robertogreco + syria   26

Verso: Empire of Borders The Expansion of the US Border around the World, by Todd Miller
"The United States is outsourcing its border patrol abroad—and essentially expanding its borders in the process

The twenty-first century has witnessed the rapid hardening of international borders. Security, surveillance, and militarization are widening the chasm between those who travel where they please and those whose movements are restricted. But that is only part of the story. As journalist Todd Miller reveals in Empire of Borders, the nature of US borders has changed. These boundaries have effectively expanded thousands of miles outside of US territory to encircle not simply American land but Washington’s interests. Resources, training, and agents from the United States infiltrate the Caribbean and Central America; they reach across the Canadian border; and they go even farther afield, enforcing the division between Global South and North.

The highly publicized focus on a wall between the United States and Mexico misses the bigger picture of strengthening border enforcement around the world.

Empire of Borders is a tremendous work of narrative investigative journalism that traces the rise of this border regime. It delves into the practices of “extreme vetting,” which raise the possibility of “ideological” tests and cyber-policing for migrants and visitors, a level of scrutiny that threatens fundamental freedoms and allows, once again, for America’s security concerns to infringe upon the sovereign rights of other nations.

In Syria, Guatemala, Kenya, Palestine, Mexico, the Philippines, and elsewhere, Miller finds that borders aren’t making the world safe—they are the frontline in a global war against the poor.

Reviews
“Empire of Borders reveals how the United States has effectively extended its borders throughout the globe, giving rise to a worldwide enforcement network that is highly militarized and profoundly dehumanizing. At a time when more people than ever before find their lives thrust against violent lines of separation, Todd Miller helps us understand the omnipresence of borders as an imminent threat to our shared humanity—a collective sickness that must be reckoned with before it forever reshapes our world.”

– Fransisco Cantu, author of The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border

“Joining meticulous documentation and vivid on-the-ground research in multiple border hot spots around the planet, Todd Miller pulls the veil off the layers of borders and their policing that shape our world, revealing a stunning and terrifying reality. The artificiality of borders, and the commitment of the world’s wealthy and powerful to preserve their wealth and power through them, have never been so clearly laid out.”

– Aviva Chomsky, author of Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal

“Todd Miller’s Empire of Borders is an indispensable guide to our bunkered, barb-wired world. For more than a decade, well before Donald Trump landed in the White House, Miller’s reporting has revealed the conceits of globalization, documenting the slow, steady garrisoning of US politics behind ever more brutal border policies. Now, with Empire of Borders, he looks outward, to a world overrun with so many border walls it looks more like a maze than a shared planet. If there’s a way out, Miller will find it.”

– Greg Grandin, author of The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America

“Todd Miller takes the reader on a global journey following the ever expanding and violent border enforcement regime. Empire of Borders is an erudite and engaging exposé of the global war against the poor that is increasingly carried out through restrictions on the right to move. Highly recommended.”

– Reece Jones, author of Violent Borders: Refugees and the Right to Move"
toddmiller  borders  books  toread  freedom  geopolitics  refugees  mobility  liberation  globalization  walls  us  surveillance  security  military  militarization  caribbean  centralamerica  canada  globalsouth  syria  guatemala  kenya  palestine  mexico  philippines  imperialism  politics  policy 
july 2019 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
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
A World Without People - The Atlantic
"For a number of reasons, natural and human, people have evacuated or otherwise abandoned many places around the world—large and small, old and new. Gathering images of deserted areas into a single photo essay, one can get a sense of what the world might look like if humans were to suddenly vanish from the planet. Collected here are recent scenes from abandoned construction projects, industrial disaster zones, blighted urban neighborhoods, towns where residents left to escape violence or natural disasters, derelict Olympic venues, ghost towns, and more."
landscape  photography  apocalypse  worldwithoutus  multispecies  riodejaneiro  brasil  brazil  us  nola  neworleans  alabama  germany  belarus  italy  italia  abandonment  china  bankok  thailand  decay  shengshan  athens  greece  lackawanna  pennsylvania  tianjin  russia  cyprus  nicosia  indonesia  maine  syria  namibia  drc  fukushima  congo  philippines  havana  cuba  vallejo  paris  libya  wales  england 
may 2017 by robertogreco
An Evening with Lawrence Abu Hamdan | MoMA
"MoMA presents the US premiere of an “audio essay” by Beirut-based Jordanian-British artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan, whose work attempts to trace and highlight the relationship between the act of listening and politics, human rights, international law and borders, testimony, and truth. Using audio documentaries and essays, as well as audiovisual installations, Abu Hamdan expresses his fascination with different types of listening at work in today’s legal and political forums. MoMA has recently acquired three important works dealing with similar themes: The Whole Truth, Conflicted Phonemes, and The Aural Contract Audio Archive.

In this new audio essay (a term the artist prefers to “lecture-performance”), he focuses on Saydnaya prison, near Damascus. Working with Forensic Architecture, Amnesty International, and the survivors of Saydnaya, Abu Hamdan captures “ear-witness accounts,” as detainees reconstruct events and the architecture of the prison they experienced through sound. The work raises pivotal questions about the politics of the field known as “forensic listening.”

The artist will be joined for a conversation by Ana Janevski, Associate Curator, Department of Media and Performance Art.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan is a 2015–17 Vera List Center Fellow."

[Casey says:

"he’s… just about the smartest person ever… Super dense speaking/listening/visuals on secret prisons, gunshots, birds.

Precedent for the kind of surveillance we’re dealing with, he argued, isn’t ~the Panopticon~, but Cage’s 4’33 (Silence).

