The West’s hypocrisy towards Gaza’s breakout is stomach-turning – Jonathan Cook – 09 Oct.23

There will be little sympathy in the West as, yet again, besieged Palestinians are bombed by Israel, the immense suffering justified by the term ‘Israeli retaliation’

Mourners react during the funeral of Palestinian twin babies Ossayd and Mohammad Abu Hmaid, their mother and their three sisters killed in Israeli strikes in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on 8 October 2023 (Reuters)

The current outpouring of sympathy for Israel should make anyone with half a heart retch.

Not because it is not awful that Israeli civilians are dying and suffering in such large numbers. But because Palestinian civilians in Gaza have faced repeated rampages from Israel decade after decade, producing far more suffering, but have never elicited a fraction of the concern currently being expressed by western politicians or publics.

The West’s hypocrisy over Palestinian fighters killing and wounding hundreds of Israelis and holding dozens more hostage in communities surrounding and inside besieged Gaza is stark indeed. 

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Lessons from Indonesia: Key takeaways for Pakistan for reducing military interventionism – Dawn – 22 May. 2023

Events that unfolded on May 9 have radically altered the political dynamics in Pakistan, creating an institutional blowback that is perhaps the most serious challenge faced by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) since its inception.

The daily coverage in Pakistan has focused on transient events — who has left the party, whose homes have been raided, and who has Imran appealed to for support from the international community.

And while the focus on these events is important in its own way, this coverage misses the forest for the trees, for Pakistan needs a robust debate on security sector reforms. Without these reforms, the country’s rapid descent towards authoritarianism, with security and law enforcement agencies armed with modern tools of surveillance, will only accelerate.

This focus on transient events also makes Pakistanis believe that whatever is happening today in their country is unprecedented. This belief leads many to argue that because Pakistan’s issues are so unique, the country cannot draw from decades of global case studies and literature to chart a better, more democratic path forward. But of course this belief is flawed, for countries from Chile to Indonesia have had much more authoritarian regimes and their elites have found a way to reform the system from within.

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Musharraf’s ‘Four Point Formula’ The Best Way Of Resolving Kashmir Dispute: Washington Post – From 06 Mar. 2020

When US President Trump visited India last month, he offered to mediate on Kashmir. Infuriated, New Delhi again insisted that Kashmir was a bilateral conflict between India and Pakistan, thus outrightly rejecting any third-party intervention.

Research conducted by Yelena Biberman and Samir Ahmad, funded by a Skidmore College Faculty Development Grant and published by the Washington Post, says – If President Trump had met with young Kashmiris, they would have welcomed his attempts to mediate between India and Pakistan over Kashmir and would have also pushed to include the Kashmiri people in the dialogue process.

Between October and December 2019, while Kashmir was in lockdown mode, the WP report says that they surveyed 593 college and university students to study the effects of militarization on political attitudes.

The survey was carried out on the students in Srinagar using the time-space sampling technique at randomly selected locations on university and college campuses and surrounding areas. The report reasons for studying the opinions of university students and states that they wanted to focus on the “generation of rage” and the new activism that played a leading role in the 2016-2017 uprisings.

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What Is White Privilege, Really? – Cory Collins – Learn For Justice

Today, white privilege is often described through the lens of Peggy McIntosh’s groundbreaking essay “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” Originally published in 1988, the essay helps readers recognize white privilege by making its effects personal and tangible. For many, white privilege was an invisible force that white people needed to recognize. It was being able to walk into a store and find that the main displays of shampoo and panty hose were catered toward your hair type and skin tone. It was being able to turn on the television and see people of your race widely represented. It was being able to move through life without being racially profiled or unfairly stereotyped. All true.

This idea of white privilege as unseen, unconscious advantages took hold. It became easy for people to interpret McIntosh’s version of white privilege—fairly or not—as mostly a matter of cosmetics and inconvenience.

Those interpretations overshadow the origins of white privilege, as well as its present-day ability to influence systemic decisions. They overshadow the fact that white privilege is both a legacy and a cause of racism. And they overshadow the words of many people of color, who for decades recognized white privilege as the result of conscious acts and refused to separate it from historic inequities. 

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Kashmir in the Shadows – by Robert Fantina – 26 May.23

While few of the world’s governments seem to care about Palestine, at least their officials will occasionally pay lip service to the extreme violations of human rights and international law that the apartheid regime of Israel commits against the people of Palestine on a daily basis. Sometimes, following a particularly egregious crime, there will even be some news coverage about it. But generally, the myth of Israel as a democratic state is declared, although few outside of profit- and power-motivated governmental leaders believe it.

Yet for the Kashmiris, even this limited attention is not granted, despite the fact that the brutal settler-colonial project that India is perpetrating on the Kashmiris equals if not exceeds that of Israel’s on Palestine. Zionist beliefs in Jewish superiority parallel Hindutva beliefs in Indian superiority. And India is following the Israeli model.

