Global Palestine: Contemporary Collisions
John Collins (@djleftover), author of Global Palestine (Hurst, 2011/Columbia UP, 2012), explores the global politics of violence and the representation of violence, paying particular attention to the microcosmic and prophetic location of Palestine in relation to these processes. (Image: Diego Lopez Calvin)
|Apr 10 2011||Interweaving: Khaldoun Samman on the Changing Face of Islamophobia and Colonial Discourse|
As part of my occasional series of “Interweaving” conversations, I recently interviewed Khaldoun Samman, Associate Professor of Sociology at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. Samman teaches a range of courses in social theory, social problems, and the complex relations between “Islam” and “the West” and is the author of the recently-published book Clash of Modernities: The Islamist Challenge to Jewish, Turkish and Arab Nationalism, published in December 2010 by Paradigm Publishers.
JC: Since 9/11 we have seen a proliferation of Islamophobic discourses that have shaped a wide range of public debates about everything from immigration policy to the prosecution of the “global war on terrorism” to the politics of human rights. What role does sexuality play in some of these emerging discourses?
|May 26 2010||Back to Gaza|
During the past couple of years I have written occasionally about the Free Gaza project, a significant international solidarity effort designed to break the Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip and, more generally, call attention to the blockade's impact on the population of Gaza. A new flotilla of boats is now on the way to Gaza, and of course the world is wondering how the Netanyahu government will respond. The Jerusalem Post reports that Israeli forces have been training in "crowd-dispersion techniques which it may need to use to commandeer the vessels." Meanwhile, one al-Jazeera journalist is getting a little fed up with the attitude of the activists. Stay tuned. In the meantime, the activists have created a very useful site, http://www.witnessgaza.com/, which allows you to follow the progress of the boats.
|May 16 2010||Bailing Out the Banks, European-Style|
Already saddled with 20 percent unemployment (even higher in the southern region of Andalucia), Spain is now dealing with one of the ugliest realities of the global financial crisis: when it comes time to make tough choices and ask people to make sacrifices, it is always the lower and middle classes who take the hit. This past week, Spanish President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero announced a package of drastic public sector cuts including a five percent pay cut for civil servants and other budget reductions that will affect ordinary Spaniards much more than they will affect the bankers.
This is hardly surprising, given what we know about how easily the global financial elites are able to pressure governments these days and how quickly governments are falling into line.
|Apr 13 2010||'What kind of times are these?'|
|Thanks to the courageous efforts of the people at Wikileaks, we now have access to a horrifying document of what war has become in the 21st century: video of U.S. forces, operating at a distance from helicopters, killing two journalists, two children, and numerous other Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in 2007. (For more on Wikileaks, see Dan Shafer's Nov. 2009 post on the subject.) If you have not already seen the video, I encourage you to watch it either on the main Wikileaks site or at the special website http://www.collateralmurder.com/. This story has been getting quite a bit of media attention in recent days, although not nearly as much as it deserves.|
|Mar 20 2010||John Trudell on Democracy - Fantasies and Realities|
|I have long been fascinated by the life and work of John Trudell, the former National Chairman of the American Indian Movement (AIM) who subsequently became an accomplished poet, musician, and actor. Many of my students are familiar with Trudell's ideas through the documentary film made by Heather Rae. One of the reasons I find Trudell's ideas and his art so provocative is that I am deeply interested in the issue of settler colonialism. I find that engaging with Trudell's work helps me sort through many of the complex ways in which settler-colonial projects continue to structure reality in places like the United States, Australia, South Africa, and Palestine (the place that interests me most as a researcher). I recently came across an interview clip in which Trudell briefly discusses some of his views on the issue of democracy and its relationship to "Western civilization" and the colonization of North America.|
|Mar 17 2010||Say it with me - COLONIES!|
Sometimes a simple Google search is all you need in order to illuminate the unhealthy patterns in mainstream U.S. media coverage. Case in point: the almost universal failure of the country's major news outlets to describe accurately the communities illegally created with the support of the Israeli government in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Sometimes I want to stand on the street outside CNN headquarters and yell, at the top of my lungs, "They're colonies, people! COLONIES!" But it's going to take a lot more than that to get them to stop whitewashing Israeli colonization by referring to these colonies as "settlements."
|Feb 11 2010||Learning from the Ethan Bronner controversy|
Long-time readers of my blog may remember that almost exactly two years ago I wrote a long post critiquing a public lecture by Ethan Bronner, who at that time was about to become the New York Times correspondent in Jerusalem. I argued that in laying out his vision of today's Middle East and the role of the United States there, Bronner showed himself to be mired in the kind of imperial denial that has long afflicted U.S. policymakers and, indeed, many journalists. In recent weeks Bronner has found himself mired in a controversy over his son's induction into the Israeli army. The public editor at the Times, Clark Hoyt, called for Bronner to be transferred to another post, while NYT executive editor Bill Keller disagreed. What can we learn from this controversy?
|Dec 10 2009||A New Stage in Israel's 'War on the Milieu'? (part 2)|
A few days ago I posted a piece examining the ways in which Israel's December 2008 assault on Gaza represented a further extension of what Paul Virilio calls "war on the milieu." As I was reading through the report by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, I was struck by one particular quote from a junior Israeli officer who briefed his troops in preparation for the assault: "If we suspect a building we take down this building! If there's a suspect in one of the floors of that building we shell it. No second thoughts" (p. 13 of the report). For a moment I thought the authors of the report had accidentally inserted a line from Jeremy Scahill's latest explosive report on the covert U.S. war in Pakistan (discussed in a recent Weave post by Dan Shafer). But that's precisely the point: the "war on the milieu" is a globalized and globalizing phenomenon. What is happening to Palestinians is also happening elsewhere thanks to the global circulation of new technologies of violence pioneered and used by governments that appear to see themselves as above the law.
|Dec 07 2009||A New Stage in Israel's 'War on the Milieu'? (part 1)|
|It is well known that in comparison with earlier historical periods, civilians now make up a much higher percentage of the casualties in war. In many ways our understanding of war has yet to adjust fully to this reality. The acceleration of war's destructive capacity in relation to civilian life, however, waits for no one. A case in point: Israel's "Operation Cast Lead" assault on Gaza in December 2008, in which the ratio of Palestinian civilian deaths to Israeli military deaths was an astounding 73 to 1. Think about that for a moment. 73 to 1. How could this possibly happen? How can the world allow it to happen? What does it suggest about the present and future of Israel's colonization project? And what are the implications for civilians everywhere? Is international law - the law that is supposed to protect civilians in war - being rendered useless before our very eyes?|
|Nov 30 2009||Interweaving - George Ciccariello-Maher on the UC Student Revolt|
As student protests continue on numerous campuses in the University of California system, I recently interviewed George Ciccariello-Maher (pictured at left - photo courtesy of www.jeffstandrews.com), a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at UC-Berkeley who has been involved in the Berkeley protests. Ciccariello-Maher received his B.A. in Government and Economics from St. Lawrence University as well as a B.A. Hons. and M.A. in Social and Political Sciences from St. John's College, University of Cambridge, and an M.A. in Political Science from UC-Berkeley. While at St. Lawrence he studied on the university's program in Madrid. For a full list of Ciccariello-Maher's publications and current projects, visit http://georgeciccariello.com/.