Podcast: Hassan Abbas on militancy and the pause in Pakistan drone strikes | The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Podcast: Hassan Abbas on militancy and the pause in Pakistan drone strikes | The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Hassan Abbas offers us further evidence of his idiocy. Its remarkable the glee with which these clowns love to contort language, mutilate history and most hideous, veil State violence and interests that are principally responsible for bringing us to the mess that we are in. The so-called ‘militancy’ Mr Abbas is a result if State sanctioned violence, double-cross and lies. It is aimed not at drones, which are rightfully seen as an aspect of a broader campaign of war and domestic-occupation, but at the State, its civilian institutions, its military and its policies of repression, murder, disappearances, displacement, racism and indifference. The Pakistani State uses violence indiscriminately and hence tells the people that it only understands violence.

Marriage Will Never Set Us Free – Organizing Upgrade

Marriage Will Never Set Us Free – Organizing Upgrade.

Against marriage (not love, mind you, but the institutional, social control and power-domination nature of marriage). 

And for my many single-women friends who are in a tizzy about where life is going, this paragraph was apt:

…marriage is about controlling people and property for the benefit of white people, wealthy people and settlers. It does so under the cover of a consumer-driven mythology about love. US popular culture is permeated by a set of myths about sex and romance that feminists have long worked to analyze and dismantle. We are told that people, but especially women, have empty, useless lives unless they are married. Women are encouraged to feel scarcity about the ability to marry—to feel that they better find the right person and convince him to marry them quickly—or else face an empty life. In this equation, women are valued only for conforming to racist and sexist body norms and men are also objectified and ranked according to wealth. These myths drive the diet industry, much of the entertainment industry, and certainly the gigantic wedding industry ($40 billion per year in the US), which is based on people’s terrified attempts to appear as wealthy, skinny, and normative as possible for one heavily documented day. Feminists understand the scarcity and insecurity that women are trained to experience about love, romance and marriage as a form of coercion, pushing women into exploitative and abusive sexual relationships and family roles. Media messaging about how essential marriage and child rearing is for women to have a meaningful life is part of an ongoing conservative backlash against feminist work that sought to free women from violence and unpaid domestic labor.

Bravo!!!

N.Y.U. Crisis in Abu Dhabi Stretches to Wall Street – NYTimes.com

NYU management is ‘shocked’ at the labor practices required to build their Potemkin-university in the Gulf.

N.Y.U. Crisis in Abu Dhabi Stretches to Wall Street – NYTimes.com.

A couple of things to note:

the feigning of ‘surprise’ at labor abuse and violence in the Gulf is simply nothing more than nonsense. the brutal, exploitative and violent regimes of immigrant labor that has built the neo-liberal wet dream nations in the Gulf are well known, well document, academically researched and eye-witness confirmed and have been for decades.

two, the arguments NYU is using to express ‘shock’ are the same that corporations ilke Nike, Adidas, The Gap and others used when someone revealed the horrifying conditions in garment sweatshops in Haiti, Bangladesh, Philippines, Pakistan and elsewhere. Its the ‘we contracted’ out argument – one that is also used by the local factory owners when their workers die in fires and what not. Basically, it is a ‘fob off’ argument that lays the blame on someone else.

Marian Young in her work ‘The Responsibility for Justice’ however has argued that there is a chain of responsibility in any corporate / business value-chain that extends across geographies. And the principal responsibility lies with those who have their hands of the most power in the chain i.e .the billion dollar corporations.

It is NYU, with its billions, much like Nike and others, who create their fantasy products on the grounds that labor will be cheap, and profits high. What we call ‘globalization’ – what others know is nothing more than capitals search for exploitable and cheap labor and its determined reduction of any barriers (other than human) that can facilitate this exploitation behind the ‘sing-a-long’ giddiness of silly slogans like ‘the world is getting smaller’ (it is also getting more brutal, unequal), is a known structure of business and these corporations are all happy partners in it. It is only when someone reveals a crisis that they go into ‘lets handle it with a public frown’ mode and pretend that it is all ‘shocking’.

