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

Sunday, May 27, 2018

What kind of political discourse, with what social and po­ litical effects, is contemporary tolerance talk in the United States? What readings of the discourses of liberalism, colonialism, and impe­rialism circulating through Western democracies can analytical scru­ tiny of this talk provide? The following chapters aim to track the so­ cial and political work of tolerance discourse by comprehending how this discourse constructs and positions liberal and nonliberal subjects, cultures, and regimes; how it figures conflict, stratification, and dif­ ference; how it operates normatively; and how its normativity is ren­dered oblique almost to the point of invisibility.

Part of the project of this book, then, is to analyze tolerance, espe­ cially in its recently resurgent form, as a strand of depoliticization in liberal democracies. Depoliticization involves construing inequality, subordination, marginalization, and social conflict, which all require political analysis and political solutions, as personal and individual, on the one hand, or as natural, religious, or cultural on the other. Tol­ erance works along both vectors of depoliticization—it personalizes and it naturalizes or culturalizes—and sometimes it intertwines them. Tolerance as it is commonly used today tends to cast instances of in­ equality or social injury as matters of individual or group prejudice. And it tends to cast group conflict as rooted in ontologically natural hostility toward essentialized religious, ethnic, or cultural difference. That is, tolerance discourse reduces conflict to an inherent friction among identities and makes religious, ethnic, and cultural difference itself an inherent site of conflict, one that calls for and is attenuated by the practice of tolerance. As I will suggest momentarily, tolerance is hardly the cause of the naturalization of political conflict and the on­ tologization of politically produced identity in liberal democracies, but it is facilitated by and abets these processes.

Although depoliticization sometimes personalizes, sometimes cul­turalizes, and sometimes naturalizes conflict, these tactical variations are tethered to a common mechanics, which is what makes it possible to speak of depoliticization as a coherent phenomenon. ­Depoliticization involves removing a political phenomenon from comprehen­sion of its historical emergence and from a recognition of the powers that produce and contour it.

When the ideal or practice of tolerance is substituted for justice or equality, when sensitivity to or even respect for the other is substituted for justice for the other, when historically induced suffering is reduced to “difference” or to a me­dium of “offense,” when suffering as such is reduced to a problem of personal feeling, then the field of political battle and political trans­ formation is replaced with an agenda of behavioral, attitudinal, and emotional practices 

The culturalization of politics analytically vanquishes political economy, states, history, and international and transnational relations. It elimi­nates colonialism, capital, caste or class stratification, and external 
po­litical domination from accounts of political conflict or instability. In their stead, “culture” is summoned to explain the motives and as­pirations leading to certain conflicts (living by the sword, religious fundamentalism, cultures of violence) as well as the techniques and weapons deployed (suicide bombing, decapitation)."

— Wendy Brown,  Tolerance as a Discourse of Depoliticization in Regulating Aversion - Tolerance in the Age of Identity and Empire, 2008

Saturday, May 26, 2018

After Obama has "liberated" Malala

Angelina Jolie, a woman coming from the heartland of the West and imperialism, is on a mission to "save and rescue" girls and women who are "unfit and cannot help themselves".
She is also urging young people to "promote tolerance."
Tolerance? Where was that "tolerance" when US imperilaism was invading Iraq and Afghanistan, and droning weddings, using torture and rendition, and orphaning girls and women? 
Didn't she and her ilk tolerate those criminal actions?

Friday, May 25, 2018

Pinker is, after all, an intellectual darling of the most powerful echelons of global society. He spoke to the world’s elite this year at the World’s Economic Forum in Davos on the perils of what he calls “political correctness,” and has been named one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World Today.” 

His new book is Bill Gates' favourite book of all time!

Pinker claims to respect science, yet he blithely ignores fifteen thousand scientists’ desperate warning to humanity. 

It should be added that Pinker is an apologist of the US imperialist violence and he is Islamophobic.

The grim takeaway ... is that racist violence against African Americans has not declined at all, as Pinker suggests. Instead, it has become institutionalized into U.S. national policy in what is known as the school-to-prison pipeline.

Pinker unquestioningly propagates one of the great neoliberal myths of the past several decades: that “a rising tide lifts all the boats”—a phrase he unashamedly appropriates for himself as he extols the benefits of inequality. 

He laces his book with an unending stream of false equivalencies and false dichotomies that lead a reader inexorably to the conclusion that progress and capitalism are part of the same package.

In writing a paean to historical progress, he then takes a staunchly conservative stance to those who want to continue it. It’s as though he sees himself at the mountain’s peak, holding up a placard saying “All progress stops here, unless it’s on my terms. 

On Steven Pinker, again

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The criminal Tony Blair has refused to personally apologise to the Libyan dissident Abdel Hakim Belhaj, who was tortured in a jail in Libya following a rendition operation mounted with the help of MI6 ...

Compare that with this:

"When Willy Brandt was chancellor of Germany, he sank to his knees at the Warsaw Ghetto in 1970 to apologize to Polish Jews for the Holocaust. There were hardly any Jews left in Poland, and Brandt, who as a socialist* [sic] was persecuted by the Nazis, was completely innocent of the crimes for which he was apologizing. But in doing so—with his historic kniefall von Warschau (Warsaw Genuflection), he was recongnizing the moral responsibility of the German people, whom he led as chancellor...

