Jun. 22nd, 2011

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[personal profile] the_future_modernes
The Arab World’s Forgotten Rebellions: Foreign Workers and Biopolitics in the Gulf

The Arab world is undergoing a potentially world-historical transformation. The Tunisian street vendor Muhammad Bouazizi’s self-imolation, following mistreatment by state authorities in late 2010, sparked a deluge of populist anger and activism that has toppled the Ben Ali and Mubarak regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, respectively, soon to be followed by street demonstrations and battles across the region. At the time of this writing, Libyan rebels in alliance with a NATO coalition are battling Qaddafi and his loyalists. Bahrainis, Omanis, and Yemenis, and most recently Syrians, have taken to the streets en masse, and have been met by the bullets and security thugs–and in Bahrain’s case, Saudi troops–pressed into service by regimes desperately trying to maintain the grip on power of entrenched one-family states. The analogy has been made between these events and the Prague Spring of 1968, both with its hopes for popular challenges of illegitimate state power, and its warnings about the cunning and brutality of such power arranged against popular movements. Yet before these rebellions came others, arguably more modest in their aims and undeniably less noticed by the world media. For years, workers, predominantly South Asians, have been taking to the streets in the United Arab Emirates. What have these protests been about and why have they been ignored? How might they inform future scholarship on the Gulf?MORE
It would be enlightening I think to see the differences and similarities between the immigration debate here in the USA and whats going on in the Gulf.
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[personal profile] the_future_modernes
Aftershocks of International Interventions

...In a recent New York Times article, Nathanial Gronewold finds that "Lessons From 2004 Tsunami Will Guide Redevelopment Efforts in Haiti." Unfortunately Gronewold's rosy account of post-tsunami successes overlooks the lessons we didn't learn, and loses even more credibility in its reliance on the expertise of one of the largest evangelical Christian relief groups. Working in a heavily affected area on the eastern coast of Sri Lanka in the weeks after the tsunami, we came across a group of bewildered orphans imitating chants directed by a team of scientologists in bright yellow (happiness-inspiring?) t-shirts. Reports of John Travolta's heroic transport of scientology ministers into the Port-Au-Prince airport and their food distribution (to patients not allowed food while waiting to undergo surgery) leaves one envisioning the confused faces of the unfortunate Haitian children they are certain to seek out.

Other unhelpful intrusions into vulnerable spaces (such as schools and orphanages) are likely to resurface in affected areas across Haiti. Art therapists in Sri Lanka came armed with crayons, paper, one week's leave—and very little understanding of the social and political context they were working in. Two hours later the war-affected children's images of bombs, bloody limbs, and destroyed homes left the therapists looking overwhelmed and entirely unsure of how to deal with the trauma these pictures revealed. These repeat mistakes, while jarring, are shallow and their impact is likely to fade along with the glare of the twenty-four-hour media coverage.

There are, however, mistakes that have left an indelible mark on communities across South Asia—mistakes we cannot afford to repeat. MORE
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[personal profile] the_future_modernes
Fukushima: It's much worse than you think

"The fuels are now a molten blob at the bottom of the reactor," Gundersen added. "TEPCO announced they had a melt through. A melt down is when the fuel collapses to the bottom of the reactor, and a melt through means it has melted through some layers. That blob is incredibly radioactive, and now you have water on top of it. The water picks up enormous amounts of radiation, so you add more water and you are generating hundreds of thousands of tons of highly radioactive water."

Independent scientists have been monitoring the locations of radioactive "hot spots" around Japan, and their findings are disconcerting.

"We have 20 nuclear cores exposed, the fuel pools have several cores each, that is 20 times the potential to be released than Chernobyl," said Gundersen. "The data I'm seeing shows that we are finding hot spots further away than we had from Chernobyl, and the amount of radiation in many of them was the amount that caused areas to be declared no-man's-land for Chernobyl. We are seeing square kilometres being found 60 to 70 kilometres away from the reactor. You can't clean all this up. We still have radioactive wild boar in Germany, 30 years after Chernobyl."


"Units one through three have nuclear waste on the floor, the melted core, that has plutonium in it, and that has to be removed from the environment for hundreds of thousands of years," he said. "Somehow, robotically, they will have to go in there and manage to put it in a container and store it for infinity, and that technology doesn't exist. Nobody knows how to pick up the molten core from the floor, there is no solution available now for picking that up from the floor."MORE
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[personal profile] ithiliana
Equal Rights Amendment Re-introduced today.

Gacked from Shakesville.

I remember the first time; I was serving as a page in the legislature in Idaho when they tried to rescind their ratification of it.

Given that Scalia has declared the Constitution does not protect women from discrimination based on sex, I hope it passes this time (and I wonder if Phyllis Schlaffley will be campaigning against it based on "on noes draft" and "TOILETS!!!11!!").
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[personal profile] the_future_modernes
via: [personal profile] ginny_t Democracy vs Mythology: The Battle in Syntagma Square

I have never been more desperate to explain and more hopeful for your understanding of any single fact than this: The protests in Greece concern all of you directly.

What is going on in Athens at the moment is resistance against an invasion; an invasion as brutal as that against Poland in 1939. The invading army wears suits instead of uniforms and holds laptops instead of guns, but make no mistake – the attack on our sovereignty is as violent and thorough. Private wealth interests are dictating policy to a sovereign nation, which is expressly and directly against its national interest. Ignore it at your peril. Say to yourselves, if you wish, that perhaps it will stop there. That perhaps the bailiffs will not go after the Portugal and Ireland next. And then Spain and the UK. But it is already beginning to happen. This is why you cannot afford to ignore these events.

The powers that be have suggested that there is plenty to sell. Josef Schlarmann, a senior member of Angela Merkel’s party, recently made the helpful suggestion that we should sell some of our islands to private buyers in order to pay the interest on these loans, which have been forced on us to stabilise financial institutions and a failed currency experiment. (Of course, it is not a coincidence that recent studies have shown immense reserves of natural gas under the Aegean sea).

China has waded in, because it holds vast currency reserves and more than a third are in Euros. Sites of historical interest like the Acropolis could be made private. If we do not as we are told, the explicit threat is that foreign and more responsible politicians will do it by force. Let’s make the Parthenon and the ancient Agora a Disney park, where badly paid locals dress like Plato or Socrates and play out the fantasies of the rich.MORE


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