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.

 

Algeria Left Out of Arabs' Spring

2012-07-18

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria:-- all ‘in transition’ to one degree or another. Some uprisings are inspired from within; some are promoted by outside forces. Particles of leaked news suggest civil unrest continues in Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan. No corner of our troubled Arab World is spared, it seems.

Wherever one party rules, corruption is often not far behind, and desperate jobless youths demand change. Common conditions in Arab societies, alas.

The West watches with interest. World leaders sometimes declare “it’s time for him to step aside.” Elsewhere they offer military assistance, diplomatic cover, or a shield from prying media. Meanwhile funds are allocated and NGOs furnish our hungry IT generation with ‘democracy workshops’.

By now it’s obvious that ‘Arab Spring’ is a capricious and selective phenomenon. Nowhere is this discrimination better illustrated than Algeria.

And what about Algeria? A major partner in the Arab league, a steadfast friend of Palestinians, a model of anti-colonial struggle. It’s also a place with serious domestic problems, no effective democracy, and limited human rights. Where is she today?

Bordering Libya and Tunisia, sharing many of the economic and political woes of its neighbors, we hear barely a word from Algeria. As if this were not a country in need of reform, not a land brimming with restless youth, not a society managed for two generations by a single party working closely with military officers.

If there is a swath of injustice, despair and mismanagement over which the spring of democracy is sweeping, surely Algeria lies in its path.

The marginalization of Algeria, its virtual blackout by international media surely warrants deeper interest.  By the standards of what is transpiring in nearby states, Algeria is suspiciously quiet. The unrest that erupted in Tunisia 20 months ago is on Algeria’s doorstep. So, why do we hear little from Algeria’s 34 million inhabitants?

How many know about the rash of protests inside Algeria at the time Tunisia erupted? Do we know that in May the country held nationwide parliamentary elections which only extended the 50 year rule of the FLN party? How about Algeria’s president amending the constitution to extend his rule to a third term?

Algerians characterize their nation as “a rich country of poor people”. Many economic indices would place most Algerians near Egyptians and Yemenis. Yes, while Algeria enjoys huge revenues from fossil fuel sales, its economy bears no resemblance to those ‘oil rich’ Arab states at the far perimeter of the Middle East.  

I spent two years in Algeria, a place few journalists can visit and tourists and scholars avoid. My residence and wide access there allowed me to understand the endemic corruption and hopelessness, the mismanagement, the limits of the press, the supremacy of Algeria’s military. I saw how many of its professionals are lured away by French companies; I learned about thousands of young Algerians risking their lives to escape by boat across the Mediterranean, with many perishing at sea.

Middle East experts may argue that Algeria is better off than countries where the USA, UK and UN have signaled a regime change is overdue. By many standards, I suggest, conditions in Algeria are worse.

Why is this country sidelined?

Algeria’s quiescence may be the result of some special agreement with the ‘powers’ deciding who falls and who survives. Algeria is not known as a friend of the US; it would also not appear to be allied with France, given its hard fought war to rid itself of French occupation. In actual fact, Algeria’s interests are deeply tied to these powers, neither of which would welcome instability—i.e. revolution-- there.  

First Algeria is a major energy supplier to Europe and to the US. It is a huge market for French consumer goods, from essential foods to pharmaceuticals. Algeria has also emerged as a major partner with Europe and the USA in their anti-terrorist policy in Africa; ties between that nation’s security services and military and the Pentagon grow year by year.

To understand the most important of Algeria’s assets for the West, look at a map. Algeria is an enormous, strategically placed country. Its land mass reaches deep into Africa absorbing much of the Sahel, the sparsely inhabited Sahara, bordering Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, Tunisia, Libya, and Niger. Here, some say, al-Qaeda terrorists and other hostile threats can hide and prepare future attacks. This is also where AFRICOM, the American military mission for Africa, wants to be.

Until now, all African nations gave a firm “No” to US requests to place AFRICOM on their territory. But with new instabilities created by the Arab Spring and the revolt in northern Mali, American military interest in the area is more urgent. The argument for AFRICOM may be gaining acceptance, and Algeria could well be the best candidate to facilitate AFRICOM.

Under these circumstances, why would Washington care about the civil rights and dignity of Algerians any more than it does for Saudi Arabians?

This brief commentary is not about whether an Algerian revolution is overdue. It is simply to point out how Western ‘interests’ play a vital role in the now misnomered Arab Spring. Moreover, independent of government agendas, Algeria and its people are worth our attention.

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