Forthcoming

Senator Elizabeth Warren "We're a country that is built on our differences; that is our strength, not our weakness"

 

Nov 5, 2018 A report on two pstate NY races:--CD 19, and NY State Senate 42. From Egypt and Tunisia new films by and about women-- "Youm el-Setat" and "El-Jaida"

Sept 24 Do war memoirs really advance education? Attacks on BDS and Americans' freedom of speech continues.

Sept 17-- Sport stars and politcal dissent stemming from Kaepernick's actions. NY State's Sept 13 Primaries

Sept 10  Assessing Muslim Americans' ongoing fight for Muslim rights, and in the context of today's election cycle.

Aug 27, Where are Muslim Americans in the US administration's immigrant purge?

Aug 20 Celebrating achievements-- Sam Anderson and Rosemari Mealy. And still more published memoirs fro Middle East peoples

August 1- The inexorable struggle for Palestinian rights

July 2, WBAI Radio  Exploring EXILE in American literature:--  "Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits", and "In The Light of What We Know".

June 25 EXILE in literature: a review of the novels "Cutting For Stone" and "A Thousand Years of Good Prayers".

June 18, The vicissitudes of Nepal's fledgling democracy. And a review of White House Ramadan "iftar" ceremonies.

June 11 The rentier economy of Jordan and current public protests. How the UK and US use Jordan. And celebrities' role in news.,

June 4 "Naila and The Uprising" a film memory of Palestinian resistance. And: why is Tariq Ramadan imprisoned?

April 30 How could detante in Korea affect other conflicts? And a look at our own role in plastic pollution.

April 23  The US mission creep into Syria, and more reviews of children's books about refugees. 

April 16  Why are Islamist rebels are being escorted out of the so called liberated areas, and where are they going? and a review of new Arab American memoirs 

April 9; Saudi Arabia's long and deep times with the US film industry. And we review the plethora of Arab women's memoirs

April 2 documenting war trauma. Do some war traumatized matter more than others? 

March 26 Iraq's neglected agricultural industry, and the persecution of Swiss-Arab Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan

March 19, Iraq today. And the legal challenges facing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against apartheid Israel.

March 12,Commentary on the fall of Myanmar's Ang Sang SuKyi; and recent observations for Iraq.

Jan 8, 7:45 am Film review of "Land of the Pomegranates", and an introduction to the American organization "Muslimish"

Nov 27, Russia and Syria: commentary on this longstanding relationship in the current international scene

Nov 20. A look at the new crisis created around Lebanon PM Hariri's resignation. Comments on a culture that's infused and spilling over with sexual predators.

Nov 13 Update on Kirkuk, Iraq. Veterans Day USA: Is celebration of war heros increasing?.

Nov 6, WBAI  News of Kirkuk, N. Iraq after the failed Kurdish referendum; Accusations towards male religious figures in ongoing sexual abuse exposes.

Sept 25: Syria update: the changing status quo and resulting change in US media coverage.. The Kurdish referendum

Sept 18: Myanmar's Ang San Su Kyi's eary history; beware of simplistic sectarian analyses

Sept 11: women as pawns in justifying American "wars to protect"

August 28, 7:45 am WBAI. Linda Sarsour, Arab American and US Muslim community leader: in her defence. Margo Shetterley author of "Hidden Figures"

Aug 21, WBAI Palestinian-American Rasmea Odeh, stripped of citizenship and deported this week.

Aug 14: BN Review of the anti-Israel boycott action in the US Congress. WBAI, 90.5 fm

July 10:  Nepal just completed its first election in 20 years for nationwide local admin posts.

July 3, WBAI Radio. "All politics is local":-- the hard work of using local news resources.

June 26: WBAI Radio We ask why is there no anti-war movement in the US? And: “Martyrdom”—an archaic phrase but a concept we need to think about today.

June 19  On the 50th anniversary of the 1967 war, and Israel's seemingly unstoppable political, diplomatic and territorial march, it’s remarkable that the Palestinian voice is heard at all.

June 12  The dilemma of 'moderate Amercian Muslims; following ReclaimNY , a child of Steve Bannon and Robert Mercer.

May 1, Workers Day, WBAI 99.5 fm. BN Aziz highlights the rise of the 'gig economy'

April 24, 7:45 WBAI 99.5 fm. A check on our progress as American Muslims; and, Lynne Stewart: the Peoples' Lawyer. 

See Ramzy Baroud's assessment on how our Muslim community misuses celebrity Muslims as surrogates for their own stuggle.

 

Monday April 17 WBAI Radio, NYC. Why is there essential no anti-war movement in the USA?

April 10;  A critical look at media coverage of the US assault on Syria; and an update on ReclaimNY.

B. Nimri Aziz weekly radio commentary on events around the globe and in the USA. Listen in at 99.5 fm, or online www.wbai.org where we are livestreamed.

"We are more alike than we are different"

  Maya Angelou

March 8, Women's Day Radio Specials  10-11 am on WJFF Radio, 90.5 fm, and 11:am on WBAI, 99.5 New York: B. Nimri Aziz interviews director Amber Fares about her new film "Speed Sisters" and exerpts from 2009-2010 interviews with professional women in Syria, Nadia Khost and Nidaa Al-Islam.