(Listening to foley reconstructions of military prison torture sounds for 2 hrs…"]

[See also:
"What Now? 2015: The Politics of Listening - Keynote presentation by Lawrence Abu Hamdan"
https://vimeo.com/129018344

What Now? 2015: The Politics of Listening
April 24 - 25, 2015
The New School, Anna-Maria & Stephen Kellen Auditorium
66 Fifth Avenue, New York City

What Now? 2015 is a two-day annual symposium, organized by Art in General in collaboration with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, which investigates critical and timely issues in contemporary art. Dedicated to the topic of “The Politics of Listening,” the 2015 symposium comprises four panel discussions spanning Friday and Saturday, a keynote delivered by Lawrence Abu Hamdan, and a program of sound installations, audio works, film screenings, and performances.

For more information on What Now? 2015: The Politics of Listening, visit:
artingeneral.org/exhibitions/592

Lawrence Abu Hamdan is a multi-media artist with a background in DIY music. In 2015, he was the Armory Show commissioned artist and participated in the New Museum Triennial. The artist’s forensic audio investigations are made as part of the Forensic Architecture research project at Goldsmiths College, University of London, where he is also a PhD candidate and associate lecturer. Recent exhibitions include solo shows at institutions such as The Showroom, London; Casco, Utrecht; Beirut, Cairo; and forthcoming at Kunsthalle St Gallen and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.]

[See also:
"LAWRENCE ABU HAMDAN: Introduction"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8UAwxoeIi8

"VOICE ~ CREATURE OF TRANSITION

“[…] the voice is elusive, always changing, becoming, elapsing, with unclear contours […]“ – Mladen Dolar in: A Voice And Nothing More (2006)

Conference- festival that took place from 20-23 March, 2014 at De Brakke Grond, a theater space located in the heart of Amsterdam’s old city center.

Gabriëlle Schleijpen, head of Studium Generale Rietveld Academie invited  Lawrence Abu Hamdan, If I Can’t Dance I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution, Ruth Noack and Mark Beasley to each inaugurate a discursive and performative program of one day.

Thursday March 20

The Right To Silence, curated and presented by Lawrence Abu Hamdan

A daylong exploration of how voices are both heard and silenced; listening itself will be interpreted in its many forms and affects, allowing us to understand both the frontiers of the voice and the tireless battle to govern and contain it.

With contributions by Noah Angell, Ali Kaviani (Silent University), Anna Kipervaser, Maha Mamoun and Haytham El-Wardany, Kobe Matthys (Agence), Niall Moore, James Parker and Tom Rice."]

[And more:

"Artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan Demands the Right to Stay Silent"
http://www.vice.com/read/artist-lawrence-abu-hamdan-demands-the-right-to-stay-silent-981

"THE RIGHT TO SILENCE: An event series in three parts"
http://www.electra-productions.com/projects/2012/silence/overview.shtml

"Lawrence Abu Hamdan on Contra Diction: Speech Against Itself"
http://www.newmuseum.org/calendar/view/452/lawrence-abu-hamdan-s-contra-diction-speech-against-itself

"LAWRENCE ABU HAMDAN: THE POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS OF SOUND AND SILENCE"
http://www.digicult.it/articles/lawrence-abu-hamdan-the-political-implications-of-sound-and-silence/

"The Right To Silence I"
http://www.theshowroom.org/events/the-right-to-silence-i

"The Right To Silence II"
http://www.theshowroom.org/events/the-right-to-silence-ii

"Lawrence Abu Hamdan: Aural Contract: The Freedom of Speech Itself"
http://www.theshowroom.org/exhibitions/lawrence-abu-hamdan-aural-contract-the-freedom-of-speech-itself
http://sound-art-text.com/post/34633829824/lawrence-abu-hamdan-aural-contract-the-freedom ]
via:caseygollan  lawrenceabuhamdan  listening  politcs  humanrights  tolisten  borders  law  internationallaw  testimony  truth  audio  politics  saysnayaprison  damascus  syria  amnestyinternational  forensiclistening  gunshots  birds  soundscapes  classideas  earwitnesses  hearing  anajanecski 
november 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
Zócalo Public Square :: For Refugees, Home Is a Place Called Never
"Having Fled Sarajevo as a Child, I Find It Hard Telling Syrians There Is No Going Back"



"Like Basel from Damascus, even after fleeing the terror of war, we still were not safe. I remember the danger we faced as I see scenes of refugees like Basel desperately making their way across Europe. We had to deal with the legions of those eager to take advantage of our vulnerability—the smugglers, the criminals, the traffickers, and the violent xenophobes. Countries like Hungary also closed their borders to us, as they are doing now to Syrians. Others humiliated us to deter more refugees from coming. One of my cousins fled to Denmark, where she was denied freedom of movement and kept in a barracks for a year. Another two were held in long quarantine after they arrived in the Czech Republic, as if they might contaminate the population with their sense of loss. Even those who welcomed us did so only to a point. When the refugee population swelled, when we overstayed our welcome, we were blamed for everything from overcrowded schools to currency inflation.

At some point, refugees must make a definitive choice regarding their identity. Some adopt an Anglicized nickname, a new persona, a new history to be proud of, a new flag to pledge allegiance to, a new city to love. Others, like myself, continued to identify as a Sarajevan and a refugee, clinging to memories. I had to remember where I sat in my classroom, the name of the boy I liked, the lady at the newspaper stand downstairs. If I forgot, that meant giving up hope that we would go back one day. I would have given anything on this earth to wake up at home in Sarajevo on a dull day, watch my parents rush around getting ready for work, and run downstairs to get the paper and a pack of Walter Wolf cigarettes for my mother. Just one more time.

