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Comment on Jazz legend John McLaughlin Plays Ramallah, Palestine to counteract Palestinian “Isolation” by Mike Austin

April 15th, 2014 No comments

One of my top 5 musical experiences was to sit in a small club (250 seats) ten feet away from the Mahavishnu Orchestra just days after their release of Inner Mounting Flame (without having heard the music beforehand).

Talk about shock and awe…

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Saudi king sacks Bandar bin Sultan & appoints al Idrissi as head of General Intel.

April 15th, 2014 No comments
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Gender Issues in the New Yemen

April 15th, 2014 No comments

By Samira Ali BinDaair, Sanaa

When it comes to women and gender in Yemen, I see the discussions inevitably alternating between what is happening in politics and then back again to the same old arguments about women’s rights. I think the problem is that we always look at women’s issues from a very narrow angle lens even though we profess to uphold women’s rights, whatever those are and by whosoever’s definition. After working for the past 20 years in development programmes that spanned different agendas and a variety of target groups and where gender analysis always featured largely, I can safely say that this whole concept of gender mainstreaming was introduced to Yemen without being communicated through more cultural-sensitive strategies. The result has been considerable confusion. Because it was introduced by Western agencies, it was sometimes greatly misunderstood, misimplemented and misused by people with vested interests, just as some men with vested interests have misinterpreted the role of women in Islam.

Gender, therefore, has taken on a demonic face when implemented in this way and came to be seen by some as advocating for the Western style of women’s lib from the 60s and being outside local religio-cultural norms. This ended up marginalizing women even more when the male members of society rejected it out of hand. Gender mainstreaming should be a rigorous process of examining the impact of policies on females, males and children and simultaneously defining the special needs of each category. The gender advocates simply go on repeating the same platitudes about women’s rights hinging on a two pronged concept of public life and employment. For example, in Yemen rural women constitute 70% of the labour force in agriculture so the question is not whether to work or not to work for them but how to relieve them of the many burdens that they face within an underprovided rural environment.

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Comment on If Jesus had a wife, would it change the GOP War on Women? by Brian

April 15th, 2014 No comments

thnx 4 posting that.
I didn’t see the point in interjecting facts into this spiral off into partisan demagoguery,
but after reading your post I see you are right to state this.

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Comment on US Press once again Declines to Call White Terrorism in Kansas, Nevada, White Terrorism by Brian

April 15th, 2014 No comments

some of that has to do not so much with the provision of health services but the provision of abortions.
textbook terrorism, nonetheless.

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Creating and Preserving Cultural Heritage in the Arab World

April 15th, 2014 No comments



Illegal excavations and military use have recently endangered Palmyra, Syria, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Photo: UNESCO/Ron von Oers

by Shatha Almutawa, American Historical Association, April 2014

A car bomb exploded outside the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo on January 24, 2014. The Egyptian Heritage Rescue Team arrived on the scene and began to assess the damage and prepare artifacts to be moved to another building. Trained by the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, the Egyptian volunteers worked with museum staff until all the artwork was safely relocated.

In Syria, following the destruction of the minaret at Aleppo’s Umayyad Mosque last spring, people made their way to the mosque to save the stones for later rebuilding. Some lost their lives in the process. The mosque had been used by rebels, the Syrian army was attacking from the outside, and fighting continued as volunteers worked to protect the stones. As political instability continues in the wake of the Arab Spring, cultural heritage sites and objects are often endangered.

Scholars and activists working on issues relating to the preservation of cultural heritage in the Middle East convened on February 28 at the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery to discuss the Arab Spring’s impact on monuments, historic neighborhoods, and culture in the region. Lisa Ackerman, executive vice president and chief operating officer at World Monuments Fund, spoke about the importance of providing training to communities around historic sites in times of peace and after conflicts, so that locals can preserve their own heritage. She also mentioned the reality that in times of war, troops are trained to find strategic locations to use as bases; historic sites, as she explained in a later e-mail, “are often located in strategic positions with existing infrastructure, such as roads and nearby accommodations, or, as we’ve seen in Syria, are often situated at the highest points, providing a location advantage.” As an example, the US Army in Iraq chose Babylon for its Camp Alpha, which resulted in damages to its ancient walls and gates.

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Hardliners Step Up Protests Against Frye Burial in Iran

April 15th, 2014 No comments

Even former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had welcomed Richard N. Frye’s request to be buried in his beloved Isfahan, and had given Frye a home there. But the hardliners in Iran, whose opposition I noted a few day ago, have stepped up their attacks on the idea of burying Frye on Iranian soil. (Also see here.)

Probably no Westerner (and certainly no American) has done more to promote knowledge and understanding of Iranian culture and society in the West, yet now the mortal remains of the great Harvard expert who died recently at the age of 94,  have become a political football in Iran, a surrogate I suspect for the nuclear talks with the US and those who seek to scuttle them. (To their credit, serious scholars in Iran are supporting the burial).

I wish I knew more Persian. Surely Hafiz or Rumi must have a few appropriate lines for this travesty.
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Scum does not reside in Tel Aviv only …

April 15th, 2014 No comments

Between John Kerry, Netanyahu, Abbas & Dahlan … the Palestinians have an epic bummer wrap.

“… For Abbas, staying in power requires keeping his rivals at bay. In particular, there’s Mohamed Dahlan, the former Gaza-based Fatah strongman who’s been licking his wounds ever since Hamas routed his men from the Strip in 2007. At just 52, Dahlan is still young. For the past four years, he has been living in the United Arab Emirates; my sources in the region tell me he recently spent a month in Marrakesh with Saudi intelligence chief Bandar bin Sultan, the former ambassador to Washington, who was in Morocco recovering from shoulder surgery…”


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Comment on US sent CIA Director as Ambassador to Tehran after CIA overthrew Iran’s Democratic gov’t (US now Complaining about Hostage-Taker Amb.) by Moji Agha

April 15th, 2014 No comments

Faramarz,
From your name I am sure you are Iranian in origin–like me. While I agree with you re the way you have accurately characterized the foreign policy of U.S. (and of Israel), let us not forget that Iran’s foreign policy under the “supreme leader” (and especially under Ahmadinejad/Mesbah-Yazdi) needs–and depends on–the U.S. / Zionist foreign policy to be “vicious, inhuman and hypocritical” (i.e., colonial/racist) in order to justify right wing “internal despotism” (and horrific abuse of human rights), unfortunately in the name of religion–giving the right-wing Israeli/American policy-makers exactly the racist / “Orientalist” excuse they need. This is what the Late Dr. Mossadegh predicted over 60 years ago–before his democratic government was overthrown by the CIA.
Shame on violence.
SABZ BASHID.
Mojtaba Aghamohammadi (Moji Agha)
Initiator, Mossadegh Legacy Institute link to mossadeghlegacyinstitute.blogspot.com

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Comment on US Press once again Declines to Call White Terrorism in Kansas, Nevada, White Terrorism by Bill Bodden

April 14th, 2014 No comments

” If the killer was a white terrorist why did he murder three white people?”

The understanding is that he wanted to kill Jewish people. Skin color is not the only reason for creating terror.

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