Saturday, March 31, 2007
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
So, as a service to my readers, I am going to start a new series, "Jew/not a Jew". I'm thinking of starting with female chanteuses, after Jogo sent me the Forverts article on Amy Winehouse. Keep your eyes out, khaverim.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
2. Andrew is also organising the next Lewisham bloggers' night out. I'll be there. As well as the folks who were at the last one, I'm hoping to meet the flesh versions of Richard, Neil, [moe], Kate, Henry and Courtney. (I never got around to blogging about the last one, which I enjoyed very much. If you created the typical Lewisham blogger from the people there, he'd be male, white, about 35, have a child or two, drink real ale, and be a councillor or former councillor. Although I'm in most of those things, I'm hoping this time we can be a bit more "diverse" as they say. One area where there was plenty of diversity was politics - Conservative, Labour, Green, UKIP and Save Ladywell Pool were all represented, and getting on well - which says something nice about Lewisham I think.)
3. Lewisham celebrity watch: [moe] offers us Keeley Hazell, apparently a Tory eco-warrior. (Be sure to read Max's comment, offering us someone who looks even better in a swimsuit). Andrew offers us Michael Gambon.
Monday, March 19, 2007
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Friday, March 16, 2007
R’ Elazar said: One who becomes compassionate to the cruel will ultimately become cruel to the compassionate, as it is written, “And Saul and the nation spared Agag and the best sheep and cattle.” [I Samuel 15:9], and it is written (Ibid. 22:19) “And Nov, the city of priests, he smote with the edge of a sword.”
I'll leave it up to you to work out the contemporary political relevance.
Apologies for my bad loshn koydesh in entitling this post originally. Thanks to Jogo for pointing out my error, in an e-mail appropriately labelled shmendrik.
- Extended interview with Saad Eddin Ibrahim, Ibn Khaldun Center, American University in Cairo
- Irfan Khawaja on Richard Posner’s Not a Suicide Pact: The Constitution in a Time of National Emergency
- Ladan Boroumand on Danny Postel’s Reading Legitimation Crisis in Tehran
- Ali Hili, Homophobia and Human Rights in Iraq (a speech)
- Peter Tatchell, Their Multiculturalism and Ours
- George Lawson on Saskia Sassen’s Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages
- Oliver Kamm on Nick Cohen’s What’s Left: How Liberals Lost Their Way
- Jay Lefkowitz, Hotel Pyongyang? (a speech on North Korea)
- Andre Glucksmann, Why I Choose Nicolas Sarkozy
- Philip Spencer, A Response to Andre Glucksmann
- David Clark, on Michael Burleigh’s Sacred Causes: Religion and Politics from the European Dictators to Al Qaeda
- Jean Bethke Elshtain, on Richard Bernstein’s Radical Evil: A Philosophical Interrogation
- Tony Blair, The 21st Century Challenge (a speech)
- Ernest Bevin, Archive: The ‘Third Force’ Memos
- Alan Johnson, An Introduction to Bevin’s ‘Third Force’ Memos
- Lyn Julius on the Iraqi Jews
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Leeds University gave an absurd justification:
"The decision to cancel the meeting has nothing to do with academic freedom, freedom of speech, anti-semitism or Islamophobia and those claiming that is the case are making mischief.Having worked in academia, and organised countless seminars and conferences, I know that there is no practice of risk assessing academic talks. Essentially, therefore, the cancellation on security grounds must be seen as a triumph for terrorism.
''Nor are we bowing to threats or protests from interest groups. The meeting has been cancelled on safety grounds alone and because - contrary to our rules - no assessment of risk to people or property has been carried out, no stewarding arrangements are in place and we were not given sufficient notice to ensure safety and public order.''
Scholars For Peace in the Middle East statement via Will@DSTP4W
Also see Engage, Harry's Place, The Times, The Telegraph
Update: SPME article
More: Ruth Gledhill; Shiraz Socialist
Keywords: Matthew Kuntzel, Islamic anti-semitism, Arab anti-semitism, Nazism
Previous: Jewish students under attack at Leeds University
A great piece by Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian yesterday.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Itzik Manger Ballads.
