• 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 ...

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

No one knows for certain how many Iraqis have died as a result of the invasion 15 years ago. Some credible estimates put the number at more than one million. You can read that sentence again. The invasion of Iraq is often spoken of in the United States as a “blunder,” or even a “colossal mistake.” It was a crime. Those who perpetrated it are still at large. Some of them have even been rehabilitated thanks to the horrors of Trumpism and a mostly amnesiac citizenry. (A year ago, I watched Mr. Bush on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” dancing and talking about his paintings.) The pundits and “experts” who sold us the war still go on doing what they do. I never thought that Iraq could ever be worse than it was during Saddam’s reign, but that is what America’s war achieved and bequeathed to Iraqis.

Sinaan Antoon in The New York Times

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Non-violence? "terrorism"?

The writer, an ex-soldier, refers to the Palestinian violence as "terror" and "terrorism", but no where he use use the same words to refer to the structural violence of the settler-colonial state. Apartheid, occupation, oppression, etc are all fine but "terrorism" is restricted to those who retaliate against "democracies".

"Palestinians' new doomsday weapon"
"The use a loan is put to is not fundamnetal for characterizing the debt as odious. Financial support for a criminal regime, even if it happens to build a school or a hospital, amounts to consolidating the said regime.

The nature of the regime aside, the use of funds should suffice to qualify debts as odious whenever these funds are used against the populations's major interests or when they directly enrich the regime's inner circle. Thus, debts incurred within the framework of structrural adjustments fall into the category of odious debts, since the destructive character of the SAP [Structural Adjustment Program] has been clearly shown, including by UN agencies."

Toussaint and Millet, 2010, pp. 249-50
A good take on Putin's Russia with no mention of Syria.  A bit soft on the American-led political-economy of "inevitability". 

"Americans and Europeans have been guided through our new century by what I will call the politics of inevitability – a sense that the future is just more of the present, that the laws of progress are known, that there are no alternatives, and therefore nothing really to be done. In the American, capitalist version of this story, nature brought the market, which brought democracy, which brought happiness. In the European version, history brought the nation, which learned from war that peace was good, and hence chose integration and prosperity."

"Vladimir Putin's politics of eternity"
"Facebook let a firm called GSR scrape 50 million user profiles and sell the data to another firm, Cambridge Analytica, whose express purpose was to manipulate electoral behaviour in favour of Donald Trump. That’s the one-paragraph summary of a story that will unfold with increasing complexity this week.
Cambridge Analytica will be in the frame, basically, for lying to British MPs – and is now being investigated by the authorities in Massachusetts where it are based. But the scandal is just the latest in a series for Facebook, creating an existential moment for the world’s biggest social media corporation."
Source: novaramedia.com

A good analysis here (you only need to enter an email address to read it):
You are the product: it zucks!

Burning Country Syrians in Revolution and War