The most important part of being a refugee is being a good loser; it’s the only way to survive this. You learn to lose your nationality, your home to strangers with bigger guns, your father to mental illness, one aunt to genocide, and another to nationalism and ignorance. You learn to lose your kids, friends, dreams, neighbors, loves, diplomas, careers, photo albums, home movies, schools, museums, histories, landmarks, limbs, teeth, eyesight, sense of safety, sanity, and your sense of belonging in the world.

Basel, and all Syrian refugees, must master living with whatever is left of a person after everything is stripped away. Once he arrives where he’s going and sets his bags down, that’s when Basel will have to process everything, when he will count everything he’s had to leave behind. He will reflect on the past four years and wonder how the world watched and did nothing.

In 2014, I went back to Damascus as part of a UNICEF mission. Crossing the Lebanese border into Syria, in a sea of women carrying children and bags of clothes, I saw my mother everywhere. It was profoundly disturbing to put on a blue helmet every day before going out, and I struggled greatly to reconcile my U.N., refugee and survivor identities.

One morning in April 2014, I put on that blue helmet to tour the schools with a colleague in Damascus. We were about 30 meters from the school entrance when the mortar hit in front of us, and I fell to the ground. A guard shouted at me to get up and run inside before the next one hit, but I was too scared to move. That’s when I remembered Zinka and the balcony shooting. There is a low, soft whistle that is heard before a mortar hits very close. It happens just a fraction of a second before it hits, and somewhere deep inside, I had buried that sound and that memory.

The most difficult part of my journey as a refugee is the coming to terms with the fact that I can’t prevent this from happening to someone else. In Damascus, I often found myself telling displaced children whom I worked with that “schools and houses can be rebuilt when the war is over.” Perhaps I should have said something more pragmatic, told them they would never go home again, at least not to the place where they left their toys and friends, where they felt safe and loved. But instead, I said things like, “You’ll go back home when the war is over.” It’s obvious now that I not only lied to them, but also to myself. I only stopped identifying as a refugee when I stopped fighting, and I acknowledged that nothing will ever put my family and my life back together the way it was.

Despite these dark recollections, it’s generally not war that refugees choose to remember, but the people who help you. My mother’s colleague who snuck us out of Serbia, French volunteers who took refugee kids camping, and those who came to welcome us at the airport when we were resettled in Ohio; those are the people I think of daily. I hope Basel finds such people on his path too."
refugees  syria  2016  draganakaurin  home  identity  war  terror  migration  memory 
january 2016 by robertogreco
What Happens When Mother Earth Gets Angry - The New York Times
"Big banks and other financial institutions have been coming to terms with the market risks of leaving untouched — that is, stranded — fossil fuel assets valued at more than $20 trillion. A disinvestment campaign led by Mr. McKibben’s organization, 350.org, has recruited more than 500 institutions, with assets valued at over $3.4 trillion, that have pledged to remove fossil fuel companies and projects from their investments.

For the time being, the global coal sector is most imperiled. Natural gas and renewable energy sources are replacing coal-fired plants in the United States and Europe. American coal production and exports are declining, along with international prices for coal. Europe’s largest insurer, Allianz, recently joined California’s pension funds and Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, in selling its coal investments.

In August, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, that nation’s largest bank, said it would not fund the proposed Carmichael mine in Queensland, the biggest coal mine ever proposed in Australia. The mine’s role in adding to carbon emissions, potential damage to the Great Barrier Reef from coal transport ships, and a vigorous opposition campaign led by Greenpeace were factors in the bank’s decision.

In November, the Financial Stability Board, which promotes global financial stability for the Group of 20 nations, announced that it was establishing a task force, headed by the former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, to encourage businesses to voluntarily disclose how much risk they face from adjusting practices because of climate change.

Also last month, the attorney general of New York, Eric T. Schneiderman, won an agreement with Peabody Coal, the largest publicly traded coal company in the world, in which the company agreed to disclose to investors the risks the company faces from new climate regulations and turbulence in the coal market. Peabody’s stock value, which four years ago reached nearly $1,100 a share, is now trading at under $10 a share.

Still, there’s one vital place that remains unconvinced of the dangers posed by warming temperatures: the United States Congress. Republican dogma about climate change and climate science seems bound to rupture. The California drought, the Uttarakhand flood, the São Paulo drought, Syria’s civil war, and so many other recent ecological and economic disasters linked to climate change are fraying the party’s thinning tissue of denial."
2015  keithschneider  climate  climatechange  globalwarming  syria  california  sãopaulo  billmckibben 
december 2015 by robertogreco
The Ominous Story of Syria's Climate Refugees - Scientific American
"Farmers who have escaped the battle-torn nation explain how drought and government abuse have driven social violence"



"Climatologists say Syria is a grim preview of what could be in store for the larger Middle East, the Mediterranean and other parts of the world. The drought, they maintain, was exacerbated by climate change. The Fertile Crescent—the birthplace of agriculture some 12,000 years ago—is drying out. Syria’s drought has destroyed crops, killed livestock and displaced as many as 1.5 million Syrian farmers. In the process, it touched off the social turmoil that burst into civil war, according to a study published in March in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. A dozen farmers and former business owners like Ali with whom I recently spoke at camps for Syrian refugees say that’s exactly what happened.

The camp where I meet Ali in November, called Pikpa, is a gateway to Europe for asylum seekers who survive the perilous sea crossing from Turkey. He and his family, along with thousands of other fugitives from Syria’s devastated farmlands, represent what threatens to become a worldwide crush of refugees from countries where unstable and repressive governments collapse under pressure from a toxic mix of climate change, unsustainable farming practices and water mismanagement.

