Tag Archives: colonialism

The Next 500 Years

By Robert C. Koehler

The participants in this unique dialogue may have been doing no less than opening the window on the next 500 years.

As scary and stupefying as our world sometimes seems, we are at a place of enormous potential right now — a transition point of unprecedented understanding among cultures and peoples and worldviews. Pushing that understanding, creating, in the words of the late physicist David Bohm, a milieu of “participatory consciousness” among radically diverse thinkers, is the idea behind the Language of Spirit Conference, sponsored by the SEED Graduate Institute, which has been held in Albuquerque every year since 1999.

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Return to ‘Indian Country’: The Global War on Tribes

BUZZ THIS!

By ZOLTAN GROSSMAN              Counterpunch

The so-called “Global War on Terror” is quickly growing outside the borders of Iraq and Afghanistan, into new battlegrounds in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and beyond. The Pentagon is vastly increasing missile and gunship attacks, Special Forces raids, and proxy invasions–all in the name of combating “Islamist terrorism.” Yet within all five countries, the main targets of the wars are predominantly “tribal regions,” and the old frontier language of Indian-fighting is becoming the lexicon of 21st-century counterinsurgency. The “Global War on Terror” is fast morphing into a “Global War on Tribes.”

Tribal regions are local areas where tribes are the dominant form of social organization, and tribal identities often trump state, ethnic, and even religious identities. Tribal peoples have a strongly localized orientation, tied to a particular place. Their traditional societies are based on a common culture, dialect, and kinship ties (through single or multiple clans). Although they are tribal peoples, they are not necessarily Indigenous peoples–who generally follow nature-centered spiritual and cultural systems. [sic*]  Nearly all tribal communities in the Middle East and Central Asia have been Islamicized or Christianized, but they still retain their ancient social bonds.

Yet modern counterinsurgency doctrine only views tribal regions as festering cauldrons of lawlessness, and “breeding grounds” for terrorism, unless the tribes themselves are turned against the West’s enemies. The London Times (5Jan10), for example, crudely asserts that Yemen’s “mountainous terrain, poverty and lawless tribal society make it… a close match for Afghanistan as a new terrorist haven.” This threatening view of tribal regions is, of course, as old as European colonialism itself.

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A tale of two earthquakes

By Ashley Smith
Socialist Worker

THE WORLD’S tectonic plates are always in motion, but in the past two months, they seem to have struck more dramatically than usual.

On January 12, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti, killing as many as 300,000 people and leaving more than 1.5 million people homeless. Then, on February 27, another quake hit southwestern Chile, killing hundreds and leaving more than 2 million people homeless.

One Haitian family, the Desarmes, tragically endured both diasters.  Continue reading

Haiti the Spectacle

By Robert C. Koehler

Haiti falls apart and America’s journalists are on the ground, bringing us the spectacle of devastation. We care, we donate, we shake our heads in horror at the human toll of poverty.

A bare foot sticks out of a pile of cinder blocks.

“They’ve been digging for five hours,” says Anderson Cooper. He sticks his mike in the rubble. Oh my God, she’s alive. We can hear her screaming! “They only have this one shovel.”

OK, freeze frame. Something is so wrong with this picture, this moment: to be watching — live! — in comfortable detachment as a group of men dig desperately, by hand and with that single shovel, to free a 15-year-old girl trapped in the wreckage of a building. Continue reading

It’s the ‘New Haiti!’


By Michael Collins

The appointment of former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush as key players in Haitian relief should cause the people of Haiti grave concern, if they weren’t otherwise preoccupied with survival. These former presidents’ records as pro-life advocates on the international scene is tarnished by real world outcomes.

During his eight years as president, Clinton was responsible for sanctions on Iraq that resulted in the deaths of 170,000 children under five. Former President George W. Bush exceeded that death toll by invading Iraq.   That  caused civil chaos and conflict among Iraqis leading to the deaths of over one million citizens in that tragic nation. When you see these two coming, their record speaks for itself.  (Image)
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Breaking the Australian Silence

In a speech at the Sydney Opera House to mark his award of Australia’s human rights prize, the Sydney Peace Prize, John Pilger describes the “unique features” of a political silence in Australia: how it affects the national life of his homeland and the way Australians see the world and are manipulated by great power “which speaks through an invisible government of propaganda that subdues and limits our political imagination and ensures we are always at war — against our own first people and those seeking refuge, or in someone else’s country”.

By John Pilger

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The forgotten bird of paradise

By John Pilger

When General Suharto, the West’s man, seized power in Indonesia in the mid-1960s, he offered “a gleam of light in Asia,” rejoiced Time magazine. That he had killed up to a million “communists” was of no account in the acquisition of what Richard Nixon called “the richest hoard of natural resources, the greatest prize in Southeast Asia.” The theft of West Papua’s mineral wealth must end. The province’s courageous resistance movement deserves nothing less.

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FILM: Challenging 500 Years of Globalisation

By Lucy Komisar

NEW YORK, Nov 14 (IPS) – To end poverty, you have to know how it began – with globalisation. No, not the 20th century variety engendered by multinationals and their friends at the IMF, World Bank and WTO. They just codified practices that kept developing countries poor.

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