Kabylia) during the Algerian war of independence from 1954-1962. When in 1948-1949 (the Berberist crisis), some Kabyles in the nationalist movement timidly tried to assert Berber cultural rights alongside Arab’s, they were violently silenced by the other mostly Kabyle militants, notably Krim Belkacem. In other terms, while Kurds regarded Iraq with suspicion since 1924, Kabyles hugged Algeria with passion.
Another major difference between Kabyles and Kurds that helps to understand their different way of envisaging their struggle is the nature of the oppression they suffer.
In Algeria, one year after independence, in 1963, the army repressed the revolt by the Socialist Forces’ Front in Kabylia. Although no reliable historical study was conducted on the subject, we estimate the number of victims of this operation to number in the hundreds if not thousands. We have to note however that the Socialist Forces’ Front never claimed to fight in the name of Kabyles or Kabylia, but that it intended to assert national demands relating to the exercise of power in Algiers. Next, the anti-Kabyle repression has been two-dimensional: cultural on the one hand, with the generalisation of arabisation and the quasi-prohibition of any form of Kabyle cultural expression, police-related on the other hand, with the squaring of the region and the imprisonment (usually accompanied by torture if not targeted assassination) of anyone who voiced an opinion favourable to Berber culture and a change of regime. It is only recently, during the large-scale riots of 2001-2002 that the Kabyle people had to face a repression at the hands of the state that was openly bloody and indiscriminate. The 123 dead and thousands injured unarmed Kabyles of the Black Berber Spring have marked a “qualitative” and quantitative change in the nature of repression of Kabylia by the regime of Algiers.
In Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, Kurds have from start only experienced brutal and genocidal repression. The mass executions culminated in 1987 during the Anfal campaign that Saddam Hussein launched against Kurdistan: besides the monstrous gas-poisoning of thousands of innocents in the town of Hallabja, the Anfal compaign included a veritable program of ethnic cleansing: hundreds of thousands of Kurds were forcefully displaced, especially in the oil-rich region of Kirkuk and had to flee to the mountains in the north to escape Baathist terror. They were replaced in their original land by Arab settlers. The repression of Kurdistan by terror persisted till 1991 when access to the three northern provinces of Iraqi Kurdistan was prohibited to Iraqi forces by Anglo-American military aircraft. In total, the campaigns of the Baathist government against Kurdistan have caused the death of tens of thousands of Kurds and the displacement of hundreds of thousands. Clearly, if a fine stream of blood runs between Kabylia and the rest of Algeria, it is enormous red rivers carrying along thousands of corpses that separate Kurdistan from the rest of Iraq. It is not surprising that today, Kurds of Iraq, finally rid of Arabo-baathism after the American campaign of 2003 against Saddam Hussein, want at least a large autonomy in a federal Iraq or at most a full and entire independence. After decades of armed fight and huge suffering, they have forged a true Kurd national conscience that demands, as a people, its cultural and political rights in face of the regime in Baghdad.
In comparison, Kabyles are still prisoners of their “Algerian” history. Tens of thousands of Kabyle martyrs have given their life in 1954-1962 for the cause of Algeria, not Kabylia. All the political and social movements in Kabylia put forward their intention of preserving the unity of Algeria. While Kurdish parties openly assert that “ the unity of Iraq is not sacred”, the militant Aarchs of Kabylia emphasize their will to “not divide the Algerian people”. However, the events of 2001 have resulted in an acceleration of history and a renewal of Kabyle political thought. In the face of brutal repression and the evident lack of solidarity from the rest of the Algerian population, a Kabyle movement, the Movement for Autonomy of Kabylia, asserts, for the first time in history, an autonomous state for Kabylia and is receiving some echo amongst the Kabyle people. Following this new and radical proposition in the Kabyle political discourse, a number of Kabyle parties (RCD, UDR, FFS) have, despite condemning the MAK, put forward a number of proposition for the regionalisation of Algeria, an Algerian federalism or a large decentralisation.