40 YEARS OF FURY

Syria’s water crisis is largely of its own making. Back in the 1970s, the military regime led by President Hafez al-Assad launched an ill-conceived drive for agricultural self-sufficiency. No one seemed to consider whether Syria had sufficient groundwater and rainfall to raise those crops. Farmers made up water shortages by drilling wells to tap the country’s underground water reserves. When water tables retreated, people dug deeper. In 2005 the regime of Assad’s son and successor, President Bashar al-Assad, made it illegal to dig new wells without a license issued personally, for a fee, by an official—but it was mostly ignored, out of necessity. “What’s happening globally—and particularly in the Middle East—is that groundwater is going down at an alarming rate,” says Colin Kelley, the PNAS study’s lead author and a PACE postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “It’s almost as if we’re driving as fast as we can toward a cliff.”

Syria raced straight over that precipice. “The war and the drought, they are the same thing,” says Mustafa Abdul Hamid, a 30-year-old farmer from Azaz, near Aleppo. He talks with me on a warm afternoon at Kara Tepe, the main camp for Syrians on Lesbos. Next to an outdoor spigot, an olive tree is draped with drying baby clothes. Two boys run among the rows of tents and temporary shelters playing a game of war, with sticks for imaginary guns. “The start of the revolution was water and land,” Hamid says."
johnwendle  2015  syria  drought  climatechange  globalwarming  environment  climate  agriculture  water  crisis  refugees  land  revolution 
december 2015 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
Refugee camps are the "cities of tomorrow", says aid expert
"Governments should stop thinking about refugee camps as temporary places, says Kilian Kleinschmidt, one of the world's leading authorities on humanitarian aid (+ interview).

"These are the cities of tomorrow," said Kleinschmidt of Europe's rapidly expanding refugee camps. "The average stay today in a camp is 17 years. That's a generation."

"In the Middle East, we were building camps: storage facilities for people. But the refugees were building a city," he told Dezeen.

Kleinschmidt said a lack of willingness to recognise that camps had become a permanent fixture around the world and a failure to provide proper infrastructure was leading to unnecessarily poor conditions and leaving residents vulnerable to "crooks".

"I think we have reached the dead end almost where the humanitarian agencies cannot cope with the crisis," he said. "We're doing humanitarian aid as we did 70 years ago after the second world war. Nothing has changed."

Kleinschmidt, 53, worked for 25 years for the United Nations and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in various camps and operations worldwide. He was most recently stationed in Zaatari in Jordan, the world's second largest refugee camp – before leaving to start his own aid consultancy, Switxboard.

He believes that migrants coming into Europe could help repopulate parts of Spain and Italy that have been abandoned as people gravitate increasingly towards major cities.

"Many places in Europe are totally deserted because the people have moved to other places," he said. "You could put in a new population, set up opportunities to develop and trade and work. You could see them as special development zones which are actually used as a trigger for an otherwise impoverished neglected area."

Refugees could also stimulate the economy in Germany, which has 600,000 job vacancies and requires tens of thousands of new apartments to house workers, he said.

"Germany is very interesting, because it is actually seeing this as the beginning of a big economic boost," he explained. "Building 300,000 affordable apartments a year: the building industry is dreaming of this!"

"It creates tons of jobs, even for those who are coming in now. Germany will come out of this crisis."

Kleinschmidt told Dezeen that aid organisations and governments needed to accept that new technologies like 3D printing could enable refugees and migrants to become more self-sufficient.

"With a Fab Lab people could produce anything they need – a house, a car, a bicycle, generating their own energy, whatever," he said.

His own attempts to set up a Zaatari Fab Lab – a workshop providing access to digital fabrication tools – have been met with opposition.

"That whole concept that you can connect a poor person with something that belongs to the 21st century is very alien to even most aid agencies," he said. "Intelligence services and so on from government think 'my god, these are just refugees, so why should they be able to do 3D-printing? Why should they be working on robotics?' The idea is that if you're poor, it's all only about survival."

"We have to get away from the concept that, because you have that status – migrant, refugee, martian, alien, whatever – you're not allowed to be like everybody else."

Read the edited transcript from our interview with Kilian Kleinschmidt:

Talia Radford: Why did you leave the UN?

Kilian Kleinschmidt: I left the the UN to be as disruptive as possible, as provocative as possible, because within the UN of course there is certain discipline. I mean I was always the rebel.

Talia Radford: What is there to rebel about?

Kilian Kleinschmidt: I think we have reached the dead end almost where the humanitarian agencies cannot cope with the crisis. We're doing humanitarian aid as we did 70 years ago after the second world war. Nothing has changed.

In the Middle East, we were building camps: storage facilities for people. But the refugees were building a city.

These are the cities of tomorrow. The average stay today in a camp is 17 years. That's a generation. Let's look at these places as cities.

Talia Radford: Why aren't refugee camps flourishing into existing cities?

Kilian Kleinschmidt: It's down to the stupidity of the aid organisations, who prefer to waste money and work in a non-sustainable way rather than investing in making them sustainable.

Talia Radford: Why are people coming to Europe?

Kilian Kleinschmidt: Everybody who is coming here right now is an economic migrant. They are not refugees. They were refugees in Jordan, but they are coming to Europe to study, to work, to have a perspective for their families. In the pure definition, it's a migration issue.

Right now everybody is going to Germany because in Germany they have 600,000 job vacancies. So of course there is an attraction, and there is space. Once the space is filled, nobody will go there anymore. They will go somewhere else.