Manger was one of the great Yiddish poets of the 1930s and 1940s. The Livnat Brothers and Helen Beer, drawing on jazz and klezmer, bring his ballads to life. Great stuff.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Previous: Isn't it ironic?; Latte-drinking liberals and the Darfur genocide; George Galloway on Darfur; Slow Motion Genocide; Sudan divestment; Sudan versus Iraq; Belarus and Darfur; Sudan at Passover.
(Hak Mao gives one example of anti-Eastern European racism from right-wing labourism: our old pal George Galloway.)
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Jeffrey Mallow on the new orthodoxy that the Israel lobby are stifling debate on Israel.
Mallow cites an International Herald Tribune column by Roger Cohen:
[Cohen writes that] Professor Fred Lazin"...attended a meeting of the American Jewish Committee... said that if he wrote a favorable review of Jimmy Carter’s recent book... he’d be ‘blackballed as a speaker in many American Jewish venues.’”Read the rest.
Say what? An Israeli professor critical of Israel’s policies, speaking to one of the pre-eminent American Jewish organizations, says that if he lauds the book of former President Carter, who just spoke to an SRO crowd at Brandeis, America’s pre-eminent Jewish university, he will be blackballed by American Jews? Hello Planet Earth.
But seriously folks, this is getting serious. Cohen in the same IHT article decries “post 9/11 American taboos that have lowered debate of Israel to the scurrilous (and paralyzing) if-you-back-Palestinians-you-back-terrorists level”; Professors Mearsheimer and Walt have a fat contract for their soon-to-be-published book claiming that they are being muzzled; hardly a day goes by without someone somewhere criticizing Israel, in print or blog read by millions, then moaning that he or she is being censored by “the powerful Israel lobby.” If it’s so powerful, how come it’s so ineffectual at shutting anyone up?
Following yesterday's Great Fire Wall of China post:
- Dave Osler (source of image above) on Chinese "socialism with capitalist characteristics"
- ModernityBlog on China: New superpower or age old imperialist?
- Pub Philosopher: Still banned in China!
13th Carnival of Socialism at the new Shiraz Socialist site: why is the left obsessed with the Middle East? (Ive yet to go through this properly. Might report back when I have.)
Frank Furedi on the "new" anti-semitism (via Judeosphere)
Dave Broder on the SWP's sucking up to reactionary scum
The Middle East: totalitarianism versus freedom
Iraqi LGBT blog (via ModernityBlog)
Hak Mao on Hamas
Iraq Mojo, a great blog
Tommy Sheridan comes out swinging, from The Daily (Maybe)
More reasons to hate Bono, from Ambuscading (via Fisking Central)
Harry Barnes on Nick Cohen
Richard King on The Anti-Totalitarian Left (via the Euston Manifesto blog)
Dave Broder on George Galloway's anti-Polish racism
Your Friend in the North on the SWP
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Great post by Megan Rowling on Darfur:
The naming of Ahmed Haroun, Sudan's state humanitarian affairs minister, by the International Criminal Court (ICC) as one of its first war crimes suspects in Darfur reminded me of the song Ironic by Canadian rocker Alanis Morissette on her album "Jagged Little Pill". If you've never heard it, here are a few of the lyrics:(Read the rest, and be sure to follow the wikipedia link.)
A traffic jam when you're already late
A no-smoking sign on your cigarette break
... And isn't it ironic... don't you think?"
If you're already thinking, what's so ironic about these situations - well, that may be the point. As outlined in a Wikipedia entry dedicated to the song, arguably the only thing that's truly ironic about Ironic is that it contains no irony.
You might be wondering what on earth this has got to do with Darfur's four-year-long humanitarian crisis...
Haroun was Sudan's state interior minister during the height of the conflict in Darfur. According to ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the evidence his team collected showed that Haroun funded Darfur's Janjaweed militia from an unlimited budget that was not publicly audited and was seen personally delivering arms, ammunition and well-guarded boxes to the militia.
More on Darfur: "Darfur Needs More Than Words" Nick Grono in European Voice; Jeff W: Sudanese and Iranian genocide deniers' coalition; Jeff W: Cries of Rage; Eric Reeves on the ICC.
