January 28, 2011
It has been a while since I last posted but with the intensity of activity in Sudan and across the ME and North Africa I felt it time to reactivate this blog. Some amendments will need to be made to the profiles of the authors that contribute to this site and maybe the focus of the site may change somewhat to reflect some of the areas of interest in which I am now researching and writing, but this needs to be renegotiated with the remaining contributors. Anyway, watch this space for some changes but in the meantime here’s a brief piece on the emergence of the Southern Sudan.
How New is the Southern Sudan?
There is little doubt that in July of this year a new state will join the international system. This state will be greeted with much fanfare from western sponsors who have robustly supported a process of independence for the Southern Sudan. Before analysing some of the issues that might belie the euphoria surrounding the creation of this state, I’ll make a few preliminary comments that will demonstrate that I am no apologist for either the artificially constructed territories that Africa was saddled with at independence or the successive Khartoum governments that have largely been responsible for years of north-south conflict and national instability that followed the end of formal European colonialism in Africa.
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July 22, 2009
Whilst the following news story (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jul/21/henry-louis-gates-jr-arrest-harvard) is not directly related to the Middle East I have decided to post it anyway because of a recent debate about racism and as it provides a convenient excuse to revisit the topic on this site. What this short news story suggests is that even though institutional and legally enforced racism is less pervasive today than in previous eras where the slave trade and European colonialism produced racist doctrines premised on the superiority of the white race, there is still a resilience to racial stereotyping and more subtle forms of racism in the US, at least. I would argue that subtle and insidious forms of racism remain pervasive in the modern world more widely than just in the US . The harsh reality is that racism is as pervasive internationally as it was a century or so ago when W.E.B. Du Bois suggested that the issue of race relations would be a defining motif of the twentieth century. The events of the twentieth century have shown us how prescient Du Bois was and how relevant his comments remain as we enter into a new millennium. Today, racial differences (ethnic and religious differences as well) continue to shape the world we live in.
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March 18, 2009
Many Arab and Third World Countries have welcome this unprecenteted step, taken by Italy, to repay Lybia for the Colonial Past (Lybia was under Italian control more or less between 1912 and 1943). The agreement, ratified some days ago, is historical indeed. But Claudia Gazzini, in the article just published by merip.org, illustrates some of the ‘dark sides’. Generally speaking the Colonial Past is rarely debated in Italy, and education and popular culture still spread the myth of a ‘colonialism with a human face’ (colonialismo dal volto umano). Far from this, the Italian occupation of Lybia saw, especially in the Fascist Period (from teh late 1920s to the end), one of the most brutal repression ever even for he bloody history of Colonialism and Imperialism. Italians massacred, deported and displaced over 100,000 Lybians. This is still largely a taboo in Italian history, and only few brave historians, such as Angelo Del Boca, have broken it.
Read the article at:
February 4, 2009
While the call for a boycott of Israeli academics in Australia is not a new one the following statement is an indication of the renewed vigour for such action in the wake of the Gaza attack. Ali Abunimah explains, in a recent article, that the time is ripe to pressure Israel to end the brutality of its occupation. In this Mission Statement Australia joins other countries in an “unprecedented expression of support for boycott, divestment and sanctions from major trade unions in Italy, Canada and New Zealand”.
Mission statement: Australian Academic Boycott of Israel
We are an Australian campaign focused specifically on a boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions.
We do so because we support the call made by Palestinian civil society to join the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. This was delineated by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI http://www.pacbi.org/campaign_statement.htm) in the following statement:
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February 3, 2009
The appointment of Mitchell by the Obama administration as Middle East envoy brings renewed hope of an even-handed approach with regards to a peace settlement. There are, however, several substantial obstacles to overcome.
Like Irish nationalists, Palestinians will never recognize the “right” of another group to discriminate against them. Like Protestant unionists did, Israeli Jews insist on their own state. Israel’s “solution” is to cage Palestinians into ghettos –- like Gaza –- and periodically bomb them into submission just so Israeli Jews, their relative numbers dwindling, can artificially maintain a Jewish state.
If Mitchell is allowed to apply Northern Ireland’s lessons, then there may be a way out. But he goes to Jerusalem with few of the advantages he brought to Belfast. The Obama administration remains committed for now to the failed partition formula of “a Jewish state” and a “Palestinian state” and maintains the Bush administration’s misguided boycott of Hamas, which overwhelmingly won Palestinian elections in 2006. And the Israel lobby — much more powerful than its Irish American counterpart — warps US policy to favor the stronger side, an intransigent Israel committing war crimes. If these policies don’t change, Mitchell’s efforts will be wasted and escalating violence will fill the political vacuum.
Read the rest of Ali Abunimah’s article here.
February 2, 2009
Even Israeli jurists have nothing to say:
The 41,000 attorneys in the State of Israel are entrusted with protecting its image as a lawful state, and this large and grand army has once again strayed from its function. There is a deep suspicion throughout the world that Israel carried out a series of war crimes, and the jurists of our country are holding their peace.
Do they not know that disproportionately harming a civilian population, supply convoys and medical crews, the use of white phosphorus in the midst of population centers and indiscriminate bombings are considered war crimes? What is their response to their enraged colleagues around the world? Are they convinced that Israel carried out these crimes or not? In both instances, their voice is vital and their silence is abominable.