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September 26, 2014
by mara.ahmed
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“the fever” by wallace shawn at rochester fringe

last night i went to see (obie-winning playwright and actor) wallace shawn’s one-man play “the fever.” it’s a gritty work that is more stream of consciousness than prose. loved it. could identify with shawn’s thoughts about the close connection between rich and poor and the part we choose to play in order to live with our complicity and guilt. it was an aspie works production starring roger gans.

The nameless narrator of this blistering monologue lies ill and alone in a dreary hotel room in a poverty-stricken country. A political execution is about to take place beneath his window. Far from the glib comforts of his own life, he struggles with memories and his own conscience, which are challenged by the misery and poverty he sees. ‘The Fever’ was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in 1991.

Wallace Shawn, Reading, Part 1, 15 December 1999 from Lannan Foundation on Vimeo.

September 25, 2014
by mara.ahmed
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Gaza’s children paint a grim future

chilling. if this remark had been made a few decades ago, about a different ethnocultural group, it would strike a very sinister evil chord with us. why is that? why the difference in our reaction?

Belén Fernández: Journalist Rania Khalek recently drew attention to remarks made in August to the German magazine Der Spiegel by the head of the Technology and Logistics Branch of the Israeli army: “If I develop a product and want to test it in the field, I only have to go five or 10 kilometers from my base and I can look and see what is happening with the equipment … I get feedback, so it makes the development process faster and much more efficient.”

More here.

September 25, 2014
by mara.ahmed
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14 Pakistanis have been released from Bagram Prison

shame on the american govt for incarcerating people without a trial and then releasing them quietly after decades of torture and abuse. shame on the pakistani govt for its complicity and callousness.

One of the released detainees is 29 year old Abdul Halim Saifullah. His father had been suffering from paralysis and in 2005 Saifullah took him to a clinic in Karachi. Saifullah dropped his father at the hospital, saying he would run a few errands and return soon, but was never seen again. Later in 2006, the ICRC informed Saifullah’s family that he was being held at Bagram. Saifullah was detained in Bagram for 9 years without trial or access to a lawyer. With this current tranche of 14 releases, 39 Pakistanis have been released from Bagram in the past 10 months. However, it is still unclear how many Pakistanis remain in indefinite detention in Bagram Prison, since no official list has been provided since 2012. More here.

September 25, 2014
by mara.ahmed
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Interview: Naomi Klein Breaks a Taboo | The Indypendent

John Tarleton: Why has that taboo of talking about capitalism and climate change in the same breath become so entrenched here in the United States?

Naomi Klein: I think it’s primarily because capitalism is a religion in the United States. But also because the Left in the United States is extremely Keynesian, though Keynes himself questioned economic growth. But the translation of Keynesian thought we are seeing in this historical moment is a debate about the distribution of the spoils of economic growth. It’s not about some of the core facts about blanket economic growth. In the book I talk about selective de-growth. There are schools of thought on the Left that dismiss all forms of growth. What I’m talking about is managing the economy. There are parts of our economy that we want to expand that have a minimal environmental impact, such as the care-giving professions, education, the arts. Expanding those sectors creates jobs, well-being and more equal societies. At the same time we have to shrink the growth-for-growth’s-sake parts of our economy, including the financial sector, which plays a large role in feeding consumption.

John Tarleton: Your book strikes a hopeful note on what can be a grim topic.

Naomi Klein: I find it really hard to write when I feel hopeless. It took me five years to write this book in part because initially I didn’t feel so hopeful. Then, there really started to be an explosion of resistance to extractive projects such as fracking and oil pipelines and coal export terminals. It’s being done in a truly global and networked manner that reminds me of the early days of the so-called anti-globalization movement. That shift made me really excited that there is a growing movement and that the book can be part of that movement. I feel like we’re on the verge of a coming together of economic justice movements and a new sort of kick-ass grassroots anti-extractivism movement. When people are fighting fracking or they’re fighting a big pipeline, generally they’re not driven by concerns about climate, they’re driven by a love of place. Often the protection of water is the primary motivation, as well as concerns about the health of their kids. But climate change definitely adds another layer of urgency to keeping carbon in the ground and not putting it into the atmosphere. More here.

September 25, 2014
by mara.ahmed
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Another western war won’t end terror in Iraq or Syria. It will only spread it.

Seumas Milne: What has been launched by the US and its allies this week is in effect their third Iraq war in a generation. It follows the US-led war to expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait in 1991 and the cataclysmic US-British invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. Now Obama has launched yet another intervention to rid the country of the direct consequences of the last one. It doesn’t take a strategic mastermind to grasp that it is energy wealth that has made Iraq the object of such unparalleled military force. But the results haven’t been disastrous in terms of carnage and destruction only. Even in its own terms, western warmaking has failed. Bush and Blair’s invasion demonstrated the limits, rather than the extent, of US power. Obama’s war on Isis looks more like the Afghanistan war launched in 2001, supposedly to destroy al-Qaida and the Taliban. The result spread al-Qaida across the region and turned the Taliban into a guerrilla army of resistance. Thirteen years later, the Taliban controls large parts of Afghanistan and most Nato troops are on their way out. Al-Qaida has been eclipsed by the even more extreme Isis, which mushroomed out of the western-sponsored destruction of the Iraqi and Syrian states. Something similar is happening in the chaos bequeathed by Nato intervention in Libya three years ago. We’re now witnessing a replay of the war on terror, more than a decade after it was demonstrated to fuel terrorism rather than fight it. Since 9/11 the US has launched 94,000 air strikes: most against Iraq and Afghanistan, but also Libya, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians in the process. More here.

September 25, 2014
by mara.ahmed
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“Indian” Wars | Jacobin

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz: As it happened, the fifth anniversary of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam occurred at the time of the 1973 siege of Wounded Knee. It was difficult to miss the analogy between the 1890 Wounded Knee massacre and My Lai, 1968. Alongside the front-page news and photographs of the Wounded Knee siege that was taking place in real time were features with photos of the scene of mutilation and death at My Lai. Lieutenant William “Rusty” Calley was then serving his twenty-year sentence under house arrest in luxurious officers’ quarters at Fort Benning, Georgia, near his hometown. Yet he remained a national hero who received hundreds of support letters weekly, who was lauded by some as a POW being held by the US military. One of Calley’s most ardent defenders was Jimmy Carter, then governor of Georgia. One of the documented acts, among many, that Calley committed and ordered others to carry out at My Lai took place when he saw a baby crawling from a ditch filled with mutilated, bloody bodies. He picked the baby up by a leg, threw the infant back into the pit, and then shot the baby point-blank. My Lai was one of thousands of such slaughters led by officers just like Calley, who a few weeks before My Lai had been observed throwing a stooped old man down a well and firing his automatic rifle down the shaft. More here.

September 17, 2014
by mara.ahmed
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Hassan Hajjaj

The New York Times sees shades of Matisse and Koons. ArtNet is convinced he’s the next David LaChapelle. But Hassan Hajjaj, the Moroccan stylist and photographer, started out simply wanting to capture the essence of his home country in ways his buddies back in London would appreciate. The 53-year-old multidisciplinary artist was born in Morocco and moved to London in his teens, at the height of the punk craze. For the last 15 years, he’s joined the two cultures, splitting his time between Marrakech and London as he turns out densely textured portrait photography that plays well in the West but requires North African artistry to even exist at all. More here.