Talia Radford: How do refugees – or economic migrants – know where to go? Via the media?

Kilian Kleinschmidt: No, it's all done through Whatsapp!

Talia Radford: What is the relationship between migration and technology?

Kilian Kleinschmidt: Every Syrian refugee in the Zaatari camp has been watching Google self-driving cars moving around, so [they] don't believe the information only belongs to the rich people anymore.

We did studies in the Zaatari camp on communication. Everybody had a cellphone and 60 per cent had a smartphone. The first thing people were doing when they came across the border was calling back home to Syria and saying "hey we made it". So the big, big thing was to distribute Jordanian sim cards.

Once we had gotten over the riots over water and lots of other things that politicised the camp, the next big issue was internet connectivity.

Talia Radford: What are the infrastructure requirements of a mass influx of refugees?

Kilian Kleinschmidt: The first is the logistics of accommodation: that's the survival bit. Everyone is struggling with this now, in reception centres, camps – every country in the world is dealing with this. Eighty-five to 90 per cent of any people on the move will be melting into the population so the real issue is how you deal with a sudden higher demand for accommodation.

Germany says that they suddenly need 300 to 400,000 affordable housing units more per year. It's about dealing with the structural issues, dealing with the increased population, and absorbing them into existing infrastructure.

Talia Radford: How do you see the refugee situation in Europe now?

Kilian Kleinschmidt: The discussion in Germany is quite interesting, because they currently have 600,000 jobs to fill, but they are all in places where there is no housing. It's all in urban centres where they have forgotten to build apartments.

Half of east Germany is empty. Half of southern Italy is empty. Spain is empty. Many places in Europe are totally deserted.

You could redevelop some of these empty cities into free-trade zones where you would put in a new population and actually set up opportunities to develop and trade and work. You could see them as special development zones, which are actually used as a trigger for an otherwise impoverished, neglected area.

Germany is very interesting, because it is actually seeing this as the beginning of a big economic boost. Building 300,000 apartments a year: the building industry is dreaming of this! It creates tons of jobs, even for those who are coming in now. Germany will come out of this crisis.

In Pakistan, in Jordan, they say "Oh no! These people are all going back in five minutes so we're not building any apartments for them! Put them in tents, put them in short-lived solutions." What they are losing is actually a real opportunity for progress, for change. They are losing an opportunity for additional resources, capacities, know-how.

Talia Radford: What other technologies have you dealt with in relation to refugees and migration?

Kilian Kleinschmidt: Energy is the big one. Things are finally moving because of the energy storage, which we suddenly have with the Tesla batteries for instance. Decentralised production of energy is the way forward. Thirty per cent of the world's population does not have regular access to energy. We could see a mega, mega revolution. With little investment we can set up a solar-power plant that not only provides power to the entire camp, but can also be sold to the surrounding settlements.

And water. In the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Danish groundwater pump supplier Grundfos partnered with a water company and you now have a smart-water terminal in the slum, where with smart cards you can buy clean drinking water.

You buy your water from a safe location for a fraction of what the crooks of the water business in Nairobi would sell the water for. So suddenly it becomes affordable, it becomes safe, and you can manage the quantities yourself.

A lot of change is facilitated by mobile phones. No poor person has a bank account any more in Kenya. Everybody has an M-Pesa account on their mobile phone. All transactions are done with their mobile phone. They don't need banks. They pay their staff now with your mobile phone. You charge their M-Pesa account.

Talia Radford: Are any of these services being set up at refugee camps?

Kilian Kleinschmidt: At Zaatari, the UNHCR never planned to provide electricity for the households. So people took it themselves from the power lines running through the camp. Electricity means safety, it means social life, it means business. Big business! People were charging €30 per connection and more.

With a $3 million investment in pre-paid meters, you could have ensured every household would get a certain subsidised quantity of energy. The UNHCR didn't think it would have $3 million to invest in the equipment, and so it is spending a million dollars a month of taxpayers' money on an unmanaged electricity bill.

Talia Radford: You helped set up a Fab Lab… [more]
immigration  cities  humanitarianaid  urban  urbanism  kiliankleinschmidt  unhcr  zaatari  jordan  refugees  refugeecamps  switxboard  europe  germany  economics  españa  spain  italy  italia  fabricationtaliaradford  interviews  migration  employment  jobs  work  fablabs  safety  infrastructure  kenya  nairobi  kibera  grundfos  energy  decentralization  solarpower  solar  batteries  technology  pakistan  housing  homes  politics  policy  syria 
november 2015 by robertogreco
From Aleppo To Malmo: War-Weary Refugees Find A Home In Sweden
"MALMO, Sweden -- Nine months ago, Omar's parents decided that they could no longer stay in Turkey, where they had fled from Syria. Using a smuggler, Omar's dad made his way to the southern Swedish city of Malmo, where the family has friends.

He's not alone. This month, the Swedish Migration Agency's Malmo office is registering close to 900 new asylum seekers per day, a figure not seen since the Balkan wars 25 years ago. Malmo is not only a logical point of entry for the many asylum seekers who head for Sweden. It's also a destination.

"I only have one aunt left in Syria," says the 18-year-old Omar, who was later able to join his father along with his mother and sister. "Almost everyone else is in Malmo."

Indeed, many migrants specifically choose to come here.

"It's a big city and you can speak Arabic and English here," says Mohammad al-Balout, a young Syrian journalist who arrived last year after fleeing from Libya through Italy, then farther north, and now lives here permanently, having been granted asylum. (Sweden grants asylum to all Syrian citizens bar selected individuals such as war criminals.)

