For the Bony Bodies of Yemeni Children… You’d Never Become Poor by Giving!

Zeinab Daher

In Yemen, people get up early in the morning because of war, death and famine…

Although Yemen occupies a large noticeable area on the world map, it can barely go noticed in the hearts and minds of the entire people.

{The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills} – Holy Quran, Surat al-Baqarah, verse 261

It is not only Save the Children, Islamic Relief and other few charitable organizations that are helping Yemen and its inhabitants. There is a humble association in Lebanon that drew the country’s people’s attention to the tragedy happening in the forgotten spot of the world.

The Beirut-based Seven Spikes (7 Sanabel) association was founded in 2012.

According to its chief, Ms. Zahra Badreddine, the association tends to serve poor and needy people.

“Since one of our goals is to help those in need, as the Yemen crisis broke out, one volunteer within the association suggested that we help them. We publicized an advertisement to start raising funds for Yemen, and we provided the text with the official phone numbers of the association. People were suspicious in the beginning, even the close ones… they wondered how could we deliver such aid to the blockaded country. But they were also happy that there is side capable of delivering their donations. Money is transferred through special channels to the safe areas, where the amounts are used to buy necessary foods such as rice, sugar, other nutrients, in addition to medicines to the deprived families,” she explained.

We have delivered three batches of aid, and now we are fundraising for the fourth one. People donated gold coins during the third batch. And we, as an association, demanded to document the aid delivery in a video to assure donors that the help is destined to its people. And indeed, there was a report that documented the process with a banner raised in the targeted area with a thank you message to the association, Badreddine told al-Ahed News.

“Many people thanked us for opening them a door to help. They said that they are feeling the pain and suffering but don’t know how to help.”

She further elaborated that

“Due to the blockade, we couldn’t deliver food from here, we just send the money there and they take charge of buying food to those in need. An amount of $7000 helped feed 180 families.”

“We stressed that the donations target the most needy areas; those who are starving,” Badreddine concluded.

She closed her words by urging other associations and campaigns to open their hands and make every effort to help the Yemeni people.

And for those wishing to give a helping hand, the (7 Sanabel) association’s hotlines are as follows:

00 961 71021536

00 961 76835300

00 961 70678100

00 961 70653690

It is worth mentioning that the aid group restricted gathering the donations to its representatives, and for those found outside the capital city or even outside the country, the group is open to receive them via Online Money Transfer service [OMT].

Hereby, it is an invitation for all schools, universities and any other sides to take the initiative in solidarity Yemen.

Although the association’s capabilities only cover small areas, its people in charge harbor hopes that their initiative help widen the scale of aid given to the starving people, and lift the suffering there are struggling to end in the face of the years-long brutal war imposed on them.

In this respect, the latest UNICEF estimates reported that the total people in need are 22.2 million, 11.3 million of them are children.

In further details, the UN agency warned that Yemen has become one of the world’s largest and most complex humanitarian crises. Almost 80 per cent of the population is in dire need of humanitarian assistance. The war has led to the internal displacement of 2 million people, left over 1 million public sector workers without pay for two years, and undermined access to ports and airports, obstructing essential humanitarian and commercial deliveries.

The crisis has led to many problems among the following:

  • Growing food insecurity, poor water and sanitation, and the spread of preventable diseases threaten millions more. The caseload of outbreaks of Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD)/cholera has reached over one million. The strain on an already weakened health system has been further compounded by the diphtheria outbreak in early 2018, with over 2,200 cases, so far
  • In addition, 16 million people lack access to safe water
  • Children are the primary victims: more than 6,000 have been verified as killed or maimed since the conflict began
  • Almost 394,000 children under 5 currently suffer from severe acute malnutrition [SAM] and require treatment
  • The damage and closure of schools and health facilities threaten children’s access to education and health services

Although the bony faces of Yemeni children can say it all, people should notice that famine is not caused by a shortage of food, it is rather caused by a shortage of sympathy and giving, and you cannot feel the hell they are suffering from unless you are in their shoes.

But if you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one. You would never become poor by giving a small amount of the entire blessings you enjoy.

And always remember that we can’t help everyone, but for sure everyone can help someone.

So, this platform is meant to open your eyes to the fact that any one of you can give a helping hand. Borders are not a barrier. When you want’ to make something happen, then you’ll definitely find a way to do.

Source: Al-Ahed News

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HOUTHIS: AL-HUDAYDAH BATTLE SHOWS YEMEN IS ‘GRAVEYARD’ FOR SAUDI-LED FORCES

 

Houthis: Al-Hudaydah Battle Shows Yemen Is 'Graveyard' For Saudi-led Forces

Source

10.11.2018

On November 9, a senior Houthi official, Mohammed Abdulsalam, said Yemen will be a “graveyard” for aggressors as Saudi-led coalition forces are developing their advance on the port city of al-Hudayah.