 

 

As a Black writer, I was expected to accept the role of victim. That made it difficult in the beginning to be a writer.      James Baldwin

I often feel that there must have been something that I should’ve done that I didn’t do. But I can’t identify what it is that I didn’t do. That’s the first difficulty. And the second is, what makes you think you’re it?   

         Harry Belafonte, activist and singer at 89

 

It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble; It's what you know for sure that just ainst so.

Mark Twain

 

You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you.

Mary Tyler Moore

 

 You can’t defend Christianity by being against refugees and other religions

Pope Francis:

 

"I don't have to be what you want me to be". Muhammad Ali

"The Secret of Living Well and Longer: eat half, walk double, laugh triple, and love without measure"  attributed to Tibetan sources

Recent audio posts include interviews with Rumi interpreter Shahram Shiva, London-based author Aamer Hussein, South African Muslim scholar, professor Farid Esack, and Iraqi journalist Nermeen Al-Mufti's brief account of Kirkuk City history. Your comments on our blogs are always welcome.

 

New Leaders of the Middle East, Part 2

2011-05-24

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

Barack Obama’s recent speech… Uh, which speech? The one to AIPAC where he essentially capitulated to Israel? Or the one two days earlier at the US State Department?

On May 19th Mr. Obama revealed what was billed as major policy initiative, a new vision of the Middle East and North Africa. There, the American president confirmed that the country is determined not to be left out of the so-called Arab Awakening.  His declaration on what will be the American role across the region has been eclipsed by the issue of Israel. Put Israel aside (sic) for the moment.

 Let’s consider what Obama spelled out for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) on May 19th. The US president may have appeared to establish a new link – no vision, be sure--between US policy and today’s political realities there. We will support you in your reform movements (and threaten [some] leaders who do not give way); we’ll  provide funds for civil projects. We will…, he said. 

Look again. Obama’s US policy is simply a dry blanket thrown over a fire. It’s a cloaked policy to channel and administer events which outside powers initially had no control over. And it is well underway.

US diplomats and economic advisors have been lining up with various sides in the revolutions following spontaneous uprisings last December. But long before, key institutions that will execute this policy were already in place. The GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council), Gulf-based Arab media networks, established 15 years ago, and a host of American university centers which are implementing US policy at an aggressive pace. The first two have been especially active in recent months.

The positioning of the GCC reveals its growing role as a diplomatic/military arm of US policies. This body of steadfast US allies conducts summits to affirm the US position vis-à-vis various junior (and by definition, unruly) Arab states. Witness the arrival of Saudi forces in Bahrain and GCC support for NATO strikes in Libya.

GCC is a notable club of royal non-democracies. Two new members—Morocco and Jordan, fellow monarchies and solid US allies, have been invited to join the group, at the same time offering yet another example of Washington’s double standard on democracy. Changes in those regimes are highly doubtful. Also unnecessary, in Washington’s eyes. 

It is this club of monarchies which is groomed to help the US manage the Middle East and North Africa.

One of GCC’s strongest assets is its media. The professionalism, popularity and ubiquity of the Arab TV networks is well established. Arab media, from sports and business to 24-hour news, is supplemented by an abundance of American features and action films. Together they now project the success of US policy in the Middle East, patiently nurtured by the State Deptartment over the past two decades. Their influence is most notable in the power of Qatar-based Al-Jazeera TV. Both its 24 hour Arabic and English news channels are widely respected; the former holds sway among Arab public and its intellectuals, the latter among American liberals.

With a few billion additional US aid dollars promised by Mr. Obama, we can expect to see more women’s conferences, jazz concerts,  media workshops, children’s art, poetry and literary events in designated countries. This gift presents a symbolic gesture by the US in ‘democracy building’. But the main investment will continue from the Gulf States through their powerful Arab networks. Although civil liberties are limited in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, their media networks (MBC from Riyadh and Al-Jazeera from Doha) define public opinion across the area, including positive views of the US.

Today Al-Jazeera is outshining the BBC and CNN in offering the Libyan rebels enthusiastic support, championing NATO strikes with astonishing candor:-- through Al-Jazeera we learn how noble are the Benghazi rebels; along with NATO, those pro-democracy agents are unquestionably heroic; and Gadaffi is a fool whose doom is assured. Note that Qatar (founder and sponsor of the Al-Jazeera networks) is most active among GCC members militarily assisting NATO attacks on Libya.

Consistent with its bias in support of US policy, Al-Jazeera and to a lesser degree (Saudi controlled) Al-Arabiya channel have been aggressively reporting on Syrian dissent and Yemeni opposition to their leaders. Al-Jazeera Arabic is taking a leading role in giving voice to western-based spokesmen for what it defines as pro-democracy movements there. Commentators on both sides of the Syria dispute are so polarized that Al-Jazeera’s coverage is hardly helpful. At the same time, their attention to Jordan and Bahrain has been muted. Why have democracy movements in these monarchies been marginalized?

Over the past decade, with the rise of Al-Jazeera, the establishment of American universities and other investments in the UAE, Qatar and nearby friendly states, and the creation of Abu Dhabi as a center of luxury art, culture, and high sport, this region has taken on a new and attractive image for western consumers. Abu Dhabi is now a glamour capital-- the ‘in’ place to play and shop. It’s also a significant employer of western consultants, professors, and entertainers. Who says culture and knowledge is not a political tool?

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