Ahmed, a Syrian teenager who arrived in Malmo 2 1/2 years ago, having made the journey via Turkey, Greece, Hungary, Austria, then on to Sweden, says his family had decided he should head for Malmo "because there are many Arabs here."

The Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket) collects the new arrivals from Malmo's harbor and its train station, as well as the harbor in Trelleborg, a city to the south with ferry traffic to and from Germany. A steady stream of shuttle buses delivers the migrants to the Migration Agency's office, though from the train station the official buses are supplanted by cars and buses driven by volunteers.

The good Samaritans' activities at the train station, which also include providing food and beds to new arrivals, have caused some irritation among the authorities.

"The Migration Agency says they can receive everybody, but they can't," says Ali Jehad, an Iraqi who came to Sweden as a child via Saudi Arabia and now coordinates volunteer efforts at the train station. "We have enough food and beds for 600 people, but the authorities don't want our help."

Authorities acknowledge that they are wary of some forms of cooperation, but they say it is for good reason.

"We appreciate that volunteers want to help," says Betim Jahiri, deputy head of the Migration Agency's Malmo office, "but who's responsible when an undocumented migrant gets into a private person's car? As far as the law is concerned, such people are in the country illegally."

Regardless of how they are traveling, the result of the shuttle traffic is a crowded Migration Agency reception area and a long queue outside.

"We're setting new records every day," Jahiri says. "Malmo is a connection point for migrants."​

Seventy immigration officials staff the Malmo center to register the new arrivals, fingerprint them, take their photo, conduct a short interview, and give them a debit card for daily needs.

Copenhagen's twin city on the Swedish side of the Kattegatt strait, Malmo has a long history as a blue-collar city dominated by its shipyard. But over the past generation, migration has changed the city. Last year, 43 percent of the city's 318,000 residents were immigrants or first-generation Swedes, with Iraq and Bosnia-Herzegovina among the most common countries of origin. These days, they're joined by more Iraqis as well as many Syrians.

The Migration Agency is so busy that it's now hiring 50 more staff to process asylum registrations, and Jahiri says that his office is bracing itself for new records.

After their asylum claims have been registered, asylum seekers are assigned to Migration Agency housing in towns across Sweden. Many, however, have friends and relatives they can stay with and opt to do that. As a result, many asylum seekers stay in Malmo while their claims are being processed.

"Last week, we had eight additional people in our [three-bedroom] apartment," says Mohammed, an 18-year-old Iraqi who arrived with his family in Malmo three years ago, joining relatives already living here.

When their applications have been approved, many refugees logically stay put.

Malmo's politicians are doing their best to accommodate the rising number of residents, even creating, then expanding, a so-called Start School attended by migrant children until their Swedish is good enough for them to attend regular schools.

"Swedes respect everybody, even animals," says Raafat Amini, a Syrian who made it to Malmo 1 1/2 years ago and was able to bring his wife and four young children from Turkey earlier this year. "Here, refugees have the same rights as Swedes." His wife, Tahani Almousli, praises the fact that in Malmo's schools, her children are learning not just theoretical subjects but also skills such as swimming -- a point that seems a bit random were it not for the fact that Amini survived a capsizing dinghy by swimming to shore.

But a law intended to treat migrants humanely by allowing them to settle anywhere they choose is having unintended and difficult consequences.

The neighborhood of Rosengard, long home to a mix of working-class residents and immigrants, now has almost exclusively immigrant residents.

"The problem is that it's hard to get integrated in Malmo," says Balout. "Especially in Rosengard, people bring their own traditions, speak their own language. Malmo is a good place to live and work, but the thing is, you don't learn Swedish."

Soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the son of a Croatian mother and a Bosnian father who was born and raised in Rosengard, speaks with a foreign-infused accent and vocabulary now known as Rosengard Swedish.

"Immigration is an incredibly positive thing for Malmo. The city's diversity makes us an attractive city to live and work in," says Andreas Schoenstroem, Malmo's deputy mayor in charge of integration, secondary education, and adult education. Rosengard's concentration of immigrants is an economic matter, not an ethnic one, he adds: "In parts of Rosengard, housing is cheaper, and that's why people move there when they want to establish themselves here. When they get work, they often move to other neighborhoods."

Recently, Balout sent his teenage brother, who escaped to Sweden with him, to live in a small town. That way, Balout argues, his brother will have a chance of becoming part of Swedish society. Balout himself has quickly learned Swedish and made the conscious decision to live by himself in a majority-Swedish neighborhood.

Safeta Bajraktarevic arrived in Malmo during the previous record refugee wave: She and her family escaped from Sarajevo in 1992. Speaking in effortless Swedish, Bajraktarevic labels the government's policy of allowing refugees to choose their place of residence "madness."

"The result is that all the immigrants end up living in the same place," Bajraktarevic says.

That's the Swedish decision-makers' bind: Allowing new arrivals to settle in cities and neighborhoods where people from their home countries live may be beneficial in the short term but counterproductive in the long term.

Bajraktarevic, who trained as a lawyer in Bosnia, has found integration into Swedish society "super easy," she says. "You just have to go to school, go to work. Otherwise, you'll never meet any Swedes."

But many Swedes are uneasy about the rapid increase in immigration. Last year, 81,301 people applied for asylum in Sweden, up from 17,530 in 2004. This month, the Sweden Democrats, who want to reduce immigration, scored a record 20.8 percent of voter support in a nationwide poll.

And getting work is not as easy as just applying. Academic research shows that applicants with immigrant-sounding names are invited for job interviews less often than Swedish applicants with the same qualifications.

