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Arab revolts - past and present

arafastby Joseph Massad

The current popular challenges to the Western-sponsored Arab dictatorships are hardly a new occurrence in modern Arab history. We have seen such uprisings against European colonialism in the region since its advent in Algeria in 1830 and in Egypt in 1882. Revolts in Syria in the 1920s against French rule and especially in Palestine from 1936 to 1939 against British colonial rule and Zionist settler-colonialism were massive by global standards. Indeed the Palestinian Revolt would inspire others in the colonised world and would remain an inspiration to Arabs for the rest of the century and beyond. Anti-colonial resistance which also opposed the colonially-installed Arab regimes continued in Jordan, in Egypt, in Bahrain, Iraq, North and South Yemen, Oman, Morocco, and Sudan. The massive anti-colonial revolt in Algeria would finally bring about independence in 1962 from French settler colonialism. The liberation of Algeria meant that one of the two European settler-colonies in the Arab world was down, and only one remained: Palestine. On the territorial colonial front, much of the Arabian Gulf remained occupied by the British until the 1960s and early 1970s, and awaited liberation.

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Constitutionally Protected Symbolic Speech

ws-protestsS>ymbolic speech examples include leafleting, picketing, demonstrating, marching, speaking publicly, flag burning, displaying t-shirts, armbands, banners and placards, sit-ins, as well as camping out in public places.

With some exceptions, all have First Amendment protection. Numerous Supreme Court decisions addressed the issue. Some agreed. Others didn't.

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New Western Capitalism Rooted in Dickensian Economics

Western CapitalismCapitalism has come a long way since Karl Marx wrote Das Kapital. And so has the language in which it’s spoken: economics. Left behind are those early languages by Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes that for a while were lingua franca… branching out in many languages now transformed into cults followed by schools of economists which comprise a spectrum ranging from high liturgy to voodoo rituals, the latter better described as trickle-down economics, the language of choice for Ronald Reagan and every conservative in American politics since his inauguration in 1981.

Read more: New Western Capitalism Rooted in Dickensian Economics


Goodbye Tibet?

TibetFor ten days last month I saw first-hand what the Chinese are doing in Tibet. The reports you’ve heard of cultural genocide are true. China is obliterating the ideas, traditions and habits of the Tibetan people.

Do we care? We’d better. China’s confidence increases with each step onto the world stage. What the Chinese are doing in Tibet tells us a lot about what we can expect from them as their power grows.

Read more: Goodbye Tibet?


Across The Wall

Across The WallIlan Pappé/Jamil Hilal eds., Across The Wall. Narratives of Israeli-Palestinian History, I. B. Tauris, London-New York 2010, 462 pp., € 56.

“Across the Wall” arose from collaboration between scholars from Israel and Palestine, seeking to arrive at a shared framework for studying the history of this tormented land. Historians from Israel/Palestine came together for dialogue on history, identity, and the meaning of the conflict. They argue for a concept of a “bridging narrative” that can accommodate incompatible national met-narratives. “Bridging narratives are usually intercalary chapters, short pieces that help connect the so-called ‘plot` chapters”. (3) All contested issues in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are discussed.

Read more: Across The Wall


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