Tag Archives | Revolution

The Human Agency of Revolution

FistScholar Tarak Barkawi argues revolutions are caused by human agency; not telecommunications technologies, in Al Jazeera:

To listen to the hype about social networking websites and the Egyptian revolution, one would think it was Silicon Valley and not the Egyptian people who overthrew Mubarak.

Via its technologies, the West imagines itself to have been the real agent in the uprising. Since the internet developed out of a US Defense Department research project, it could be said the Pentagon did it, along with Egyptian youth imitating wired hipsters from London and Los Angeles.

Most narratives of globalisation are fantastically Eurocentric, stories of Western white men burdened with responsibility for interconnecting the world, by colonising it, providing it with economic theories and finance, and inventing communications technologies. Of course globalisation is about flows of people as well, about diasporas and cultural fusion.

But neither version is particularly useful for organising resistance to the local dictatorship.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Mystery Behind Gadhafi’s Birth: He’s Jewish?

Gaddafi (left) with Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1969.

Muammar Gaddafi (left) with Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1969.

At first I thought this was an April Fools’ joke … Dana Kennedy writes on AOL News:

What if the biggest mystery surrounding Col. Moammar Gadhafi had nothing to do with his long, brutal reign as the world’s most eccentric and violent leader turned pariah?

And what if a long-lost letter from a Catholic cardinal who knew Gadhafi’s true identity was evidence that could have solved the mystery?

To many Libyan people, the biggest question mark about Gadhafi does not involve his repressive and dictatorial rule, delusional statements or brazen lies. Behind closed doors, for years, they’ve wondered if he is Jewish. Last week the issue came out in the open, as NBC’s Richard Engel reported from Libya that one in five rebels was fighting Gadhafi because he believes the leader is Jewish.

Conflicting reports surrounding Gadhafi’s birth have circulated since about 1970, two years after a Gadhafi-led coup made him the de facto leader of Libya.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Anti-Protest Laws Being Pushed Through Egyptian Government

Tahrir Square on 8 February 2011

Over 1 million protestors in Tahrir Square demanded the removal of the Mubarak regime on February 8, 2011. Photo: Jonathan Rashad (CC)

Ahram Online reports:

The Egyptian cabinet approved yesterday a decree-law that criminalises strikes, protests, demonstrations and sit-ins that interrupt private or state owned businesses or affect the economy in any way.

The decree-law also assigns severe punishment to those who call for or incite action, with the maximum sentence one year in prison and fines of up to half a million pounds.

The new law, which still needs to be approved by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, will be in force as long as the emergency law is still in force. Egypt has been in a state of emergency since the assassination of former president Anwar Sadat in 1981.

Since former president Hosni Mubarak stepped down on 11 February, Egypt has witnessed escalating nationwide labour strikes and political protests.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Media Roots Interview With Cindy Sheehan

This is a special Media Roots TV interview conducted by Abby Martin with Cindy Sheehan, mother who has made the ultimate sacrifice and fearless anti-war activist. She relays her powerfully lucid point of view in a candid interview at her home on February 6th, 2011.
Continue Reading

Self-Immolation and the Heart of Revolution

Ryszard Siwiec Self-Immolation“It’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” — Peter Benenson, founder of Amnesty International, at a Human Rights Day ceremony on 10th December 1961

In November, 1990 a man set himself on fire in front of the U.S. capitol, the news reports from the time say that the reasons for the man’s act were unknown, no riots were forthcoming. Last year the cultural shifts in Egypt, Yemen and Algeria proved a different outcome in light of similar self-immolation. As individuals express their anger, alienation and rejection in self willed conflagration it is igniting their communities into violent uprisings shaking the foundations of global culture.

As I’m writing this a young man sits in protest in a Palestinian Mosque, part of the March 15 Youth Coalition who set up tents in the Bethlehem municipality to demand a new Palestinian national council and a unified Palestine. He is threatening to set himself on fire if the Coalition’s demands are not taken seriously.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Saudi Police Open Fire At Protest – What Next?

Source: Norman Einstein (CC)

Source: Norman Einstein (CC)

Did shit just hit the fan? Those keeping up with the Middle East protests and oil prices are well aware of the powder keg that is Saudi Arabia.

Yahoo News reports:

CAIRO – Saudi police opened fire Thursday to disperse a protest in the mainly Shiite east, leaving at least one man injured, as the government struggled to prevent a wave of unrest sweeping the Arab world from reaching the kingdom.