This article clearly reveals NYU’s complicity in all this, and Sexton’s hypocrisy in claiming that NYU contracted things out. The oldest excuse in the book made by the oldest professionals on Earth….

Bad Science

Bad Science

Its remarkable how often people repeat the false claim that medicines, and medical products are expensive because of the investments in new research required to produce them. But the facts are quite the opposite: new medicines for serious diseases are not what are prioritized, more research is still publicly funded, pharmaceutical firms spend most of their money on promotion, advertising and sales related activities, and also a huge chunk of their funds on patent protection and lawsuits to defend their right to extortionist pricing practices. These are the same corporations responsible for the HIV related genocide in Africa (see:http://www.democracynow.org/2013/1/23/fire_in_the_blood_millions_die) and other hideous, capitalism-justified practices, that remind us how quickly morality and ethics are cast to the site in the pursuit of the ‘invisible hand’ of the market. No, the ‘invisible’ hand is manipulating the very idea of science and what it means to do it. There seems to be absolutely no corrective mechanism since we have also swallowed the lie that government is ‘interventionist’ and hence destructive. The one institution that is there to act as a negotiator between profit and public welfare has absconded and is busily lining its own pockets at the expensive of lives and the broader public good.

College Student In Hunger Strike To Protest Pakistani Enforced Disappearances

College Student In Hunger Strike To Protest Pakistani Enforced Disappearances.

 

How forgettable is this act of this young man?

How erasable is Pakistan’s continued brutality, and dehumanising policies in Baluchistan? It is shocking to me that there are so many journalists who will speak about how ‘terrorism’ (whatever that is!), is on the rise in Pakistan, and how its a problem that is simply out of control and that the State has the right to do something about it. And yet they will do this without even a nod towards the fact that all ‘terrorism’ has a political context, and all ‘terrorism’ is in fact politics by other means.

They cannot seem to get their head around a narrative that is about connections, inter-relationships and context. Its as if ‘terrorism’ can only be discussed as a phenomenon in and of itself, with no material history from which it emerges. They cannot comprehend that that if a State labels acts of violence ‘terrorism’, it is doing so to erase the political context and sensibilities, ones that the more often than not, the State has created, to distract them from this context itself.

There is no such thing as ‘terrorism’ in Pakistan. There is a large amount of reactionary political violence aimed against a State that has subjected the citizens of the country to massive State violence and closed off all avenues of political discussion, debate, negotiation and voice. Today, in the face of overwhelming evidence of State machination and political venality, it is simply irresponsible, immoral and anti-intellectual to call any act of violence ‘terrorism’. It is politics.

And as this young man lies dying, we would do well to remember that it is also this closure of political hope and participation, that has lead to his desperate need to use ‘asymmetrical warfare’ techniques i.e hunger strikes, much like those used by prisons in Guantanamo and Bagram, the occupied people of Palestine, the brualized communities in India’s East provinces, the people of occupied Tibet and so many more, to simply have a say, to be heard, to be allowed a place on the table of society and humanity.

The State will refuse. It will subject the people to more violence and murder, censor the media, and then claim that it is ‘terrorism’ i.e a political voice that then emerges, that is the issue.

The Diary: Teju Cole Goes To The Palestinian Literary Festival But…

Teju Cole went to the Palestinian Literary Festival and wrote a piece:

The Diary: Teju Cole – FT.com.

I do like Teju Cole, but here is a good example of how even someone as lucid and intelligent as he can easily fall prey to the need to offer ‘balance’

“How does one write about this place? Every sentence is open to dispute. Every place name objected to by someone. Every barely stated fact seems familiar already, at once tiresome and necessary. Whatever is written is examined not only for what it includes but for what it leaves out: have we acknowledged the horror of the Holocaust? The perfidy of the Palestinian Authority? The callousness of Hamas? Under these conditions, the dispossessed – I will leave aside all caveats and plainly state that the Palestinians are the dispossessed – have to spend their entire lives negotiating what should not be matters for negotiation at all: freedom of movement, the right to self-determination, equal protection under the law.”

