A dovetail joint of news, art, science, politics, philosophy & global affairs

Grasping the currency true to our time

"Πάντα ῥεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει"










February 19th
9:02 PM
Assassination Exposes Deep Rifts in Tunisia
Christoph Scheuermann | Der Spiegel »


The Arab Spring began more than two years ago in Tunisia, when a vegetable vendor set himself on fire. The flames initially spread to the rest of the country, and then engulfed the entire region. The Tunisian people drove their ruler, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, out of his palace. Political parties were established in the ensuing months, and the leader of the Islamist Ennahda Party, Rachid Ghannouchi, returned home from exile. In the country’s first-ever free election, 37 percent voted for Ennahda. Soon after the election, radical Salafists began to attack female students and destroy Sufi shrines.
…Tunisia is the laboratory of the revolution, and the experiment being conducted there could affect the entire region. Islamists and secularists are testing if and how they can peacefully coexist. It is an attempt to establish a form of democracy shaped by Islam. It isn’t looking very good at the moment, however, now that the initial euphoria is gone… >continue<
related: Violent tide of Salafism threatens Arab spring | Salafism

Assassination Exposes Deep Rifts in Tunisia

Christoph Scheuermann | Der Spiegel »

The Arab Spring began more than two years ago in Tunisia, when a vegetable vendor set himself on fire. The flames initially spread to the rest of the country, and then engulfed the entire region. The Tunisian people drove their ruler, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, out of his palace. Political parties were established in the ensuing months, and the leader of the Islamist Ennahda Party, Rachid Ghannouchi, returned home from exile. In the country’s first-ever free election, 37 percent voted for Ennahda. Soon after the election, radical Salafists began to attack female students and destroy Sufi shrines.

…Tunisia is the laboratory of the revolution, and the experiment being conducted there could affect the entire region. Islamists and secularists are testing if and how they can peacefully coexist. It is an attempt to establish a form of democracy shaped by Islam. It isn’t looking very good at the moment, however, now that the initial euphoria is gone… >continue<

related: Violent tide of Salafism threatens Arab spring | Salafism
October 29th
1:32 AM
"

Permit the observation of a drunken Irishman. There he was in Sligo, wound up over the Ryder Cup, asking: “You know why we drink to taking the cup?”. Awaiting an answer, he went off on an imitation - at first unclear - but then unmistakably that of astronauts talking to Houston. “Don’t you see”, he went on, “you Americans are the richest, most powerful people in the world - you can do anything… and you don’t”.

Please imagine the tone, a sneer tinged with disappointment, yet somehow suffused with a hope that we’d become ourselves again.

Watching Apollo 11, the whole world vicariously breathed the American Dream. You remember. Now with the world watching Egypt, they want to remember. Even the kids who can’t, they strain to conjure that America. Suddenly the buzzing welter of the facebook generation vibrates to Tunisia and Egypt. They care. And recoiling at the smell of facts undergirding the Egyptian regime, they aspire to recollect an America they can believe in. They want to pick up the flag and plant it on the frontier of global evolution.

No Secretary Clinton… No Mr. President, there’s not enough room in here any more. Like it or not the space has changed; and a heretofore “non-ideological generation”, caring more than before and stewing in progressive realizations, will ask the same questions Egypt asked in the wake of Tunisia. Please don’t wait to feel its expression. Time to tear down the wall, widen the stage and clean up the act.

"
—  Citizen Zed ~ Thundering Footsteps
October 24th
10:13 PM
Via

As Tunisia Counts its Votes, Can the West Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Islamists? | Tony Karon

There’s no inherent contradiction between Islam and democracy — the range of political parties in the Muslim world claiming to be guided by Islamic values ranges from Turkey’s moderate, modernizing AK Party to the radical fundamentalist Salafis. Post-Saddam Iraq has been ruled by coalitions led by Shi’ite Islamist parties since its first election in 2005.