Our people, with their full-scale defense of Hudaydah, once again have proved that Yemen will be a graveyard for the aggressors,” the official announced via Twitter.

Abdulsalam also claiemd that the “agressors” had failed to achieve any of their objectives due to the “exemplary steadfastness” of the Yemeni people. He also accused the Saudi-led coalition of cooperating with ISIS and al-Qaeda.

The American-British-Israeli coalition, along with domestic and foreign mercenaries and terrorists groups, including Daesh [ISIS] and al-Qaeda … have failed to achieve any of their objectives after four years of aggression, due to the exemplary steadfastness of the nation,” he said.

Earlier on the same day, coalition forces made another attempt to develop their advance on al-Hudaydah. Pro-coalition sources claimed tha over 100 Houthi fighters had been killed and  coalition forces had advanced towards the northern and the western flanks of the port city.

Pro-Houthi sources denied these claims. Furthermore, according to their version of the events, Saudi-backed forces had already lost over 500 fihters since the start of their new push on al-Hudaydah.

However, sources on the ground and videos released show that coalition forces had indeed achieved some gains. If the Houthis are not able to prevent the encirclement of al-Hudaydah by coalition forces, they will face a real threat of losing the battle of al-Hudaydah. On the other hand, coalition forces positions are overstretched east of the city and the Houthis may exploit this for counter-attacks.

The situation is developing.

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Western lawmakers call for ‘free elections’ in Bahrain

The file photo, taken on December 26, 2014, shows a Bahraini man holding up a placard reading in Arabic, "Your government and your parliament are without legitimacy," during an anti-government protest in the village of Jannusan, west of the capital Manama. (Photo by AFP)

The file photo, taken on December 26, 2014, shows a Bahraini man holding up a placard reading in Arabic, “Your government and your parliament are without legitimacy,” during an anti-government protest in the village of Jannusan, west of the capital Manama. (Photo by AFP)

Fri Nov 9, 2018 03:47PM

The government of Bahrain has come under fire by Western lawmakers against the backdrop of a ban on an opposition party from contesting the upcoming elections in the Arab country.

Bahrain is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections on November 24.

A cross-party group of British lawmakers, including Conservative MP Peter Bottomley, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, and Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake, said in a letter to the Foreign Office that Bahrain “effectively bans major opposition figures from holding political office.” They added that a countless number of Bahraini individuals have been “incarcerated on charges that criminalize free expression and assembly.”

“Free and fair elections can only take place if citizens are able to express their views.”

The British lawmakers also referred to the forcible closure of the only independent newspaper, Al-Wasat, back in 2017 and the detention of at least 15 journalists and Bahrain’s most prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab for comments deemed critical of the Bahraini state.

“Bahrain may be a key strategic ally to the UK but human rights and democratic values are fundamental pillars of our society and foreign policy”, the letter concluded.

In Ireland, a cross-party group of lawmakers involved in foreign affairs urged the release of all political detainees in Bahrain and permitting international bodies to observe the elections.

Members of the European Parliament also slammed the Bahraini regime for missing the opportunity of the elections “to ease tensions and allow space for open dialogue to take place.”

Some 40 members of the European Parliament composed a letter addressed to Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah which is to be published next week.

The letter also points to “the enactment of increasingly repressive measures.”

“Under these conditions, Bahrain’s elections cannot be recognized by the international community as free, fair, or legitimate.”

Last week, US Congressmen James McGovern and Randy Hultgren, who are co-chairs of the bipartisan Tom Lantos human rights commission in the US House of Representatives, stressed that it would be difficult for the international community to recognize the upcoming elections as legitimate, noting that Manama “has dissolved two major opposition political societies, barred all members of the societies from running for office on an individual basis, and imprisoned a number of key figures, as well as writers and civil society leaders.”

“In addition, Bahrain’s electoral infrastructure inherently disadvantages the political opposition. There is no independent electoral commission and, to date, there has been no commitment by the government to permit either domestic or international observers,” the letter added.

In May, Bahrain’s parliament approved a bill barring members of the al-Wefaq from running in elections, the latest step in Manama’s political crackdown.

Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the kingdom on February 14, 2011.

They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and let a just system representing all Bahrainis be established.

Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.

See Also

B1

Bahrainis Protest in Solidarity with Sheikh Ali Salman, in Protest of Normalization: Photos

 

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Bahraini Regime Court Overturns Sheikh Salman Acquittal, Hands Him Life Term

Sheikh Ali Salman, Secretary General of Bahraini opposition group, al-Wefaq

Bahraini Regime Court Overturns Sheikh Salman Acquittal, Hands Him Life Term

November 4, 2018

Bahrain’s appeals court sentenced the head of the country’s main opposition movement to jail for life Sunday over charges of alleged spying for rival Gulf state Qatar.