Of course not everyone agrees that even atonement is due. Historian John Keay put it best: 'The conduct of states, as of individuals, can only assessed by the standards of their age, not by today's litigious criteria. Otherwise, we'd all be down on the givernmnet of Italy for feedings Christains to the lions.' Amusing, but indefensible. The British Raj is scarcely ancient history. It is part of the memories of people still alive. According to a recent UN Population Division report, the number of Indians over the age of eighty is six million. British rile was an inescapable part of their childhoods. If you add to their number, their first-generation descendants, Indians their fifties and sixties, whise parents would have told them stories about their experience of the Raj, the numbers with an intimate knowledge of the period would swell to over 100 million Indians.

It is getting late for atonement, but not too late: I, for one, dearly hope that a British prime minister will find the heart, and the spirit, to get on his or her knees at Jallianwala Bagh in 2019 and beg forgiveness from Indians in the name of his or her people for the unforgivable massacre that was perpetrated at the site a century earlier. David Cameron's rather meatly-mouthed description of the massacre in 2013 as a 'deeply shameful event does not, in my view constitute an apology. Nor does the ceremonial visit to the site in 1997 by Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh, whi merely left their signatures in the visitors' book, without even a redeeming comment."

Two words summarize the above: imperialist arrogance.

"Indeed, the best form of atonement by the British might be, as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has suggested, to start teaching unromanticized colonial history in British schools. The British public is woefully ignorant of the realities of the British empire, and what it meant to the subject peoples. These days there appears to be a return in England to yearning for the Raj: the success of the telivision series Indian Summers, building upon earlier Anglo-nostalgia productions like The Far Pavilions and The Jewel in the Crown, epitomize what the British domiciled Dutch writer Ian Buruma saw as an attempt to remind the English 'of their collective dreams of Englishness, so glorious, so poignant, so bittersweet in the resentful seediness of contemporary little England.' If British school children can learn how those dreams of the English turned out to be nightmares for their subject people, true atonement—of the purely moral kind, involving a serious consideration of historical responsibility rather than mere admission of guilt—might be achieved." 

— Shashi Tharoor, Inglorious Empire, 2017, Preface, xxiv-xxv. 

Blair once said that Britain was "the greatest nation on earth." The arrogance of such a ruling class prevents her from issuing an apology to one victim of rendition. What about the destruction of Iraq and what it unleashed?

Given the highly filtered school curriculum of the history of the British Empire, this must resonate well in public ears. It must even play a signifant role in today's support or passivity of imperialist adventures and the type of friends the British [read English] ruling class has. It must enforce the belief that "we" are a force of good among "the international community": foreign aid and loans mechanisms, for instance.

Inglorious Empire should be an essetial reading in British schools. It should be produced as series and read out on the radio. 

* Brandt in fact was a social democrat with contradictory positions, including his support of the US in its war in Vietnam.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A "literary giant"! He might have been a good novelist, with a shocking and funny style. Howver, a good novelist is also judged by his/her integrity and principles as well by as his/her relationship to power and justice.

Like Harper Lee, Roth accepted a medal from Obama, a criminal, an imeprialist and who, with others, laid the conditions which spawned Trump.

Monday, May 21, 2018

At the heart of it is the bourgeois liberal notion of justice—wherein equal and unequal people must be treated equally. It is equalizing the violent acts of the conqueror with those of the conquered. It is neither the Aristotelian nor the Marxist notion of justice—wherein justice means treating equal people equally and unequal people unequally.

 Those who have kept silent or supported the Syrian regime's killing of around 400,000 civilians are now condemning Israel! 

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Please, accept our apologies. Sorry for using labour strikes when we should have worked; sorry for using suicide bombing when we should have used fireworks and partied in your nightclubs; sorry for using hunger strikes when we should have thanked you for the food and shelter; sorry for stabbing you with knives when we could have cuddled you with pillows; sorry for being in residential areas when you dropped your smart bombs; sorry for threatening your borders and throwing ourselves at your bullets when all you wanted was to defend yourself. Sorry for all the trouble we have caused you, the "international comunity", the UN, and all your friends.

The victim must apologize to the killers 
"The most urgent priority is not for Europe to understand its alters better, but rather itself and its own history —for it is within Europe's own longstanding structures of self-definition that pluralism in general, and the Islamic presence in particular, have been rendered into nightmares. If so, it is Europe itself which stands in urgent need of therapy. But as yet the patient is still in denial, and as any spychotherapist would confirm, those who refuse to acknowledge the seriousness of their self-generated plight find it far easier to engage in a process of transference. Rather than confronting the illusory character of their own mental construction, they prefer to ascribe the very behavior which they refuse to acknowledge in themselves to those whom they believe are harassing them."

Roger Ballard, quoted by Jospeh Massad in Islam in Liberalism, 2015, p. 311

What kind of political discourse, with what social and po­ litical effects, is contemporary tolerance talk in the United States? What readi...