As revolution swept over Egypt beginning in January of this year, foreign news networks jostled over each other in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Camera equipment tangling in the feet of the crowds, well known anchors yelled their reports above the noise of demonstrators. It was the place to be. Live coverage of the protestors, the police and the speeches beamed over the airwaves of CNN, ABC, the BBC and other networks from around the world. The unsatisfactory response of Mubarak’s government was laid bare for the world to see, inescapable from the cameras, and the scrutiny of their audiences in living rooms from Moscow to Montreal.
In homes far away from the streets of Cairo, we were glued to our television sets, to the unforgettable images of the throngs of people who had flooded the square, refusing to back down until they achieved the overthrow of a regime that had long held democracy at bay and made freedom an abstraction. Soon, we would need to divide our attention back to the aftermath of the Tunisian revolution, and forward to the unfolding civil war in Libya.
There was little time left for the beginnings of other revolutions, in Yemen, or Syria. And...More >>
"Teach me how to drive so I can protect myself." That was the name of a Facebook group created by a group of Saudi Arabian women in order to protest their country's ban on female drivers. For this, Manal al-Sherif, one of the campaign's founders, was arrested the Saturday before last by Saudi authorities:
Authorities detained a Saudi woman on Saturday after she launched a campaign against the driving ban for women in the ultra-conservative kingdom and posted a videotape of herself behind the wheel to encourage others to copy her. Manal al-Sherif and a group of other women have started a Facebook page called "Teach me how to drive so I can protect myself", which urges authorities to lift the driving ban.
As mentioned earlier at The Propagandist, the "protests" that led to the murders and beheadings at the United Nations compound in Afghanistan most likely had a Khomeinist connection (not to mention, the Taliban, or the country's President -- Karzai himself riled up his population with yet more stupidities unbecoming a head of state).
Even if we knew who was behind the violence, both the self-appointed spokesmen for the mob and the reporters covering it seem complicit in a conspiracy of double-talk to cover up their crimes.
"There have been hundreds of missiles fired on the heads of our men, women, children and elderly, even in the last few days," says Israeli Defense Forces Captain Avichai Adraee on Al Jazeera. "Did anyone really think that we would not defend our citizens?
"... Instead of threatening and attacking us, they could have been investing their money in the daily needs of the Palestinians. This is the barbarism that I'm talking about."
The recent ‘Palestine papers’ leaks have ensured that even if the current caretaker Palestinian government does not collapse as a result of their revelations, it will now be exceedingly difficult to resume the much-needed peace negotiations.
From the media commentary surrounding the leaks, it is also perfectly obvious that such a situation is far from undesirable for some, and in particular Hamas, which rejected and did its best to sabotage the latest round of discussions. The rejectionist stance, as taken by Hamas, was expressed by its representative Osama Hamdan in a recent op-ed in the Guardian.
“The Palestinian negotiators named and quoted in these documents have betrayed their people and the Palestinian cause. We are in no doubt that, as a result of these revelations, they have lost their credibility for good. It is unthinkable that the Palestinian people will ever approve any deal concluded with the Israelis by this team of negotiators, for they will always be suspected of selling out and of betraying the cause. The Palestinian people can never...More >>
The broadcast and publishing of the leaked ‘Palestine papers’ by Al Jazeera and the Guardian puts a spotlight on some issues which are actually much more interesting and far-reaching than the papers themselves. After all, it is only those who hold completely unrealistic ideas about the Palestinian/Israeli conflict who could claim to be surprised by their content; the rest of us know that in the end, the 2008 Olmert offer is more or less how the future will look because it represents the most Israel can give and the least that the Palestinians can accept.
Nevertheless, we have witnessed waves of selective outrage from foreign journalists and commentators – their words conveying a deep sense of betrayal. Horrified by the Palestinian negotiators’ pragmatism, indignant at the very idea of compromise, they rushed to brand them as traitors and sellers-out of the Palestinian cause.
What is interesting is that these voices are for the most part not coming from the people who would actually be affected by...More >>
Wait a second. These operations have been public knowledge for years. The point is to carry out security and anti-terrorism operations against Hamas and freelance thugs, so as to prevent cross-border attacks (not to mention a Hamas coup in the West Bank).
Game over. No way back. An entire edifice of anti-Israeli demonisation definitively consigned to the scrap heap, never to be recycled again. This is the uncompromising message that comes out of yesterday’s revelations on Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. To the horror of a European political intelligentsia which has been steadfast to the point of fanatical in its opposition to Israeli “settlements” in east Jerusalem, the Palestinian leadership itself, we now know, has long accepted that the vast majority of Israeli settlements can be considered legitimate and would become part of Israel under any reasonable peace agreement.
This is utterly devastating since it simultaneously shows that everyone from the British Foreign Office and the BBC to the European Commission and the