Another post by Megan Rowling talks of violence in Iraq threatening the literacy of its children. My problem with this post is that it doesn't give weight to the fact that the "insurrection" has systematically set out to target schools and colleges - particularly those where girls and women are educated - in its campaign of terror.
Finally, Nina Brenjo on Serbia's war crimes acquittal.
Previously: Latte-drinking liberals and the Darfur genocide; George Galloway on Darfur; Slow Motion Genocide; Sudan divestment; Sudan versus Iraq; Chomsky on Srebernica; Western Sahara; Belarus and Darfur; Sudan at Passover; Pinochet-Good Riddance; The trial of Saddam Hussein.
Found via an AlertNet blog:
Which is more topical - Iraq or Darfur? Iraq - it gets 93.6 percent...1649.org also brings you the Capital Ring walk (here is a nice South London segment: Falconwood to Crystal Palace) and this lovely Deptford walk.
The website compares how many pages search engine Google finds for each one.
Which means Darfur champion George Clooney gets just 30 percent, while refugee rights pin-up Angelina Jolie stars with 70 percent. Angelina gets better press for her international adoptions than Madonna, but the queen of pop wipes the floor with Angelina if you compare their general search hits, scoring a massive 91.1 percent.
Is good more powerful than evil? YES! (84.8 percent). Truth or beauty? The world is very superficial, apparently - beauty is well ahead on 77.4 percent. War or peace? Sadly, war gets three-quarters of the pie.
Fair trade coffee or conflict diamonds? Sixty-five percent for the guilt-free beverage. Fair trade bananas don't do so well, by the way. Just 51 percent, compared to 49 percent for the blood-stained jewels.
It's completely pointless and very silly, and yet strangely compelling.
When the Guardian last week revealed that Martin Amis was to become professor of creative writing at Manchester University, it lapsed into a dangerous piece of journalistic shorthand: "Amis, who is often described as Britain's greatest living author . . ."
Is he? By whom? Using what criteria? One agitated reader was moved to write to the paper - and threatened the ultimate sanction: "If the media refer to Martin Amis as 'Britain's greatest living author' once more," wrote Kathy Love from south London, "I shall kill myself. The fact that such a misconception exists at all is enough to make most people with a passion for books want to emigrate to Uruguay immediately. Please save my life and don't do it again."I tracked her down to an internet cafe. "I have never enjoyed a Martin Amis book," she e-wailed. "Most of them I have flung across the room unfinished. I hate his self-conscious literary style, his pathetic posturing. More importantly, he has nothing to say. Greatness in a writer can only be awarded posthumously. Let them snuff it first, I say. Then we'll decide."
Fans of biofuels give the impression we could soon be running cars on maize, producing electricity with sugar, and getting power from palm oil. Using plants to feed our fuel needs sounds like a great idea, and it could be a moneyspinner for some poor countries, but it might well mean people go hungry as food prices rise.Read the rest.
Incidentally, the article mentions the implications of biofuels in China, which is running out of the water needed to either feed its people or produce biofuels. Alertnet.org is not accessible in China, according to the Great Fire Wall of China.
Monday, March 05, 2007
Respect claims that an order came from on high pulling the news item. The BBC ("the Bush and Blair Corporation", as the e-mail from an SWP member/Stop The War Coalition organiser put it), who gave lots of air space to unrepentant Weather Underground and Angry Brigade bombers this morning, are clearly protecting the capitalist world order from the terrifying forces of subversion that are Ugly Rumours.
In a nice un-noticed irony, both the e-mail and the Ugly Rumours website direct people to, yes, a BBC news article for further information. (And another BBC article described the single as an example of e-democracy in action.)
Celebrity Big Brother star George Galloway is, of course, promoting the single, describing the BBC as "lickspittle" (love that Maoist language). We know he thinks suspending the rule of law (in Venezuela) is perfectly democratic; now we get a demonstration of how he understands the word "banning", this is even more mind-boggling.
Bonus link: Edwin Starr at Heraclitan Fire.