In other terms, the bloody repression endured during the Black Berber Spring has apparently put Kabylia in a scenario “a la Kurd”, according to which, Kabyles, like Kurds before them, take act of their singularity in the national ethno-political landscape and decide to put forward their claim as a specific people. At this time, Kabylia is still very far from Kurdistan: no one is asking for independence and no Kabyle guerrillas can be found roaming the streets of Tizi Ouzou or Bgayeth as the Kurdish Peshmerga do in Erbil and Sulemanyeh. However, the process of a properly Kabyle political assertion has been put in motion. Let us hope that the response of the government of Algiers in face of this emergence of a new Kabyle discourse will not be similar to the one Saddam Hussein made to the Kurds.
By Yidir Djeddai
Posted on 08/11/2009 7:03 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
The Shame of Academe and Fascism, Then and Now
Carlin Romano writes in The Chronicle Review:
...Because Stephen H. Norwood's just-published, brilliantly researched, utterly thorough and morally upsetting The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower: Complicity and Conflict on American Campuses (Cambridge University Press) shows how they [the academics] got it wrong in the 1930s. A chilling chronicle of pro-Nazi enthusiasm, shabby indifference, and amoral tolerance toward Hitler in elite American academe of the 1930s, this book should exert direct impact in this season of cracking heads and bones in Tehran. It relentlessly names names, depositing fact after sordid fact before the reader in a way that leaves its implications for then and today overwhelming.
Norwood, a professor of history at the University of Oklahoma and co-editor of the Encyclopedia of American Jewish History, attracted media attention when he unpacked some findings in the past. At a conference last year about Columbia University's ties to Nazi Germany, he detailed how its longtime president, Nicholas Murray Butler, invited the Nazi ambassador Hans Luther to campus in 1933, remained friendly with Nazi-run German universities into the mid-30s, and punished Columbia faculty members and students who protested.
Speaking at a 2004 Boston University conference on the Holocaust, Norwood shared other research that now appears in his fully detailed chapter on Harvard's bad behavior. In the updated version, he describes in gruesome detail how prominent "Harvard alumni, student leaders, The Harvard Crimson, and several Harvard professors assumed a leading role in the 10-day welcome and reception accorded the Nazi warship Karlsruhe when it visited Boston in May 1934."
At the 25th reunion that year of the Class of 09, writes Norwood, President James Bryant Conant, who'd sailed the previous year to Europe on a Nazi ocean liner, feted Ernst Hanfstaengl [right, center, waving], "one of Hitler's earliest backers" and his foreign-press chief. In the summer of 1935, Harvard allowed its student band to perform regularly on a Nazi ship. In 1936, Conant dispatched a delegate to help celebrate the 550th anniversary of the Nazified University of Heidelberg, despite its bonfire of "un-German" books in 1933. Conant allowed the German consul in Boston to place a laurel wreath, swastika affixed, in one of Harvard's memorial chapels. Conant continued to maintain until Kristallnacht, Norwood writes, that Nazi universities remained part of the "learned world" and should be treated politely. In the 1950s, Conant, then U.S. ambassador to Germany, drew repeated denunciations from Congressional officials for his efforts to free Nazi war criminals, including some of the most bestial.
And who knew that the "stiff-armed Nazi salute and Sieg Heil chant" was "modeled on a gesture and a shout" that Hanfstaengl had used as a Harvard football cheerleader?
After Norwood's 2004 talk, The Boston Globe reported that David S. Wyman, the leading scholar of America's response to the Holocaust, put current Harvard administrators on notice: "Harvard should issue an apology without excuses and say, 'We as an institution would never conduct ourselves like that again.'" At the time, Harvard spokesman Joe Wrinn issued a statement that said, "Harvard University and President Conant did not support the Nazis." Wrinn also urged: "If there are new facts, they should be added to the archives of history and the dialogue of those times."
Welcome, then, to The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower. Norwood appears to have mined every microfilmed college, labor, and Jewish newspaper, every minor publication of the 1930s, every dusty collection of diplomatic correspondence related to his subject. His findings astonish, especially if you naïvely believe that America's academic leaders must, on the whole, have been on the side of the angels.
Norwood begins shrewdly in his opening chapter, "Germany Reverts to the Dark Ages: Nazi Clarity and Grassroots American Protest, 1933-1934." Offering one citation after another, he demonstrates that within months after Hitler came to power, on January 30, 1933, the news that Nazis were beating Jews in the streets, degrading them, banishing them from public life or yanking them off to torture cellars and early concentration camps was widely reported. Public figures outside of academe were already condemning Hitler.