Sheikh Ali Salman, who headed the now-outlawed Al-Wefaq movement, had been acquitted by the high criminal court in June, a verdict the public prosecution appealed.

The latest ruling on Sunday can also be appealed.

Bahrain, along with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, severed all ties with Qatar in 2017, banning their citizens from travel to or communication with the emirate over what they say are Doha’s ties to both Iran and radical Islamist groups.

Salman is currently serving a four-year sentence in a separate case — “inciting hatred” in the kingdom, which has seen mainly pro-democracy protests against the monarchy since 2011.

In November, Salman and two other members of Al-Wefaq were charged with working for Qatari intelligence with the aim of “overthrowing the Bahraini government.”

King Hamad has announced parliamentary elections on November 24 in Bahrain. Members of dissolved opposition parties, including Al-Wefaq and the secular Al-Waad group, are banned from running.

The Sunni-ruled Gulf state has been hit by waves of pro-democracy protests since 2011, when security forces crushed demonstrators demanding a constitutional monarchy and an elected prime minister.

Opposition movements have been outlawed and hundreds of dissidents have been imprisoned — with many stripped of their nationality.

The United Nations and rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have criticized the Bahraini monarchy over its treatment of protesters.

Amnesty and HRW categorize Salman and other jailed opposition leaders as prisoners of conscience.

SourceAFP

Amnesty: Sheikh Salman Conviction “Unlawful, Politically Motivated”

November 4, 2018

Protestor Raising Sheikh Salman's Photo

Amnesty International described as “unlawful” Bahraini regime’s overturning the acquittal of opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman.

Shortly after it was announced that Bahraini Appeal Court has overturned the acquittal of Sheikh Salman and sentenced him instead to life in prison, the watchdog called for the direct release of the Bahraini opposition leader.

“This verdict is a travesty of justice that demonstrates the Bahraini authorities’ relentless and unlawful efforts to silence any form of dissent. Sheikh Ali Salman is a prisoner of conscience who is being held solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression,” Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director Heba Morayef said.

“The Bahraini authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Sheikh Ali Salman and quash his politically motivated conviction and sentence”.

Morayef also slammed the international community over keeping silence on the human rights record in Bahrain.

“The international community’s silence on the continued crackdown on dissent must also come to an end. Instead of ignoring criticism of Bahrain’s human rights record, the country’s political allies must use their influence to push for the release of Sheikh Ali Salman and all prisoners of conscience in Bahrain”.

SourceAmnesty International

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The Tragedy of Saudi Arabia’s War on Yemen

The Tragedy of Saudi Arabia’s War on Yemen

Declan Walsh

Chest heaving and eyes fluttering, the 3-year-old boy lay silently on a hospital bed in the highland town of Hajjah, a bag of bones fighting for breath.

His father, Ali al-Hajaji, stood anxiously over him. Mr. Hajaji had already lost one son three weeks earlier to the epidemic of hunger sweeping across Yemen. Now he feared that a second was slipping away.

It wasn’t for a lack of food in the area: The stores outside the hospital gate were filled with goods and the markets were bustling. But Mr. Hajaji couldn’t afford any of it because prices were rising too fast.

“I can barely buy a piece of stale bread,” he said. “That’s why my children are dying before my eyes.”

The devastating war in Yemen has gotten more attention recently as outrage over the killing of a Saudi dissident in Istanbul has turned a spotlight on Saudi actions elsewhere. The harshest criticism of the Saudi-led war has focused on the airstrikes that have killed thousands of civilians at weddings, funerals and on school buses, aided by American-supplied bombs and intelligence.

But aid experts and United Nations officials say a more insidious form of warfare is also being waged in Yemen, an economic war that is exacting a far greater toll on civilians and now risks tipping the country into a famine of catastrophic proportions.

Under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi-led coalition and its Yemeni allies have imposed a raft of punitive economic measures aimed at undercutting the Ansarullah revolutionaries. But these actions — including periodic blockades, stringent import restrictions and withholding the salaries of about a million civil servants — have landed on the backs of civilians, laying the economy to waste and driving millions deeper into poverty.

Those measures have inflicted a slow-burn toll: infrastructure destroyed, jobs lost, a weakening currency and soaring prices. But in recent weeks the economic collapse has gathered pace at alarming speed, causing top United Nations officials to revise their predictions of famine.

