robertogreco + iraq   52

From Chile to Lebanon, Protests Flare Over Wallet Issues - The New York Times
"Pocketbook items have become the catalysts for popular fury across the globe in recent weeks."

"In Chile, the spark was an increase in subway fares. In Lebanon, it was a tax on WhatsApp calls. The government of Saudi Arabia moved against hookah pipes. In India, it was about onions.

Small pocketbook items became the focus of popular fury across the globe in recent weeks, as frustrated citizens filled the streets for unexpected protests that tapped into a wellspring of bubbling frustration at a class of political elites seen as irredeemably corrupt or hopelessly unjust or both. They followed mass demonstrations in Bolivia, Spain, Iraq and Russia and before that the Czech Republic, Algeria, Sudan and Kazakhstan in what has been a steady drumbeat of unrest over the past few months.

At first glance, many of the demonstrations were linked by little more than tactics. Weeks of unremitting civil disobedience in Hong Kong set the template for a confrontational approach driven by vastly different economic or political demands.

Yet in many of the restive countries, experts discern a pattern: a louder-than-usual howl against elites in countries where democracy is a source of disappointment, corruption is seen as brazen, and a tiny political class lives large while the younger generation struggles to get by.

“It’s young people who have had enough,” said Ali H. Soufan, chief executive of The Soufan Group, a security intelligence consultancy. “This new generation are not buying into what they see as the corrupt order of the political and economic elite in their own countries. They want a change.”

Few were as surprised as the leaders of those countries.

On Thursday, the President Sebastián Piñera of Chile boasted that his country was an oasis of stability in Latin America. “We are ready to do everything to not fall into populism, into demagoguery,” he said in an interview published in The Financial Times.

The next day, protesters attacked factories, torched subway stations and looted supermarkets in Chile’s worst upheaval in decades, eventually forcing Mr. Piñera to deploy troops to the streets. By Wednesday, at least 15 people were dead, and a clearly rattled Mr. Piñera had spoken of “war against a powerful and implacable enemy.”

In Lebanon, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri survived recent embarrassing revelations about a $16 million gift to a bikini model whom he met at a luxury resort in the Seychelles in 2013, a move that, for some critics, epitomized Lebanon’s ruling class. Then last week he announced the tax on WhatsApp calls, setting off a revolt.

Decades of discontent over inequality, stagnation and corruption erupted into the open, drawing as much as a quarter of the country into euphoric antigovernment demonstrations driven by chants of “Revolution!”

With one of the highest levels of public debt and intractably low employment, Lebanon seems incapable of providing basic public services like electricity, clean drinking water or reliable internet service. Austerity measures have hollowed out the middle class, while the richest 0.1 percent of the population — which includes many politicians — earns a tenth of the country’s national income, much of it, critics say, from plundering the country’s resources.

On Monday Mr. Hariri scrapped the planned tax, announcing a hasty reform package to rescue the country’s sclerotic economy and pledging to recover public trust.

Although the recent scattering of mass protests appears dramatic, scholars say it is a continuation of a rising trend. For decades, societies across the world have become far likelier to pursue sweeping political change by taking to the streets.

The rate of protest has accelerated sharply of late, as various factors have converged: a slowing global economy, dizzying gaps between rich and poor and a youth bulge that in many countries has produced a restive new generation fizzing with frustrated ambition. In addition, the expansion of democracy has stalled globally, leaving citizens with unresponsive governments frustrated and activists sure that street action is the only way to force change.

But as protest movements grow, their success rates are plunging. Only 20 years ago, 70 percent of protests demanding systemic political change achieved it — a figure that had been growing steadily since the 1950s, according to a study by Erica Chenoweth, a Harvard University political scientist.

In the mid-2000s, that trend reversed. Success rates now stand at 30 percent, the study said, a decline that Professor Chenoweth called staggering.

These two trends are closely linked. As protests become more frequent but likelier to flounder, they stretch on and on, becoming more contentious, more visible — and more apt to return to the streets when their demands go unmet. The result may be a world where popular uprisings lose their prominence, becoming simply part of the landscape.

“Something has really shifted,” Professor Chenoweth said in an interview.

“You could say these protests mirror what’s going on in the United States,” said Vali Nasr, a Middle East scholar who recently stepped down as dean of Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington. In countries where elections are decisive, like the United States and Britain, skepticism about the old political order has produced populist, nationalist and anti-immigrant results at the polls.

“In other countries, where people don’t have a voice, you have massive protests erupting,” he said.

The disparate outbreaks of unrest have not gone unnoticed at the United Nations. Secretary General António Guterres raised them at a meeting of the International Monetary Fund this past weekend, his spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric, said on Tuesday. Critics have accused the I.M.F. of exacerbating economic hardships in countries like Ecuador through austerity measures imposed to reduce debts.

“We are seeing demonstrations in different places, but there are some commonalities,” Mr. Dujarric said, citing “people feeling they are under extreme financial pressure, the issue of inequality, and a lot of other structural issues.”

Some experts say the rash of global protests is too diverse to neatly categorize or ascribe to a single theme. Michael Ignatieff, president of Central European University, was in Barcelona last week as more than 500,000 people thronged the streets after a court sentenced former separatist leaders to prison.

While the Barcelona protests bore some resemblance to mass demonstrations in other cities, Mr. Ignatieff said it would be a mistake to lump them together. “People are not being swept away by the madness of the crowds,” he said. “This is politics, with specific causes and specific issues. If you don’t acknowledge that, you make popular politics look like a series of crazy fashions, like the same trousers or headgear.”

Still, within some regions, the protests are often similar to each other.

In the Middle East, the tumult has drawn inevitable comparisons with the upheavals of the Arab Spring of 2011. But experts say these recent protests are driven by a new generation that cares less about the old sectarian or ideological divides.

Instead of calling for the head of a dictator as many Arabs did in 2011, the Lebanese have indicted an entire political class.

“They are stealing and pretending that they aren’t. Who’s responsible, if not them?” Dany Yacoub, 22, said on Monday, the fourth day she had spent protesting in central Beirut. She studied to be a music teacher, but said she cannot find a job because it takes political connections to get hired in a school. “We don’t believe them anymore,” she said.

Many Arabs have been wary of popular protest since the Arab Spring uprisings, heeding doom-tinged warnings from authoritarian leaders that any upheaval could tip their societies into the same violent chaos as Libya, Syria or Yemen.

But the recent wave of protests in Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq — as well as revolts that toppled longstanding dictators in Algeria and Sudan this year — suggest that wall of fear is starting to crumble.

“Syria has been the boogeyman for a very long time,” said Maha Yahya, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut. “But Algeria and Sudan showed that chaos does not have to be the answer.”

Even in Saudi Arabia, where the threat of government repression makes public protests practically unthinkable, an unusual rebellion erupted on social media over a 100 percent tax on bills at restaurants with water pipes, or hookahs. The Arabic hashtag “tax on hookah restaurants” trended in the kingdom. Some Twitter commentators said the tax contradicted the ruling family’s desire to change Saudi Arabia’s ultraconservative image.

If protests are quicker to stir and more widespread than in earlier decades, they are also more fragile. The painstaking mobilization that once was a feature of grass-roots movements was slow but durable. Protests that organize on social media can rise faster, but collapse just as quickly.

Authoritarian governments have also learned to co-opt social media, using it to disseminate propaganda, rally sympathizers or simply spread confusion, Professor Chenoweth said.

And even where there is a spasm of protest, it takes a lot more for it to snowball into a full opposition movement. The soaring price of onions in India caused farmers to block highways and mount short-lived protests. But frustration has yet to sharpen into mass demonstrations because there is nobody to channel it: India’s opposition is in disarray; divisions of caste and religion dominate politics; and the government of the Hindu nationalist prime minister, Narendra Modi, constantly raises the threat of neighboring Pakistan to distract the public."
protest  protests  2019  chile  saudiarabia  lebanon  india  algeria  sudan  kazakhstan  czechrepublic  bolivia  spain  españa  iraq  russia  demonstrations  corruption  policy  economics  neoliberalism  inequality  poverty  stagnation  elitism  governance  government  revolution  qualityoflife  youth  ericchenoweth  valinasr  barcelona  santiago  middleeast  authoritarianism  precarity 
6 weeks ago by robertogreco
Kurdistan: A Family Album • Susan Meiselas • Magnum Photos
"Susan Meiselas’ work on the Kurdish people’s historic, and ongoing, struggle for statehood"



"Magnum photographer Susan Meiselas’ retrospective show ‘Mediations’ is one of four bodies of work shortlisted for the 2019 Deutsche Borse Photography Foundation Prize. ‘Mediations’ drew on Meiselas’ work spanning four decades, and included projects like Prince Street Girls and Carnival Strippers, as well as her reportage on Nicaragua’s insurrection and revolution spanning 10 years, and her longterm work on the Kurds, which became the book Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History.


