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Messages - Shah Nister Kabir

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Guardian: Is the current crisis in Europe a financial problem, political problem or a moral problem?

Habermas: The current crisis can be explained both through economic causes and political failure. The sovereign debt crisis that emerged from the banking crisis had its roots in the sub-optimal conditions of a heterogeneously composed currency union. Without a common financial and economic policy, the national economies of pseudo-sovereign member states will continue to drift apart in terms of productivity. No political community can sustain such tension in the long run. At the same time, by focusing on avoidance of open conflict, the EU’s institutions are preventing necessary political initiatives for expanding the currency union into a political union. Only the government leaders assembled in the European Council are in the position to act, but precisely they are the ones who are unable to act in the interest of a joint European community because they think mainly of their national electorate. We are stuck in a political trap.

Guardian: What is your verdict on the deal reached on Monday?

Habermas: The Greek debt deal announced on Monday morning is damaging both in its result and the way in which it was reached. First, the outcome of the talks is ill-advised. Even if one were to consider the strangulating terms of the deal the right course of action, one cannot expect these reforms to be enacted by a government which by its own admission does not believe in the terms of the agreement.

Secondly, the outcome does not make sense in economic terms because of the toxic mixture of necessary structural reforms of state and economy with further neoliberal impositions that will completely discourage an exhausted Greek population and kill any impetus to growth.

Thirdly, the outcome means that a helpless European Council is effectively declaring itself politically bankrupt: the de facto relegation of a member state to the status of a protectorate openly contradicts the democratic principles of the European Union. Finally, the outcome is disgraceful because forcing the Greek government to agree to an economically questionable, predominantly symbolic privatisation fund cannot be understood as anything other than an act of punishment against a left-wing government. It’s hard to see how more damage could be done.

"I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion. The famine was their own fault for breeding like rabbits.”
:Winston Churchill

The British had a ruthless economic agenda when it came to operating in India and that did not include empathy for native citizens. Under the British Raj, India suffered countless famines. But the worst hit was Bengal. The first of these was in 1770, followed by severe ones in 1783, 1866, 1873, 1892, 1897 and lastly 1943-44. Previously, when famines had hit the country, indigenous rulers were quick with useful responses to avert major disasters. After the advent of the British, most of the famines were a consequence of monsoonal delays along with the exploitation of the country’s natural resources by the British for their own financial gain. Yet they did little to acknowledge the havoc these actions wrought. If anything, they were irritated at the inconveniences in taxing the famines brought about.
The first of these famines was in 1770 and was ghastly brutal. The first signs indicating the coming of such a huge famine manifested in 1769 and the famine itself went on till 1773. It killed approximately 10 million people, millions more than the Jews incarcerated during the Second World War. It wiped out one third the population of Bengal. John Fiske, in his book “The Unseen World”, wrote that the famine of 1770 in Bengal was far deadlier than the Black Plague that terrorized Europe in the fourteenth century. Under the Mughal rule, peasants were required to pay a tribute of 10-15 per cent of their cash harvest. This ensured a comfortable treasury for the rulers and a wide net of safety for the peasants in case the weather did not hold for future harvests. In 1765 the Treaty of Allahabad was signed and East India Company took over the task of collecting the tributes from the then Mughal emperor Shah Alam II. Overnight the tributes, the British insisted on calling them tributes and not taxes for reasons of suppressing rebellion, increased to 50 percent. The peasants were not even aware that the money had changed hands. They paid, still believing that it went to the Emperor.
Source: World Observer

Last week, the  Haaretz reported a senior US official as saying that Obama had spoken to the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, offering to “begin immediate talks about upgrading the Israel Defence Forces’ offensive and defensive capabilities” after US negotiators reached a deal on Iran’s nuclear programme, which was condemned by Israel. But the day before, the Onion had published a tongue-in-cheek piece announcing that the Israeli government would receive “a nice, big shipment of ballistic missiles” to help them come to terms with the Iran deal.

The piece included jokey quotes from a “State Department spokesperson”, which said: “Bibi always gets a little cranky when he sees us talking to Iran, but a few dozen short-range surface-to-surface missiles usually cheer him right up … At least we’ll have a couple months of peace and quiet around here.”

Life does not entirely imitate satire: Haaretz reported that the Israeli leader has said he would not accept the offer, because to do so would imply that the Iran deal had been tacitly accepted, though Israeli army radio on Monday quoted unnamed defence ministry officials as saying they would discuss compensation from the US. The US defence secretary, Ashton Carter, met Netanyahu in Israel on Tuesday for talks before travelling on to Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

The United States grants the country about $3bn (£1.9bn) in military aid annually, and also spends on other equipment, such as Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system.

Source: the Guardian

What does it mean?