"Now I'm unemployed again," says Bajraktarevic, who nonetheless is about to leave for a holiday on Crete. "As long as my name is Safeta Bajraktarevic, I'll have a hard time finding work. We immigrants don't have as many contacts as Swedes, so we need a little shove.""
malmo  refugees  syria  sweden  2015  immigration  migration  asylum  nationalism 
october 2015 by robertogreco
NaTakallam | A Different Kind of Arabic Learning
"The best way to learn a language is to immerse oneself in its environment. While Arabic’s popularity continues to increase worldwide, traveling to the Middle East, for reasons ranging from cost to time and safety, is not always an option. Furthermore, academic and language institutes tend to teach ‘Fusha,’ formal literary Arabic ( Classical or Modern Standard Arabic [MSA]) , yet students are increasingly interested in `Ammiyyah,’ the local dialect and primary spoken form of Arabic in a given region.

Lebanon, a country of 4 million currently hosts some 1.2 million Syrian refugees, fleeing the now four-year-old civil war. According to the International Labor Organization, almost all Syrian workers in Lebanon (approximately 60% of the total Syrian refugee population) are employed in unprotected and potentially exploitative conditions in the informal economy.

NaTakallam operates on the above two fronts, aiming to alleviate the struggle of jobless Syrians in Lebanon by pairing them with students learning Arabic for conversation-focused classes over the internet. In providing Syrians with work opportunities, the platform also caters to a specific need within the Arabic learning community interested in the spoken Levantine (especially Syrian) dialect.

NaTakallam believes that maximizing one’s language skills relies on complementing traditional academic courses with conversation sessions, ideally in a one-on-one setting. Through this online platform, students gain full flexibility with respect to the timing, length, and format of the sessions. They also engage in a unique cultural experience."
arabic  education  languagelearning  via:unthinkingly  lebanon  syria  refugees 
september 2015 by robertogreco
The Plight of Refugees, the Shame of the World - The New York Times
"Accepting, feeding, immunizing, resettling and helping this many people can be done only at an institutional level, with worldwide organizations. At the moment, most of this burden is on a few neighboring countries — Turkey, Lebanon and now Greece — that get little to no outside help. Unsurprisingly, many refugees are risking their lives to reach Europe.

A crisis of this scale cannot be met with individual heroism, however admirable. Huge numbers of people cannot be sheltered through ad hoc charity, however well intended.

In mid-July, a Palestinian teenager whose family faces deportation from Germany asked Chancellor Angela Merkel, in perfect German, why her family couldn’t stay, and why she couldn’t just stay in school and study like everyone else. Ms. Merkel had said, in a dry speech: “Politics is sometimes hard. ... But you also know in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon are thousands and thousands, and if we were to say you can all come ... we just can’t manage it.” At that, the girl burst into tears and Ms. Merkel was taken aback. Her halting efforts to comfort the girl were recorded worldwide.

“Politics is hard” is just not enough.

It’s clear that our leaders aren’t stepping up to the gravity of the moment. We can, and we must, push them to do the right thing. If distributed properly, the cost is not that high. Today’s world is much richer than during World War II, and it’s not tangled in global war. In 2014, the entire World Food Program budget was a paltry $5.4 billion. The United Nations refugee agency’s budget is a mere $7 billion. To put these numbers in context, Amazon’s market capitalization climbed recently by $40 billion in after-hours trading after it announced that its web-hosting services were slightly more profitable than expected. Saving millions of refugee children fleeing war apparently isn’t worth a fraction of an evening’s speculation on a single stock.

Last month, the world lost a quiet hero, Nicholas Winton, who saved almost 700 mostly Jewish children from Czechoslovakia, by placing them with British families right before Hitler invaded. What was overlooked in the celebration of his remarkable life — he never sought credit for his good deeds — was his deep regret about the thousands of children he couldn’t save. The world’s governments turned their backs on these children. Have they learned nothing since?"
2015  zeyneptufekci  refugees  syria  nicholaswinton  politics  policy  inequality 
august 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
Tunnelling borders | openDemocracy
"The growing ubiquity of militarized borders has with it produced a subterranean network of cross-border tunnels. In tunnelling, global “urban burrowers” have begun to compose a new layer of multitude grounded in the struggles against global hegemony itself."



"This constant specter of walls cropping up along the world’s boundaries at first seems ignorant of its own porosity. Yet, the policy of walling hardly overlooks these routine practices of less visible trespass. In a so-called ‘borderless’ era of free trade walls strategically redirect unsanctioned cross-border flows further out of view and deeper underground by beckoning their own subversion this way, and for multiple reasons:

[1] Walls help to force a commingling of uncontrollable movements of various types with the illicit underground networks of criminal drug and human trafficking syndicates, and militant groups;

[2] by driving the world’s labor/refugee overflow underground it becomes easier to perceive such a superfluous population as less human and through a wider lens of “ferality” (a description Pentagon researchers have drawn upon to characterize the insurgents fighting the new urban wars of the 21st century—wars that would take place in the filthy spatial fallout of failed states/cities). This paves the creation of a more broad base subclass of borderzone criminality identified through a purposeful blurring of migrant/refugee/criminal/terrorist suspect categories. This pixelation only invites a greater juridical stripping of their legal status and harsh penalization under anti-terror national security frameworks; and,

[3] underground spaces can be deemed more viable military targets despite those that lack any violent intention by virtue of sharing a spatial typology that in nature coincides with other like-spaces that have been designed for more nefarious uses.