Described by New York Times reviewer Karl E. Meyer as a ‘family album of a forsaken people’, the project saw Meiselas create a visual archive of the Kurdish peoples’ struggle for nationhood through her own interviews and photographs as well as collected historical, ethnographic, and personal images. Christopher Hitchens, in the Los Angeles Review of Books wrote that, “Susan Meiselas has, with infinite labor and tenderness, composed a collage, framed a composition, designed a frame, confected a design and by means of a deft balance between text and camera, brought off a thing of beauty as well as instruction…”


Meiselas’ Kurdistan project is on show at The Photographer’s Gallery in central London, until June 2, as part of the Deutsche Borse exhibition. Here, we reproduce Meiselas’ introduction to Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History, alongside a selection of the book’s images."
susanmeiselas  2019  photography  kurds  kurdistan  turkey  iraq  iran  syria  ussr  history  1990s 
may 2019 by robertogreco
Ephemeral Urbanism: Cities in Constant Flux - YouTube
urbanism  urban  cities  ephemerality  ephemeral  2016  rahulmehrotra  felipevera  henrynbauer  cristianpinoanguita  religion  celebration  transaction  trade  economics  informal  formal  thailand  indi  us  dominicanrepublic  cochella  burningman  fikaburn  southafrica  naturaldisaters  refugees  climatechange  mozambique  haiti  myanmar  landscape  naturalresources  extraction  mining  chile  indonesia  military  afghanistan  refuge  jordan  tanzania  turkey  greece  macedonia  openness  rigidity  urbandesign  urbanplanning  planning  adhoc  slums  saudiarabia  hajj  perú  iraq  flexibility  unfinished  completeness  sustainability  ecology  mobility 
october 2017 by robertogreco
Earth Timelapse
[via: "Watch The Movements Of Every Refugee On Earth Since The Year 2000: The story we tell ourselves about the refugee crisis is very different from the reality."
https://www.fastcompany.com/40423720/watch-the-movements-of-every-refugee-on-earth-since-the-year-2000

"In 2016, more refugees arrived in Uganda–including nearly half a million people from South Sudan alone–than crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. While the numbers in Africa are increasing, the situation isn’t new: As the world continues to focus on the European refugee crisis, an equally large crisis has been unfolding in Africa.

A new visualization shows the flow of refugees around the world from 2000 to 2015, and makes the lesser-known story in Africa–and in places like Sri Lanka in 2006 or Colombia in 2007–as obvious as what has been happening more recently in Syria. Each yellow dot represents 17 refugees leaving a country, and each red dot represents refugees arriving somewhere else. (The full version of the map, too large to display here, represents every single refugee in the world with a dot.)

Here’s some of what you’re seeing: In 2001, tens of thousands of refugees fled conflict in Afghanistan, while others fled civil war in Sudan (including the “Lost Boys,” orphans who in some cases were resettled in the U.S.). By 2003, the genocide in Darfur pushed even more people from Sudan. In 2006, war drove Lebanese citizens to Syria; Sri Lankans fleeing civil war went to India. In 2007, as conflict worsened in Colombia, refugees fled to nearby countries such as Venezuela. After leading demonstrations in Burma against dictatorial rule, Buddhist monks and others fled to Thailand. In 2008, a surge of Tibetan refugees fled to India, while Afghan, Iraqi, and Somali refugees continued to leave their home countries in large numbers. By 2009, Germany was taking in large numbers of refugees from countries such as Iraq. In 2010, another surge of refugees left Burma, while others left Cuba. By 2012, the civil war in Syria pushed huge numbers of refugees into countries such as Jordan. Ukrainian refugees began to flee unrest in 2013, and in greater numbers by 2014.

By 2015, the greatest number of refugees were coming from Syria, though mass movement from African countries such as South Sudan also continued–and because most of those refugees went to neighboring countries rather than Europe, the migration received less media attention. In 2015, the U.S. resettled 69,933 refugees; Uganda, with a population roughly eight times smaller, took in more than 100,000 people. Developing countries host nearly 90% of the world’s refugees.

“Often the debates we have in society start with emotion and extreme thoughts, like, ‘Oh, refugees are invading the U.S.,'” says Illah Nourbakhsh, director of the Community Robotics, Education, and Technology Empowerment (CREATE) Lab at Carnegie Mellon University, the lab that developed the technology used create the new visualization. “You can’t get past that–you can’t build common ground for people to actually talk about real issues and how to solve them.”

Showing people data in an animated, interactive visualization, he says, is “an interesting shortcut into your brain, where the visual evidence is more rhetorically compelling than any graph or chart that I show you. That visual evidence often moves you from somebody who’s questioning the data to somebody who can see the data. And now they want to talk about what to do about it.”

The lab began working on its Explorables project, a platform designed to help make sense of big data, four years ago. To make big data–with billions of data points, dozens of different fields of information, changing over time–easier to explore, the platform layers animations over maps.

The team has also used systems like Google Earth to explore big data, but even it can only display a few hundred markers, and it requires installation on computers. The researchers realized that they could use a graphics processor in someone’s computer directly, in the same way that a video game does. “What’s kind of cool is that the video game revolution has changed the computer’s architecture over the last decade,” he says. “So the computers have this amazing ability to very quickly render on the screen.” That technology is combined with an ability to display only the resolution needed for the data you’re zoomed in on, making it possible to share massive amounts of data."]
timelines  maps  mapping  refugees  migration  afghanistan  sudan  darfur  lebanon  syria  venezuela  colombia  burma  india  srilanka  southsudan  uganda  africa  europe  jordan  ukraine  cuba  tibet  somalia  thailand  germany  iraq 
june 2017 by robertogreco
John Berger, Written in the night: The pain of living in the present world
"I WANT to say at least something about the pain existing in the world today. Consumerist ideology, which has become the most powerful and invasive on the planet, sets out to persuade us that pain is an accident, something that we can insure against. This is the logical basis for the ideology's pitilessness.

Everyone knows, of course, that pain is endemic to life, and wants to forget this or relativise it. All the variants of the myth of a Fall from the Golden Age, before pain existed, are an attempt to relativise the pain suffered on earth. So too is the invention of Hell, the adjacent kingdom of pain-as-punishment. Likewise the discovery of Sacrifice. And later, much later, the principle of Forgiveness. One could argue that philosophy began with the question: why pain?

Yet, when all this has been said, the present pain of living in the world is perhaps in some ways unprecedented.

I write in the night, although it is daytime. A day in early October 2002. For almost a week the sky above Paris has been blue. Each day the sunset is a little earlier and each day gloriously beautiful. Many fear that before the end of the month, US military forces will be launching the preventive war against Iraq, so that the US oil corporations can lay their hands on further and supposedly safer oil supplies. Others hope that this can be avoided. Between the announced decisions and the secret calculations, everything is kept unclear, since lies prepare the way for missiles. I write in a night of shame. By shame I do not mean individual guilt. Shame, as I'm coming to understand it, is a species feeling which, in the long run, corrodes the capacity for hope and prevents us looking far ahead. We look down at our feet, thinking only of the next small step.

People everywhere, under very different conditions, are asking themselves - where are we? The question is historical not geographical. What are we living through? Where are we being taken? What have we lost? How to continue without a plausible vision of the future? Why have we lost any view of what is beyond a lifetime?

The well-heeled experts answer. Globalisation. Postmodernism. Communications revolution. Economic liberalism. The terms are tautological and evasive. To the anguished question of where are we, the experts murmur: nowhere. Might it not be better to see and declare that we are living through the most tyrannical - because the most pervasive - chaos that has ever existed? It's not easy to grasp the nature of the tyranny for its power structure (ranging from the 200 largest multinational corporations to the Pentagon) is interlocking yet diffuse, dictatorial yet anonymous, ubiquitous yet placeless. It tyrannises from off shore - not only in terms of fiscal law, but in terms of any political control beyond its own. Its aim is to delocalise the entire world. Its ideo logical strategy, besides which Osama bin Laden's is a fairy tale, is to undermine the existent so that everything collapses into its special version of the virtual, from the realm of which (and this is the tyranny's credo) there will be a never-ending source of profit. It sounds stupid. Tyrannies are stupid. This one is destroying at every level the life of the planet on which it operates.

Ideology apart, its power is based on two threats. The first is intervention from the sky by the most heavily armed state in the world. One could call it Threat B52. The second is of ruthless indebtment, bankruptcy, and hence, given the present productive relations in the world, starvation. One could call it Threat Zero.

The shame begins with the contestation (which we all acknowledge somewhere but, out of powerlessness, dismiss) that much of the present suffering could be alleviated or avoided if certain realistic and relatively simple decisions were taken. There is a very direct relation today between the minutes of meetings and minutes of agony.

Does anyone deserve to be condemned to certain death simply because they don't have access to treatment which would cost less than $2 a day? This was a question posed by the director of the World Health Organisation last July. She was talking about the Aids epidemic in Africa and elsewhere from which an estimated 68 million people will die within the next 18 years. I'm talking about the pain of living in the present world.

Most analyses and prognoses about what is happening are understandably presented and studied within the framework of their separate disciplines: economics, politics, media studies, public health, ecology, national defence, criminology, education. In reality each of these separ ate fields is joined to another to make up the real terrain of what is being lived. It happens that in their lives people suffer from wrongs which are classified in separate categories, and suffer them simultaneously and inseparably.

