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Far more severe than the Israeli occupation?

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — an invitation to explore some suggested comparisons — Afghanistan, too ]
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ben wittes, lawfare blog

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I generally find Ben Wittes’ Lawfare blog worth reading, and was accordingly struck when I read The Methodology of Historical Misrepresentation and came across this paragraph:

There is a widespread tendency amongst scholars, journalists, and legal experts to app double standard when relating to Israel and the Palestinians. Israel is often singled out for prejudicial treatment in comparison to cases far more severe than its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza since 1967, such as the killing in Syria of over half a million people, the hanging of hundreds of dissidents in Iran every year, the Chinese occupation of Tibet, Russian behavior in Chechnya, Syria, and Ukraine, and countless other human rights infringements infinitely worse than the Israeli occupation and settlement movement.

That wasn’t, I’ll admit, what I expected when I read the post’s title: in the context of the Israeli/Paalestinian issue, I could iagune the misrepresentation might be found in Israeli hasbara as easily as in Mahmoud Abbas‘ tendency to say things about the “occupied territories” that only include the West Bank and Gaza when addressing English-speaking audiences, and the whole shebang including Tel Aviv when speaking in Arabic — as repeatedly shown by Itamar Marcus of Palestinial Media Watch

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That said, I’d be interested in specific comparisons in detail, one at a time, between these levels of documented human rights infringements..

For instance, the Israelis have established “facts on the rgound” in the form of both settlers and their sccompanying schools, synagogues, etc within the Palestinian und, with military enforcement, while the Chinese appear similarly to have established “facts on the ground” in Tibetan territor in the form of both settlers and their institutions, militarily enforced.

Howw can one compare these two situations in greater detail, fairly?

Israel separation wall in West Bank

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The first problem any such attempt will encounter is that both sides will produced partisan accounts of history, law, populations, etc, and that accounts by “honest brokers” are desperately hard to find — I mean, educate me in the comments section.

I’ve tried to propose a graphical/typographical system for conducting bilateral debates.. but maybe the Talmud is not ideal for these particular debates..


Talmudic page

Specifically, I took my early inspiration from the Talmud because it explicitly llows divergent viewpoints in its graphical format, as explained by Eliezer Segal on his interactive (ie clickable) Page from the Babylonian Talmud. But perhaps the Talmud is not the ideal basis for these particular debates, in which the Israelis (often deeply influenced by forms of Judaism) are one of the contending parties…

In any case, how, with all the affordances of the web, can we provide a space in which written debates can be refined in light of written (and equally valued) responses, iteratively, so as to provide a record for ongoing dialogue, with both sides equitably represented, and able to respond point by point whwere they disagree or wich to provide additional material, and to agree where they agree.

I am encouraged to know what such a format can eventually produce a document where twwo adversaary-friends collaborate, because of the collaboration of Mustafa Hamid and Leah Farrall, friend of Mullah Omar and OBL and Australian Federal Police AQ expert respectively, on their book, The Arabs at War in Afghanistan, in which some sections indicate that the two co-authors were agreed on theie contents, while some sections are attributed to Mustafa alone, and some to Leah likewise. Two adversaries first meet on the net, then in person in Alexandria, Egypt, then after months and months of collaboration, and no doubt much excellent coffee — this book!

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PS & NB:

Ben Wittes has notably and repeatedly challenged Vladimir Putin to a martial arts match: I’ll Fight Putin Any Time, Any Place He Can’t Have Me Arrested.

That would be something to watch on both RT and MSNBC!

If you want to warn about global warming, this photo might do it

Monday, September 11th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — the elements speak Power to power]
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Images speak louder than words: the right images cut to the heart. Billions of dollars extinguished in freak storms also speak.

It may be that some of those who have been denying global warming are about ready to — reluctantly — take it sweriously as a matter for stragetic gaming.

Realism from Miami’s mayor:

As Hurricane Irma forces millions to evacuate, Mayor Tomás Regalado says: “If this isn’t climate change, I don’t know what is.”

Oh, and Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh indicates he’s evacuating Palm Beach days after suggesting Hurricane Irma is fake news:

Image:

Oh no, that’s not Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, nor is it the apocalypse, just a foretaste. It’s a photo of California burning.

Mother Nature speaks in water, wind and fire. First responders can respond, up to a point. Funding is crucial.

Hey. Job would understand:

At this also my heart trembleth, and is moved out of his place. Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound that goeth out of his mouth. He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning unto the ends of the earth. After it a voice roareth: he thundereth with the voice of his excellency; and he will not stay them when his voice is heard. God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend. For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength.