“There is now a clear and present danger of an imminent and great, big famine engulfing Yemen,” Mark Lowcock, the undersecretary for humanitarian affairs, told the Security Council on Tuesday. Eight million Yemenis already depend on emergency food aid to survive, he said, a figure that could soon rise to 14 million, or half Yemen’s population.

“People think famine is just a lack of food,” said Alex de Waal, author of “Mass Starvation” which analyzes recent man-made famines. “But in Yemen it’s about a war on the economy.”

The signs are everywhere, cutting across boundaries of class, tribe and region. Unpaid university professors issue desperate appeals for help on social media. Doctors and teachers are forced to sell their gold, land or cars to feed their families. On the streets of the capital, Sana, an elderly woman begs for alms with a loudspeaker.

“Help me,” the woman, Zahra Bajali, calls out. “I have a sick husband. I have a house for rent. Help.”

And in the hushed hunger wards, ailing infants hover between life and death. Of nearly two million malnourished children in Yemen, 400,000 are considered critically ill — a figure projected to rise by one quarter in the coming months.

“We are being crushed,” said Dr. Mekkia Mahdi at the health clinic in Aslam, an impoverished northwestern town that has been swamped with refugees fleeing the fighting in Hudaydah, an embattled port city 90 miles to the south.

Flitting between the beds at her spartan clinic, she cajoled mothers, dispensed orders to medics and spoon-fed milk to sickly infants. For some it was too late: the night before, an 11-month old boy had died. He weighed five and a half pounds.

Looking around her, Dr. Mahdi could not fathom the Western obsession with the Saudi killing of Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul.

“We’re surprised the Khashoggi case is getting so much attention while millions of Yemeni children are suffering,” she said. “Nobody gives a damn about them.”

She tugged on the flaccid skin of a drowsy 7-year-old girl with stick-like arms. “Look,” she said. “No meat. Only bones.”

The embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington did not respond to questions about the country’s policies in Yemen. But Saudi officials have defended their actions, citing rockets fired across their border by the Ansarullah…

The Saudis point out that they, along with the United Arab Emirates, are among the most “generous donors” to Yemen’s humanitarian relief effort. Last spring, the two allies pledged $1 billion in aid to Yemen. In January, Saudi Arabia deposited $2 billion in Yemen’s central bank to prop up its currency.

But those efforts have been overshadowed by the coalition’s attacks on Yemen’s economy, including the denial of salaries to civil servants, a partial blockade that has driven up food prices, and the printing of vast amounts of bank notes, which caused the currency to plunge.

And the offensive to capture Hudaydah, which started in June, has endangered the main lifeline for imports to northern Yemen, displaced 570,000 people and edged many more closer to starvation.

A famine here, Mr. Lowcock warned, would be “much bigger than anything any professional in this field has seen during their working lives.”

When Ali Hajaji’s son fell ill with diarrhea and vomiting, the desperate father turned to extreme measures. Following the advice of village elders, he pushed the red-hot tip of a burning stick into Shaher’s chest, a folk remedy to drain the “black blood” from his son.

“People said burn him in the body and it will be OK,” Mr. Hajaji said. “When you have no money, and your son is sick, you’ll believe anything.”

The burns were a mark of the rudimentary nature of life in Juberia, a cluster of mud-walled houses perched on a rocky ridge. To reach it, you cross a landscape of sandy pastures, camels and beehives, strewn with giant, rust-colored boulders, where women in black cloaks and yellow straw boaters toil in the fields.

In the past, the men of the village worked as migrant laborers in Saudi Arabia, whose border is 80 miles away. They were often treated with disdain by their wealthy Saudi employers but they earned a wage. Mr. Hajaji worked on a suburban construction site in Mecca, the holy city visited by millions of Muslim pilgrims every year.

When the war broke out in 2015, the border closed.

The fighting never reached Juberia, but it still took a toll there.

Last year a young woman died of cholera, part of an epidemic that infected 1.1 million Yemenis. In April, a coalition airstrike hit a wedding party in the district, killing 33 people, including the bride. A local boy who went to fight for the Houthis was killed in an airstrike.

But for Mr. Hajaji, who had five sons under age 7, the deadliest blow was economic.

He watched in dismay as the riyal lost half its value in the past year, causing prices to soar. Suddenly, groceries cost twice as much as they had before the war. Other villagers sold their assets, such as camels or land, to get money for food.

But Mr. Hajaji, whose family lived in a one-room, mud-walled hut, had nothing to sell.

At first he relied on the generosity of neighbors. Then he pared back the family diet, until it consisted only of bread, tea and halas, a vine leaf that had always been a source of food but now occupied a central place in every meal.

Soon his first son to fall ill, Shaadi, was vomiting and had diarrhea, classic symptoms of malnutrition. Mr. Hajaji wanted to take the ailing 4-year-old to the hospital, but that was out of the question: fuel prices had risen by 50 percent over the previous year.