A current example: some Kurds, who fled last week to Cherbourg, have been refused asylum by the French government and risk being repatriated to Turkey, are poor, politically undesirable, landless, exhausted, illegal and the clients of nobody. And they suffer each of these conditions at one and the same second. To take in what is happening, an interdisciplinary vision is necessary in order to connect the fields which are institutionally kept separate. And any such vision is bound to be (in the original sense of the word) political. The precondition for thinking politically on a global scale is to see the unity of the unnecessary suffering taking place. This is the starting point.

I WRITE in the night, but I see not only the tyranny. If that were so, I would probably not have the courage to continue. I see people sleeping, stirring, getting up to drink water, whispering their projects or their fears, making love, praying, cooking something whilst the rest of the family is asleep, in Baghdad and Chicago. (Yes, I see too the forever invincible Kurds, 4,000 of whom were gassed, with US compliance, by Saddam Hussein.) I see pastrycooks working in Tehran and the shepherds, thought of as bandits, sleeping beside their sheep in Sardinia, I see a man in the Friedrichshain quarter of Berlin sitting in his pyjamas with a bottle of beer reading Heidegger, and he has the hands of a proletarian, I see a small boat of illegal immigrants off the Spanish coast near Alicante, I see a mother in Mali - her name is Aya which means born on Friday - swaying her baby to sleep, I see the ruins of Kabul and a man going home, and I know that, despite the pain, the ingenuity of the survivors is undiminished, an ingenuity which scavenges and collects energy, and in the ceaseless cunning of this ingenuity, there is a spiritual value, something like the Holy Ghost. I am convinced of this in the night, although I don't know why.

The next step is to reject all the tyranny's discourse. Its terms are crap. In the interminably repetitive speeches, announcements, press conferences and threats, the recurrent terms are Democracy, Justice, Human Rights, Terrorism. Each word in the context signifies the opposite of what it was once meant to. Each has been trafficked, each has become a gang's code-word, stolen from humanity.

Democracy is a proposal (rarely realised) about decision-making; it has little to do with election campaigns. Its promise is that political decisions be made after, and in the light of, consultation with the governed. This is depend ent upon the governed being adequately informed about the issues in question, and upon the decision-makers having the capacity and will to listen and take account of what they have heard. Democracy should not be confused with the freedom of binary choices, the publication of opinion polls or the crowding of people into statistics. These are its pretence. Today the fundamental decisions, which effect the unnecessary pain increasingly suffered across the planet, have been and are taken unilaterally without any open consultation or participation. For instance, how many US citizens, if consulted, would have said specifically yes to Bush's withdrawal from the Kyoto agreement about the carbon dioxide greenhouse effect which is already provoking disastrous floods in many places, and threatens, within the next 25 years, far worse disasters? Despite all the media-managers of consent, I would suspect a minority.

It is a little more than a century ago that Dvořák composed his Symphony From the New World. He wrote it whilst directing a conservatory of music in New York, and the writing of it inspired him to compose, 18 months later, still in New York, his sublime Cello Concerto. In the symphony the horizons and rolling hills of his native Bohemia become the promises of the New World. Not grandiloquent but loud and continuing, for they correspond to the longings of those without power, of those who are wrongly called simple, of those the US Constitution addressed in 1787.

I know of no other work of art which expresses so directly and yet so toughly (Dvořák was the son of a peasant and his father dreamt of his becoming a butcher) the beliefs which inspired generation after generation of migrants who became US citizens.

For Dvořák the force of these beliefs was inseparable from a kind of tenderness, a respect for life such as can be found intimately among the governed (as distinct from governors) everywhere. And it was in this spirit that the symphony was publicly received when it was first performed at Carnegie Hall (16 December 1893).

Dvořák was asked what he thought about the future of American music and he recommended that US composers listen to the music of the Indians and blacks. The Symphony From the New World expressed a hopefulness without frontiers which, paradoxically, is welcoming because centered on an idea of home. A utopian paradox.

Today the power of the same country which inspired such hopes has fallen into the hands of a coterie of fanatical (wanting to limit everything except the power of capital), ignorant (recognising only the reality of their own fire-power), hypo critical (two measures for all ethical judgments, one … [more]
johnberger  2013  presence  present  consumerism  pain  ideology  worldhealthorganization  aids  africa  health  healthcare  priorities  power  powerlessness  kurds  turkey  iraq  war  tyranny  baghdad  saddamhussein  democracy  decisionmaking  participatory  participation  dvořák  us  military  freedom  economics  capitalism  language  euphemisms  media  resistance  words 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Brexit Is Only the Latest Proof of the Insularity and Failure of Western Establishment Institutions
"IN SUM, THE West’s establishment credibility is dying, and their influence is precipitously eroding — all deservedly so. The frenetic pace of online media makes even the most recent events feel distant, like ancient history. That, in turn, makes it easy to lose sight of how many catastrophic and devastating failures Western elites have produced in a remarkably short period of time.

In 2003, U.S. and British elites joined together to advocate one of the most heinous and immoral aggressive wars in decades: the destruction of Iraq; that it turned out to be centrally based on falsehoods that were ratified by the most trusted institutions, as well as a complete policy failure even on its own terms, gutted public trust.

In 2008, their economic worldview and unrestrained corruption precipitated a global economic crisis that literally caused, and is still causing, billions of people to suffer — in response, they quickly protected the plutocrats who caused the crisis while leaving the victimized masses to cope with the generational fallout. Even now, Western elites continue to proselytize markets and impose free trade and globalization without the slightest concern for the vast inequality and destruction of economic security those policies generate."



"Because that reaction is so self-protective and self-glorifying, many U.S. media elites — including those who knew almost nothing about Brexit until 48 hours ago — instantly adopted it as their preferred narrative for explaining what happened, just as they’ve done with Trump, Corbyn, Sanders, and any number of other instances where their entitlement to rule has been disregarded. They are so persuaded of their own natural superiority that any factions who refuse to see it and submit to it prove themselves, by definition, to be regressive, stunted, and amoral."



"BUT THERE’S SOMETHING deeper and more interesting driving the media reaction here. Establishment journalistic outlets are not outsiders. They’re the opposite: They are fully integrated into elite institutions, are tools of those institutions, and thus identify fully with them. Of course they do not share, and cannot understand, anti-establishment sentiments: They are the targets of this establishment-hating revolt as much as anyone else. These journalists’ reaction to this anti-establishment backlash is a form of self-defense. As NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen put it last night, “Journalists today report on hostility to the political class, as if they had nothing to do with it,” but they are a key part of that political class and, for that reason, “if the population — or part of it — is in revolt against the political class, this is a problem for journalism.”

There are many factors explaining why establishment journalists now have almost no ability to stem the tide of anti-establishment rage, even when it’s irrational and driven by ignoble impulses. Part of it is that the internet and social media have rendered them irrelevant, unnecessary to disseminate ideas. Part of it is that — due to their distance from them — they have nothing to say to people who are suffering and angry about it other than to scorn them as hateful losers. Part of it is that journalists — like anyone else — tend to react with bitterness and rage, not self-assessment, as they lose influence and stature.

But a major factor is that many people recognize that establishment journalists are an integral part of the very institutions and corrupted elite circles that are authors of their plight. Rather than being people who mediate or inform these political conflicts, journalists are agents of the forces that are oppressing them. And when journalists react to their anger and suffering by telling them that it’s invalid and merely the byproduct of their stupidity and primitive resentments, that only reinforces the perception that journalists are their enemy, thus rendering journalistic opinion increasingly irrelevant.

Brexit — despite all of the harm it is likely to cause and despite all of the malicious politicians it will empower — could have been a positive development. But that would require that elites (and their media outlets) react to the shock of this repudiation by spending some time reflecting on their own flaws, analyzing what they have done to contribute to such mass outrage and deprivation, in order to engage in course correction. Exactly the same potential opportunity was created by the Iraq debacle, the 2008 financial crisis, the rise of Trumpism and other anti-establishment movements: This is all compelling evidence that things have gone very wrong with those who wield the greatest power, that self-critique in elite circles is more vital than anything.

