ZINDA MAGAZINE Volume XI - Issue 52 - 5 October 2005Zinda Magazine (homepage)
The website works on a scroll, so all the articles are on the same page.
N.B. the piece "Assyrians reject Iraq constitution".
This wiki entry on Assyria is useful background. Wiki: Assyria
For those of you engaged in the question of Turkey's entry into the EU, this might be instructive: wiki: Armenia
Another kid like myself in Baghdad but this time in the 60s/70s He mentions,"Shortly after we left, Saddam Hussein took power." We left in '58. They arrived 1961/2 at the height of the rein of the generals: Bakr, etc.My childhood in the Middle East
NASSER'S LINKS WITH CIA
In searching for something about radio wars (nothing yet), came across:1951-1953, Egypt: Nasser, the Moslem Billy Graham
By Athar Jamil, Political Correspondent, Kcom Journal.
There was a BBC radio programme (possibly a docudrama) once which went into this use of radio in the Middle East, which is a fascinating story.
N.B. the document still retains the Google colour coding for my search for 'Nasser' and 'radio'.
Andrew Sullivan: How America tiptoed into the torture chamber
The Sunday Times Review, 3 October 2005
Great American hero in the making, Ian Fishback. But don't forget some simple things: governments are elected by peoples but are not to be equated with peoples. That's why you find half the people in the US and the UK against the war in Iraq with their governments hell bent of continuing to occupy Iraq or finding it increasing difficult to find a way out. This shows one of the failures of democracy.
Governments come and go, their main representatives retiring to peaceful and lucrative lecturer tours,the odd world-wide book launch, a smattering of university or think-tank sinecures, a string of directorships in companies selling Africans things they don't need. Take our soon-to be retiring Prime Minister, Tony Bair, who blatantly lied to his electorate to get Britain involved with America in Iraq. All, of course, will be revealed in the massive tome that will be ghost-written for him as part of his bid for immortality in political history. By then the moment for blame will have pasted. He will no longer be held responsible for any unintended consquences, because that is not how the democratic game works. A week is a long time in politics, as they say.
By then Iraq as now constituted, may be no more. Though many will remember the way the politicians who are now in power in America and Britain decided they had to hoodwink their own peoples in order to invade Iraq, in the main it will be forgotten about or at least put aside as further crises appear on the horizon. In Britain our new Prime Minster, Brown, will feel happy to withdraw his military forces from Iraq, barring an occasional plane fly-over to assist in the air defence of Iraq, on the unspoken grounds that he wasn't personally responsible for sending them in, though he will give some other convoluted and disingenuous reason.
Democracies are extremely limited but their adherents live under the illusion that they are not, just because capitalism has proved so successful. Politicans constantly attempt to persuade their electorates democracy as we now have it, is the climax vegetation of the political ecology.
Islamists pick on the weaknesses in democracy (debate, uncertainty, confusion,political opportunitism, short-termism, et al) to argue for undemocracy. Historically, democracy is only 23.59 of the 24 hour political clock. The tradition in the UK, as we are constantly reminded by drama-documentaries on our kings and queens, was to torture, hang, draw and quarter traitors, who would in effect be the members of the opposition in todays money.
When Andrew Sullivan remonstrates about his adopted country using torture in extremis, he is actually putting his finger on one of the glaring weaknessess of democracies such as America: governance is bound in with economics. Elected governments are not principally the way societies such as ours chose to retain order or to promote fairness, within and without, but the way economies are grown, with the protection of citizens, law and order, seen as an integral part of that growth and properity (hence a failure to tackle such obvious problems as pollution and envirnomental degredation, such as stripping the tropical rainforests, because it conflicts with the god growth).
If those who governed were nothing to do with how its citizens made a living, except in so much as it made laws for the fair competition in the marketplace, health and safety and non-exploitation of workers, etc., what in essence would be the bare minimum - with an emphasis on making sure individuals , rich or poor, can live in peace and health - then the desire for foreign adventures, the competion between economies, should lessen. The rules would be different, politicians would have restricted powers.
In essence, this goes back to the old, weary, critique of nationalism. When so much is talked about globalisation, it is pathetic more is not made of the failings of nationalism, which for all the talk of patriotism in places like the States, is all this patriotism amounts to. But the answer cannot be found in any neo-Marxist or fundamentalist religious stance, even if they can be stating points. The internet shurely provides a clear notion of how democracies can operate: the nearest analogy I can think of is the spectacle of a swarming of a massive flock of starlings, which was on TV the other night. The flock build in number as it flies back and forth, till at a certain 'critcal mass', many thousands of birds, patterns are created in the sky which one hads to be reminded are the result of the complex actions and reactions of individual birds. Someime the patterns break into two distinct clumps. But hey can coalesce again.
This works is through constant and immediate feed back within a system that will break down if the individuals don't stick to the rules. There may well be a leader in there, but it is more likely to be some built in set of rules which creates the unbelievable patterns: unbelievable because it seems impossible (and as we watch the patterns we are distracted from the knowledge it is created by individual animals) to be so coodinated.