Democratically elected governments in the Arab world — most of which are likely to include a strong Islamist component, particularly when emerging from years of secular dictatorship — are highly unlikely to follow U.S. policy on Israel or Iran, but that doesn’t preclude them establishing pragmatic, cooperative relationships with the West. And if Washington’s yardstick for judging Arab political outcomes was the extent of support they yield for its own positions on Israel and Iraq, the U.S. would have to rely exclusively on dictators and monarchs. [*wink*]

The twitterati who featured most prominent in the media coverage of the Arab rebellion are unlikely to beat the Islamists at the polls. That’s not simply because Ben Ali, Mubarak, Gaddafi and Saddam gave secularism a bad name. Secular liberal parties, based largely in a relatively well-off segment of the urban middle class, have simply been unable to connect with the language and priority concerns of the impoverished majorities, which have for decades been the Islamists’ social base. more

4:11 PM

Unlikely kingmaker emerges in Tunisia’s election

As results trickle in from Tunisia's first democratic election, the broad strokes are clear: The moderate Islamist Ennahda party is likely to win far more seats than any of the other more than 80 political parties that contested the vote. Yet who forms the majority in the Constituent Assembly, a 217-seat body that will write a new constitution and name a government, may depend on a much smaller party: the secular and centrist Ettakatol, which the most recent polling predicts will win between 10 to 15 percent of the votes.  >continue<

July 6th
8:58 AM

10 Ways Arab Democracies Can Avoid American Mistakes

Here is some advice on how to avoid the mistakes of my generation of Americans, who have perhaps fatally undermined our constitution and turned ourselves into a corporation-dominated national security state….

It is probably too late for us. The aggregate of changes in US law and practice in favor of corporatocracy and the national security state is so extensive and powerful that our constitution has been overwhelmed. We have 2 million people in jail, in a vast gulag, some of them for minor offenses and others for being the wrong color…

… We used to have something much more like a democracy. Maybe we can learn from you how to safeguard something so precious.  >juancole.com<

April 25th
4:33 PM
Via

Egyptian government blocking refugee assistance on Libyan border

libya-alhurra:

April 25, 2011 - 3:18 PM, posted By Josh Rogin

Over 200,000 people have fled east into Egypt since the outbreak of war in Libya and another 240,000 have poured over the western Libyan border into Tunisia, but the two governments are treating their new visitors quite differently. In Tunisia, the new government has worked aggressively to house the temporary refugees and speed their path to their next destination. In Egypt, the military-led government has left thousands of people to suffer in horrid conditions.

[read more…]
April 2nd
10:25 AM
Meanwhile in the MaghrebHave Algeria and Morocco Avoided North Africa&#8217;s Unrest?

All four Maghrebi countries made major headway in economic and social development since their independence. They improved social services, education, employment, health care, and national income. In the last two decades, however, the limits of such progress became apparent. They could not keep up with their growing populations&#8230;
Following serious economic crises, both Algeria and Morocco privatized some public companies, reduced subsidies, and lifted some price controls as part of structural-adjustment programs sponsored by the IMF and the World Bank. These reforms helped to stave off economic decline, but they did not do enough to improve living conditions, unemployment, and income disparity.  &gt;read more&lt;

Meanwhile in the Maghreb
Have Algeria and Morocco Avoided North Africa’s Unrest?

All four Maghrebi countries made major headway in economic and social development since their independence. They improved social services, education, employment, health care, and national income. In the last two decades, however, the limits of such progress became apparent. They could not keep up with their growing populations…

Following serious economic crises, both Algeria and Morocco privatized some public companies, reduced subsidies, and lifted some price controls as part of structural-adjustment programs sponsored by the IMF and the World Bank. These reforms helped to stave off economic decline, but they did not do enough to improve living conditions, unemployment, and income disparity.  >read more<

9:50 AM
Via
"Under Ben Ali we were a country of 10 million soccer coaches. Now we are 10 million political analysts."
—  Tunisian radio host Noureddine Ben Ticha.  Tunisia is now struggling to accomplish the messy process of democratisation, although life, particularly for the bloggers and activists who were targets of the Ben Ali regime, has markedly improved.  (via thepoliticalnotebook)
March 26th
7:38 PM

It’s the Popular Sovereignty, Stupid

It is not that they are John Stuart Mill liberals. The crowds have a communitarian aspect, and demands jobs and for free formation of labor unions and the right to bargain collectively form a key part of the protest movements…

That the movements have been so powerfully informed by this Rousseauan impulse helps explain their key demands and why they keep spreading.  >Juan Cole @ Informed Comment<

February 28th
10:42 AM

Manifestations of Force

Citizen Zed - 2/28/11

The NY Times and Souad Mekhennet point out the odd situation faced by Al Qaeda in Middle East: As Regimes Fall in Arab World, Al Qaeda Sees History Fly By

"For nearly two decades, the leaders of Al Qaeda have denounced the Arab world’s dictators as heretics and puppets of the West and called for their downfall. Now, people in country after country have risen to topple their leaders — and Al Qaeda has played absolutely no role.