But, as usual, that’s exactly what they most refuse to do. Instead of acknowledging and addressing the fundamental flaws within themselves, they are devoting their energies to demonizing the victims of their corruption, all in order to de-legitimize those grievances and thus relieve themselves of responsibility to meaningfully address them. That reaction only serves to bolster, if not vindicate, the animating perceptions that these elite institutions are hopelessly self-interested, toxic, and destructive and thus cannot be reformed but rather must be destroyed. That, in turn, only ensures that there will be many more Brexits, and Trumps, in our collective future."
glenngreenald  economics  europe  politics  brexit  2016  vincentbevins  michaelsandel  elitism  garyyounge  ianjack  jeremycorbyn  hillaryclinton  donaltrump  neoliberalism  policy  government  eu  uk  us  establishment  inequality  greatrecession  2008  freemarket  markets  finance  refugees  iraq  libya  tonyblair  financialcrisis  disenfranchisement  alienation  corruption  journalism  media  jayrosen  class  classism  globalization  insularity  oppression  authority  berniesanders  christopherhayes  capitalism  nationalism  racism  xenophobia  condescension  michaeltracey  authoritarianism  fascism 
june 2016 by robertogreco
MODERN BAGHDAD
"Visual archive of architecture, art, and culture in modern Baghdad

أرشيف مرئي عن العمارة والفن والثقافة في بغداد الحديثة

This site is part of a non-profit academic project that aims to do justice to an exhilarating period in the history of modern Iraq. If you know of any reliable sources with documentation of art and architecture in 1950s-1960s Baghdad, please help by contacting:

هذا الموقع جزء من مشروع اكاديمي و غيرتجاري يأمل ان يلقي الضوء على فترة مهمة من تاريخ العراق الحديث. ان كانت لديك معلومه عن مصادر موثوقه عن الفن و العمارة في بغداد الخمسينات و الستينات، فالرجاء المساهمة باثراء
البرنامج بالاتصال بالبريد الالكتروني

modernbaghdad@gmail.com "
baghdad  iraq  modernism  tumblrs  architecture  art  culture  1950s  1960s 
march 2016 by robertogreco
I Used to Be In Love With Hillary Clinton | theindependentthinker2016
"I used to be in love with Hillary Clinton.

These days, not so much.

It always hurts when you allow yourself to be duped.

I didn’t really know Hillary.

I projected my wants onto her.

I believed that she represented me and when I found out that she didn’t it hurt.

I’ve moved on and I sincerely hope others will learn the things that I did.

I do not believe that Hillary supporters are bad people.

I believe they are just like I was.

Life is busy.

Who has time to research politicians.

Pretty lies are more fun than ugly truths.



But I can’t support someone who has done the things she has done.

Maybe you will think I am just a scorned, former lover.

All I know is that the more I learned, the more it hurt me to see someone with so many people looking up to her, do things that hurt so many.

I cannot vote for Hillary Clinton.

I cannot live with blood on my hands."
2016  hillaryclinton  us  politics  policy  corruption  money  campaignfinance  tpp  prisonindustrialcomplex  inequality  welfare  taxes  unions  labor  walmart  monsanto  climatechange  arms  miltary  democrats  podestagroup  childlabor  wallstreet  finance  racism  doma  iraq  history  libya  syria  campaigning  vicitmblaming  gender  feminism 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Smart on Isis from Tim Dickinson on Twitter
"1/Obama has done his homework when he says ISIS wants us to start a ground war, and will use our occupation of a foreign land to recruit

2/ ISIS propaganda is rife with references to scriptural prophecy regarding the last great battle of our time which will begin when

3/ The "Romans" (us) invade Dabiq, a town that still exists today in Syria. In scripture that battle sets the stage for the end of times

4/ leading to a showdown between "Muslims" (they think this refers only to them) and their enemies, in which the enemies are vanquished

5/ Remember it was in Dabiq that ISIS killed US hostage Peter Kassig, a former U.S. Army Ranger, as a way to underscore this point

6/ While it's hard to get our heads around this, I have spoken to enough ISIS fanboys & members by now to believe that they mean this

7/ ISIS *wants* U.S. boots on the ground, and wants us to engage them militarily. It would do wonders for their recruitment pitch

8. Question is: Can fight against this group be won from the air & via proxy forces on the ground, ones which are divided ethnically?

9/ Here is what I saw in Hasaka, Syria in July where I was embedded with YPG militia fighting ISIS & what I saw in Sinjar, Iraq last month

10/ where I was embedded with the PKK and with the Peshmarga, two more local forces fighting ISIS: In both places ISIS folded quickly

11/ In Hasaka, I saw frontline jump several miles in a few days; In Sinjar, I saw airstrikes & local forces take city in 48 hours

12/ But here's the rub: The proxy forces *only* succeeded because of heavy U.S. air support & air support will need to continue indefinitely

13/ If we let up the freed areas will be reinfiltrated. Already there are reports that Hasaka, which was declared liberated when I was there

14/ has been re-infiltrated by ISIS cells. Second big problem: The proxy forces fighting ISIS are nearly all Kurdish (YPG, Peshmarga, PKK)

15/ And they will only fight for historically Kurdish areas. Last month, I went to a sandbagged position overlooking the city of Mosul, Iraq

16/ Mosul was so close, were I wearing running shoes I could have jogged there and back. But the Peshmarga commander holding the position

17/ explained to me that when invasion of Mosul occurs (believed to be many months away) he would only fight to roughly halfway in to city

18/ Why? Because that is the ethnic faultline, and as a Kurdish commander he did not think it would be appropriate to go further in.

19/ The cities that need to be taken back (Mosul, Raqqa etc) are mostly Sunni, not Kurdish, and the U.S. has yet to find a Sunni proxy force"
rukminicallimachi  isis  2015  syria  kurds  iraq  war  barackobama  mosul  dabiq  pkk  peshmarga  ypg  kurdistan  rojava 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Rumsfeld: Looting is transition to freedom - UPI.com
"While no one condones looting, on the other hand, one can understand the pent-up feelings that may result from decades of repression and people who have had members of their family killed by that regime, for them to be taking their feelings out on that regime," he said. "And I don't think there's anyone in any of those pictures ... (who wouldn't) accept it as part of the price of getting from a repressed regime to freedom."
2003  donaldrumsfeld  looting  oppression  iraq  freedom  repression 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Refugees don’t need our tears. They need us to stop making them refugees | Anders Lustgarten | Comment is free | The Guardian
"Migration illustrates one of the signal features of modern life, which is malice by proxy. Like drones and derivatives, migration policy allows the powerful to inflict horrors on the powerless without getting their hands dirty. James Brokenshire, the minister who defended cutting Mare Nostrum on the nauseatingly hypocritical grounds that it encouraged migration, never has to let the deaths his decision helped to cause spoil his expensive lunch with lobbyists. It doesn’t affect him.

But it does affect us. Right now we are a diminished and reduced society, bristling with suspicion and distrust of others even as we perversely struggle with loneliness and alienation. We breathe the toxic smog of hatred towards immigrants pumped out by Nigel Farage and Katie Hopkins, and it makes us lesser people.

Forget the fact that this society wouldn’t work without migrants, that nobody else will pick your vegetables and make your latte and get up at 4am to clean your office. Forget the massive tax contribution made by migrants to the Treasury. This is not about economics. Far too often, even the positive takes on migration are driven by numbers and finance, by “What can they do for us?”. This is about two things: compassion and responsibility.

Lampedusa, my play currently running at the Soho Theatre, focuses on two people at the sharp end of austerity Europe. Stefano is a coastguard whose job is to fish dead migrants out of the sea. Denise is a collector for a payday loan company. They’re not liberals. They don’t like the people they deal with. They can’t afford to. As Stefano says: “You try to keep them at arm’s length. There’s too many of them. And it makes you think, about the randomness of I get to walk these streets, and he doesn’t. The ground becomes ocean under your feet.”

But eventually, the human impact of what they do breaks through. And in their consequent struggles, both Stefano and Denise are aided by a friendship, reluctant and questioning, with someone they formerly thought of as a burden. This is compassion not as a lofty feeling for someone beneath you, but as the raw reciprocal necessity of human beings who have nothing but each other. This is where we are in the utterly corrupted, co-opted politics of the early 21st century. The powerful don’t give a shit. All we have is us.

But equally important is responsibility. In all the rage about migration, one thing is never discussed: what we do to cause it. A report published this week by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists reveals that the World Bank displaced a staggering 3.4 million people in the last five years. By funding privatisations, land grabs and dams, by backing companies and governments accused of rape, murder and torture, and by putting $50bn into projects graded highest risk for “irreversible and unprecedented” social impacts, the World Bank has massively contributed to the flow of impoverished people across the globe. The single biggest thing we could do to stop migration is to abolish the development mafia: the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, European Investment Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

A very close second is to stop bombing the Middle East. The west destroyed the infrastructure of Libya without any clue as to what would replace it. What has is a vacuum state run by warlords that is now the centre of Mediterranean people-smuggling. We’re right behind the Sisi regime in Egypt that is eradicating the Arab spring, cracking down on Muslims and privatising infrastructure at a rate of knots, all of which pushes huge numbers of people on to the boats. Our past work in Somalia, Syria and Iraq means those nationalities are top of the migrant list.

Not all migration is caused by the west, of course. But let’s have a real conversation about the part that is. Let’s have a real conversation about our ageing demographic and the massive skills shortage here, what it means for overstretched public services if we let migrants in (we’d need to raise money to meet increased demand, and the clearest and fairest way is a rise in taxes on the rich), the ethics of taking the cream of the crop from poor countries. Migration is a complex subject. But let’s not be cowards and pretend the migrants will stop coming. Because they won’t. This will never stop."
migration  refugees  2015  malice  immigration  modernity  borders  compassion  responsibility  anderslustgarten  europe  eu  somalia  syria  africa  middleast  demographics  aging  ethics  morality  poverty  economics  iraq 
april 2015 by robertogreco
How Adam Curtis' film "Bitter Lake" will change everything you believe about news - Boing Boing
"The acclaimed British documentary filmmaker has released his latest film in unusual, forward-thinking circumstances."



