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.

 

"Shock Doctrine" Applied on the Arab Awakenings?

2011-06-15

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

The true test of revolution will come when Arab youth will not only say to outsiders, “hands off our revolution”. They need to resist the bribes and seductions that are sure to follow.

As if it isn’t bad enough that natural disasters become opportunities for western capitalist adventures to ‘clean the field’.

In her excellent 2007 study “Shock Doctrine”, Naomi Klein describes how western powers prepare the ground for corporate control. According to Kline’s analysis, the Friedman economic model lies at the heart of US foreign policy. The US, she claims, takes the opportunity of disasters, or creates upheaval in order to establish their economic plan on a ‘clear playing field’. This doctrine has been applied after natural disasters such as the Sri Lankan tsunami, the Haitian earthquake, and the toppling of governments that threatened capitalist dominance such as in Chile and in Iraq. 

Bad enough. But I wonder: could the USA view current Arab uprisings as a frame on which to apply its underhanded and vicious policy under the name ‘aid’? Today it’s labeled “civil society and democracy” or something equally noble. Could the heroic Arab Awakening offer Western powers opportunities to take over the revolution?

Improbable--at first glance. These are indigenous revolutions, led by people who themselves are cleansing corrupt systems. Citizens began the revolt; they already accomplished the unthinkable, and without outside help. (Even if  there is still a long road to climb, such as in Egypt and Tunisia.)

What first alerted me about a western co-opting of the ‘Arab Awakening’ was not American and British finger-waving at their old friends, the dictators. Not even backroom meetings between their military leaders. Nor the role that western social networkers claimed as theirs.

It was the US president’s offer last month of two billion dollars for the revolutionaries in Egypt and Tunisia. At the G8 meeting a few days later, the two billion became nearly $20 billion for the brave people across the Arab lands engaged in ridding themselves of dictators.

$20 billion! For what? It is not designated as military support. And who asked for it? $20 billion to help countries establish ‘new democratic institutions’! As if it is something to be bought over the counter. And what sign is there that it’s money  that’s needed, after what we witnessed, namely unarmed demonstrators who brandished nothing but courage, determination and their own voices. (see Poetry Square, Feb 5, 2011, RadioTahrir.org). Those cannot be bought, or sold. What have billions of aid to Afghanistan and Palestinians done for their democratic hopes? The main outcome seems to be corruption, stagnation, and a dominant Western hand in internal affairs.

According to writer Soumaya Ghannoushi, those billions promised for Arab youth are already at work. In her May 26/11 Guardian article “Obama, Hands off Our Spring”, she informs us of some of the conferences and workshops underway to channel the revolutionary Arab spirit into US hands. In Washington and elsewhere, she writes, US “programmes aimed at youth leaders include the Leaders for Democracy Arabic project, and the US state department's Middle East partnership initiative….”….  “young activists … are hosted by the Project on Middle East Democracy ..one of many conferences and seminars. Meetings are underway “between high-ranking US officials and the Muslim Brotherhood” in Egypt and with Tunisia Muslim representatives in the US.

Ghannoushi warns, “Washington hopes that these rising forces can be stripped of their ideological opposition to US hegemony and turned into pragmatists, fully integrated into the existing US-led international order.” Plans "to stabilise and modernise" the Tunisian and Egyptian economies…drafted by the World Bank, IMF and European Development Bank at Washington's behest... A $2bn facility to support private investment...”

It looks like genuine aid on the surface. Ghannoushi recalls Obama’s own words: “…now a historic opportunity…, to pursue the world as it should be.”

 

Ghannoushi’s alert is reinforced by Ahdaf Soueif (again in the Guardian Weekly 27 May/11 ) who warns: “To Arabs, the US is a force of occupation draped in a thin cloak of democracy and human rights.”

In “Our revolt is not for the US”, Soueif points the finger at Washington’s double standards, and how previous supports for freedom resulted in crony capitalism, blackmailing politicians, and widespread corruption. To Obama’s promises that US interests are essential to people’s hopes, she retorts:  ‘it’s obfuscation, and an insult to every citizen… who followed our revolution”.

Aid seems so well intentioned. But Naomi Klein spells out how it really works and her analysis is worth revisiting. “Shock Doctrine” documents just how western powers rush to fill the vacuum created by natural disasters in order to establish an investment environment. Klein illustrates how capitalist forces can similarly ‘precipitate’ a disaster, overthrowing countries with unfriendly economic systems in order to militarily impose their system. It’s hard to accept this ugly truth; but Klein’s research is convincing.

More troubling is the possibility that this same process is now aimed against our celebrated and prideful Arab Awakening. Is the US working on that clean slate to implant its own plan?

Our brave citizens who began this historic process are resisting the powerful economic and military forces that chain them. They are tearing down barriers set against them for decades. More hard work lies ahead to realize the revolution they began. Now, they must resist the more subtle, crafted intellectual might of the partners of their former oppressors. Can they do it? 

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