Humbled yet? Is this the time for a few minds to change?

Hurricanes don’t lie. The earth is now under attack from water, wind and fire.

To see this in the microcosm, take a look at Rohingya, by water and fire — Upshortly

Oh, ah, dark hell by Hieronymous Bosch

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That’s Judgment Day— how many signs — accelerando & crescendo — you wanna see?

Thank you. Out.

Grief and joy in shoes at mosque and church

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — part for whole, what’s that called, synechdoche in Kabul, Houston ]
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Shoes outside places of worship tell two very different tales in these two recent news photos.

Afghanistan

The shoes here are those left behind by worshippers who entered the Shiite mosque in Khair Khana area of Kabul, Afghanistan, which was blown up by ISIS. The death toll was 43 as I am writing this.

As day follows night follows day…

Houston, Texas:

This picture is of shoes donated for those in need of them at Joel Osteen‘s Lakewood Church, which had taken something of a PR beating after Osteen said it hadn’t been opened as a shelter because the authorities hadsn’t requested it — whereas many Houston area mosques were openws without any official request begind given.

Buzzfeed reported on the resentment of OSteen that may lie behind the criticisms leveled against him on this occasion:

The speed, tone, and volume of criticisms leveled against Osteen and Lakewood Church speak to the seriousness of the flooding crisis in Houston, but also to a larger powder keg of resentment directed at a particular strain of American Christianity — Osteen’s pro-wealth prosperity gospel, and the larger evangelical movement it’s associated with — that many see as failing to be charitable to people who are truly in need.

That’s worth pondering — the backlash in itself is a significant “marker” in the sociology of American religion.

WWJD? — Matthew 6.19-21, anyone? Where’s Osteen’s treasure?

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Sources:

  • TRTWorld, At least 43 dead in Daesh-led attack on Shia mosque in Kabul
  • Buzzfeed News, The Joel Osteen Fiasco Says A Lot About American Christianity
  • ShiaWaves, Dozens of Houston Area Mosques are 24/7 Shelters without being Asked
  • Of rules and regs

    Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — that little free libraries are like the Sabbath, and on the close-packing of angels ]
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    Let us suppose a parallel reality in which squares and circles, cubes and spheres, have wings. The nature of bureaucracy is that in the interest of packing squares and circles, cubes and spheres, it lops off their wings — convenient but inelegant, and what a waste of flight!

    Example:

    The Little Free Library concept is premised on the blessing of books — and the generosity of a gift economy.

    Individuals put up little free libraries outside their houses, often repurposing bird feeders or mail boxes — but zoning bureaucrats not infrequently try to shut them down:

    Little Free Libraries on the wrong side of the law

    Crime, homelessness and crumbling infrastructure are still a problem in almost every part of America, but two cities have recently cracked down on one of the country’s biggest problems: small community libraries where residents can share books.

    Officials in Los Angeles and Shreveport, La., have told the owners of homemade lending libraries that they’re in violation of city codes, and asked them to remove or relocate their small book collections.

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    Scriptures:

    There’s actually a Biblical injunction about this sort of thing — Mark 2.27:

    The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath..

    It’s a matter of priorities: zoning laws are intended to facilitate human life, not to frustrate it.

    Or as Lao Tzu might say, the zoning that can be set forth in rules and regs isn’t the ideal zoning.

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    Creativity & Bureaucracy, PS, NB:

    I usually think of winged squares and so forth in terms of creative ideation, and how creative ideas can get the creativity clipped from them in committe — making the point that a winged square is, in an important sense, a better “translation” of a winged circle than a circle with its wings clipped will ever be.. since it captures the material / ethereal binary that’s the essence of imagining a circle with wings.

    Compare Picasso‘s reported observation, “the best criticism of any work of art is another work of art.”

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    Has anyone figured out the best method of close-packing angels?

    Argh.

    Oh, Music!

    Sunday, July 9th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — music as endangered yet transcendent species ]
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    The abuse:


    http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/guantanamo/article160037809.html

    The use:

    or for that matter:

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    There’s no doubt but that Arvo Pärt‘s Miserere fully comprehends the dark, dismaying aspects of contemporary life, hence the inclusion of fragments of the Dies Irae, but it comprehends the darkness in a manner that in calling for mercy transcends it, recalling the Music of the Ainur in Tolkien‘s Silmarillion — and the Prologue to John’s Gospel, offering the natural obverse to John 1.5: “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”


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