"A new type of understanding emerges as a result of the form itself, an emotional, existential sensation of being present in the effects of the West's foreign affairs. There are also jokes, and audacious music choices, history underscored by Nine Inch Nails, Kanye West, Burial, and droning synth film scores by Clint Mansell. The implications are astonishing, the effect verges on the surreal: vivid, banal, beautiful, and constantly giving rise to elusive new connections in your mind between sound and image. Although any history book can give you some of the same information that’s not the point. What I came away with watching the film was a haunted sensation, a novelistic reality, one in which I couldn’t forget its images, in which suddenly I saw an aspect to war that is often obscured in news; an emotional dimension.

We do little examination of the filmmaking techniques and formalism that constitutes television news, one of the dominant global experiences for nearly a century. Media examination of how news is made tends to focus on institutions and individuals, as the Brian Williams and Bill O'Reilly scandals demonstrate. The focus of analysis is personality, celebrity, and memory; which isn’t all that different from a network anchor’s stated role.


But this means we never engage in discourse about the expectations of the aesthetics and form taken of how we watch news. The editing techniques embraced by news corporations are themselves a kind of power structure that prioritizes inattention. We prioritize the celebrity of Williams or O'Reilly instead of the collective failures of corporate news media, whose compliance with lies planted by the Bush administration contributed to our involvement in Iraq.

While it’s common knowledge that television news prioritizes soundbites, this same editorial process also reduces footage into optical bites. An image must be watched at length to be understood, but the very form of TV news requires it's cut down to its most reductive. As a result, the montage that dominates the cliched, internationally adopted television news format maximalizes the most shocking images of conflict and drama. It’s the geopolitical equivalent of reality tv producers getting their performers drunk and letting the cameras roll, more Real World: Road Rules than The March of Time.

What ends up on the cutting room floor (or at least deleted from the digital bin) is understanding and narrative. Explaining in this great interview, Curtis offers the idea that “…television is really one long construction of a giant story out of fragments of recorded reality from all over the world that is constantly added to every day.”"



"Curtis’ work is often criticized on the basis of how reductive his history is or how he’s retreading conspiracy theories. As can be seen in the interactions on his exceptional blog, conspiracy theorists comprise a segment of his viewership, but tend to be infatuated with correcting his histories and informing him of what he left out.

But conspiracies do not govern his theses. If anything Curtis’ work is about how unreckoned our relationship with power is. It’s an overarching history of the 20th century giving birth to new systems to disseminate and control power. Since we have no working narrative or politics to concede with power, unintended consequences prevail. The stories of his films are almost always a history of how those in power create plans to change the world, and those plans go completely awry."



"Curtis’ work may not be infallible, but it often asks why we have become stagnant and regressive, why we are running out of visions for the future. At the very least, his films have provided a new vision: of how we still have work to do in the form of filmmaking that will help us understand our world. I hope BITTER LAKE most of all raises questions of how news organizations appropriate the imagery that is shot, often at great cost to the lives of journalists, in a way that has narrowed the possible dimensionality of its truth. Even more troublesome, the exploitation of footage created by terrorists has resulted in a horrifying feedback loop where corporate news entities earn profits off of their existence.

In the far future, the real impact of BITTER LAKE will most likely be the filmmakers inspired by it. They may not need to wait for a collection of discarded videotapes, for lurking out there on the Internet is a nearly infinite archive of footage. Over 100,000 hours are uploaded to YouTube each day. It is just out there waiting for artists, journalists and storytellers to help us make sense of it all."
aaronstewart-ahn  adamcurtis  media  film  documentary  culture  aesthetics  news  emotions  afghanistan  iraq  war  filmmaking  brianwilliams  billo'reilly  power  editing  celebrity  soundbites  understanding  narrative  archives  youtube  journalism  storytelling  bbc  bitterlake 
march 2015 by robertogreco
BBC - Blogs - Adam Curtis - HAPPIDROME - Part One
"In the battle for Kobane on the Syrian border everyone talks about the enemy - IS - and the frightening ideas that drive them. No-one talks about the Kurdish defenders and what inspires them.

But the moment you look into what the Kurds are fighting for - what you discover is absolutely fascinating. They have a vision of creating a completely new kind of society that is based on the ideas of a forgotten American revolutionary thinker.

He wanted to create a future world in which there would be no hierarchies, no systems that exercise power and control individuals. And the Kurds in Kobane are trying to build a model of that world.

It means that the battle we are watching night after night is not just between good and evil. It is also a struggle of an optimistic vision of the future against a dark conservative idea drawn from the past.

It is a struggle that may also have great relevance to us in the west. Because the revolutionary ideas that have inspired the Kurds also shine a powerful light on the system of power in Britain today. They argue that we in the west are controlled by a new kind of hierarchical power that we don’t fully see or understand.

There are two men at the heart of this story.

One is the American revolutionary thinker. He is called Murray Bookchin. Here is a picture of Bookchin looking revolutionary.

The other man is called Abdullah Ocalan. He is the leader of the Kurdish revolutionary group in Turkey - the PKK

Here he is in 1999 after he had been captured by Turkish security forces and was on his way to a jail on a tiny island in the Sea of Marmara where he would be the only prisoner.

In his solitude he would start to read the theories of Murray Bookchin and decide they were the template for a future world.

Both men began as hardline marxists.

Murray Bookchin was born in New York in 1921. In the 1930s he joined the American Communist Party. But after the second world war he began to question the whole theory that underpinned revolutionary marxism.

What changed everything for him was the experience of working in a factory. Bookchin had gone to work for General Motors - and he realized as he watched his fellow workers that Marx, Lenin and all the other theorists were wrong about the working class.

The Marxist theory said that once working men and women came together in factories the scales would fall from their eyes - and they would see clearly how they were being oppressed. They would also see how they could bond together to become a powerful force that would overthrow the capitalists.

Bookchin saw that the very opposite was happening. This was because the factory was organised as a hierarchy - a system of organisation and control that the workers lived with and experienced every second of the day. As they did so, that hierarchical system became firmly embedded in their minds - and made them more passive and more accepting of their oppression.

But Bookchin didn’t do what most disillusioned American Marxists in the 1950s did - either run away to academia, or become a cynical neo-conservative. Instead he remained an optimist and decided to completely rework revolutionary theory.

Here is Bookchin in 1983 talking about how his thinking became transformed - and how his factory experiences led him towards anarchism. It’s part of a fantastic film called Anarchism in America - as well as Bookchin it’s got a great bit with Jello Biafra, and it’s really worth watching if you can get hold of it.

[video]



Watching these sections of the film does make you think that what is being described is spookily close to the system we live in today. And that maybe we have misunderstood what really has emerged to run society since the 1980s.

The accepted version is that the neo-liberal right and the free market triumphed. But maybe the truth is that what we have today is far closer to a system managed by a technocratic elite who have no real interest in politics - but rather in creating a system of rewards that both keeps us passive and happy - and also makes that elite a lot of money.

That in the mid 1980s the new networks of computers which allowed everyone to borrow money came together with lifestyle consumerism to create a system of social management very close to Skinner’s vision.

Just like in the mental hospital we are all given fake money in the form of credit - that we can then use to get rewards, which keep us happy and passive. Those same technologies that feed us the fake money can also be used to monitor us in extraordinary detail. And that information is then used used to nudge us gently towards the right rewards and the right behaviours - and in extremis we can be cut off from the rewards.

The only problem with that system is that the pigeons may be getting restless. That not only has the system not worked properly since the financial crash of 2008, but that the growing inequalities it creates are also becoming a bit too obvious. The elite is overdoing it and - passive or not - the masses are starting to notice.

Which makes the alternative - the vision put forward by Lewis Mumford in the film, and which inspired Murray Bookchin - and the Kurds, seem more interesting as an alternative.

Here is Mumford from the film. He starts by criticising the managed utopia - how it turns people into sleepwalkers. He has a great quote:

“You reward them. You make people do exactly what you want with some form of sugar-coated drug or candy which will make them think they are actually enjoying every moment of it.

This is the most dangerous of all systems of compulsion. That’s why I regard Skinner’s utopia as another name for Hell. And it would be a worse hell because we wouldn’t realise we were there.

We would imagine we were still in Heaven.”

Mumford then goes on to describe eloquently the alternative, a system of direct democracy where we would all awake and become genuinely empowered - able to take part properly in deciding our destiny.

It is a powerful and optimistic vision of a new kind of progressive politics. But it has one very serious problem.

It means we would have to spend a lot of time going to meetings."
anarchism  2014  kurds  iraq  kobane  isis  murraybookchin  abdullahocalan  labor  marxism  hierarchy  hierarchies  horizontality  anarchy  oppression  revolution  optimism  jellobiafra  capital  capitalism  wagelabor  work  power  control  bfskinner  economics  domination  exploitation  gender  socialism  liberation  lewismumford  utopia  politics  oligarchy  neoliberalism  elitism  conditioning  compulsion  autonomy  behaviorism  hermankahn  hudsoninstitute  technocrats  1983  technocracy 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene - NYTimes.com
"This chorus of Jeremiahs predicts a radically transformed global climate forcing widespread upheaval — not possibly, not potentially, but inevitably. We have passed the point of no return. From the point of view of policy experts, climate scientists and national security officials, the question is no longer whether global warming exists or how we might stop it, but how we are going to deal with it."