On March 7, 1933, Norwood relates, Boston's The Jewish Advocate declared that Germany's entire Jewish population of 600,000 was "under the shadow of a campaign of murder." Days before, the London Daily Herald had predicted the Nazis would launch a pogrom "on a scale as terrible as any instance of Jewish persecution in 2,000 years." On April 7, the Nazis enacted the law expelling Jews from the civil service, which included all professors. By spring 1934, the Manchester Guardian correspondent Robert Dell opened his book, Germany Unmasked, by quoting a diplomat in Berlin: "The conditions here are not those of a normal civilized country, and the German government is not a normal civilized government and cannot be dealt with as if it were one."
The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower continues like that: chapter and verse of journalists and diplomats reporting anti-Semitic violence, public figures such as Einstein and La Guardia denouncing the Nazis, grass-roots activists successfully fomenting a boycott of German goods and services—while the leaders of America's universities "remained largely silent." Worse, the latter sometimes defied the anti-Nazi boycott, trading exchange students with Nazi universities, "warmly receiving Nazi diplomats and propagandists on campus."
In one remarkable chapter, Norwood exposes how "many administrators, faculty, and students at the elite women's colleges known as the Seven Sisters—Vassar, Smith, Mount Holyoke, Wellesley, Bryn Mawr, Radcliffe, and Barnard—shared a sanguine view of Nazi Germany and enthusiastically participated in academic and cultural exchanges with the Third Reich." As Norwood shows, the solidarity could only be regarded as bizarre, given that the Nazis were pressuring German women to have a "five-child family," eliminating women from the professions, and imposing a "quota limiting women to 10 percent of those admitted" to universities. Erika Mann, Thomas Mann's daughter, noted in 1937 that not a single female full professor remained in any German university.
Other chapters recount how the University of Virginia's Institute of Public Affairs gave Nazi apologists repeated respectful hearings, how more than a few departments of German amounted to "nests" of Hitler sympathizers, and how Catholic universities and their leaders repeatedly spoke up for Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, and even Antonio de Oliveira Salazar, Portugal's dictator.
At times, Norwood's details make one wince at what one might charitably call academic tunnel vision. President Walter S. Hullihen of the University of Delaware, who maintained that stories of Nazi persecution in the American press were "grossly exaggerated, in many cases utterly false," lamented that "the Night of the Long Knives had thrown the Junior Year in Munich program into temporary disarray because Germans prominent in leading or administering it had been murdered by the SS." Talk about unforeseen consequences! Similarly we read that "Kristallnacht pushed Junior Year in Munich Inc. director Edmund Miller into a 'slough of Despond.' Miller had hoped after the September 1938 Munich Conference that Neville Chamberlain's concessions to Hitler ensured 'unperturbed development' for the program and 'normal enrollment [for] the following year.' He now worried about sending American students into 'such a depressing environment.'"...
Posted on 08/11/2009 1:05 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Amil Imani: An Appeal To Iranians That Becomes More Appealing Every Day
|Dear Iranians: Have the Courage to Say No to Islam
Nearly 1400 years ago, a group of nomads from across the scorching Arabian Desert conquered Persia (Iran), the greatest empire known to the history of mankind. With that, they injected their Islamic virus into the veins of their victim: the Iranian people.
Isn’t it time for all Iranians, in a show of solidarity, to stand shoulder to shoulder with the civilized free people of the world to defeat this virulent disease of Islam?
In most other lands conquered by Islam, the conquered peoples have lost their identity and heritage and embraced the ways of their new rulers, under an “Arab” identity. Conversely, in Iran a band of indigenous victims, “infected” by Islam, has mindlessly turned on their Iranian countrymen and tried to rob them of their remaining ancient heritage. It is exactly this savage minority that has established an oppressive tyrannical rule and wields power against the Iranian people. Yet, even under the rule of Islamofascism, the overwhelming majority of Iranians of various ethnicities and religions remain faithful to their ancient creed – a creed that was given to the world by Zoroaster.
The twenty-first century presents great challenges and opportunities that demand new ways of thinking and behaving. The doctrine of Islam may have been appropriate for the desert dwellers of Arabia some 1400 years ago, for the very people stigmatized in Islamic literature as “Jahil” (ignoramus). But it is dysfunctional today, to say the least. As a matter of fact, Islam went astray from the very beginning and inflicted a great deal of suffering on both its followers as well as those who resisted its advance.
