June 18, 2006
The Resonant Nuances of Alienation
The US Military holds up a framed image of Zarqawi, proof of it's latest "catch" in the so-called on "war on terror." Just imagine how this flagrant display of killing (like a big fish) is resonating throughout the Muslim world.
The debate rages on over the conflict in Iraq and the dialogue with the Government sidesteps the real problem: the so-called "war on terror" is an ideological battle between fundamentalist positions derived from religious narratives that are completely non-negotiable. Both sides agree on one thing: Death.
Military tactics, whether they be smart bombs or suicide bombs, constitute the only language they speak. Meanwhile the problems of the ideological rages on: unresolved, untreated, unanalyzed, unacknowledged. The American Government, while it pursues an ideological vision that is wildly out of step with reality in the Middle East, is only capable of seizing this vision through force. It doesn't understand, nor does it even want to understand that its tactics of Western dominance, the imposition of its ideology, only inflames and perpetuates hatred among Muslims. The US is incapable of admitting that its policies breed alienation throughout the culture of the Middle East, and that this alienation resonates, spreads like an infection, it breeds greater degrees of alienation that ultimately manifests itself in the form of violence.
The problem is clear: government does not have the tools and ability to analyze culture, particulary foreign cultures. This is where government should turn to and collaborate with the artist. The artist can function as a mediator between the individual and a hostile world because the artist has direct contact with the individual spirit, as well as the innate ability to analyze the larger culture and its conditions.
To understand the cause of war is to have the ability to analyze the resonant nuances of alienation, to be able to dissect the culture, to ultimately reveal the nature of alientation and fear within that culture.
Dangerous regimes always breed from the festering of alienation, so by fanning the flames, we sabotage the impossible dream: encouraging freedom and democracy.
Posted by the Secretary-at-Large at 10:10 AM >>>
June 27, 2006
How Will We Stop Muslims from Burning the Flag
The Senate is busy arguing about the creation of a new amendment to the constitution to ban the burning of the American flag. While incidents of flag burning in the US are miniscule, meanwhile, nations around the world, particularly Muslim nations, freely and openly attack America and its icons. What are we doing to slow the spread of hatred of America? The problem of protecting the flag among its citizens hopelessly misses the real issue of how US policy is inflaming and igniting passions around the world.
Posted by the Secretary-at-Large at 09:12 AM >>>
July 14, 2006
The Dream is Over
It was a beautiful dream... overthrow Saddam Hussein and liberate Iraq, spread love and democracy throughout the Middle East, a region transformed. Arabs would unite, oil would be flowing: Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, together with Christians, even Jews, would live in perfect harmony under the ideals of the founding fathers... American-style.
Yes, it was a beautiful dream, but somehow, reality doesn't match up. Today, with Lebanon in flames, Israel at war on multiple fronts, Iran brandishing its nuclear weapons, and in Baghdad, a ceaseless killing field, the dream is a distant wonder, a figment of the neocon imagination.
Yes, the dream is over, and the nightmare rages on.
Posted by the Secretary-at-Large at 08:33 AM >>>
July 16, 2006
My Poor Lebanon
A student who assisted me with the Situational Tour of Lebanon last year - the day of Resistance and Liberation celebrating the expulsion of the Israeli occupation - speaks poignantly of the destruction:
It's carnage you guys. Lebanon needs your prayers.
Visit his blog for a report from the edge of chaos.
Posted by the Secretary-at-Large at 10:57 PM >>>
July 17, 2006
The Parties of God
Behind the growing chaos in the Middle East, is the determination to achieve a state under God, the battle between Islam and Jews, each defending their presence in the region. When political aspirations are linked to religious doctrine, the result, inevitably, is an interminable war that cannot be negotiated. Tragically, the parties of God, dictated by rigid policy sent down from the heavens, have no means to legislate their differences - violence and chaos is the final judgment.
Posted by the Secretary-at-Large at 07:10 AM >>>
July 19, 2006
The Politicization of Life and Death
"Sometimes it requires tragic situations to help bring clarity in the international community." - President Bush on the Israeli - Hezbollah conflict
"Since that little embryo doesn't have a pair of eyes and a hair color... that allows us then to destroy that life." - Senator Rick Santorum expressing the Far Right Christian party line on stem cell research
While President Bush stalls diplomatic efforts to give Israel time to disintegrate Lebanon in its conflict with Hezbollah, today he will veto stem cell research to save the lives of those tiny cells.
The real tragedy of America's descent and a world in crisis is the horrific hypocrisy behind the politicization of life and death.
Posted by the Secretary-at-Large at 08:30 AM >>>
July 22, 2006
The Landscape of Death
Lebanon has become a nation pulverized, a landscape of death, a humanitarian crisis, a great tragedy of history that will have repercussions for years to come.
While the US is rush-shipping additional weapons to Israel, here is the American response:
"A cease-fire would be a false promise if it simply returns us to the status quo, allowing terrorists to launch attacks at the time and terms of their choosing and to threaten innocent people." - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
Doesn't this also describe the disproportionately cruel Israeli response? Aren't their attacks killing innocent civilians and demolishing the infrastructure of Lebanon?
In the era of "bring it on," Bush-style diplomacy involves the methodology of scorched earth and shock and awe. The mediational potential of dialogue, negotiation, cultural recognition, and humanitarian values give way to the massive deployment of violence, which as we all know, only compounds the problem.
The policy of death is a dead end.
Posted by the Secretary-at-Large at 08:48 AM >>>
July 26, 2006
Who Will Prevail?
"It is time for a new Middle East. It is time to say to those who do not want a different kind of Middle East that we will prevail, they will not." - Condoleezza Rice
The atrocities of war in the Middle East rage on... Hezbollah firing rockets indiscriminately into Israel, killing innocent civilians, Israel's bombing creating a humanitarian crisis throughout Lebanon. And meanwhile in Iraq, Bush is sending additional troops into Baghdad with sectarian violence on the rise.
The notion of prevailing is meaningless: with every missile, every bomb, every death, new hatred is fueled on both sides... this war is spinning out of control, because wars are not won, with violence everyone loses, no one prevails. It is a lose-lose situation.
Posted by the Secretary-at-Large at 09:09 AM >>>
July 30, 2006
The New Middle East
The policy to impose an American mandated peace and democracy - to transform a new Middle East - is having exactly the reverse effect: the reaction to the US throughout the region is seething, burning... How long will it take before we realize that the tactics of military intervention DO NOT WORK in the Middle East. They have never worked. Hezbollah, backed by Iran, are only getting stronger, smarter, their networked strategies have fortified them with an uncanny resilience. Possibly they can't be beaten down even by the most advanced weaponry.
But the most advanced weaponry of all is one that changes people's consciousness, that wins their heart and minds, which isn't based on killing, but rather recognizing cultural needs and discrepancies.
The New Middle East will not be a new one, it should be the old one given respect and dignity.
Posted by the Secretary-at-Large at 09:44 AM >>>
July 31, 2006
Reaching for Hope
As the Israelis bring a temporary end to bombing, as Hezbollah calls for an end to Israel, as the Far Right Christian Fundamentalists call for an end to the world, officials attempt to grasp the geopolitics, while the Lebanese are crushed, women and children, helpless to flee, helpless to protect themselves, are caught in the violence.
It's always like that, nations playing strategic, geopolitical games while innocent people die, reaching for hope that doesn't exist.
Posted by the Secretary-at-Large at 08:24 AM >>>