"The challenge the Anthropocene poses is a challenge not just to national security, to food and energy markets, or to our “way of life” — though these challenges are all real, profound, and inescapable. The greatest challenge the Anthropocene poses may be to our sense of what it means to be human. Within 100 years — within three to five generations — we will face average temperatures 7 degrees Fahrenheit higher than today, rising seas at least three to 10 feet higher, and worldwide shifts in crop belts, growing seasons and population centers. Within a thousand years, unless we stop emitting greenhouse gases wholesale right now, humans will be living in a climate the Earth hasn’t seen since the Pliocene, three million years ago, when oceans were 75 feet higher than they are today. We face the imminent collapse of the agricultural, shipping and energy networks upon which the global economy depends, a large-scale die-off in the biosphere that’s already well on its way, and our own possible extinction. If homo sapiens (or some genetically modified variant) survives the next millenniums, it will be survival in a world unrecognizably different from the one we have inhabited."



"But the biggest problems the Anthropocene poses are precisely those that have always been at the root of humanistic and philosophical questioning: “What does it mean to be human?” and “What does it mean to live?” In the epoch of the Anthropocene, the question of individual mortality — “What does my life mean in the face of death?” — is universalized and framed in scales that boggle the imagination. What does human existence mean against 100,000 years of climate change? What does one life mean in the face of species death or the collapse of global civilization? How do we make meaningful choices in the shadow of our inevitable end?

These questions have no logical or empirical answers. They are philosophical problems par excellence. Many thinkers, including Cicero, Montaigne, Karl Jaspers, and The Stone’s own Simon Critchley, have argued that studying philosophy is learning how to die. If that’s true, then we have entered humanity’s most philosophical age — for this is precisely the problem of the Anthropocene. The rub is that now we have to learn how to die not as individuals, but as a civilization."



"I found my way forward through an 18th-century Samurai manual, Yamamoto Tsunetomo’s “Hagakure,” which commanded: “Meditation on inevitable death should be performed daily.” Instead of fearing my end, I owned it. Every morning, after doing maintenance on my Humvee, I’d imagine getting blown up by an I.E.D., shot by a sniper, burned to death, run over by a tank, torn apart by dogs, captured and beheaded, and succumbing to dysentery. Then, before we rolled out through the gate, I’d tell myself that I didn’t need to worry, because I was already dead. The only thing that mattered was that I did my best to make sure everyone else came back alive. “If by setting one’s heart right every morning and evening, one is able to live as though his body were already dead,” wrote Tsunetomo, “he gains freedom in the Way.”"



"The human psyche naturally rebels against the idea of its end. Likewise, civilizations have throughout history marched blindly toward disaster, because humans are wired to believe that tomorrow will be much like today — it is unnatural for us to think that this way of life, this present moment, this order of things is not stable and permanent. Across the world today, our actions testify to our belief that we can go on like this forever, burning oil, poisoning the seas, killing off other species, pumping carbon into the air, ignoring the ominous silence of our coal mine canaries in favor of the unending robotic tweets of our new digital imaginarium. Yet the reality of global climate change is going to keep intruding on our fantasies of perpetual growth, permanent innovation and endless energy, just as the reality of mortality shocks our casual faith in permanence.

The biggest problem climate change poses isn’t how the Department of Defense should plan for resource wars, or how we should put up sea walls to protect Alphabet City, or when we should evacuate Hoboken. It won’t be addressed by buying a Prius, signing a treaty, or turning off the air-conditioning. The biggest problem we face is a philosophical one: understanding that this civilization is already dead. The sooner we confront this problem, and the sooner we realize there’s nothing we can do to save ourselves, the sooner we can get down to the hard work of adapting, with mortal humility, to our new reality.

The choice is a clear one. We can continue acting as if tomorrow will be just like yesterday, growing less and less prepared for each new disaster as it comes, and more and more desperately invested in a life we can’t sustain. Or we can learn to see each day as the death of what came before, freeing ourselves to deal with whatever problems the present offers without attachment or fear.

If we want to learn to live in the Anthropocene, we must first learn how to die."
environment  royscranton  2014  anthropocene  disturbance  climatechange  iraq  collapse  civilization  hurricanesandy  hurricanekatrina  neworleans  weather  disasters  globalwarming  climate  death  fear  life  living  nola 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Strategist Kilcullen: Warfare Is Changing In 3 Ways : NPR
"KILCULLEN: ...still tragic, but this is where I think the lessons are important because we did it by killing the city. We shut the city down. We brought in more than 100 kilometers of concrete T-wall. We put troops on every street corner. We got alongside people and try to make them feel safe. It was very, you know, sort of human intense and equipment intense. That option will not be open for us in the mega city. You won't be able to do that in Karachi or just obviously, hypothetical examples, Lagos or Dakar or any of the big cities. There are 20 million people...

INSKEEP: We're talking about 10 or 20 or 30 million people.

KILCULLEN: Yeah. You could lose the entire U.S. military that went to Iraq in one of the cities, and most people that lived there wouldn't even know. Counterinsurgency as practiced in Afghanistan and Iraq just won't be feasible in a large city on a coast line in the next 20 or 30 years.

As I look at all these future threats, I don't see a military solution to the vast majority of these challenges. There's very few environments where you would look at the problems and say, oh, yeah, obviously the solution is to send a lot of American troops in there. So I think we need to be looking fundamentally for nonmilitary solutions.

As I've looked at all the cities that are growing, one of the inescapable conclusions is you get conflict not where you have just basic income inequality. You get conflict where people are locked out of progress and they look at all these people having a good time and realize I'm never going to be part of that party and they decide to burn the house down. So a lot of it is about getting communities into collaborative approach to solving their own problems. And that's fundamentally the realm of, you know, social work and international assistance and diplomacy. It's not really a military function.

INSKEEP: Listening to you makes me think that you might believe the United States collectively, that we think about wars and conflicts the wrong way. We're a global power; we think about global threats. Used to think about communism, now we think about global Islam. We think about whole region, the Arab world.

KILCULLEN: Mm-hmm.

INSKEEP: Is war actually more about local power, money, control?

KILCULLEN: Very much so. I had the opportunity to go to Mogadishu in the middle of 2012, looking at what had been going on after 20 years of civil war in Somalia. There is one and one only industrial facility that has survived for 20 years through all of that time, and that's the Coca-Cola factory just outside Mogadishu. And the reason for this is everyone chews this stimulant called khat...

INSKEEP: Mm-hmm.

KILCULLEN: ...or this kind of sort of leafy green thing that you chew, and it's very bitter.

INSKEEP: Kind of a drug.

KILCULLEN: It's a mild stimulant. It hops you up pretty dramatically when you chew it. But it's very bitter and so people want something sweet and fizzy to go with that. So all of the groups that are fighting each other about everything else, they can all agree on, hey, want to keep the Coke factory open.

(LAUGHTER)

KILCULLEN: And to me that's a great example. Right now we have what I would call a lot of conflict entrepreneurs. They're prolonging conflicts not because they want to win some political goal or because they want to change the form of government of a particular area, but just because they make a lot of money, they get a lot of power from conflict and they want to preserve that conflict to keep going. So I think part of it is about shifting people away from being conflict entrepreneurs to being stakeholders in a peaceful environment.

Right? How do we take that Coca-Cola factory example and broaden that out so that we create a set of common interests in a society...

INSKEEP: Oh, so that people who may have disparate views in the city realize that more and more of the city - not just the Coca-Cola factory - are worth saving, worth preserving.

KILCULLEN: Right. I mean if you like Coke you're going to love having water and you're going to love having education for your kid. You know, to say, you know, there's actually a broader way of thinking about a common set of interests. But again, like we're way outside the realms of what would be classically defined as military here. And then military, I think, has a role in providing enough stability and peace that people feel safe enough to engage in these kinds of discussions. But beyond that it's really civilians have to take the next step."
davidkillcullen  war  economics  cities  citystates  steveinskeep  2013  military  warfare  coca-cola  khat  us  policy  afghanistan  iraq  progress  inequality  disparity  urban  urbanism  mogadishu  somalia  goverment  money  capitalism  greed  business  socialwork  diplomacy 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Collateral Murder - Wikileaks - Iraq - YouTube
"Wikileaks has obtained and decrypted this previously unreleased video footage from a US Apache helicopter in 2007. It shows Reuters journalist Namir Noor-Eldeen, driver Saeed Chmagh, and several others as the Apache shoots and kills them in a public square in Eastern Baghdad. They are apparently assumed to be insurgents. After the initial shooting, an unarmed group of adults and children in a minivan arrives on the scene and attempts to transport the wounded. They are fired upon as well. The official statement on this incident initially listed all adults as insurgents and claimed the US military did not know how the deaths ocurred. Wikileaks released this video with transcripts and a package of supporting documents on April 5th 2010 on http://collateralmurder.com "
iraq  iraqwar  media  military  wikileaks  collateralmurder  namirnoor-eldeen  saeedchmagh  journalism  2007  lies  government  bradelymanning  truth  war 
july 2013 by robertogreco
The Episcopal Refugee Network of San Diego
[See also:

"Burma Refugees Struggling to Adjust in City Heights"
http://voiceofsandiego.org/2010/03/03/burma-refugees-struggling-to-adjust-in-city-heights/

"Finding Their Way Home: Burmese Refugees Establish a Community Center"
http://www.speakcityheights.org/2012/10/finding-their-way-home-burmese-refugees-establish-a-community-center/

"Burmese Refugees Making Home in San Diego
http://www.kpbs.org/news/2013/nov/06/burmese-refugees-making-san-diego-home/

Karen Organization of San Diego
http://karensandiego.org/ ]

"The Episcopal Refugee Network of San Diego is a non-profit organization that started to help refugees in San Diego County, from many countries of origin. Most of our early clients were from Sudan, but now we also serve many Karen and Karinni refugees from Myanmar (Burma), and Bhutanese and Iraqi refugees."