All pre-Islamic achievements that may strengthen the attraction on the part of the Iranian populace are de-emphasized and sometimes even falsely attributed to Islam, to prevent the average Iranian and the world at large from finding out the historical truths about the destruction and retardation Islam has brought to the region. Islam continues to take credit for the arts and sciences produced by the peoples it has conquered -- and they were mostly Iranians, Egyptians, Syrians, Mesopotamians, and Babylonians.
Keep in mind that Islamists go by their 1400-year-old charter of Allah --the Qur'an-- the same charter that they held in one hand while slashing the throats of millions of innocent Iranians and yelling joyously "Allah is the greatest" the whole time.
Dear Iranians, I am compelled to write this today and the words just stream through me without any outline or preconceptions. I am talking about this today, partly because it is timely, partly because it is good to know what Islam has done to our precious culture. Some things did not have to turn out as they did. Truth and provocative ideas ought to be welcomed by all of us. “A Slave is he who cannot speak his thoughts” said Euripides. Yet provocative ideas by themselves may not be enough. Actions are needed to correct the past mistakes and that starts with you.
Dear Iranians, as long as you remain “Muslim” (as you are by default and not by choice), you will remain enslaved by a violent foreign creed and culture. You are unable to think for yourselves and break free. As long as you remain Muslim, you cannot possibly be called an Iranian. Being Iranian is defined by a state of mind, not by a place of residence, your language, your dialect, or even your genetic makeup or race. The barbaric Islamist mullahs and their mercenaries presently ruling Iran are not Iranians by any definition, except by virtue of an identity card. They are Islamofascists who have betrayed their magnificent heritage and have enlisted themselves in the service of a most oppressive and demeaning ideology, Islam.
The detoxification of Islam must start with you. It is you who should pick up the flag of freedom and march in the streets and defend your ancestors who were brutally murdered by the hands of the Arab invaders and forced you to become like them.
Remember, life is precious. It is to be protected, nurtured and celebrated. Humankind is moving, perhaps at a glacier pace, toward reconciliation, ever-expanding inclusiveness without any group or ideology imposing itself on others. Any attempt against this trend of unity in diversity is doomed to failure, as exemplified by the demise of fascism and communism. The charter of Islam, the Quran, for the most part, preaches discrimination, death and imposition of its dogma on everyone. Islam, just like fascism and communism, is a dysfunctional ideology that needs to be abandoned.
Humanity has matured considerably since the time of Muhammad. In order to continue its forward march, mankind must follow a roadmap appropriate for its age and state of development. It is foolish to insist that a book, which demands terrorism and was written over 1400 years ago, must serve as the one and only guide for humanity.
Let us remember that the Arabs who sallied out of the deserts of Arabia did not fan out to the outside world with the Quran in one hand and flowers in the other, preaching love and peace from street corner to street corner, aiming to capture the hearts and minds of the people. Islam was forced on every culture it encountered at the point of the sword. The kinder, gentler alternative was death or imposition of the backbreaking “jizyah” (poll tax) levied on those who were spared the sword and allowed to retain their religious beliefs as “infidels”. In spite of paying the heavy jizyah, non-Muslims were consistently treated, at best, as second-class citizens in their own homelands all across the Middle East.
Iran is our beloved motherland. She deserves love and respect from all her children. Iran is not a land of the evil, even though presently it is in its yoke. Persians often take great umbrage at being confused with Arabs. Authors like Robert Kaplan and V. S. Naipaul have documented the Persian antipathy toward the Arabs, all the while espousing the Arab religion enthusiastically.
Dear Iranians, you have a dilemma. You require reconciliation with the self. You are either the children of Cyrus the Great, who was the founding father of Iran and symbolized justice and respect for diversity, or you can claim to be the descendent of a man who was not an exemplary prophet. In other words, you are either a “Seyyed” (itself a laughable farce), which is another word for an Arab “lord”, or you are a magnificent Iranian who believes in the lofty tenets of Good Words, Good Thoughts and Good Deeds. You cannot be both. It is time to reconcile. The choice is yours.