Today, not only do walls beget tunnels they co-construct them as an intended by-product that forces a multitude of forbidden cross-border sub-agencies into self dug graves and abyssal legality. Rather than taking responsibility through progressive immigration and labor policy, or re-examining the failures of the War On Drugs, or preventing Israel's annihilation of Palestinian statehood, national governments deploy a dehumanizing strategy of criminalization through forced tunnelization."
bryanfinoki  tunnels  border  borders  2013  security  westbank  gazastrip  palestine  israel  syria  egypt  korea  militarization  subversion  walls  fences  michaeldear  partitions  diplomacy  eyalweizman  opendemocracy  surveillance  stephengraham  economics  underground 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Design for the New Normal (Revisited) | superflux
"I was invited to talk at the NEXT Conference in Berlin by Peter Bihr, as he felt that a talk I gave last year would fit well with the conference's theme Here Be Dragons: "We fret about data, who is collecting it and why. We fret about privacy and security. We worry and fear disruption, which changes business models and renders old business to ashes. Some would have us walk away, steer clear of these risks. They’re dangerous, we don’t know what the consequences will be. Maintain the status quo, don’t change too much.Here and now is safe. Over there, in the future? Well, there be dragons."

This sounded like a good platform to expand upon the 'Design for the New Normal' presentation I gave earlier, especially as its an area Jon and I are thinking about in the context of various ongoing projects. So here it is, once again an accelerated slideshow (70 slides!) where I followed up on some of the stories to see what happened to them in the last six months, and developed some of the ideas further. This continues to be a work-in-progress that Superflux is developing as part of our current projects. "

[Video: http://nextberlin.eu/2013/07/design-for-the-new-normal-3/ ]
anabjain  2013  drones  weapons  manufacturing  3dprinting  bioengineering  droneproject  biotechnology  biotech  biobricks  songhojun  ossi  zemaraielali  empowerment  technology  technologicalempowerment  raspberrypi  hackerspaces  makerspaces  diy  biology  diybio  shapeways  replicators  tobiasrevell  globalvillageconstructionset  marcinjakubowski  crowdsourcing  cryptocurrencies  openideo  ideo  wickedproblems  darpa  innovation  india  afghanistan  jugaad  jugaadwarfare  warfare  war  syria  bitcoins  blackmarket  freicoin  litecoin  dna  dnadreams  bregtjevanderhaak  bgi  genomics  23andme  annewojcicki  genetics  scottsmith  superdensity  googleglass  chaos  complexity  uncertainty  thenewnormal  superflux  opensource  patents  subversion  design  jonardern  ux  marketing  venkateshrao  normalityfield  strangenow  syntheticbiology  healthcare  healthinsurance  insurance  law  economics  ip  arnoldmann  dynamicgenetics  insects  liamyoung  eleanorsaitta  shingtatchung  algorithms  superstition  bahavior  numerology  dunne&raby  augerloizeau  bionicrequiem  ericschmidt  privacy  adamharvey  makeu 
april 2013 by robertogreco
And You’re Still Dead | Razaniyyat – رزانيّــــات
"The last time I saw you it was in Damascus, Sarouja. I held you and told you: you know that you’re very dear to me, right?”. You held me back and smiled. You said nothing. When I first heard that you died, I thought about that scene so many times. I thought to myself “why didn’t he say anything back? wasn’t I dear to him too?” and I cried a lot Bassel, can you imagine? You died and that’s all what I thought about for first few minutes. Then she told me that you liked me a lot, you even defended me countless times and I had no idea. I had no idea.

Ever since you died and I am becoming this expressive person, “I love you,” is what I keep telling people. “I love you” in case something happened, so you would know how I felt towards you.

No one will read this long post, right? But it’s for you Bassel. Be patient with me, I still can’t believe you’re dead."
life  2012  relationships  memory  syria  expression  love  friendship  death  from delicious
december 2012 by robertogreco
Rebecca Solnit on Hope on Vimeo
"Despair is a black leather jacket in which everyone looks good, while hope is a frilly pink dress few dare to wear. Rebecca Solnit thinks this virtue needs to be redefined.

Here she takes to our pulpit to deliver a sermon that looks at the remarkable social changes of the past half century, the stories the mainstream media neglects and the big surprises that keep on landing.

She explores why disaster makes us behave better and why it's braver to hope than to hide behind despair's confidence and cynicism's safety.

History is not an army. It's more like a crab scuttling sideways. And we need to be brave enough to hope change is possible in order to have a chance of making it happen."
mainstreammedia  davidgraeber  venezuela  indigeneity  indigenousrights  indigenous  us  mexico  ecuador  anti-globalization  latinamerica  bolivia  evamorales  lula  cynicism  uncertainty  struggle  paulofreire  barackobama  georgewbush  humanrights  insurgency  hosnimubarak  egypt  yemen  china  saudiarabia  bahrain  change  protest  tunisia  optimism  future  environment  contrarians  peterkro  peterkropotkin  worldbank  imf  globaljustice  history  freemarkets  freetrade  media  globalization  publicdiscourse  neoliberalism  easttimor  syria  control  power  children  brasil  argentina  postcapitalism  passion  learning  education  giftgiving  gifteconomy  gifts  politics  policy  generosity  kindness  sustainability  life  labor  work  schooloflife  social  society  capitalism  economics  hope  2011  anti-authoritarians  antiauthority  anarchy  anarchism  rebeccasolnit  brazil  shrequest1  luladasilva  from delicious
february 2012 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
Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection >> Home
"Charles Weever Cushman, amateur photographer and Indiana University alumnus, bequeathed approximately 14,500 Kodachrome color slides to his alma mater. The photographs in this collection bridge a thirty-two year span from 1938 to 1969, during which time he extensively documented the United States as well as other countries."
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august 2008 by robertogreco

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