One morning in late September, Mr. Hajaji walked into his house to find Shaadi silent and immobile, with a yellow tinge to his skin. “I knew he was gone,” he said. He kissed his son on the forehead, bundled him up in his arms, and walked along a winding hill path to the village mosque.

That evening, after prayers, the village gathered to bury Shaadi. His grave, marked by a single broken rock, stood under a grove of Sidr trees that, in better times, were famous for their honey.

Shaadi was the first in the village to die from hunger.

A few weeks later, when Shaher took ill, Mr. Hajaji was determined to do something. When burning didn’t work, he carried his son down the stony path to a health clinic, which was ill-equipped for the task. Half of Yemen’s health facilities are closed because of the war.

So his family borrowed $16 for the journey to the hospital in Hajjah.

“All the big countries say they are fighting each other in Yemen,” Mr. Hajaji said. “But it feels to us like they are fighting the poor people.”

Yemen’s economic crisis was not some unfortunate but unavoidable side effect of the fighting…

At the Sabeen hospital in Sana, Dr. Huda Rajumi treats the country’s most severely malnourished children. But her own family is suffering, too, as she falls out of Yemen’s vanishing middle class.

In the past year, she has received only a single month’s salary. Her husband, a retired soldier, is no longer getting his pension, and Dr. Rajumi has started to skimp on everyday pleasures, like fruit, meat and taxi rides, to make ends meet.

“We get by because people help each other out,” she said. “But it’s getting hard.”

Economic warfare takes other forms, too. In a recent paper, Martha Mundy, a lecturer at the London School of Economics, analyzed coalition airstrikes in Yemen, finding that their attacks on bridges, factories, fishing boats and even fields suggested that they aimed to destroy food production and distribution in Ansarullah-controlled areas.

Saudi Arabia’s tight control over all air and sea movements into northern Yemen has effectively made the area a prison for those who live there. In September, the World Health Organization brokered the establishment of a humanitarian air bridge to allow the sickest Yemenis — cancer patients and others with life-threatening conditions — to fly to Egypt.

Among those on the waiting list is Maimoona Naji, a 16-year-old girl with a melon-size tumor on her left leg. At a hostel in Sana, her father, Ali Naji, said they had obtained visas and money to travel to India for emergency treatment. Their hopes soared in September when his daughter was told she would be on the first plane out of Sana once the airlift started.

But the agreement has stalled, blocked by the Yemeni government, according to the senior Western official. Maimoona and dozens of other patients have been left stranded, the clock ticking on their illnesses.

“First they told us ‘next week, next week,’” said Mr. Naji, shuffling through reams of documents as tears welled up in his eyes. “Then they said no. Where is the humanity in that? What did we do to deserve this?”

Only two famines have been officially declared by the United Nations in the past 20 years, in Somalia and South Sudan. A United Nations-led assessment due in mid-November will determine how close Yemen is to becoming the third.

To stave it off, aid workers are not appealing for shipments of relief aid but for urgent measures to rescue the battered economy.

“This is an income famine,” said Lise Grande, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Yemen. “The key to stopping it is to ensure that people have enough money to buy what they need to survive.”

The priority should be to stabilize the falling currency, she said, and to ensure that traders and shipping companies can import the food that Yemenis need.

Above all, she added, “the fighting has to stop.”

One hope for Yemenis is that the international fallout from the death of the Saudi dissident, Jamal Khashoggi, which has damaged Prince Mohammed’s international standing, might force him to relent in his unyielding prosecution of the war.

Peter Salisbury, a Yemen specialist at Chatham House, said that was unlikely.

“I think the Saudis have learned what they can get away with in Yemen — that western tolerance for pretty bad behavior is quite high,” he said. “If the Khashoggi murder tells us anything, it’s just how reluctant people are to rein the Saudis in.”

Source: NYT, Edited by website team

 

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‘Cost-Push’ Narrative Formation in the Trump Era

October 31, 2018

‘Cost-Push’ Narrative Formation in the Trump Era

In his 1928 landmark book Propaganda, public relations pioneer and Goebbelsian trailblazer Eddie Bernays offered what amounts to a disingenuous assertion at best:

“It is important that any effort to influence or effect the American public that is not in the public interest be killed by the light of pitiless publicity and analysis.”

Immediately, the statement begs two questions:

  • What if the American public decides at the ballot box that what passes for the prevailing public interest (really a manufactured imposition) runs counter to its own version of said interest?
  • Who orchestrates the “pitiless publicity” aimed at killing competing visions of the “public interest” and by what authority do they undertake this mission?