For full article, see Yahoo News.

“Oil will go up ‘ballistically’ if unrest shifts to Saudi Arabia, says Marc Faber”. Business Intelligence Middle East reports:

Brent crude futures could hit US$200 a barrel if political unrest spreads into Saudi Arabia, Societe Generale said on Monday.

Under what the bank called Geopolitical Scenario 3, “unrest spreads to Saudi Arabia and threatens Saudi crude exports and any remaining spare capacity. Brent price range of US$150-US$200 a barrel,” it said in a research note.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

America’s Secret Plan To Arm Libya’s Rebels

Obama/ReaganRobert Fisk writes in the Independent:

Desperate to avoid US military involvement in Libya in the event of a prolonged struggle between the Gaddafi regime and its opponents, the Americans have asked Saudi Arabia if it can supply weapons to the rebels in Benghazi. The Saudi Kingdom, already facing a “day of rage” from its 10 per cent Shia Muslim community on Friday, with a ban on all demonstrations, has so far failed to respond to Washington’s highly classified request, although King Abdullah personally loathes the Libyan leader, who tried to assassinate him just over a year ago.

Washington’s request is in line with other US military co-operation with the Saudis. The royal family in Jeddah, which was deeply involved in the Contra scandal during the Reagan administration, gave immediate support to American efforts to arm guerrillas fighting the Soviet army in Afghanistan in 1980 and later – to America’s chagrin – also funded and armed the Taliban.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Libya Cuts Off Its Internet Entirely

Libya Is Off the InternetVia BBC News:
As fighting inside the country intensifies, Libya's links to the net appear to have been completely severed. Net monitoring and security firms are reporting that no net traffic is entering or leaving Libyan net space. Renesys said the outage was more than just a "blip" as many sites have been unreachable for more than 12 hours. Net traffic into and out of the country had been intermittent during recent protests but the cut coincided with a push to oust rebels. During the early days of the rebellion in Libya, net access was restricted but in early March net traffic started to pick up in areas no longer under the control of Colonel Gaddafi's government. Graphs of net activity maintained by Google show a steady rise in traffic to its sites throughout this week. In particular, Libyans were making heavy use of YouTube to post images of the conflict.
Continue Reading

Christopher Hitchens: Is Barack Obama Secretly Swiss?

Is Obama Swiss?No stranger to controversial opinions, Christopher Hitchens asks on Slate:

However meanly and grudgingly, even the new Republican speaker has now conceded that the president is Hawaiian-born and some kind of Christian. So let’s hope that’s the end of all that. A more pressing question now obtrudes itself: Is Barack Obama secretly Swiss?

Let me explain what I mean. A Middle Eastern despot now knows for sure when his time in power is well and truly up. He knows it when his bankers in Zurich or Geneva cease accepting his transfers and responding to his confidential communications and instead begin the process of “freezing” his assets and disclosing their extent and their whereabouts to investigators in his long-exploited country. And, at precisely that moment, the U.S. government also announces that it no longer recognizes the said depositor as the duly constituted head of state. Occasionally, there is a little bit of “raggedness” in the coordination.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

A Shock To The West: Muslims Want Democracy

Detail from 'The Procession of the Trojan Horse in Troy' by Domenico Tiepolo

Detail from 'The Procession of the Trojan Horse in Troy' by Domenico Tiepolo

I can’t quite settle on what shocked the West more: 9/11 or the popular democratic uprisings sweeping throughout the Middle East. 9/11 certainly came easier for some to explain. Testament to this are the endless column inches and books about the otherness of a world of Islamists at war with humanity; added with the current titillating literary imagination of powerless women victims held in bondage by their men and their faith.

That these very Muslims want democracy has to be the real shocker though. Well it certainly negates the truth of all the regular intelligence agency national dossiers, the think tank country profiles, the political proclamations and so on.

As I try to search for answers of such gross miscalculation. I can’t help but remember personal encounters with such experts. I had written a book about the phenomenon of the Iranian blogosphere that a Times columnist had quoted from telling his readers that “Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroudi, the head of the Iranian judiciary, recently described the Internet as a ‘Trojan Horse carrying enemy soldiers in its belly.’”

Within days I received a gentle enquiring email from an Iran-based foreign correspondent of a renowned western publication asking me about the source of the quote.… Read the rest

Continue Reading