I saw small boys baited and killed by Israeli soldiers in the Gaza refugee camp of Khan Younis. The soldiers swore at the boys in Arabic over the loudspeakers of their armored jeep. The boys, about 10 years old, then threw stones at an Israeli vehicle and the soldiers opened fire, killing some, wounding others. I was present more than once as Israeli troops drew out and shot Palestinian children in this way. Such incidents, in the Israeli lexicon, become children caught in crossfire.
Until the lion has his historian, the hunter will always be the hero.
This proverb exists in different forms in many parts of Africa
"Until lions have their own historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter" (Igbo, Nigeria).
"Until lions start writing down their own stories, the hunters will always be the heroes" (Kenya and Zimbabwe).
Black/African history has always being taught/told from the perspective of White American/European colonisers. We need to reclaim our history and culture. No more white African Queens, Kings and Gods, there needs to be a true representation of African history and culture in the media.
The hidden culprit behind rising tuition? Wall Street.
By Lisa Wade, PhD
In the lasts 15 years, student debt has grown by over 1,000% and the debt held by public colleges and universities has tripled. Where is the money going?
The scholars behind a new report, Borrowing Against the Future: The Hidden Costs of Financing U.S. Higher Education, argue that profit is the culprit. They write:
Scholars have offered several explanations for these high costs including faculty salaries, administrative bloat, and the amenities arms race. These explanations, however, all miss a crucial piece of the puzzle.
Sociologist Charlie Eaton and his colleagues crunched the numbers and found that spending on actual education has stagnated, while financial speculators have been taking an increasing amount of money off of the top.
Higher education fills the pockets of investors in three ways:
- Interest on student loans, paid by students and parents.
- Interest paid by colleges who take out loans to fund projects — everything from new academic buildings to luxury dorms and stadiums — ultimately repaid with tuition hikes and higher taxes.
- And profit from for-profit colleges (with “dismal graduation rates, by the way).
Take a look at this figure breaking down the sources of the rise in the cost of higher education. Interest on debt — taken on by both students and the colleges they attend — has risen. Meanwhile, direct profits from for-profit colleges have skyrocketed.
Overall, Eaton and his colleagues found that Americans are spending $440 billion dollars a year on higher education and that 10% of that goes into the pockets of investors who are skimming profit off of all forms of higher education.
It always puzzled me why whenever I argued with Zionists, they would eventually take refuge in history as if history was on their side. However, anyone who has studied the history of Palestine would easily realize that history is the Zionists’ weakest point and that Arabs could make an extremely convincing case that historically they have an indisputable right to this land.
It is still overwhelming to listen to Edward Said talking about the Zionist so called “god given” right to the land of Palestine. This 2003 short video has completely won me over since amongst the dozens of other clips I have seen of Said, I have never seen him as excited/exciting as he appears in this video.
Debating with the passion of who seemed to be a dispossessed — I’m not sure if this description suits him — Palestinian, equipped with an unprecedented critical mentality, and at moments furious at the seemingly ludicrousness of the politics of Palestine and the apathy with which the Palestinians are treated by the “international community”, as you’ll see in the video, Edward Said makes a few crucial points in regard to the historical narratives and claims to the land of Palestine that I would like to highlight.
- Responding to the question whether the Zionists have a god-given claim to the land of Palestine, Said makes it clear that, yes, Jews have a “claim” to the land of Palestine and therefore they have the right to live on this land.
- However, the Zionist claim isn’t the only claim to this land. “It’s a claim among many others,”
- He adds that the Arabs have a claim to the land of Palestine as well. In fact, they have a “much greater claim because they have a longer history of inhabitance, of actual residence in Palestine than the Jews did.” The overall Jewish actual inhabitance in Palestine throughout history, amounting to 200 to 260 years, is much less than the Arabs’ amounting to about 1192 years.
- The land of Palestine was inhabited/conquered by many other peoples throughout history including the Canaanites, the Assyrians, the Philistines, the Babylonians, the Israelites, the Archaemenids, the Seleucids etc., etc.
To elaborate a bit more on this point, I will quote this brief summary of the peoples who conquered Palestine since 722 BCE up until it fell under the Muslims’ rule 638 from Juan Cole’s article of last year called Top Ten Reasons Why East Jerusalem doesn’t belong to Jewish-Israelis which though I disagree with on many points, I recommend reading on its entirety.