Journalism & Mass Communication / Iran, WWII and the near after WWII
« on: July 21, 2015, 03:33:43 PM »
The house is a large house by Iranian standards with plaster colonnades characteristic of Qajar architecture. There is no one on the porch that is daubed in slogans declaring Death to Mossadeq. It is 19 of August 1953. The Anglo American coup conceived by the British and conducted by the CIA has been successful. Mobs and a tank have overrun the premier’s house. There are papers strewn all across the garden. Mossadeq has been arrested. He will die in exile in his garden outside the boundaries of Tehran under house arrest. He will be buried in the front room of his rural home. Even in death, he will not find reprieve from his exile. He must be forgotten even as the country enjoys the riches of the oil that he freed for them. On a shelf in the room next to this makeshift mausoleum is a picture of the premier smartly dressed in a sharp suit standing atop a platform, smiling next to the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. It is 1951 and he has just delivered an emotive speech drawing parallels between the American emancipation from the British in 1776 and Iran’s attempts to nationalize its oil industry. Back then many Iranians believed that the United States with its constitutional affirmations of freedom, was Iran’s best ally against the old meddling imperial forces of Britain and Russia.
A raised small platform in the seminarian city of Qom, 1964. A middle-aged cleric sits slightly elevated on a traditional pulpit above a sea of white turbans. He is preaching to his juniors, deploring a recently passed law that exempts American military personnel from being tried by Iranian courts if they commit a crime in the country. He declares that the Shah’s capitulation law is humiliating. For this he will be slapped by the Shah’s prime minister and eventually exiled, first to Iraq and then to France, only to return 15 years later to become the supreme spiritual leader of Iran after the revolution. On his return he will greet his loyal followers through a raised window at the Refah School for girls. History is framed in the humble wooden struts of the window. There are no balconies here. On the rooftop though, summary executions of those close to the ousted Shah will take place during the night. During the day, the school yard heaves with the mass of people who have come to hear Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini speak of his vision for a new Iran. It’s Februaury 1979.

Source: the Guardian

Journalism & Mass Communication / Qatari Royals
« on: July 02, 2015, 04:49:33 PM »
It will by all accounts be one hell of a gaff: a Grade I listed, 13-bedroom, 30,000 sq ft, twin-lift mansion on Regent’s Park, complete with spa, heated swimming pool, gymnasium, beauty salon, powder rooms, a children’s floor, games rooms, wine cellar, fumoir and staff wing. When the conversion of numbers 1, 2 and 3 Cornwall Terrace – acquired last year for £120m by Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned, one of the three wives of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the former emir of Qatar – is complete, the resulting palace is expected to be London’s first £200m-plus pad.

But that sum pales into insignificance besides the value of the Qatari royal family’s other holdings in London. In a spending spree that started in 2008, the ruling Al Thani family and its assorted investment vehicles, including the Qatar Investment Fund, have acquired a 20% slice of Camden market; posh department store Harrods; 95% of the Shard, at 87 storeys the EU’s tallest building; the Olympic village; half of the world’s most expensive apartment block at One Hyde Park; the Chelsea Barracks site, and the US embassy building in Grosvenor Square.

Journalism & Mass Communication / Qatar, London- and Qatari Royals
« on: July 02, 2015, 04:46:43 PM »
Overlooking Regent’s Park, a short walk from the London Central Mosque, is Cornwall Terrace, a grade-one listed, postcard-perfect example of the Regency-era, high Greco-Roman style. Laid out by John Nash and designed by Decimus Burton, the houses are so grand that they tend to be subdivided or occupied by corporations.

But last year Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser al-Missned, perhaps the most publicity-friendly member of the Qatar royal family, bought three of the buildings for a reported £120m. Last week it was announced that she was having them turned into one 33,000 sq ft mansion, with games rooms, twin lifts, gymnasium and a swimming pool set in Portland stone. The result is likely to be the UK’s most expensive private home.

An elegant woman with an eye-catching knack for combining modern western style with a traditional Arabic sensibility, Sheikha Mozah’s little venture into the London property market cannot really be described as home building. Because, in keeping with many of her new neighbours, her acquisition is fundamentally a corporate operation. The new palace will be the London headquarters of the al-Thani family, whose family business is to all intents and purposes Qatar.

The multi-billionaire rulers of Qatar are the owners of the Shard, Harrods, the Olympic village, the US embassy building in Grosvenor Square, a slice of Camden market, half of the world’s most expensive apartment block at One Hyde Park and the Chelsea barracks site, not to mention 8% of the London Stock Exchange, a similar cut of Barclays and a quarter of Sainsbury’s. In total, they own more of London, it is said, than the Crown Estate.

Journalism & Mass Communication / Greek, EU, Euro
« on: July 02, 2015, 04:31:16 PM »
If you believe political leaders in Berlin, Paris, Brussels, this Sunday marks a make-or-break moment not only for the eurozone but for the EU itself. An extraordinary state of affairs given that – on one level at least – the only thing happening this weekend is that Greece, a country representing just 2% of the entire EU population, will hold a referendum on whether or not to accept the latest deal offered by creditors. The rhetoric coming from Athens is as heated, where there is talk of European “blackmail” against the free will of Greek voters, as if Europe’s creditor nations don’t have voters of their own. If cool heads are to prevail, they must first reflect on how things have turned so sour. Unless a last-minute deal can be reached between Greece and its creditors, the only thing that can be hoped for is serious damage limitation. In the worst-case scenario of a Greek exit from the euro, it would pile disaster upon disaster if the country were to leave the European Union. Europe must stare into this abyss to prevent itself from falling into it.
Live Greek debt crisis: Yanis Varoufakis says he'll resign if Greece votes Yes - live updates
Greece’s finance minister tells Bloomberg TV he’d rather cut his arm off than agree to a deal without debt restructuring
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No side bears sole blame for the current mess. From the very start, the idea of a common European currency was built on a logical flaw. Put at its crudest, monetary union all but requires fiscal union, which in turn requires political union. Yet when the euro was launched, there were no such institutions or mechanisms, just the perennial but vague hope of ever closer union. What’s more, the world’s largest currency area was run on two unsustainable economic motors: Germany exporting ever more to southern Europe and the rest of the world, and southern Europe relying on cheap credit. That fragile system was crushed under the rubble of the financial crisis.

