Video: The Real News Network – Chuck D and DMC on hip hop and America Pt.6

Carlton Douglas Ridenhour (born August 1, 1960 in Roosevelt, New York), better known by his stage name, Chuck D, is an American rapper, author, and producer. He helped create politically and socially conscious rap music in the late 1980s as the leader of the rap group, Public Enemy.

Iran: What Can the Opposition Win? by Richard Seymour

Hamid Dabashi1 points out that, whatever the truth on the elections, the “fix” has become a “social fact” inasmuch as millions of Iranians are staking their lives on that very belief.  He also pointedly satirizes Orientalist assumptions of the Reading-Lolita-in-Tehran variety and takes the opportunity to remind people that solidarity, not “democracy promotion,” is what is required.

Unfortunately, his excitement about the possibility of a mass civil disobedience campaign arising leads to an astonishing final sentence: “Mir-Hossein Mousavi has the make up of an Iranian Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King Jr. in him.”  The idea that Mousavi could be a Nelson Mandela or a Martin Luther King beggars belief.  In fact, the more one learns about Mousavi, the more unsavory he seems, and the more it becomes clear that his candidacy is essentially an enterprise of the plutocratic Rafsanjani family.2 And, as the Angry Arab3 has pointed out, when Mousavi was prime minister the Iranian state was much more repressive than it is now.  In fact, it’s hard to go along with Dabashi’s wholehearted support for the “reformists” who have yet to demonstrate that they are worthy of leadership of such a movement as this.

The movement is still in its earlier stages, but there is an interesting document circulating that purports to be a “manifesto” 4 of the Iranian opposition.  I don’t know how reliable this is: one has to make allowances for the possibility of it being a forgery, or e-mail spam, or some NED bureaucrat’s wet dream.  Still, it does seem to summarize the main thrust of the protests — put Mousavi in charge, review the constitution, free political prisoners, and disband the apparatus of repression.  If the main goals are to be achieved, it looks as if the movement will have to move way beyond Mousavi in ideas and practice.  If the protest movement were to die down following a recount in which Mousavi won, the result would probably be a few blunted reforms coupled with a more aggressive neoliberal policy.  If a dozen deaths are to mean anything, the movement must surely acquire an independent organizational backbone to sustain it when the inevitable disappointments come.

1 Hamid Dabashi, “Diary of a Defiance: Iran Un-Interrupted,” Payvand (15 June 2009).

2 Simon Tisdall, “Rafsanjani: Shark or Kingmaker?” (Guardian, 15 June 2009).

3 As’ad AbuKhalil, “Iranian Developments” (Angry Arab News Service, 15 June 2009).

4 “A Manifesto,” posted in “The Daily Dish by Andrew Sullivan” (The Atlantic, 15 June 2009).

Richard Seymour is the author of The Liberal Defence of Murder (Verso, 2008).  Visit his blog Lenin’s Tomb: <>.

Kaveh L Afrasiabi, "Iran: Mousavi States His Case"

19 June, 2009 – MRZine – Monthly Review

Mir Hossein Mousavi, the reformist candidate challenging Iran’s authorities on the result of last week’s presidential elections, is a masterful tactician who wants to overturn the re-election of his rival, President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, with allegations of a massive conspiracy that he claims cheated him and millions of his supporters.

These supporters, identifiable by the color green they have adopted, have taken to the streets in the tens of thousands and on Thursday were to stage a ‘day of mourning’ for what they say is a lost election. This follows a ‘silent’ march through the streets of the capital on Wednesday. To date, at least 10 people — some Iranian sources say 32 — have been killed in clashes.

Mousavi has lodged an official complaint with the powerful 12-member Guardians Council, which has ordered a partial recount of the vote. The complaint’s main flaw is that it passes improper or questionable pre-election conduct as something else, that is, as evidence of voting fraud.

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Beijing cautions US over Iran By M K Bhadrakumar

20 June, 2009 – Asia Times Online

China has broken silence on the developing situation in Iran. This comes against the backdrop of a discernible shift in Washington’s posturing toward political developments in Iran.

The government-owned China Daily featured its main editorial comment on Thursday titled ‘For Peace in Iran’. It comes amid reports in the Western media that the former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is rallying the Qom clergy to put pressure on the Guardians Council – and, in turn, on Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei – to annul last Friday’s presidential election that gave Mahmud Ahmadinejad another four-year term.

Beijing fears a confrontation looming and counsels Obama to keep the pledge in his Cairo speech not to repeat such errors in the US’s Middle East policy as the overthrow of the elected government of Mohammed Mosaddeq in Iran in 1953. Beijing also warns about letting the genie of popular unrest get out of the bottle in a highly volatile region that is waiting to explode. Tehran on Friday saw its sixth day of massive protests by supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi, whom they say was cheated out of victory.

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When Netanyahu Invalidated Camp David and Wadi Araba By Ahmad Barqawi

19 June, 2009 – Palestine Think Tank

Netanyahu-2.jpg“The simple truth is that the root of the conflict has been and remains – the refusal to recognize the right of the Jewish People to its own state on its historical homeland”. Never have I heard the entire Arab-Israeli conflict summed up so concisely yet so deceptively.

Of course those were the words of Benjamin Netanyahu during his latest speech which was delivered –ever so eloquently- last Sunday; the 30-minute Israeli foreign policy speech that laid more damage to an already frail and worn out peace process, was a clear demonstration of Tel Aviv’s right winged government’s profound sense of political tyranny and down right immaturity; and what astounds me the most is this seemingly inexhaustible ability of Israel’s successive governments to sensationalize the opinions of a bunch of right winged religious fanatics and Zionist nationalists and easily get away with it appearing rather praiseworthy in the eyes of western leaders.

In its essence, the speech was no different than the sheer bigoted and “uncompromising” rhetoric that seems to characterize the common Jewish settler, it showed a complete distrust of Arabs and disdain for their efforts to reach a just peace settlement (or any peace settlement for that matter); it was no different than countless of speeches that Netanyahu and his cohorts of neo-fascists and extremists made while campaigning for the latest parliamentary elections, which garnered them the support of the majority of Israelis and ultimately led to the rise of his own party; the Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu, Shas and the rest of their allies to power.

True that he tried to sugarcoat it with a couple of carefully chosen phrases scattered here and there, but that actually resulted in the whole thing being mired in contradictions and falsehoods, in one instance he appealed to the Palestinian people to start peace negotiations “immediately without prior conditions” and in the other; he expressed that The “fundamental condition” for ending the conflict is the public, binding and sincere Palestinian recognition of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish People.

If the recognition of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people was and still is such an unavoidable and essential prerequisite for reaching a peace settlement and that the Arabs’ refusal to meet that condition “has been and remains the root” of this 60-year long and historic conflict; shouldn’t the peace treaties that Israel signed with both Egypt and Jordan be immediately and completely negated given that neither the Camp David accords nor the Wadi Araba Treaty recognized that very same “fundamental condition”?

But Netanyahu’s audacious and confrontational “twisted” logic was indeed something to be seen when he said: “I call upon the talented entrepreneurs of the Arab world, to come and invest here, to assist the Palestinians and us, to give the economy a jump-start. Together we can develop industrial zones, we can create thousands of jobs, and foster tourism that will draw millions…” ….so in short; Arab leaders could go on all day about the niceties of the Arab peace initiative until they go blue in the face; but for Netanyahu it is total and complete normalization of relations first, then –in the far distant and uncertain future- the possibility of demilitarized Palestinian cantons on whatever land that Jewish settlers will approve of granting to the Palestinians could be negotiated.

In his first official reaction to Netanyahu’s speech, U.S. president Barack Obama said the there was a positive movement in the Prime Minister’s speech and that he (Netanyahu) acknowledged the need for two states.

That was the final nail in the coffin of what little hope the Arab world might have had for a “real change” in the United States’ approach with regards to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be brought about by the new “brave” American administration and it shouldn’t come as a surprise either, Obama’s vision of a Palestinian state is akin to that of Netanyahu’s and he can definitely relate to it; after all, it was the United States that first practiced that very same logic and contained native Americans into segregated reservations (read demilitarized and heavily populated cantons) with no territorial integrity or control over their own natural resources.

And even if that was not the case; the truth of the matter is that the current status quo is what preserves this comfortable equilibrium that world leaders and regional regimes have grown so habituated to; because evidently it is far “safer” for them than the alternative in many cases, and from the looks of it; this status quo is –and will be- dearly nurtured in safe hands, at least for the next four years, and no “pacifying” speech (whether from Cairo or elsewhere) will distract the common Palestinian in besieged Gaza from realizing that.

Saree Makdisi – The language that absolves Israel

19 June, 2009 – Palestine Think Tank

Saree Makdisi.jpgA special political vocabulary prevents us from being able to recognize what’s going on in the Middle East.

On Sunday night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech that — by categorically ruling out the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state — ought to have been seen as a mortal blow to the quest for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

On Monday morning, however, newspaper headlines across the United States announced that Netanyahu had endorsed the creation of a Palestinian state, and the White House welcomed the speech as “an important step forward.”

Reality can be so easily stood on its head when it comes to Israel because the misreading of Israeli declarations is a long-established practice among commentators and journalists in the United States.

In fact, a special vocabulary has been developed for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the United States. It filters and structures the way in which developing stories are misread here, making it difficult for readers to fully grasp the nature of those stories — and maybe even for journalists to think critically about what they write.

The ultimate effect of this special vocabulary is to make it possible for Americans to accept and even endorse in Israel what they would reject out of hand in any other country.

Let me give a classic example.

In the U.S., discussion of Palestinian politicians and political movements often relies on a spectrum running from “extreme” to “moderate”. The latter sounds appealing; the former clearly applies to those who must be — must they not? — beyond the pale. But hardly anyone relying on such terms pauses to ask what they mean. According to whose standard are these manifestly subjective labels assigned?

Meanwhile, Israeli politicians are labeled according to an altogether different standard: They are “doves” or “hawks”. Unlike the terms reserved for Palestinians, there’s nothing inherently negative about either of those avian terms.

So why is no Palestinian leader referred to here as a “hawk”? Why are Israeli politicians rarely labeled “extremists”? Or, for that matter, “militants”?

There are countless other examples of these linguistic double standards. American media outlets routinely use the deracinating and deliberately obfuscating term “Israeli Arabs” to refer to the Palestinian citizens of Israel, despite the fact that they call themselves — and are — Palestinian.

Similarly, Israeli housing units built in the occupied territories in contravention of international law are always called “settlements” or even “neighborhoods” rather than what they are: “colonies”. That word may be harsh on the ears, but it’s far more accurate (“a body of people who settle in a new locality, forming a community subject to or connected with their parent state”).

These subtle distinctions make a huge difference. Unconsciously absorbed, such terms frame the way people and events are viewed. When it comes to Israel, we seem to reach for a dictionary that applies to no one else, to give a pass to actions or statements that would be condemned in any other quarter.

That’s what allowed Netanyahu to be congratulated for endorsing a Palestinian “state,” even though the kind of entity he said Palestinians might — possibly — be allowed to have would be nothing of the kind.

Look up the word “state” in the dictionary. You’ll probably see references to territorial integrity, power and sovereignty. The entity that Netanyahu was talking about on Sunday would lack all of those constitutive features. A “state” without a defined territory that is not allowed to control its own borders or airspace and cannot enter into treaties with other states is not a state, any more than an apple is an orange or a car an airplane. So how can leading American newspapers say “Israeli Premier Backs State for Palestinians,” as the New York Times had it? Or “Netanyahu relents on goal of two states,” as this paper put it?

Because a different vocabulary applies.

Which is also what kept Netanyahu’s most extraordinary demand in Sunday night’s speech from raising eyebrows here.

“The truth,” he said, “is that in the area of our homeland, in the heart of our Jewish homeland, now lives a large population of Palestinians.”

In other words, as Netanyahu repeatedly said, there is a Jewish people; it has a homeland and hence a state. As for the Palestinians, they are a collection — not even a group — of trespassers on Jewish land. Netanyahu, of course, dismisses the fact that they have a centuries-old competing narrative of home attached to the same land, a narrative worthy of recognition by Israel.

On the contrary: The Palestinians must, he said, accept that Israel is the state of the Jewish people (this is a relatively new Israeli demand, incidentally), and they must do so on the understanding that they are not entitled to the same rights. “We” are a people, Netanyahu was saying; “they” are merely a “population.” “We” have a right to a state — a real state. “They” do not.

And the spokesman for our African American president calls this “an important step forward”?

In any other situation — including our own country — such a brutally naked contrast between those who are taken to have inherent rights and those who do not would immediately be labeled as racist. Netanyahu, though, is given a pass, not because most Americans would knowingly endorse racism but because, in this case, a special political vocabulary kicks in that prevents them from being able to recognize it for exactly what it is.

Saree Makdisi is a professor of English and comparative literature at UCLA. He is the author of, among other books, “Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation.”

Copyright 2009 Los Angeles Times

Mourners at Father Gerard Jean-Juste's funeral accuse Catholic church, Haitian leaders of complicity in his death By Marguerite 'Ezili Dantò' Laurent

18 June, 2009 – Haitian Lawyers Leadership NetworkSFBayview

‘Look at what Haiti’s tyrants did to me!’ said the priest who could have been president*: Haitian oligarchy jailed him, Catholic church denied him health coverage, hospital denied him care, Miami Herald denigrated his memory.

Veye Yo is Father Gerard Jean Juste’s grassroots human rights organization on 54th Street, Miami, Florida, which he founded in 1979. “Don’t cry when I die,” he said. “I leave the rest for all of you.”

Inside the Veye Yo headquarters, on June 6, after the church memorial at the Notre Dame d’Haiti Catholic Center, I met up with veteran Haitian human rights activists from all over the U.S., Haiti and Canada and we gathered together as a community in mourning but doubly determined to continue the work of Father Jyeri. We shared our stories and many made it a point to tell me how important and meaningful the work of our Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN) is for them – our advocacy work, information, promotion of Haitian culture and counter-colonial narratives.

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Marchers accuse UN of shooting at Haiti funeral By JONATHAN M. KATZ

18 June, 2009

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Gunfire broke out during a funeral procession Thursday for a popular Haitian priest, killing a man and prompting angry protests that could inflame government opponents with only days to go before elections in the troubled nation.

Marchers accused U.N. peacekeepers of killing the unidentified man during protests surrounding the funeral of the Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste, who was a close ally of exiled former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

The protesters are incensed by the presence of foreign troops on Haitian soil. U.N. peacekeeping spokeswoman Sophie Boutaud de la Combe said the shooting was under investigation and that an autopsy would be quickly carried out.

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The censored video: Max Blumenthal: Feeling the Hate In Jerusalem on Eve of Obama’s Cairo Address

19 June, 2009 – Censored by Youtube and reposted.

Max Blumenthal writes: On the eve of President Barack Obama’s address to the Muslim world from Cairo, Egypt, I stepped out onto the streets of Jerusalem with my friend Joseph Dana to interview young Israelis and American Jews about their reaction to the speech. We encountered rowdy groups of beer sodden twenty-somethings, many from the United States, and all eager to vent their visceral, even violent hatred of Barack Obama and his policies towards Israel. Usually I offer a brief commentary on my video reports, but this one requires no comment at all. Quite simply, it contains some of the most shocking footage I have ever filmed. Watch it and see if you agree. (Warning: this video contains profanity and material offensive to just about anyone.)

more about “Jewish Voice for Peace“, posted with vodpod