Bernays references the ‘who’ elsewhere, albeit vaguely as, “…invisible rulers who control the destinies of millions… and shrewd persons operating behind the scenes.”

Conceivably a tug of war could ensue between two competing visions of the public interest; one vision expressed at the ballot box in the manner of direct democracy and the other emanating top-down from managed democracy’s “invisible rulers”.

For Bernays such a conflict would not represent an intractable impasse so much as a cue for redoubling the, “conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses”. After all, only intensified propagandizing efforts can correct the People’s ill-informed sense of the public interest. Undemocratic manipulation is, “an important element in democratic society” under Bernays’ weirdly circular formulation.

Of course self-determination is neither a path to infallibility nor a vaccine against public policy blunders. Direct Democracy merely makes the People the masters of their own fate, which is equally to say the captains of their own errors.

Bernays would have been better to say manipulation is a vital facet of a smoothly running Republic or Oligarchy, not so much a Democracy. His paternalistic subtext clearly reflects the former. Indeed another name for Managed Democracy is Republicanism (not to be confused with the political party of the same name).

A rough but effective analogy can be drawn from what serve normally as macroeconomic terms used to describe two varieties of inflation: Cost-Push and Demand-Pull. For an explanation of the traditional economic context of the terms, see here.

Applied to political narrative formation, Push is the bottom-up, propulsive force of the Will of the People. While Pull is the manipulative, diversionary desires of the Elite. Push is hard knocks and demonstrable scrapes. Pull is consciously engineered wishfulness harnessed to oligarchic solipsism, Empire objectives and atrophying noblesse oblige.

Popular consent should be organically derived and not subject to extrinsic manufacturing at all. Nor should its germination process be invaded by an externally fashioned agenda. The People should be the authors of their own consciousness. That’s the ideal anyway.

The Culture Industry’s mandate is steeped, from the outset, in inauthenticity and misdirection; or, as Theodor Adorno insisted, structurally inescapable insincerity. Through the endless propagation of false consciousness, Media is charged with convincing the People that the Pull is actually the Push. Sustaining this inversion has become a difficult task.

The Pull techniques are many and varied. Here are but a few:

The last chart addresses Russophobia. Anyone who’s walked past an American TV over the last two years can attest to a media obsession bordering on the manic; an intensity not shared by (nor successfully seeded within) the American public as evidenced by a July 2018 Gallup poll showing concern about Russia to be immeasurably unimportant (the issue garnered an * meaning less than 1%).

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein fed the sui generis racialist fires when he referred with casual malice to The Russians (wink-wink-nudge-nudge) in his February 16th indictment press conference for Concord Management officials who happened to be Russian nationals with no discernible state actor affiliation.

The farcical social media trolling charges relate to “spread[ing] distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general”, as if the American populace wasn’t already immersed in boatloads of domestically-inspired skepticism. Chances are slim the politically-motivated indictments (announced on a Friday in part to the get the Parkland, Florida shootings off the front page) will ever come to trial despite Concord’s heroic efforts to have their day in court (see 3:48 here).

 

Surely it surprises no one that Putin is simply too busy to plot subterfuge at every table of every Russian boardroom engaged in Stateside business. Attempting to dampen Western media’s impression of his fearsome omniscience, the Russian President had this to say at the Jul 16, 2018 Summit Joint Press Conference:

Today’s Russophobic dog whistles recall John Maynard Keynes’ 1932 assertion that Bolshevism sprang from, “some beastliness in the Russian nature”. Far from dispelling these beastly stereotypes, CNN reinforces them nightly for the ‘higher dual purpose’ of de-legitimizing the Trump Presidency and positioning Russia as the Military Industrial Complex’ Enemy of Requisite Budgetary Scale.

Attorney Alan Dershowitz has routinely decried the ACLU’s MIA status throughout the Trump Russia witch-hunt. The same can be said of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) whose charter states: “We fight anti-Semitism and all forms of hate.” We’re familiar with battles waged on behalf of the former, less so the latter. Here’s an opportune chance to engage on behalf of another besieged group.

Russian-Americans comprise 3.13 million people, a sizable population by any metric. Surely Russophobia (a dark retread of Nazism’s Anti-Slavism) warrants urgent attention. Blessed be the stoic forbearance of our Russian neighbors. One hopes it is a circumspection that will continue to go unpunished, though the Japanese and German internment camps that dotted WW2 America hardly inspire confidence.

