Forthcoming

Nov 13, WBAI commentary 7:45 am. 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.

 

Nepal's Trials in Democracy

2011-12-06

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

Since writing the first part of these reflections, we’ve learned that the submission of the constitution has been delayed for yet another six months. Who’s responsible for this? and who, outside Nepal cares if this democracy fails or succeeds?

Many rush to assist (sic)Arab democratic movements and even hasten Arab revolts underway . Meanwhile Nepal’s emerging democracy is taking place in a geopolitical atmosphere where neither India (long an influential player in Nepal), nor the UK or USA offer genuine support. (Washington maintains a quiet but active presence in Nepal but has never publicly welcomed this new and real democracy although it offers abundant opportunities for educated Nepalese to settle in the US.)

The marginality of Washington in Nepal’s new found freedom’s may not be a bad thing. Perhaps the real test of a revolution’s success and the emergence of leaders with integrity may lie in the absence of a foreign hand to whom allegiance is owed or who dominate through puppet leaders. Even so, one cannot deny Delhi’s special interest in Nepal’s politics and excessive concern with India in Nepal’s public debates.

One exemplary institution that Nepal’s democracy has spawned is a free and aggressive press. Since the reforms, vocal newspapers and magazines have flourished… in English as well as Nepali. Dozens of papers, many representing the various parties, assure a lively political debate. Nepalese are well informed and many journalists are dedicated to a rigorous examination of issues. And although some pettiness and scandal mongering prevail, one meets hardworking, talented young men and women in the profession who ensure that the press plays a central role in the democracy. Although party differences exaggerated by the press sometimes leave one feeling that the country is in a state of anarchy. 

 Because of Indian economic dominance, the inability of the successive governments to implement promised reforms, to stem corruption and attract investment, the economy of Nepal is in real trouble. (Although no worse than under the dictatorship.) Everyone knows that these problems cannot be addressed until a stable leadership takes hold and the new constitution is established.

Then there is the problem of Nepal’s excessive foreign non-governmental activity (we cannot call it ‘assistance’). It is unlikely to be reformed anytime soon. But for the first time in my long involvement with Nepal, I heard outspoken criticism of the NGO presence there. One commentator actually described Nepal as “an NGO farm”; i.e. it breeds NGOs (for their own benefit).

Few Nepalese today will say that NGOs and expert advisors have significantly assisted Nepal; some even say “they do more harm” (than good). Everyone knows what high salaries and benefits NGO expatriates enjoy compared to what a local NGO employee takes home; they also know what little filters down and out to supposed project beneficiaries across the nation.

While the new government admits the that NGO activities are of limited benefit, they have no policy to reform or reduce them. Certainly the thousands of NGOs based in Kathmandu account for the steep rise in land prices, much of the conspicuous wealth one sees in the city. Their salaries and overhead expenses support many restaurants, brand name shops and elite services and products.

That aside, a more severe economic problem has emerged in recent years. One cannot speak about Nepal’s economy today without reference to a new and troubling reality—namely the migration of millions of young laborers, most of them unskilled, to the Arab Gulf countries. This has occurred in the past six years after the collapse of the carpet industry, blighted by a campaign against the exploitation of child workers. It is also due to failed development strategies for the rural people. (Exploitation of trafficked workers overseas is hardly better than child labor.)

Although remittances from abroad (an estimated 3 million workers, 13% of the entire population) help support millions of Nepalese at home, it creates serious social and economic problems overseas and at home. Rural areas are depopulated and agricultural production is in decline. Moreover thousands of men and women return with terrifying stories of mistreatment at the hands of Nepalese labor brokers and their Arab employers. Although widely publicized (in excellent investigative work by journalist Devendra Bhattarai and film-maker Kesang Tseten), and openly discussed by human rights agents, intellectuals and consultants, no one seems to have a plan to correct this problem. And Nepalese embassies in the Arab Gulf countries seem unwilling or unable to address the needs of their citizens abroad. While the inflow of cash from this labor seems to be crucial to Nepal, long term benefits to the economy remain to be seen. With an already weak industrial base, Nepal becomes more and more a consumer economy which in turn increases dependence on Indian imports, and he need for cash.

So problems are plentiful. There are abundant reasons for citizens to be exasperated if not fearful for their future. But major reforms won in the past 6 years have to be acknowledged--institutions essential for a healthy democracy are firmly in place. Without foreign help and with a minimum of human sacrifice, Nepal has come a very long way—surely a model for those still struggling against entrenched dictators. And a warning lesson for those tempted to interfere.

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38,000 fruit-bearing trees,on Palestinian land, documented as destroyed by Israeli occupation forces and settler militants since 2011. It is a daily occurance. (paraphrased)

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