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Posts Tagged ‘minority’

Timbuktu destruction: internet buzzes with debate

July 16th, 2012 Comments off

Radio Netherlands Worldwide. Timbuktu destruction: internet buzzes with debate "Reactions have been mixed with a discernible minority claiming that Ansar Dine are right to destroy the shrines and mausoleums. This assertion was made and echoed on the popular Maliweb news site: "These shrines don’t comply with Sharia, they must go." Others claim that the cultural destruction of Timbuktu actually
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Zionism is always racism

June 21st, 2012 Comments off
Israeli racism is embedded in daily politics of every state body: It would behoove those who are shocked by the barbaric expulsion of the Africans to take even one hour to examine the statistics about the lives of the Arab minority in Israel.”

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attacks on Muslims in Myanmar

June 8th, 2012 Comments off
There have been attacks against the Muslim minority in Myanmar.  No one cares about Muslims as victims, naturally.  Worse, look at this headline in the dispatch by AFP, which seems to justify it. “Distrust fuels anti-Muslim violence in Myanmar“.

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"… Nor can we confidently assert any longer that what is bad for Iran must be good for us!"

June 2nd, 2012 Comments off

“…Yes, Assad’s minority Alawite Muslim regime is a key ally of Iran’s revolutionary Shiite-supremacist government. That does not alter the stubborn fact that the anti-Assad “opposition groups” are dominated by Sunni supremacists. Stubborn facts cannot be evaded by clever labeling — “opposition groups” in Syria having become the euphemism du jour that “rebels” was in Libya, “peaceful protesters” in Egypt, “uprisings” in Tunisia, and so on. Nor can we confidently assert any longer that what is bad for Iran must be good for us. Threats are dynamic, and much has changed in the last decade. …”



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"Those calling for a confrontational approach to Tehran are in the minority…"

May 14th, 2012 Comments off

“…… at the more public level, efforts continue to put US-China relations back on a more solid footing. The Chinese defense minister has just concluded a high-profile visit and the US Treasury has given permission for a number of Chinese banks to expand their operations in the US. An uneasy sense remains, however, that Chinese cooperation over North Korea and Iran remains dependent on a satisfactory outcome of the Chen case. There is a particular concern that Pyongyang may perceive a window of Chinese distraction to go ahead with a nuclear test. China aside, the foreign policy landscape remains relatively benign for President Obama. With the upcoming G-8 retreat at Camp David and the NATO summit in Chicago, he will have ample opportunity to project a statesmanlike image. There is considerable inter-agency disquiet over the revelations about the successful intelligence penetration of Al-Qaeda in Yemen, but the PR gains for the Administration are self-evident. With opinion polls showing ever-weaker support for the war in Afghanistan, Governor Romney is finding it difficult to score points by criticizing Obama’s policy of gradual disengagement as over hasty.  Similar considerations apply over Iran. Those calling for a more confrontational approach to Tehran are in the minority. US officials interpret the new coalition arrangements in Israel as significantly strengthening Prime Minister Netanyahu’s hand, but remain confident that, unless the P5+1 negotiation track collapses, they can stay his hand from military action…..”



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Lebanese Singer on Keeping Syriac Alive

March 31st, 2012 Comments off

Last summer in a series of posts on Syriac/Aramaic I talked about the survivals of the language today, both in the Western variety of “Neo-Aramaic” spoken in a few Syrian villages, and the eastern variety which survives in various communities in Iraq, Turkey and neighboring countries. Though linguists call these Neo-Aramaic they generally call themselves Syriac.

The current issue of World Policy Journal deals with issues relating to language, and has an essay by Lebanese singer Ghada Shbeir, who sings in Syriac, on efforts to keep the language alive.

So add this to my occasional posts on minority languages and on the rich legacies of Aramaic/Syriac. When :Pope Shenouda died, one of my commenters asked in a comment why spoken Coptic had disappeared except as a liturgical language, while other minority languages survived (like these islands of Syriac, or the larger blocs of Berber/Amazigh, Kurdish, Nubian, etc.). The short answer is that’s a very good question and one that I’ve wrestled with occasionally. The long answer will show up one of these days in a blog post.


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Egypt NGO affair a road bump, Pelosi says

March 29th, 2012 Comments off

Egypt's military ruler Hussein Tantawi (R) greets US congressional minority leader Nancy PelosiUS congressional minority leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday dismissed a row with Egypt over the trial of American democracy activists as a road bump in strong bilateral ties, as she visited Cairo.

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Yet Another Minority, the Shabak, are Targeted in Iraq

January 19th, 2012 Comments off

The latest car bombing in Iraq,in a displaced persons camp in a town near Mosul, has apparently targeted the minority Shabak community, killing at least 11.

While the violence in Iraq most often is sectarian between Sunni and Shi‘a, it is also frequently directed against non-Muslim minority populations. The frequent attacks on Iraqi Christians, mostly Assyrians and Chaldeans, are well known  and have led to a growing flight of Christians to Assyrian and Chaldean diasporas in the West. There have also been attacks against the Mandaean and Yazidi religious minorities.

The Shabak are another one of Iraq’s minor religious/ethnic minorities, with some similarities to and affinities with the larger Yazidi community, who live in the same general region. (Note: the link is to the Wikipedia article and Wikipedia is dark today in a protest action. You can access the link by turning off Javascript in your browser, or can wait until tomorrow if you don’t know how.)

They are, like the Yazidis, a syncretistic religion with elements of Islam, Christianity, and older faiths. They speak a form of Kurdish, but their scripture is written in Turkmen.

These tiny, relic communities may seem like anachronistic curiosities, but they are a reminder of the palimpsest of migrations, conquests, and faiths that swept over the Fertile Crescent over the millennia. And they have few defenders. At least international Christian groups regularly protest attacks on Iraqi Christians, though with little result since the attackers are radical Islamists. Even the Mandaeans and the Yazidis have some support from diaspora populations in Europe. Most people have never heard of the Shabak. Nor do I expect this to be on the evening news. That’s why I brought it up.


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Israel prepares for fall of Assad, Syria refugees (Reuters)

January 10th, 2012 Comments off

Reuters – Israel is making preparations for the fall of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and a flood of refugees from his minority Alawite sect into the Golan Heights, Israel’s military chief told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday.
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The Amazigh of Tunisia

October 18th, 2011 Comments off

 Speaking of Tunisia in the runup to its elections Sunday, let me touch on another subject that we have visited several times since the beginning of Arab Spring: the Amazigh or Berber awakening that is also under way in North Africa. Earlier this month, the VIth World Amazigh was held in Djerba, the first to be held in Tunisia.Also, a new Tunisian Amazigh Culture Association has been established.

Here’s another article on the revival of Amazigh consciousness in Berber Either due to a typo or poor editing, it seems to say the minority consists of 1000 people, but then goes on to say that one village has 200 families. The usual estimate of the number of Tamazight speakers in Tunisia is around 26,000, smaller by far than Algeria or Morocco or even Libya, but a significant linguistic minority. Unlike Algeria and Morocco, wher3 there are Berber poltiical parties and movements, and Libya, where the Jebel Nafusa became a stronghold for rallying anti-Qadhafi sentiment, the Amazigh peoples of Tunisia are not a political force, but their cultural identity does seem to be asserting itself.

apparently no longer speaks Berber. This would make 0.3% of the population.


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