Nor is there much dispute that creditors have mismanaged the Greek dossier ever since the first bailout in 2010. The troika of creditors – the European Central Bank, the EU commission and the IMF – told Greece that the only way to fix its economy was to adopt severe austerity, medicine that felt to Greeks like the shredding of cherished labour rights and benefits. This programme not only failed to make the debt sustainable; it has recreated the kind of poverty that western Europe thought it had left behind. Meanwhile, the bulk of the €240bn (£170bn) total bailout money Greece received in 2010 and 2012 went straight back to the banks that lent it money before the crash.
Source: the Guardian

Journalism & Mass Communication / Modern London city
« on: July 02, 2015, 04:20:22 PM »
London is terrible. It’s literally the worst place in the world, and I’m not using “literally” in that awful way people in London use it when they talk about how they “literally need a supersize basement” or they “literally will die if they don’t have a £10 coffee”. (London people are awful.) I mean it in the original sense of the word – there is literally nowhere in the world worse than London. Not South Sudan, not Yemen. Not even New Jersey. London. The worst. Literally.

UN peacekeepers traded food for sex with at at least 231 vulnerable women in earthquake-ravaged Haiti, leaving a number of them pregnant and with no financial support, a shocking report has revealed. Rosa Mina Joseph was just 17 when a 35-year-old Uruguayan soldier got her pregnant with son Anderson (pictured right). His father has now left Haiti and gone home. Roselaine Duperval became pregnant with daughter Sasha (left) by a marine working for the UN. He has paid her just $200 dollars in child support. Roselaine said: 'They come in our country to help us and they don't help us; they have kids with us and leave.'

Source: the Mail

The wife of a senior Israeli minister sparked outrage on Sunday by posting a racist joke about President Barack Obama on Twitter.

Judy Shalom Nir Mozes, a well-known face on Israeli TV and the wife of the country’s interior minister Silvan Shalom, quickly deleted the offending tweet – but it was too late to avoid mounting criticism.

The post that set off a wave of international public anger was short and to the point.

“Do you know what Obama coffee is? Black and weak”, Mozes tweeted in English.

Protests on Twitter came swiftly in English and Hebrew, including messages such as “Have you gone mad?” and “You’d better erase this … frighteningly racist”.
In 2012 she was nominated to represent Unicef, the United Nations body dealing with children’s rights and emergency needs, in Israel, and was set to join a sparkling list of royal and celebrity ambassadors that has included David Beckham, Sarah Jessica Parker, William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Queen Rania of Jordan, Shakira and Sir Roger Moore.

But according to the Jerusalem Post, she resigned after whipping up a political storm when she posted messages to Facebook vociferously supporting Israel’s military bombardment of Gaza and referring to Palestinians there simply as “people whose children are fed hate towards Israel ... who have it in their DNA to hate us”.

Source: the guadrian

It has been nearly 14 years since the 9/11 attacks, but a lawsuit on behalf of Muslims rounded up in the aftermath has barely moved forward as lawyers try to show how frightening it was for hundreds of men with no ties to terrorism to be treated like terrorists, locked up and abused for months at a time.

The lawsuit finally got the go-ahead from a federal appeals court last week, with two judges willing to let the courts grapple with what happened when the largest criminal probe in US history tested the boundaries of civil liberties.
Holding the defendants “in solitary confinement 23 hours a day with regular strip searches because their perceived faith or race placed them in the group targeted for recruitment by al-Qaida violated the detainees’ constitutional rights”, the majority wrote.

“The suffering endured by those who were imprisoned merely because they were caught up in the hysteria of the days immediately following 9/11 is not without a remedy.”

Source: the Guardian

English / Re: Representation of Islam: Terrorist by John Updike
« on: June 16, 2015, 03:18:45 PM »
Its a very good contribution. Very articulated.

Journalism & Mass Communication / Self promtion: my articles
« on: June 16, 2015, 12:02:38 PM »
I am pleased to inform you that one of my articles (Muslims in Western Media: New Zealand Newspapers’ Construction of 2006 Terror Plot at Heathrow Airport and Beyond)is accepted for the International Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs (London: Rutledge).

Another article is (Representing the Palestinian Election 2006 in New Zealand Newspapers) also accepted for the journal of Culture Unbound. Published from a Swedish University-- Linköping University.

I thank you very much all for your good co-operation.


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