The Assyrians conquered Jerusalem in 722. The Babylonians took it in 597 and ruled it until they were themselves conquered in 539 BCE by the Achaemenids of ancient Iran, who ruled Jerusalem until Alexander the Great took the Levant in the 330s BCE. Alexander’s descendants, the Ptolemies ruled Jerusalem until 198 when Alexander’s other descendants, the Seleucids, took the city. With the Maccabean Revolt in 168 BCE, the Jewish Hasmonean kingdom did rule Jerusalem until 37 BCE, though Antigonus II Mattathias, the last Hasmonean, only took over Jerusalem with the help of the Parthian dynasty in 40 BCE. Herod ruled 37 BCE until the Romans conquered what they called Palestine in 6 CE (CE= ‘Common Era’ or what Christians call AD). The Romans and then the Eastern Roman Empire of Byzantium ruled Jerusalem from 6 CE until 614 CE when the Iranian Sasanian Empire Conquered it, ruling until 629 CE when the Byzantines took it back.
The Muslims conquered Jerusalem in 638 and ruled it until 1099 when the Crusaders conquered it. The Crusaders killed or expelled Jews and Muslims from the city. The Muslims under Saladin took it back in 1187 CE and allowed Jews to return, and Muslims ruled it until the end of World War I, or altogether for about 1192 years.
Therefore, Said concludes:
[…] to isolate one of [the claims] and say THAT’s the claim; that is the real owner of the land, that’s fundamentalism…But I don’t think that any claim whether it’s given by god or the emperor, nobody has the claim that overrides all the others’ and entitles that person with that so-called claim to drive people out.
In addition to history, the Palestinians have, in Said’s words, the world consensus on their side. In the second half of the video, Edward Said gives his view on how Americans (and the same applies to everyone who believes in the just cause of Palestine) can react to the U.S. biased policies in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian question and its unshakable support of Israel over the fulfillment of the rights of the Palestinians.
A few points to highlight:
- The U.S. went to invade Iraq saying that Saddam had violated UN resolutions. That is exactly what Israel did.
- It has been violating the international law and several UN resolutions occupying Palestinian territory. (Said addressess only the issue of occupying the 1967 land. He doesn’t speak of the right of return and of course Gaza hadn’t been besieged back then nor had the Apartheid wall been constructed etc.).
We need to mobilize our community, our representatives, in Washington to tell them this is what we want. We want the United States to follow its own precepts in Iraq in the Middle East. To say to Israel, “OUT”. The time has come. You don’t negotiate over illega[ly] occupied territory.
Edward Said demanded of the American people to call on their government to accept the world consensus and give the Palestinians all their rights by implementing UN resolutions and ending its support of Israel against the Palestinians. .
However, due to the international community’s continuous failed attempts to convince Israel to comply with the international law, In 2005, a similar call has been made by the Palestinian civil society to all people all over the world who believe in the moral responsibility to fight injustice and that the time has come that Israel comply with the international law and stop violating Palestinians’ human rights. Great many have already embraced the BDS call and many others are starting to wake up to it. Had the BDS been made at Said’s time, I personally have no doubts he would have called on his audience to embrace it as the most influential way of the mobilization he referred to earlier.
Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges and Palestinian activist Linda Sarsour deconstruct the narrative around Israel’s right to defend itself and the media’s depiction of the Gaza assault.
The Navajo Nation stretches for almost 30,000 miles across parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. Treaties signed in the 1800s split the Navajo territory, leaving them to live in desert terrain considered ‘worthless’ by the United States government. But, this same land was discovered to be extremely rich in natural resources.
Between the old treaties and US government red tape, the Navajo Indians have little control over gas, coal, and even their own water. Today, more than 40% of its 30,000 residents are without running water or even electricity. The Navajo people believe they are custodians of the elements that surround them—the sky, the wind, the earth, and most sacred of all, water. Maintaining harmony with the environment is at the core of their culture.A desert land once judged uninhabitable and ‘worthless’ has proved instead to be rich, but its loyal Navajo custodians still don’t have the means nor the rights to profit from or protect their environment.
In Louisiana in April 2009, cattle were exposed to hydraulic fracturing fluid and they died within an hour. What was shocking about that was that these are animals, which are over 1,000 pounds, and it takes something pretty powerful to knock them out. They were exposed to it and then died in just an hour.Fracking has consequences for everyone and everything. (via salon)
The times they are a-changin’. Those feared emperors that sat all high and mighty have lost prestige over the years, and the Qing Dynasty Emeperor Yongzheng was lately given life in a series of gifs, all thanks to the Taobao department for the Palace Museum; in the gifs he fished, scraped skin off his feet, played with monkeys, and more…
Some very relevant questions raised in a conversation hosted by MIT Center for Civic Media titled Uncovering Algorithms. (via algopop)
How can the public learn the role of algorithms in their daily lives, evaluating the law and ethicality of systems like the Facebook NewsFeed, search engines, or airline booking systems?