Since at least Hillary Clinton’s Putin = Hitler equivalence-setting, the public consciousness has been in the grips of determined preparatory spadework for war with Russia. Frankly, the People are to be applauded for enduring the last two years of cognitive carpet-bombing with their disinterest and skepticism intact. Alas this failed impartation will not derail WW3. Rather it will cause the war to break out preemptively without the embedded pretext of settled consent. What cannot be consented to will occur nonetheless, leaving ‘new realities’ to compel the appropriate consent post-factum, that is, in a manner analogous to journalist Ron Suskind’s recounting of a 2004 quote attributed to Karl Rove:

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

As we see in Syria and elsewhere this authorial prerogative is increasingly being shared by Russia in either a nascent reemergence of bipolarity or an interim way-station towards a multi-polar actor ensemble.

Another Pull variant is, as Nancy Pelosi so helpfully anatomized for us, the wrap-up smear. This is the technique of creating a false set of facts (the smear), “merchandising” the false fact pattern to the Media, then wrapping the smeared individual in the ensuing tar-and-feathery media glare until the former stops beating his or her spouse lately.

Of course the ensnared victim is obliged to continually reference the false facts if only to mount a self-defense. Perversely, righteous denial further reinforces the falsehoods through repetition. There is, as they say, no such thing as bad publicity if the purpose is to keep one’s name front-and-center, which in the case of a wrap-up smear, it most surely isn’t.

Again, the purpose is to pull the media consumer towards a desired narrative based on falsity and distortion. The news-maker advantages his or her podium to initiate news that only becomes news by virtue of a bully pulpit (one of the top-down trappings of power), and not by the inherent truth-value of ‘facts-on-the-ground’. Putin and Trump, the world’s most potent nationalists, are no strangers to being wrapped in deceptive, pejorative garb.

A crucial point to note is that both leaders enjoy the shared contempt of the globalists.  Putin’s favorability among Americans has been engineered down to 16%, 9% among collusion-besotted Democrats. Thus, while Russia is not a front-burner issue in US households, the Mackinder-MIC catastrophe of a US-Russia rapprochement is rendered all but verboten by these figures as detente would confirm extortioned compromise.

Viewed in this perma-war context, the establishment palpitations caused by Trump ‘being left alone’ with fellow loose cannon Putin make perfect, twisted sense. Suppose a powerful personal chemistry had erupted into a sudden outbreak of peaceful intentions between the two unchaperoned leaders? The prospects for WW3 might have lain in shards. Summit? What Summit? It’s practically been erased from the annals of geopolitics as was the proposed follow-on Summit in Washington. All that can be hoped for are dashed-off corridor meetings at future co-attended events.

Alas, this shell-game is breaking down in the Trump Era. Fake News is a more tactile, street-level term for false consciousness propagation. There’s little doubt Trump has a gift for branding.

The President is routinely accused of thinking in 220-character Twitter bytes, giving way to charges of truncated intelligence. There may be other reasons to doubt his intelligence. With Twitter, he is fulfilling the greater need of bypassing the Media filter for a communication path more consistent with the needs of direct democracy. The truncation is a non-rescindable feature of the Twitter platform itself.

The current Push-Pull narrative divergence –which has the opinion-shapers in conniptions– is on stark display in the recent Gallup vs. Media Research Center numbers (graphic at the bottom of this post). Surely 92% negative coverage evidences Bernay’s “pitiless publicity”.

Even after the desperate steps taken to shut down alt-media (and yes, desperate is the term), the divergence grows. The Media responds with ever more dislocating and lurid material. Bombs –or at least clocks resembling bombs– appear on Democrats’ doorsteps with eerie synchronicity.

A recursive self-consciousness has now infiltrated the system contributing further noise, not unlike how the pings of a too-high-octane fuel destroy the kayfabe experience (instilled by the car salesman) of a frictionless magic carpet-ride. The clunky mechanics of the process overwhelm the message itself.

The collective wisdom of the People has fully determined their passenger status in a vehicle driven by a malevolent chauffeur. Managed Democracy will be hard-pressed to recover their prior innocence.

The divergence also implodes the notion that the media is in any way reflective of the population it claims to derive its news from. Clearly the reportage has become prescriptive which is to say, not reportage at all. We’re not happy with the facts where we find them. Thus we will be moving them over here instead, beneath the canopy of our desired narrative.

The breakdown of the Pull hasn’t stopped the usual talking heads from pushing endlessly on strings deemed mission-critical by their managers. Like deer trapped in the klieg lights of an indiscernible new reality, they fumble along, in thrall to a dark comedy that takes its cues from absurd representations of untenable narratives.

Though opinions on Trump differ sharply, few can dispute his disruptive role in fomenting managed democracy’s narrative crisis, and for putting back onto its heels a myth-making prowess whose influence up until now had been considered unassailable.

Why might Trump be an authentic change agent, albeit one with a high probability of derailment or self-betrayal? Because the bifurcating narratives cannot be denied. If the divergence is real, the systemic stress must be equally real. Why, one has to ask, does the corporate press protesteth so much? Therein lies a telling litmus.