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The Geopolitics of the Ukraine War – Alfred W. Mccoy

Just as the relentless grinding of the earth’s tectonic plates produces earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, so the endless superpower struggle for dominance over Eurasia is fraught with tensions and armed conflict. Beneath the visible outbreak of war in Ukraine and the U.S.-Chinese naval standoff in the South China Sea, there is now an underlying shift in geopolitical power in process across the vast Eurasian landmass — the epicenter of global power on a fast-changing, overheating planet. Take a moment to step back with me to try to understand what’s now happening on this increasingly embattled globe of ours.

If geology explains the earth’s eruptions, geopolitics is the tool we need to grasp the deeper meaning of the devastating war in Ukraine and the events that led to this crisis. As I explain in my recent book, To Govern the Globe: World Orders and Catastrophic Change, geopolitics is essentially a method for the management of empire through the use of geography (air, land, and sea) to maximize military and economic advantage. Unlike conventional nations, whose peoples can be readily mobilized for self-defense, empires are, by dint of their extraterritorial reach and the perils inherent in any foreign military deployment, a surprisingly fragile form of government. To give an empire a fighting chance of survival against formidable odds requires a resilient geopolitical architecture.

For nearly 100 years, the geopolitical theories of an obscure Victorian geographer, Sir Halford Mackinder, have had a profound influence on a succession of leaders who sought to build or break empires in Eurasia — including Adolf Hitler, U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, and, most recently, Vladimir Putin. In an academic essay published in 1904, when the Trans-Siberian Railway was completing its 5,700-mile crawl from Moscow to Vladivostok, Mackinder argued that future rails would knit Eurasia into a unitary landmass that, along with Africa, he dubbed the tri-continental “world island.” When that day came, Russia, in alliance with another land power like Germany — and, in our time, we might add China — could expand across Eurasia’s endless central “heartland,” allowing, he predicted, “the use of vast continental resources for fleet-building, and the empire of the world would be in sight.” Continue reading

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Germany Deserves a Big Share of the Blame for the Ukraine Disaster BY DAVE LINDORFF

Nobody is talking about the blame that must be shouldered by the German government for the crisis and humanitarian disaster in Ukraine.

Sure Russia is guilty of a huge war crime in invading Ukraine. Surely too, the US must be blamed for creating the situation which led Russia and its autocratic leader Vladimir Putin to decide it had to invade to prevent Ukraine from being pulled into the US orbit with the goal that it would ultimately become a base for US offensive weapons — even nuclear weapons — on Russia’s border — something the US would never allow to happen anywhere in its self-proclaimed “backyard” of Latin America and the Caribbean.

But Germany, the largest country in NATO after the US, is almost as guilty for this current war in Europe as is the United States.

Germany was only reunified without any difficulty after 45 years of being split in two following World War II, because of a deal struck by the US with Russia in 1990 at which US Secretary of State James Baker stated that NATO would not be expanded “one inch ” eastward past the reunified German border. Continue reading

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Why is Washington Encouraging India to Confront Pakistan? BY BRIAN CLOUGHLEY

India and Pakistan share a long border and do not get along well, to put it mildly.  The main cause of disagreement is the divided territory of Kashmir which as long ago as 1948 necessitated UN Security Council attention, resulting in a Resolution determining, among other things, that there should be a “free and impartial plebiscite to decide whether the State of Jammu and Kashmir is to accede to India or Pakistan.”  This has not happened and the seemingly insoluble dispute could well lead to a fourth war between the countries, both of which are nuclear-armed.

It might be thought that in such circumstances the world’s “best-educated, best-prepared” nation that President Biden also declares has “unmatched strength” would apply at least some of its education, preparation and power to encouraging India and Pakistan to engage in meaningful negotiations and move towards rapprochement.

Not a hope.

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Colin Powell: Grotesque Atrocities and the New Liberal Conscience – BY RICHARD FALK – DANIEL FALCONE

Colin Powell died on Monday at the age of 84. Born in New York City in 1937, he attended City College where he studied geology. Over the course of his high-ranking military and government career he formulated the Powell Doctrine and later became known for justifying the illegal Iraq War in 2003. In this interview, international relations scholar Richard Falk reflects on Powell’s life and the US reaction to his passing: including the relevance of identity politics, the question of moderation, his contribution to the horrors of Vietnam and Iraq, and US governmental hypocrisy in the wake of its January 2020 assassination of the comparable Iranian general, Qasem Soleimani.  

Daniel Falcone: As the US media mourns the death of Colin Powell and regrets the passing of a “memorable and principled statesman,” can you comment on how the actual history competes with this memory and knowledge construction of this notable figure? Continue reading

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Pakistani-American director Iram Parveen Bilal’s new film shows a different type of Pakistani family

I’ll Meet You There is Bilal’s third feature film after Josh and PHD filmJosh was released in Pakistan in 2012 at a time when Pakistani cinema was shakily climbing back up to its feet. We sat down with Bilal to find out more about the film and her experience as an independent filmmaker.

How did you come up with the idea of Bismil: I’ll Meet You There?

Bilal: Bismil: l’ll Meet You There is a story of inter-generational and international immigration conflict. It is a story of growth, it is also a story of what happens when we make choices to break ourselves from traditions. Continue reading

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