No, actually, every sentence is not open to dispute. It is however open to manipulation of facts and representations of history. Every place name is not objected by someone – just ask the people who actually settled the place, lived there, had their lives there and even their land and home deeds. The specious parallel between the Holocaust and the perfidy of the PA etc. etc. are precisely what the powerful propaganda machinery of a colonial settler state always attempts to do – distract with historical confusion, legal obfuscation, teleological trickery to ensure that the bare, basic facts are just not reveal: a people had their land stolen under the false-flag of a League of Nations mandate, nearly a million were thrown off their lands, violent occupation and invasions sanctioned many times over and most recently in 1965. And even if all that is in dispute you can’t ignore the fact that what is not in dispute is that people who live in this land, under occupation, refuse to accept the occupier. It is not freedom of movement, or self-determination or equal protection under the law that we are negotiating. those are the trinkets that the occupier wants to dangle as cheap offerings.

What we are negotiating is a full return of all displaced refugees of 1948, full reparations for all these losses, for each generation that has suffered, full equal rights as citizens of one sovereign state that is neither jewish nor muslim, but Palestinian (the Israeli Jews are now Palestinians so they have to accept this fact – they are not in Europe, but in the heart of Arab Middle East and their weapons and mass media hypnosis can only go so far to push and erase what is an anciest culture, tradition, ways of life and rhythm of existence!). We are negotiating for justice, and for one that is rightfully belongs to the dispossessed. To suggest anything less is to concede to the colonial list a legitimacy that they do not possess. I expected more courage from Teju Cole

Paul Kagame’s Rabbi

Paul Kagame’s Rabbi

The seductions of violence…Kagame’s cynical, callous and calculated exploitation of the suffering of the people he now controls and dictates is dismaying. But his reducing himself to kowtowing to a group of Israel apologists, and moral hypocrites – people who are happy to explain and justify the killings, dispossessions and continued repressions of the Palestinians, is truly pathetic to see. From the disgusting moral fool Elie Weisel, to Rabbi Boteach, we are in the company of men of the lowest human characters, for sale to the highest bidder, scared by racist and bigoted allegiances, blind to their venality and hate, and determined to create facades of ‘civility’ over foundations of brutality. This is a heady, sick and disgusting group to even read about. Rwanda can do so much better, and Kagame could have chosen otherwise. He still can.

Kashmir…Revisited Again And Again

Kashmir 47 Images   Andrew Whitehead

A fantastic piece and archives on Kashmir

Hip Hop From Ghana…Need I Say More!

Jaron Lanier on Internet and middle class: We have screwed things up – Salon.com

:)

A series of thought provoking perspectives by Lanier, someone I have come late to but am increasingly interested in.

Jaron Lanier on Internet and middle class: “We have screwed things up” – Salon.com.

To quote from the piece

The clamor for online attention only turns into money for a token minority of ordinary people, but there is another new, tiny class of people who always benefit. Those who keep the new ledgers, the giant computing services that model you, spy on you, and predict your actions, turn your life activities into the greatest fortunes in history.

Precisely. Lanier hits the nail on the head. All these photographers chasing their Instagram wet-dream are actually feeding someone else’s wealth and success, while constantly being told that it is all in their best interest. But off the tens of millions of Instagram users, there are always just the same few stories of ‘success’. All the while what we are really doing in simply creating more and more wealth for those who actually run these businesses, sell our data, and sell as ‘consumer commodities’ to other businesses.

The entire social-media / Instagram thing has been promoted and sold as something that it is not. And mainstream photographers and editors have been in on the scam as they promise us that ‘this is the future’, and that it is the new ‘model. It is neither. It is just a network doing what networks do, but in this case, it is branded, corporatised and controlled. Use it, but don’t be fooled by it!

 

Aside: I disagree with Lanier’s reading of Piketty….but whatever

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