In fact, the motley opposition movements that have appeared so suddenly and proved so powerful have shunned the two central tenets of the Qaeda credo: murderous violence and religious fanaticism. The demonstrators have used force defensively, treated Islam as an afterthought and embraced democracy, which is anathema to Osama bin Laden and his followers.”

Though events are fresh enough to feed possible naiveté, it very much looks like we are witnessing the manifestation a new concept of force. An historical surprise, almost ex nihilo, interrupts the conflict dynamics of both Al Qaeda and the United States. Suddenly, breathtakingly, both are revealed caught up in what should have been obvious - as geared into inadequate concepts of force.

Both will, however, naturally aim to prey upon the Jasmine flower, projecting spectres of the other as a means to influence and access.

But the quasi-imperial power has the most to lose, and perhaps the most to gain. For if the new force is greeted above all with the simplicity and the substance of recognition (rather than predatory opportunism), Al Qaeda may lose all vital traction. And yet, since the mystery of recognition moves in two directions, America and the West may be surprised to find they are seen neither as democratic nor as expressions of modern community.

February 11th
11:24 AM
"MSAFER YAMI MA IFID MLAM THAYE3 FI TRI9 MAHOU BIDIA SAME7NI KAN 3SIT KLAM LOUMI 3LA ZMEN MA TLOUMI 3LIA RAYE7 MIN 8IR RJOU3 YEZI MA BKIT W MA SALETECH MIN 3INI DMOU3 MA 3AD YFID MLAM 3LA ZMEN 8ADAR FI BLED ENES ENA 3YIT W MCHA MEN BELI KOL ELI RA7 MSAFER W NES2EL ZA3MA ESFAR BECH YNAS"
—  

Mohamed Bouazizi


I’m travelling, mother. Forgive me. Reproach and blame is not going to be helpful. I’m lost and it’s out of my hands. Forgive me if I didn’t do as you told me and disobeyed you. Blame our time. Don’t blame me. I am now going and I will not be coming back. Notice I haven’t cried and no tears have fallen from my eyes. There is no more room for reproach or blame in the age of treachery in the People’s land. I’m not feeling normal and not in my right state. I’m travelling and I ask who leads the travel to forget.
February 9th
1:59 AM
Via

‘Anonymous’ to Be Probed by U.S. Grand Jury

streamsofwikileaks:

Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) — Evidence collected by the FBI about Anonymous, which attacked websites of four companies to punish them for blocking contributions to WikiLeaks, will be considered this week by a U.S. grand jury, according to court papers and an informal spokesman…

Related: Anonymous counterattacks US security firm  |  Operation Gaza Announced  |  Message to the U.S. from Anonymous |  Message from inside Egypt  | Open Letter to UK  |  Egypt Targeted by Anonymous  |  Anonymous attacks Tunisian Govt

January 28th
2:40 PM

Bouazizi is Traveling

Charley Bravo - 1/28/11


Courtesy of cyrenaica, I posted a haunting final message from Mohamed Bouazizi’s facebook page. Watching Egypt I can’t shake it. Humiliated and bullied repeatedly, the young man started a revolution. It came from Sidi Bouzid, a place with echoes of WWII history.  Now history’s tipping point has come unhinged with one man’s tragic example, filling the air with new echoes. They are traveling. Bouazizi is traveling:

I’m travelling, mother. Forgive me. Reproach and blame is not going to be helpful. I’m lost and it’s out of my hands. Forgive me if I didn’t do as you told me and disobeyed you. Blame the era in which we live, Don’t blame me. I am now going and I will not be coming back. Notice I haven’t cried and no tears have fallen from my eyes. There is no more room for reproach or blame in the age of treachery in the People’s land. I’m not feeling normal and not in my right state. I’m travelling

Translated message written by Mohamed Bouazizi on his facebook before his self-immolation on the 17th of December, 2010

January 26th
7:35 PM

EGYPT TARGETED BY ANONYMOUS

Press release by the “Anonymous” group from the Facebook page.  An image of the announcement by the group responsible for early intervention against the Tunisian government amidst the growing revolt.  OpTunisia now appears to become OpEgypt

3:02 AM

Volunteers of America

There is, after all, the other America.   Don’t lose hope in us; we’re not losing hope in you.