How can we devise a political system which will act like a starling flock? How can we make sure though elected by us, our governments actually do what we want? In this current crisis Blair ignored a vey large anti-war demonstration because he was thinking of something bigger and further into the future (possibly) which he knew, as an elected politician, he could not discuss with his own people. Though in a civilised and mature democracy this ought to be possible. Blair went round the country pre-war drumming up support and attempting to persuade us of the properness of action against Saddam. But many simply couldn't see it. They may not have been very knowledgalble about the Middle East, but it doesn't take more than a few facts to come up with "It'll probably be a mess". People don't like wars.
The long-term desire of the major industrial powers to secure their energy supply is quite natural and perfectly understandable. Nations are discreet units despite their interconnectedness. We would think America extremely foolish if they let themselves be starved of oil with the attendant decimation of their economy. If there was only one plate of food left, individuals would probably kill each other to obtain it. Why should be expect organised conglomerations of people to act any differently? No other country in America's position would sit back and await their fate. But the greater questions about growth economies and protection of the environment have not even been asked let alone answered. It's the lemmings walking backwards, eyes shut, over the cliff.
Dr. Elias Akleh “I believe it is the Americans who are doing this, pretending it is Sunnis, so there will be a civil war and they can control our wealth.”
Now we know. By the way he didn't say it - he just quoted it as the authentic Arab voice - the genuine indisputable asserto-grievance - as if it were a fundamental truth which no one could deny. When things get to this pass, we have to wonder whether people just appear to live in one universe, but in fact slip in and out of parallel ones.
Al Zarqawi and his “Al-Qaeda in Iraq” are inventions of the occupying forcesDr. Elias AklehThe Iranian Threat: The Bomb or the Euro?
Dr. Elias Akleh
I did not intentionally look for the first article. The second followed from looking to see who the good doctor was. There is a third link futher down. Of the three the one on the petro dollar is of most interest: is this correct one asks? And if so, it is very interesting.
The other two are typical of what swashes around the Middle East media. Lethal in half-formed, susteptible minds: fuel for greater fantasy and tragedy. It brings to mind the Radio Wars between the various parties during the height of Arab nationalist fervour in the 50s, when, say, Nasser, would on air call fellow Arabs not of his persuasion everything under the sun, especially to do with camels and dogs, in the high flown rhetoric for which Arabs are well know. In return, they would on air, call him even worse things combinations of things mistly to do with camles and dogs (which I remember, is keleb). Rhetoric: great from a poet; deadly from politician.
Dr. Akleh is an Arab writer from a Palestinian descent, born in the town of Beit-Jala, living in the US.
The third article by By Dr. Akleh:Mosques, Churches and Synagogues
has a single, very robust comment at the bottom:
You've told youself so many lies that now you believe them yourself. By any objective measure, Islamic countries are the most intolerant societies in allowing religious centers for other religions. Palestinians have been agitating about the Jews destroying the al Aqsa mosque for 60 years and miraculously it is never damaged. The "alleged" temple under the mosque is the foundation of Christianity and Judaism. It is the reason Mohammed visited the place and is attested to by dozens of ancient sources. Your smarmy all humans are brothers stuff at the end of your article is merely self-serving, self-deluding, claptrap you recite to cover up your lack of respect for other religions and your incessant whining, victimization as a Moslem, It is scary that people like you are so blind to your own dishonesty.
Providence, Rhode Island, USA
which I hope he will not object to me repeating.
Experts or non-experts writing about their areas of expertise or related concerns cannot always be right on everything. This is partly because they tackle so much. In the end their output becomes the creature of technique. Both Pilger and Dr. Dr. Akleh have similar methods: an admixture of correct facts, wrong facts, ridiculous (and even unnecessary) assertions and incorrect conclusions, inside a general claim which is known to be widely accepted, such as ' There is injustice in the world'. But the inaccuracy, unfounded assertions mixed with reasonable ones, plus sets of untruths together, side by side, with the undisputed facts are meant to link the two in the mind of the reader. That's the point: this is a technique not an argument.
What is the definition of propaganda? Who was really good at it?
According to my online dictionary:
1. The systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause.
2. Material disseminated by the advocates or opponents of a doctrine or cause: wartime propaganda.
3. Propaganda Roman Catholic Church. A division of the Roman Curia that has authority in the matter of preaching the gospel, of establishing the Church in non-Christian countries, and of administering Church missions in territories where there is no properly organized hierarchy.
(Didn't know the last one)
Or are we dealing with agitprop (a word not used much nowadays) :
Political propaganda, especially favoring communism and disseminated through literature, drama, art, or music: “It also is a conspiracy movie, agitprop against today's targets, big government and big business” (George F. Will).
[Russian, short for otdel agitatsii i propagandy
, incitement and propaganda section (of the central and local committees of the Russian Communist party); name changed in 1934.]