My aspiration for my motherland is to see it freed from the evil that has been visited upon it ever since our people bought into a most depraved version of Islam. Whether people become Baha'is or Zoroastrians or Christians, it should be a free choice by each person. Even if a person insists on remaining Muslim, that is his or her prerogative. Yet, imposing the suffocating intolerant Islam on an entire nation is something that neither I, nor any freethinking person can accept. Our beloved Iran deserves to be a country where, once again, we take pride in being its children instead of the present when we often do all we can to conceal our nation of birth when visiting abroad.
Those of you who are still entrapped in the cult of Muhammad of the 7th century are victims of the Islamic virus that has destroyed in you the traditional respect for diversity. Iran is now a nation whose residents are most rapidly abandoning Islam as they learn the truth about it. It is the fundamental ancient Iranian belief in the validity and value of diversity that has held the nation together over the millennia.
Islam, with its barbaric exclusionary and primitive Bedouin Arab dogma, overtook Iran and brutally strove to replace the traditional lofty Iranian belief in human rights and diversity. Regrettably, the forced subjugation of the Iranians succeeded to some degree in transmitting the Islamic psychosocial virus to many Iranians—the virus that transforms the person into a bigot who sees only his way and his belief as the right way and the only right mandate. Any and all people who do not see things “his” way are wrong and must be reformed by whatever means, including eradication, if the bigot sees fit.
The diverse people who give Iran its enduring strength include Persians, Azaris, Kurds, Baluchis, Turkmen, and more. One and all have their allegiance to Iran as an idea and a nation and they all have shaped Iran into a unified nation. Iranians are the spiritual children of Cyrus the Great and adherents to his Charter—the first Charter of Human Rights—that clearly proclaims the equal rights and worth of the beliefs and practices of all peoples.
Iranians are ashamed by the appearance of Ahmadinejad, “the Monkey”, on the international scene and his declared intent to wipe the Jewish homeland from the face of the earth. Ahmadinejad is not an Iranian. Just look at the numerous photos showing him proudly donning the Arab headscarf around his neck—a Palestinian headscarf that presently stands as a symbol of the Arabo-Islamic genocidal hate campaign against the “non-believers” of all stripes. One quick look at his willingness to give away territorial and political rights of Iran is another testament to his “un-Iranian” nature.
This shameless Ahmadinejad and his cronies, the criminal mullahs, are personifications and agents of Ahriman “evil”. Nothing whatsoever is beyond their evil intentions. Keeping themselves in power by devastating our land, heritage and people is a small price that they are more than happy to pay. Shame, eternal shame on them. Iran shall rise again. It shall rise from its ashes. I am certain of that.
We do recognize that the dysfunctional Islamic “software” is deeply engrained in the minds of its victims who opt to remain in mental bondage rather than purge their minds of the Islamic “blueprint of destruction” and join the rest of the human family with a new emancipating program for life—that of liberty and progress. However, you must avoid any and all Islamic propaganda and join the forces of liberty and gain your freedom from this dark and alien cult of death. For 1300 years, the Islamists have forced you to choose and celebrate death over life, to cry instead laugh and to mourn instead of dance. The crown jewel of Islam simply does not fit the Persians. It never has and it never will.
Keep in mind that Islam hates the power of the individual. Islam hates the achievements of women. Islam hates progress. Islam hates the religious freedom of others. Islam hates the pre-Islamic heritage of Iran and other nations. Islam hates the light of truth. Islam is against free will and hates democracy, liberty and justice for all. Islam simply loves to crush and eat you alive. That is what Islam does and that is what Islam is. Are you going to worship that? Just Say no, because you are not a robot, you are a human being.
Now, “praise be to the core of goodness” that binds all of us together as devoted lovers of our ancient heritage of respect and diversity. Our motherland is bleeding under the dark cloaks of the oppressive mullahs. Yet, our people shall overcome the poison that courses in their veins and will choose to turn away from the doctrine of death and destruction to, hopefully, pursue life and construction. All of you hold the key and promise for our homeland's revival and its complete freedom from the centuries old yoke of the barbaric rule of Islam and its “Sharia”.
The light of freedom must be preserved for humanity. To save the motherland, all Iranians must unite and JUST SAY NO to Islam and SAY YES to liberty.
Posted on 08/11/2009 7:09 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald