- “The Transition” (a 40 minute documentary on Liberia on Vimeo)
- People & Power: Yemen: A tale of two protests
- “Libya: The First Arab Revolution?” A lecture by James Gelvin.
From “How Didactic Art Could Be Less Boring,” just because I like it:
(also, here, the links I posted yesterday on Occupy Wall Street)
- Pankaj Mishra on contemporary Pakistani writers and the expectations they face, in both Pakistan and the West.
- Africa is a Country’s Weekend Special
- “Night-Smudged Light”: Daisy reviews Yashpal’s finally translated monumental novel on Partition. “The Prince of Denmark has at last made his entrance; let the conversation begin.”
- A bleeding heart: When Adolf Hitler Almost Won the Nobel Peace Prize
- “Sweetness and Power” A sugar crisis in Uganda has reignited a legacy of racial tension.
- Haunting images of Afghanistan, as selected by photographers.
- Dolls in Africa
- The costs of ten years of US war with Afghanistan.
- “The more devout a Muslim becomes, the more of a threat he becomes to our national security.”
- Mother Jones reports that the FBI has 15,000 spies in the US, many tasked with infiltrating Muslim communities.
- Yochai Benkler’s WikiLeaks and the protect-ip Act: A New Public-Private Threat to the Internet Commons
- A memoir of reading Naguib Mahfouz.
- The Psychogeography of Loose Associations
- The Forgotten Anniversary: 9/7 and America’s Longest War
- Palestinian Statehood and the Namibian example
- “Like every aspiring plutocrat who loves AC Milan,” Supriya Nair “sometimes fantasises about owning the club.”
- “Are You So Mad at Pakistan You Can’t Feel Sorry for Them?” is a powerful photo-set, but, um, can I have a third choice?
- NYPD Secretly Monitored Its Muslim “Partners”
Among the public and the media in developed countries, and not absent from the work of professional economists, is the perception that the countries of sub-Saharan Africa received large amounts of development assistance over the last three decades. This perception has been journalistically fostered by Dambisa Moyo (Dead Aid) and with more superficial respectability by former World Bank economist William Easterly (The White Man’s Burden). The message of these polemics is that “trillions” in aid dollars have been “squandered” in African” to no benefit, with the lack of benefit typically attributed to corruption in “African” governments.
This mini-industry of anti-aid polemics represents such a gross distortion of the truth that calling it propaganda is an extreme understatement. More appropriate would be ‘gross and willful distortions of the truth’. While many, including this reviewer, have attacked these attempts to misrepresent the reality of financial flows in and out of sub-Saharan Africa, none have done so with the analytical clarity and empirical thoroughness of Ndikumana and Boyce in their outstanding work, Africa’s Odious Debts. The reality that the authors demonstrate is simply stated and appalling in its implications: sub-Saharan Africa, location of the poorest countries in the world, has generated net capital outflows for decades. One could with small exaggeration say that for a generation Africa has provided aid to the United States and Western Europe.
Taking a quote from here:
…[S]ub-Saharan Africa experienced an exodus of more than $700 billion in capital flight since 1970. Some of this money wound up in accounts at the same banks that made loans to African governments. Africa is a net creditor to the rest of the world in the sense that its foreign assets exceed its foreign liabilities. But there is a key difference between the two: the assets are in the hands of private Africans, while the liabilities are public, owed by the African people at large through their governments.
- “Imagine this other. Give them an interiority, a mindfulness, an agency, a history” Manan Ahmed on Pakistani people
- Iraq, Afghanistan wars not worth fighting, many vets say
- West Bank settler “violence is epidemic & it’s only going to get worse.”
- Remaking the University: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Wrongness.
- Cécile Oumhani: After the Revolution: Tunisia, September
- First they came for the hipsters, and I said nothing because I was not a hipster.
- “Making the University a Police State”
so you remember the book of Genesis, right?
that’s the one where there’s a garden
and Adam is in it
and then he’s bored so God makes him a sex slave out of one of his ribs
but hold on there, cowboy
because before Eve
there used to be a different chick
her name was Lilith
and she was not made out of anybody’s ribs except her own…
- Sex and the single drone
- Waiting for Radiohead
- Understanding Somali Society
- Why are kings surviving the Arab spring?
- Morgan Spurlock wants to hear about your failed novel.
- Dear Delta Airlines.
- Japanese bookstore destroyed by tsunami returns under tent due to popular demand
- Remembering Bhola: The Cyclone That Broke Pakistan’s Back via @salmaan_h
- Debit card fees are robbery.
- New Media and ‘the War of Ideas’ – On looking in your own backyard.
- Dissertations vs. Journal Articles for Grad Students
- Palin was Right About those Government Death Panels
You go to the war because you’re poor. You start out poor and you’ll go to the war. All your family in the world is a sister and Uncle Sam, and it’s your uncle who has your back.
‘Haussmannization’ – the mid-19th-century programme of urban renewal in Paris named after the prefect in charge of it, Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann – was specifically aimed at making it difficult or impossible for protestors or revolutionaries to take streets via the barricade. If alleys and small streets were difficult for armies to navigate, wide avenues were seen as unblockable, as well as conducive to the rapid transfer of troops or police around Paris. Haussmannization was translated for more than 100 years into other places around the world, from modernized megacities to US university campuses in the wake of the 1960s protests.
Recent events in London seem to demonstrate that, due to various technological and ideological shifts, the days of the Haussmannized city street as a deterrent to protest are numbered. Barricades have given way to flash mobs, the targets have shifted toward the emporiums of consumerism, and the cat-and-mouse battles between the police and those who resist them take place nearly as often online as in the physical places of the city. Despite differences of means and ends between the first set of anti-austerity protestors and the more recent rioters, several strands run between the two groups, all evocative of the new tactics and rules of urban disorder.
- White House Issues ‘WikiLeaks’ Order to Secure Classified Data
- DHS Launches ‘Minority Report’ Pre-Crime Detection Program
We’ve called out Tom Friedman in recent months for being “radically wrong” in the past. And then for being “still wrong.” No surprise then, that he’d be wrong and causing confusion yet again.
- The most important shift in penal policy in California in forty years, but few appear to care about it.
- Taxing nothing: Making empty homes pay
- The Coolest Little Coffee Shop in Japan
- Caleb Crain On not letting go.
- The strange power of Qatar
All we see here is a group of former chancellors radiating an indecent complacency about access, one that is out of touch with current research about the damage done to educational attainment by the Great Cost Shift to students.
Bob Dylan’s paintings are “Workmanlike but they do their job…”:
From Savage Mind’s “Around the Web Digest”
- March of the Neoliberals
- Why don’t Americans say “Mate”
- As recently as 1979, a first grader could
- Slums, anthropology.
- Interview with Lois Waicquant
- Cherokee Nation expels descendants of freed slaves
- Lauri Kubuitsile, whose story “In the Spirit of McPhineas Lata,” I wrote about here is going on a Blog Book Tour!!!
- ‘The Art of El Anatsui’
- Mubarak’s Odious Debts
- Udi Aloni and Judith Butler
- CNN’s Factcheck Failure on Occupy Wall Street
- Mark Levine reflects on how a great university is dying in California.
- 1/3 of Americans are one paycheck away from the threat of homelessness.
- Teju Cole on “Miracle Speech: The Poetry of Tomas Tranströmer
- Paul Muldoon on Tomas Tranströmer
- Robin Robertson on Translating Tomas Tranströmer
Rob Horning on Steve Jobs:
Part of me feels viscerally an envy with regard to Jobs that marks the degree to which I’ve vicariously participated in the myth that has been built around him, in the entrepreneur worship, the fantasy of power—of being able to alter other’s lives and still be regarded as benevolent. Technology is a perfect vector for that sort of power, masking the agency of those who develop it and program it and representing that as irresistible progress. That instinctive envy engenders a deep skepticism of Silicon Valley, of the sort of people drawn to it, those who seeking technocratic means to dominate the world, impose a vision, dictate the contours of others’ lives. Jobs worship perpetuates the idea that proprietary technology is developed for us, for our improvement and our needs, rather than for profit or for the egos of venture capitalists and self-proclaimed visionaries. It makes more sense to me, if you want to worship tech gurus, to choose someone like Linus Torvalds, though I doubt he’ll be on the cover of Time when he dies.
What everyone is “too polite to say about Steve Jobs”:
The internet allowed people around the world to express themselves more freely and more easily. With the App Store, Apple reversed that progress. The iPhone and iPad constitute the most popular platform for handheld computerizing in America, key venues for media and software. But to put anything on the devices, you need Apple’s permission. And the company wields its power aggressively.
In the name of protecting children from the evils of erotica — “freedom from porn” — and adults from one another, Jobs has banned from being installed on his devices gay art, gay travel guides, political cartoons, sexy pictures, Congressional candidate pamphlets, political caricature,Vogue fashion spreads, systems invented by the opposition, and other things considered morally suspect.
Apple’s devices have connected us to a world of information. But they don’t permit a full expression of ideas. Indeed, the people Apple supposedly serves — “the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers” — have been particularly put out by Jobs’ lockdown. That America’s most admired company has followed such an un-American path, and imposed centralized restrictions typical of the companies it once mocked, is deeply disturbing.
In 2010, the Daily Mail managed to get a reporter inside a facility in China that manufactures products for Apple and the paper shared a bit about what life is like:
With the complex at peak production, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week to meet the global demand for Apple phones and computers, a typical day begins with the Chinese national anthem being played over loudspeakers, with the words: ‘Arise, arise, arise, millions of hearts with one mind.’
As part of this Orwellian control, the public address system constantly relays propaganda, such as how many products have been made; how a new basketball court has been built for the workers; and why workers should ‘value efficiency every minute, every second’.
With other company slogans painted on workshop walls – including exhortations to ‘achieve goals unless the sun no longer rises’ and to ‘gather all of the elite and Foxconn will get stronger and stronger’ – the employees work up to 15-hour shifts.
Down narrow, prison-like corridors, they sleep in cramped rooms in triple-decked bunk beds to save space, with simple bamboo mats for mattresses. Despite summer temperatures hitting 35 degrees, with 90 per cent humidity, there is no air-conditioning. Workers say some dormitories house more than 40 people and are infested with ants and cockroaches, with the noise and stench making it difficult to sleep.
Mr. Jobs’s magic has its costs. We can admire the design perfection and business acumen while acknowledging the truth: with Apple’s immense resources at his command he could have revolutionized the industry to make devices more humanely and more openly, and chose not to. If we view him unsparingly, without nostalgia, we would see a great man whose genius in design, showmanship and stewardship of the tech world will not be seen again in our lifetime. We would also see a man who in the end failed to “think different,” in the deepest way, about the human needs of both his users and his workers.
Virus hits drone fleet:
“We keep wiping it off, and it keeps coming back,” says a source familiar with the network infection, one of three that told Danger Room about the virus. “We think it’s benign. But we just don’t know.”
The Belgian choreographer was surprised when she first saw the video. In an interview with Belgian radio station Studio Brussel today she said: “I didn’t know anything about this. I’m not mad, but this is plagiarism…What’s rude about it is that they don’t even bother about hiding it. They seem to think they could do it because it’s a famous work…Am I honoured? Look, I’ve seen local school kids doing this. That’s a lot more beautiful.”
Barefoot cartography (via @bintbattuta):
The women of Itaha Kalpi, a drought-hit village in Bundelkhand, UP, came together across caste lines to map water and other resources available in their village in rangoli, and then on paper. In the process, the barefoot cartographers also learnt to map their inequities, their aspirations and demands
- Another quite plausible way that global warming will end life on earth as we know it.
- DHS Launches ‘Minority Report’ Pre-Crime Detection Program.
- 10 Things to Know About Wall Street’s Rapacious Attack on America.
- The Cultural and Literary Scene in Morocco: From the Caravan of Books to the Literary Café
- Heathrow counter-terrorism officers put passengers with Arabic names on security database…. to appear busy.
- I was a Wall Street zombie
- “North America gives us our Muslimness, bright and new and light as air”
- The Boomerang Comes Home: Obama’s ‘death panel’ and the war on terror
- Harsh Repression against Student Protesters in Chile
- Despite Insisting State Was ‘Broke,’ Gov. Scott Walker Spent $60,000 On iPads
- If you get stuck in a lift, call these guys
- Job Numbers and How Lost Months Turn into Lost Years (into Lost Decades)
- Kol Nidre in Cairo. Not.
- The three things I learned at the Purdue Conference for Pre-Tenure Women: on being a radical scholar
- Jesus Ween.