Update: In response to Max's comment in the comments box, here's the YouTube video of Sister Rosetta singing "Down by the Riverside". And here's some mp3 links: Pete Seeger singing it (from Some Velvet) and the New Christy Minstrels from Keep The Coffee Coming (and more on them here too).
George Orwell, Arthur Miller and Bertrand Russell have been among its contributors. Influential texts have included Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev's then-secret denunciation of Stalin and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter From a Birmingham Jail."Read the rest here. See also item here .
The New Leader, founded in 1924, is a chronically underfunded magazine that through will and vision became an important forum for liberal anti-communism and cultural debate during the Cold War and remains in business despite announcing it would fold a year ago.
You can access the January/February issue by clicking on www.thenewleader.com
Previous: Anti-Stalinist left, Seymour Martin Lipset.
Roland Rance writes on the Just Peace UK discussion list:
Mick Napier of Scottish PSC has published an article in their discussion forum strongly denouncing Shamir and Atzmon. I have already added my comments; I urge others to register and contribute to the debate. When we see the vile denunciation on Mary Rizzo's weblog of Michael Rosen for his letter in Socialist Worker, we must congratulate SPSC for their stance, for their recognition that it was a mistakee to host Atzmon recently, and for their principled courage in making this public statement.
Visit the discussion at http://www.scottishpsc.org.uk/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=8
Update: Richard, always cooler than me, is banned.
Friday, March 02, 2007
The great Lewisham News blog, out of action for ages now, is back. But why is all of the news depressing?
While I'm here, my three favourite google search referrals this week: I'm #1 for "shared civic culture in India", no.21 for "diamond geezer anarchist", and no.2 for "vulgar materialism".
Two blogs I keep meaning to add to the blogroll: Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Republic (source of the image above - now you're intrigued, eh?) and Fat Man on a Keyboard.
Thursday, March 01, 2007
UPDATE: Three Score Years and Ten reports that the issue has also been raised by Dave Anderson MP with Jack Straw, who has promised to have the matter investigated. Harry adds: "I am an honourary member of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU) who merged to form the GFIW which is the Iraqi's TUC. These are fine people who are in need of your solidarity."
This month I watched with Chávez as thousands of soldiers, French and British tanks, Russian helicopters and brand new Mirage and Sukhoi fighter bombers passed by: the soldiers chanting "patria, socialismo o muerte" - enough to make any US president blanch. Chávez answered the salute with the words: "the Bolivarian revolution is a peaceful revolution but it is not unarmed".Once again, Galloway reveals his fascination violence and strength, with men in uniforms. He swills in luxury here, while calling for the muerte, in the name of patria and socialismo, of ordinary working class brown-skinned people in other countries - Venezuela, Lebanon, wherever a strong-jawed demagogue calls for their sacrifice.
And once again, his obsession with patriotism, his volkish racial nationalism.
And, of course, his ridiculously pretentious language: the atmosphere in Caracas is "fervid", propoganda is "mendacious", and so on. (Admittedly, the "travesty" in the headline is the sub-editor's.)
Galloway says Tony Blair "only last year declared Venezuela to be in breach of international democratic norms - though when I pressed him in parliament he was unable to list them." Whatever the situation then, of course, Chavez has now suspended the rule of law in Venezuela ("been given enabling powers for 18 months" is how George euphemistically glosses it), pretty clear cut evidence for Chavez's disregard for democracy.
"Chávez's decision not to renew an expired licence for an opposition television station involved in a coup attempt - there are plenty of others - is being portrayed as the beginning of the death of democracy. It's as if Country Life's diatribes against the fox hunting ban were taken as irrefutable proof of totalitarianism in Britain."Er, no it's not George. Banning a TV station for opposing the Bolivarian revolution is akin to Blair banning Country Life for opposing the hunting ban.
Anyone who thinks Chaviz is totalitarian is an idiot. (That old Cold War distinction between authoritarianism and totalitarianism actually does work.) And many of Chavez's social reforms are good. But Chavez is the worst possible model of a socialist world.
Previous: Democrators and dying dictators, A penchant for uniforms; Chavismo and lefty sectariana; Tropical fascism; Ken and Hugo; Libertarian take; Chavez anti-semitic?; Galloway the racial nationalist.