How can research on algorithms proceed without access to the algorithm?
What is the algorithm doing for a particular person?
How should we usefully visualize it?
How do people make sense of the algorithm?
What do users really need to know about algorithms?
Israel has been maliciously targeting Gaza’s economy since the 1980s and the U.S. has had full knowledge of the wider premeditated strategies against the people of Palestine, including the complete destruction of towns without consideration of civilian population, according to documents revealed Monday by Wikileaks.
According to the documents, Israel’s National Security Council (NSC) calculated how much money they would allow into Gaza, with the intention of maintaining the economy at it’s minimum capacity, restricting the people of Palestine below poverty levels.
“The NSC acts upon the belief that Gaza should receive enough money to cover basic needs of it’s population, but it’s not interested in letting Gaza’s economy go back to a normal state,” reads one of the documents.
Furthermore, the cables report on different issues, such as the destruction of U.N. centers in Gaza, the creation of Hamas, and the wars on Lebanon.
Some of 3,925 cables describe the military strategy of destroying complete towns, regardless of civilian population, dubbed “Dahiya Doctrine” by the Embassy. The policy is based on the destruction by the Israeli military of the lebanese town on 2006.
In a meeting in 2008 between the U.S. Embassy in Tel-Aviv and the Israeli Commander Gadi Eisenkot to discussi the attack on Dahiya, in southern Lebanon, the latter assured the United States diplomatic mission that their strategy was based on “causing great damage and destruction,” and claimed that these were not “towns, they are military bases.”
Eisenkot was referring to towns like Bint Jbeil and others in southern Lebanon which were heavily and indiscriminately shelled during Israel’s second war against Lebanon.
According to one of the cables, the U.N. concludes that during the destruction of it’s facilities in Gaza between 2008 and 2009, “the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) breached the inviolability and immunity of U.N. premises…the IDF did not take sufficient precautions to fulfill its responsibilities to protect U.N. property and personnel and civilians taking shelter therein.”
The leaks are being revealed as yet another U.N. administered school was destroyed yesterday by Israeli bombings, which have now killed over 1,860 Palestinians. During the 28-day inhumane attacks on Gaza, Israel has also injured over 9,000 people, of which over 80 percent are innocent civilians, including over 400 children.
(Photo Credit: Photo: Al-Arabiya)
Let’s Call Climate Change What It Really Is—Violence | Alternet (via guerrillamamamedicine)
If you’re poor, the only way you’re likely to injure someone is the old traditional way: artisanal violence, we could call it – by hands, by knife, by club, or maybe modern hands-on violence, by gun or by car.
But if you’re tremendously wealthy, you can practice industrial-scale violence without any manual labor on your own part. You can, say, build a sweatshop factory that will collapse in Bangladesh and kill more people than any hands-on mass murderer ever did, or you can calculate risk and benefit about putting poisons or unsafe machines into the world, as manufacturers do every day. If you’re the leader of a country, you can declare war and kill by the hundreds of thousands or millions. And the nuclear superpowers – the US and Russia – still hold the option of destroying quite a lot of life on Earth.
So do the carbon barons. But when we talk about violence, we almost always talk about violence from below, not above.
Over 390 dead in 6.5M Yunnan earthquake
The death toll from the magnitude-6.5 earthquake that has rocked southwest China’s Yunnan Province climbed to 398 on Monday. Three people are still missing, and more than 1,800 have been injured.
It’s the strongest quake to hit Yunnan in 14 years and China has launched its highest level emergency response. The death toll may rise as rescue operations continue, said rescuers.
The powerful quake struck Zhaotong City at around 4:30 pm on Sunday, BJT. Its epicenter was in Longtoushan Township, 23 kilometers southwest of Ludian County, and it had a shallow depth of 12 kilometers.
There are 14 ethnic groups living in Ludian, a county with 430,000 people, and where more than one million lives have been affected. Nearly 30,000 people have been relocated to safer places.
Power to some 38,000 households in ten towns and townships were affected. So far, more than half of the quake-hit areas have resumed power supply.
As of 11:00 am Monday, more than 420 aftershocks have been recorded.
Authorities in the city of Zhaotong say they are in desperate need of blood, and are calling on the public for help.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said that saving people’s lives is the top priority for the moment.
On Monday, Premier Li Keqiang visited the epicenter and paid silent tribute to the victims. He says all efforts should be made to minimize casualties and the affected should be well cared for.
China’s central government has allocated 600 million yuan (around $97 million) to fund rescue and relief efforts, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday.
UN Chief Ban Ki-moon, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have offered condolences to the Chinese government and family members of those killed in the earthquake, and also said they are ready to offer assistance.