"The Episcopal Refugee Network provides one-on-one tutoring for 95 young people from Burmese mountain groups. The majority are Karen but we have numbers also from the Karenni, Chin and Shan peoples. This program is offered in an elementary section and a secondary section each week at St. Mark’s Church in City Heights, San Diego. We have a program at St. Alban’s Church Hall in El Cajon City. More volunteer tutors will enable more children to be accepted into the El Cajon program twice a week.

Each week the children learn and practice basic reading and math skills. They also receive enrichment in current events, geography and map skills, research skills, and poetry. Field trips to art, history and science museums, and sporting events enhance their learning experiences. Positive reports from San Diego teachers have let us know we are helping these children."
sandiego  refugees  volunteering  myanmar  iraq  sudan  cityheights  elcajon  openstudioproject  episcopalrefugeenetwork  burma  karen 
june 2013 by robertogreco
After September 11: What We Still Don’t Know by David Cole | The New York Review of Books
"How much are we spending on counterterrorism efforts? According to Admiral (Ret.) Dennis Blair, who served as director of national intelligence under both Bush and Obama, the United States today spends about $80 billion a year, not including expenditures in Iraq and Afghanistan (which of course dwarf that sum).1 Generous estimates of the strength of al-Qaeda and its affiliates, Blair reports, put them at between three thousand and five thousand men. That means we are spending between $16 million and $27 million per year on each potential terrorist. As several administration officials have told me, one consequence is that in government meetings, the people representing security interests vastly outnumber those who might speak for protecting individual liberties. As a result, civil liberties will continue to be at risk for a long time to come…"

"The rule of law may be tenacious when it is supported, but violations of it that go unaccounted corrode its very foundation."
9/11  waronterror  priorities  policy  civilliberties  us  georgewbush  politics  economics  money  spending  barackobama  torture  democracy  constitution  resistance  ruleoflaw  liberty  law  freedom  citizenship  equality  dueprocess  fairprocess  justice  margaretmead  history  dignity  terrorism  learnedhand  guantanamo  security  military  patriotact  nsa  cia  lawenforcement  lawlessness  war  iraq  afghanistan  alqaeda  2011  via:preoccupations  from delicious
september 2011 by robertogreco
Jimmy Carter: 'We never dropped a bomb. We never fired a bullet. We never went to war' | World news | The Observer
"What he’s most proud of, though, is that he didn’t fire a single shot. Didn’t kill a single person. Didn’t lead his country into a war – legal or illegal. “We kept our country at peace. We never went to war. We never dropped a bomb. We never fired a bullet. But still we achieved our international goals. We brought peace to other people, including Egypt and Israel. We normalised relations with China, which had been non-existent for 30-something years. We brought peace between US and most of the countries in Latin America because of the Panama Canal Treaty. We formed a working relationship with the Soviet Union.”<br />
It’s the simple fact of not going to war that, given what came next, should be recognised. “In the last 50 years now, more than that,” he says, “that’s almost a unique achievement.”"<br />
<br />
[via: http://prostheticknowledge.tumblr.com/post/10079201835/interview-with-jimmy-carter-from-the-guardian ]
jimmycarter  2011  interviews  presidents  presidency  war  pacifism  environment  israel  campdavidaccords  panamá  panamacanaltreaty  us  policy  politics  china  latinamerica  sovietunion  egypt  diplomacy  history  georgewbush  tonyblair  iraq  waronterror  from delicious
september 2011 by robertogreco
Nonformality | The revolt of the young
"From revolutions and protests to riots and unrests: young people are taking their fight for the future to the streets. Intergenerational contracts have become obsolete, with many young people feeling robbed of their future in the light of the employment crisis, a damaged environment and social inequality. Observers and activists describe a world awakening with rage, and a revolt of the young that has only just begun. But what will happen next?"
2011  unrest  politics  policy  generations  generationalstrife  classwarfare  economics  environment  inequality  disparity  unemployment  youth  arabspring  crisis  wealth  awakening  engagement  uk  chile  egypt  tunisia  zizek  manuelcastells  wolfganggründiger  future  pankajmishra  dissent  revolt  revolution  algeria  iraq  iran  morocco  oman  israel  jordan  syria  yemen  bahrain  greece  spain  españa  portugal  iceland  andreaskarsten  change  protests  riots  from delicious
august 2011 by robertogreco
jonathan hobin: in the playroom
"'in the playroom' by canadian photographer and art director jonathan hobin is a series of images that depict children reenacting major current events and headlines of our time. including major news items such as 9/11, hurricane katrina, the north korean missiles, and the jonbenét ramsey trials, the collection juxtaposes the often devastating themes with the high-spirited setting of a kid's playroom. <br />
<br />
utilizing relevant props - dolls, plastic toys, stuffed animals - with bright and playful backdrops, the images are eerily innocent and unsettling in their motif. at once bold and uncomfortable, the series delineates the question of how far our current cultural climate alters and infiltrates our society."
art  culture  photography  children  news  abugraib  iraq  9/11  kimjong-il  jonathanhobin  currentevents  classideas  from delicious
august 2011 by robertogreco
Truth Telling and the End of Democracy | Dailycensored.com [via: http://bettyann.tumblr.com/post/2374656637]
"The vast majority of the information Wikileaks shared with the world, however, was misclassified as secret. … Many of these documents should have been releasable into the public domain in compliance with the federal Freedom of Information Act, … “Secret” classifications are supposed to be used for data whose release would cause “grave damage” to national security—not for documents whose release would cause grave embarrassment to individuals in the government …Misclassifying documents, in order to keep them out of the public domain, is a form of censorship…<br />
<br />
Lost in the hullabaloo over Wikitreason is any outrage in the fact that the leaked documents evidence a disturbing pattern of government officials knowingly and purposefully lying to the American people and press about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.<br />
<br />
The attempted criminalization of dissent."
wikileaks  dissent  julianassange  2010  afghanistan  iraq  government  freedomofinformationact  freedom  secrecy  conspiracy  nationalsecurity  from delicious
december 2010 by robertogreco
Truth Telling and the End of Democracy | Dailycensored.com [via: http://bettyann.tumblr.com/post/2374656637]
"The vast majority of the information Wikileaks shared with the world, however, was misclassified as secret. … Many of these documents should have been releasable into the public domain in compliance with the federal Freedom of Information Act, … “Secret” classifications are supposed to be used for data whose release would cause “grave damage” to national security—not for documents whose release would cause grave embarrassment to individuals in the government …Misclassifying documents, in order to keep them out of the public domain, is a form of censorship…

Lost in the hullabaloo over Wikitreason is any outrage in the fact that the leaked documents evidence a disturbing pattern of government officials knowingly and purposefully lying to the American people and press about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The attempted criminalization of dissent."
wikileaks  dissent  julianassange  2010  afghanistan  iraq  government  freedomofinformationact  freedom  secrecy  conspiracy  nationalsecurity 
december 2010 by robertogreco
War Perspective: A Map of 65,649 Iraqi Civilian Deaths on Familiar Locations
"The goal of this project is to give you a better perspective on the toll that war has taken on the civilian population of Iraq. By clicking on one of the cities below, the map of a place you are familiar with will be overlaid with data representing civilian deaths in Iraq over a five year period."
maps  mapping  war  iraq  geography  death  cities  classideas  nyc  washingtondc  philadelphia  sanfrancisco  losangeles  chicago  via:javierarbona  dc  from delicious
october 2010 by robertogreco
On Wikipedia, Cultural Patrimony, and Historiography | booktwo.org
"This is historiography. This is what culture actually looks like: a process of argument, of dissenting and accreting opinion, of gradual and not always correct codification.

And for the first time in history, we’re building a system that, perhaps only for a brief time but certainly for the moment, is capable of recording every single one of those infinitely valuable pieces of information. Everything should have a history button. We need to talk about historiography, to surface this process, to challenge absolutist narratives of the past, and thus, those of the present and our future."

