Friday, December 28, 2007

fall of a corrupt puppet

"I had the chance to meet her (Benazir Bhutto) on several occasions, in which she expressed interest in Israel and said that she hoped to visit upon returning to power." -Shimon Peres (President of "Israel", pictured above with Benazir Bhutto at a "socialist international" (sic) conference) read more here

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Muslim women and the discursive machine of hegemony

Soumaya Ghannoushi writes:

It seems that Muslim women - particularly those living in western capitals- are destined to remain besieged by two debilitating discourses, which though different in appearance, are one in essence.

The first of these is conservative and exclusionist, sentencing Muslim women to a life of childbearing and rearing, lived out in the narrow confines of their homes at the mercy of fathers, brothers, and husbands. Revolving around notions of sexual purity and family honour, it appeals to religion for justification and legitimisation.

The other is a "liberation" discourse that vows to break Muslim woman's bondage and free her of the oppressive yoke of an aggressive, patriarchical, and backward society. She is a mass of powerlessness and enslavement; the embodiment of seclusion, silence, and invisibility. Her only hope of deliverance from the cave of veiling and isolation lies in the benevolent intervention of this force of emancipation. It will save her from her hellishly miserable and bleak existence, to the promised heaven of enlightenment and progress.

The truth is that just as there is a military machine of hegemony, there is a discursive machine of hegemony. When armies move on the ground to conquer and subjugate, they need moral and ideological cover. It is this that gives the dominant narrative of the "Muslim woman" its raison d'etre.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Who is Akbar Ganji?

Akbar Ganji is one of a whole slew of self-styled Iranian dissidents who spend their time in the US on a speakers circuit - where they pose their liberal credentials - while in effect calling for regime change in Iran.

Ganji, like some other Iranian liberals, position themselves as being against military attacks on Iran, but nevertheless use the American establishment to pressure for regime change. Ganji does this by taking a neo-conist type negative attitude towards the present government, and political system of Iran. Because Ganji does not call for direct US government intervention or military action against Iran, he is viewed by the, often Islamophobic, liberal-left of the US as a "dissident." Ganji, however, like other such faux "dissidents" want to overthrow the present system, and install what he calls "democracy." (The fact that Iran, during elections, has the highest turn out in the region, if not the world, seems to escape his notice).

It should be noted that while Ganji does not particularly favor Bush, he would never make a public call for an overthrow of the US constitution - he would be deported, or shipped off to Guantanemo immediately if he made such a call. But, if we are to measure the amount of human rights violations, invasions, and the amount of killings that the US has engaged in just the past six or so years - whatever Iran's faults maybe - they are practically non existent when compared to the US human rights violation. So, then why does Ganji insist on the overthrow of the Iranian government, and of the Islamic Republic itself (to be replaced with "democracy") - but does not call for the same for the US during his tours?

An even larger question to examine is why the US liberal-left should call for the internal overthrow of the Iranian government ("regime change" ) while not calling for the same for the US, if indeed "human rights" is the only criteria being used? Remember that the liberal-left and Ganji are not merely suggesting that Iranian people vote for another candidate for president, the "regime change" in the context means overthrow of the present political-economic system itself. The same liberal-left would never ever call for a similar overthrow of the constitution of the US.

The reason, I think, should be obvious - and the name of this blog provides an explanation. This brand of so-called "progressives" and "liberals" are, in reality, imperialists themselves, and they feel that they have a moral superiority - and can make all kinds of calls that they think are "non-violent" and for "democratic change" but infact, these kinds of calls are nothing more than liberal imperialism of another kind.

And so it is no wonder that Ganji has been presented awards by neo-con types sympathizers who recognize him as one of their own, irrespective of his appeal to the liberal imperialists (with whom they only have a difference of tactics, not goals).

Akbar Ganji was recently given an award from the Right and Democracy (or International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development). This is a Canadian version of the US imperialist project of the National Endowment for Democracy, that has been involved in destabilization campaigns wherever and whenever any country or people exert their right of independence from US colonial and neo-colonialism

The award was given to him by Saad Eddin Ebrahim one of the most avid supporters of the now-defunct Neo-conservative plans to spread democracy in the Middle East, who has also been the director of Rights and Democracy and now sits on its board of directors. (Ibrahim was previously the director of the (neo-con friendly) American Islamic Congress and is still on its board, is on the advisory committee of the Journal of Democracy, published by the National Endowment for Democracy.

Ganji was also heaped praise by George Bush for his anti-Iranian government's activities in 2005, and said in a White House statement: "Mr. Ganji, please know that as you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you," While Bush is often dismissed by liberal-leftists as "stupid" etc. --- he does know who it is that serves his imperial project. Indeed Ganji himself only opposes Bush's intervention because he knows just how angry the people of Iran would be towards any such move - and probably it would mean he would not get the kind of support he does now from the anti-Bush liberal imperialist crowd.