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.

 

Nepalís Democracy Landmark-- a Constitution-- Leads to Instability,

2015-10-25

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

To set the framework for its infant democracy, to recognize its rich pluralist character, and to enshrine its secular ideals Nepal had finally awarded itself a new constitution. Barely five months after earthquakes struck Kathmandu and neighboring districts an agreement that had eluded Nepal’s constituent assembly for eight years was finalized. Perhaps its resolve came from pressure exerted by global humanitarian donors meeting to award earthquake relief; perhaps in the face of this national disaster Nepal’s citizens realized how desperately they needed clear governance.

 

The constitution, signed into law September 20, provides the essential framework for country-wide elections, introduces a proportional electoral system at the federal and state levels, and spells out leadership powers. Many compromises had to be made but across the country most citizens felt a sense of relief and stopped work for two days to indulge in a self-congratulatory holiday.

The final document is far from perfect and there were disappointments over many provisions. Even before celebrations had ended serious discontent surfaced. Notwithstanding hasty statements by some ministers that the constitution could be changed, opposition to the agreement in the south of the country turned violent. Eight police were killed; in the mayhem that followed another 45 people were dead.

Within days, India advised Nepal that its hard won sacred document should be amended; a border blockade went into effect preventing essential imports, mainly fuel, from Indian suppliers. This cutoff of fuel has disrupted life across the country and the resulting crisis is now in its second month. Although the embargo isn’t a stated Indian government policy, no one in Nepal doubts that Delhi is not fully supporting it.

Some say today’s emergency is as serious as the one which preceded the end of the monarchy in 2007. Except today there is no king to blame, or eject. This predicament is not new; it’s a manifestation of the entrenched imbalance of power between these neighbors. A dilemma that has confronted every leader in Nepal now challenges its newly elected prime minister, K.P. Oli. A Communist Party member, he relies on a coalition of minor parties when boldness and confidence are needed.

Nepal, although never occupied by a foreign power and enjoying the largesse of nations across the globe, has allowed itself to become perilously dependent on India for basic commodities. Every few years its vulnerability to Indian interests becomes painfully apparent.

Today, without India-supplied fuel, life across Nepal has been brought to a halt. Factories are shut, children and teachers cannot get to school; without propane gas businesses are idle, and intercity travel is impossible. Tourism (customarily at its peak during autumn months) is thwarted and projects designed to repair earthquake damage are suspended. 

Why should India be unhappy with this harmless northern neighbor? Nepal poses no serious challenge to India. Barely a year ago, its people applauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a hero on his visit to Kathmandu, and following the earthquake Modi pledged $1 billion in relief aid.

But commentators on both sides of the dispute see Delhi’s hand in this crisis. It is seen as siding with a major block of Nepal’s inhabitants unhappy with the constitution. They are the Madhesi who populate the lowland strip of Nepal along its 1000 mile border with India. They’d wanted the constitution to demarcate a distinct Madhes province and to define Nepali citizenship to favor them.

Most Madhesi originated in the adjacent Indian provinces and they enjoy benefits from both countries. Moving freely across the frontier, they share more with India, including language, religion and economic interests than they do with Nepal’s hill people and Kathmandu residents.

With the fall of Nepal’s Hindu monarchy and the rise of democratic freedoms over the past decade, regional, religious, gender and language differences became the basis for ethnic awakenings across the country and these sentiments evolved into political interest groups, each demanding special rights constitutional rights. Indeed, competing interests of these communities was a major factor delaying the work of the constituent assembly.

Madhesi leaders, arguing that the new constitution marginalizes them in favor of other ‘ethnic’ groups, launched the current protest, employing their strategic position along the frontier to impose the blockade. Nepal’s Prime Minister (Communist Party) is a compromise candidate relying on a coalition of small parties and it’s already apparent that Oli lacks the personality to force a solution. His newly appointed foreign minister (from a small royalist party) returned empty handed from a meeting with India’s prime minister.

The United States, so active in fostering democracies across the world, shows little concern for Nepal’s struggling democracy. Perhaps that’s because of its close ties to India. Also, since the 1990s opposition movement that eventually led to the end of the monarchy and the creation of a republic was Maoist inspired, and with Maoists and Communists still major players in Nepali politics, the US may be less inclined to support this democracy. More reasons for new assertive leadership here.  END

 

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