[Audio of the dConstruct10 talk is supposed to be here: http://2010.dconstruct.org/podcast or here http://huffduffer.com/dConstruct/25256 ]
via:preoccupations  historiography  iraq  history  jamesbridle  wikipedia  culture  books  process  argument  dissent  2010  from delicious
september 2010 by robertogreco
Lara Logan, You Suck -- RollingStone.com
"If I'm hearing Logan correctly, what Hastings is supposed to have done in that situation is interrupt these drunken assholes & say, "Excuse me, fellas, I know we're all having fun & all, but you're saying things that may not be in your best interest! As a reporter, it is my duty to inform you that you may end up looking like insubordinate douche bags in front of two million Rolling Stone readers if you don't shut your mouths this very instant!"...
afghanistan  matttaibbi  media  journalism  politics  propaganda  television  rollingstone  military  ethics  iraq  us  2010  laralogan 
july 2010 by robertogreco
The Top 10 Stories You Missed in 2009 - By Joshua Keating | Foreign Policy
"#4 A New Housing Bubble?: More than any other factor, ill-advised speculation on U.S. real estate set off the global financial crisis. But even after millions of foreclosures and secondary effects rippled through economies around the world, U.S. homeowners might be starting to make the same mistakes all over again."
politics  china  india  iraq  foreignpolicy  uganda  housingbubble  crisis  finance  brasil  security  media  brazil 
december 2009 by robertogreco
The demise of the dollar - Business News, Business - The Independent
"In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar."
via:javierarbona  2009  china  middleeast  currency  japan  business  economics  politics  europe  recession  world  money  finance  iraq  crisis  energy  iran  russia  geopolitics  oil  gold  dollar  us 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Last One Out Turn Out the Lights | varnelis.net
"Soon Dubai will abandoned to sink back into the sands. I think it'll be much more interesting that way, with feral animals running wild, Chernobyl-style, in the ruins. As for the Times, at a symposium last Saturday at Columbia someone said "What if the Times closed, they have dozens of reporters in the Baghdad bureau… How could bloggers replace them?" Yochai Benkler stated "But they are responsible for the war! Remember Judith Miller?" He is so right. What if our news from Baghdad came from actual Iraqs, people who understand the context and speak the language? Oh tired, old Grey Lady, maybe it's time to shut the doors on the Foster building and call it a day? The face-lift didn't work, it just made things worse. Your structural function as an enabler for the growth machine has been a non-stop embarrassment for all involved and now its time to pay the price."
kazysvarnelis  dubai  bubble  economics  growth  nytimes  cities  architecture  dept  finance  capitalism  journalism  collapse  oma  remkoolhaas  china  iraq  war  cheerleading  realestate  2009 
february 2009 by robertogreco
The New Trough: The Wall Street bailout looks a lot like Iraq — a "free-fraud zone" where private contractors cash in on the mess they helped create [also at: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/24012700/the_new_trough/print]
"There is a better way to fix a broken financial system. Treasury's plan to buy up the toxic debts never made sense and should be immediately scrapped - a move that would also handily get rid of most of the crony contractors. As for purchasing equity in banks, the next round of deals - and there will be more - has to start from the premise that the banks are bankrupt and will therefore accept whatever terms we choose to impose, including real regulatory oversight. The possibilities of what could be done if a chunk of the banking system were genuinely under public control - from a moratorium on home foreclosures to mandatory investment in green community redevelopment - are limitless.
world  capitalism  bailout  naomiklein  us  crisis  2008  banking  finance  wallstreet  corruption  money  henrypaulson  iraq 
november 2008 by robertogreco
Video: Endgame in Iraq | World news | guardian.co.uk
"Sean Smith spent two months with the 101st Airborne in Baghdad during the dog days of the American occupation. He filmed heavy fighting with the Mahdi army in Sadr City and Shulla, and powerful unmediated testimony from soldiers openly critical of the occupation"
iraq  war  soldiers  video  media 
september 2008 by robertogreco
Vital unresolved anthrax questions and ABC News - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com [follow-up here: http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/08/03/journalism/index.html AND http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2008/08/04/abcnews_qs.html]
"It was anthrax...that created the impression that social order itself was genuinely threatened by Islamic radicalism...people who fed them the bentonite story aren't "sources." They're fabricators and liars who purposely used ABC News to disseminate to the American public an extremely consequential and damaging falsehood."
abcnews  anthrax  history  politics  us  conspiracy  media  tv  war  iraq  georgewbush  terrorism  corruption  2008  9/11  glenngreenwald  salon  propaganda  journalism 
august 2008 by robertogreco
You Are Not Here...is an urban tourism mash-up.
"It takes place in the streets of one city and invites participants to become meta-tourists of another city. Download a map, take your phone with you and go tour Gaza through the streets of Tel Aviv or Baghdad through the streets of New York."
mapping  googlemaps  baghdad  iraq  telaviv  nyc  location  location-based  arg  virtual  tourism  society  globalism  geography  digitalstorytelling  mashup  narrative  mobile  phones  cities  interactive  urban 
june 2008 by robertogreco
What Every American Should Know About the Middle East
"Most in the United States don’t know much about the Middle East or the people that live there. This lack of knowledge hurts our ability to understand world events and, consequently, our ability to hold intelligent opinions about those events."
middleeast  culture  religion  islam  iran  iraq 
april 2008 by robertogreco
Davenetics* : Frontline: Bush’s War - "perfect storm of bad judgment, malicious intent, a power structure out of balance, a weak Natl Sec Adviser, a marginalized secretary of state, an all-powerful veep,...
...a lazy Congress, and outplayed British PM, a foolishly managed French foreign policy, an ignored military leadership, an Oedipal complex hall of fame President, and a media that focused on Rumsfeld's funny press conference delivery instead of highlight
iraq  war  georgewbush  cheney  media  pbs  documentary  frontline 
march 2008 by robertogreco
The age of the anti-Cassandra - Paul Krugman - Op-Ed Columnist - New York Times Blog
"our public discourse is dominated by people who have been wrong about everything — but are still, mysteriously, treated as men of wisdom, whose judgments should be believed. Those who were actually right about the major issues of the day can’t get a
culture  media  journalism  politics  predictions  society  housingbubble  subprime  war  iraq  economics 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Five years on, "liberal hawks" consider their support for the Iraq war. - - Slate Magazine
"To mark the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, Slate has asked a number of writers who originally supported the war to answer the question, "Why did we get it wrong?" We have invited contributions from the best-known "liberal hawks"—and others
iraq  war  politics 
march 2008 by robertogreco
The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan
"What the war has done to what is left of Iraq...was bad enough. But what was done to America - and the meaning of America - was unforgivable. And for that I will not and should not forgive myself either."
iraq  politics  war  us  georgewbush  cheney  andrewsullivan  changeofmind  admittingoneswrong 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Aida Edemariam talks to author Joseph Stiglitz about the true cost of the Iraq war | World news | The Guardian
"have discovered, after months of chasing often deliberately obscured accounts, Bush's Iraqi adventure will cost America a conservatively estimated $3 trillion...rest of the world will probably account for about same amount again"
war  iraq  georgewbush  money  economics 
february 2008 by robertogreco
Cherry Blossoms
"backpack+microcontroller+GPS...Recent news of bombings in Iraq downloaded every night...if wearer walks in a space in Boston correlating to site of violence in Baghdad...detonates air cloud of confetti...inscribed with name of civilian who died"
activism  art  iraq  war  technology  mobile  performance  boston  gps  information  mapping  maps  politics 
january 2008 by robertogreco
How Technology Almost Lost the War: In Iraq, the Critical Networks Are Social — Not Electronic
"geek vision to change nature of how war is waged: information technologies, networked computers, battlefield sensors...But the shortcomings of wired combat are forcing troops to improvise a new, socially networked kind of war."
government  intelligence  military  internet  strategy  iraq  war  social  technology 
november 2007 by robertogreco
What Does Iraq Cost? Even More Than You Think.
"Set aside question of what could have accomplished at home with energy and resources devoted to Iraq & concentrate just on national security. Here, hidden cost of the war, above all, is that US has lost much of its ability to halt nuclear proliferation."
economics  war  us  iraq  korea  nuclear  military  security  politics  policy  strategy  trust  geopolitics  energy  cost  tylercowen 
november 2007 by robertogreco
Bombings Mar Soccer Celebrations in Baghdad - New York Times
"The dream run of Iraq's national soccer team captivated an otherwise despairing nation. But even in its moment of joy -- the Iraqis are in the Asian Cup finals for the first time ever -- violence struck Wednesday."
iraq  football  futbol  sports  war  violence  terrorism  soccer 
july 2007 by robertogreco
BBC NEWS | Middle East | British blamed for Basra badgers
"British forces have denied rumours that they released a plague of ferocious badgers into the Iraqi city of Basra."
animals  military  badgers  iraq 
july 2007 by robertogreco
From The Magazine : Radar Online
"Desperate to shore up its flagging ranks, the military is quietly enlisting thousands of active gang members and shipping them to Iraq. Will a brutal murder finally wake up the Pentagon?"
politics  war  crime  gangs  miltary  us  globalization  global  international  iraq 
june 2007 by robertogreco

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