There’s a tendency to forget Trump’s formal political career is less than two years old and that he contends against a hostile, entrenched security-media complex seventy years in the making. Whether he is already capitulating to insuperable neoconservative power centers or is engaging in tactical ducks-and-feints cannot be confirmed either way. His post-midterm demeanor, and inevitable staffing changes, will reveal much. A verdict today is premature.

For the moment, we applaud small mercies and encouraging signs…

A breakaway bloc now exists in America along the lines of the red pill, blue pill demarcation. Many have been ‘dispelled’. Let us hope more can Push away from the master’s table forever.

 

Preventing the next Pogrom

October 31, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

pogrom01.jpg

By Gilad Atzmon

Eleven people were killed in a gun attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania last Saturday. It seems mass shooting has become a popular hobby and not just in America.  Political violence is mushrooming. It is crucial to try to understand how this has happened to us.  What led to this rapid deconstruction of our human landscape, how have we regressed into lethal barbarism and where and when did we lose our ability  to care for each other, to be compassionate, to tolerate difference?

A few days ago I wrote that this violent shift requires much deeper analysis and not our mere anecdotal debate over the 2nd Amendment or gun control. It demands a profound study of the transition in our human condition. Mass killings as a daily occurrence has something to do with people’s sense that we live  in a universe that lacks a prospect of a future. It is the outcome of the reduction of the working class into a workless mass. It has a lot to do with the collapse of the family and the orchestrated attack on family values and the church. It may also have something to do with the fact that our governments are wiping out countries and people in the name of immoral interventionism and Ziocon interests. As a part of understanding the motivation for these killings, it is important to consider that taking people’s lives on a mass scale makes the killer a ‘little god.’ Add to the mixture some ‘emancipatory ideology’  and the perpetrators of these barbarian crimes are elevated, at least in their own eyes, into martyrs.

It is perplexing; despite our real time access to world news which notifies us of developments around the globe as they happen, our understanding of these events and their meanings is constantly shrinking. The more we ‘know,’ the less we understand. We seem to have forgotten how to question events, political exchanges and historical changes. We are removed from essentiality and  authentic critical thinking, we are drifting away from Being.

Instead, we have learned to operate carefully within a strict regime of correctness. We know how not to cross some sensitive lines and that has kept us from questioning what really happened. We got ourselves accustomed to a tyranny of correctness.

Monitoring the ‘antisemitism debate’ provides us with an insight into the dynamic that sustains our oppressive authoritarian reality. We, the people, are subject to a constant flood of ‘information’ delivered via two parallel streams: one is characterised by its fascination with fake-news and manufactured  antisemitic accusations. The other is designed  to  suppress any critical analysis of the causes of actual tragic events such as the recent Pittsburgh pogrom.

While Western media outlets are excited to disseminate phantasmic manufactured ‘revelations’ about  “Labour’s antisemitism” or Corbyn as an “existential threat to British Jews” there are, noticeably, zero attempts made to understand what  led to the mass shooting in Pittsburgh. All the press tells us is that the perpetrator is an ‘antisemite’  and that anti-Semitism is growing.

From the perspective of liberals and progressives, the declaration of ‘antisemitsm’ is an end in itself. Once an act is castigated as ‘antisemitic’ any inquiries come to an end. The perpetrator is condemned as an ‘irrational hate monger.’ But antisemitism is not the only antisocial phobia. Homophobia, islamophobia, transphobia and other such ‘phobias’ operate to close debate in a  similar fashion. They serve as magic wand soundbites designed to deny any rationale for political positions that make us  uncomfortable. We reduce dissent into a symptom of ‘insanity.’

The effect of these soundbite explanations is devastating. The West has replaced its Athenian ethos of tolerance and pluralism with a radical form of Talmudic Herem (excommunication).

The media casually labels as antisemitic anyone who dares to express peaceful critical thinking. And the same media suppresses any attempt to grasp what antisemitsm means in practice and  what are its causes. While the media parrots the ADL, claiming that antisemitsm is on the rise and that the Pennsylvania shooting was the worst anti-Semitic event in American history, the media does not dare ask why.  Why is America apparently becoming increasingly anti-Semitic

If Jewish institutions, and liberals and progressives want to fight anti-Semitism, the first step should be to open a discussion of the circumstances and dynamics that have led to such a rise of anti Jewish bigotry. To prevent the next pogrom we need to emancipate ourselves from the current tyranny of correctness and reinstate the Greek agora into our midst. Our social media networks could become a true marketplace of ideas, encouraging people to challenge each other and to constantly rethink their own positions.

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