An Encore for Charlie Hebdo

November 13, 2020

Posted by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—Insulting Islam

In mid October 2020 a French schoolteacher, 47-year-old Samuel Paty, decided to show his Freedom of Speech class cartoons demeaning Islam’s founding prophet, Mohammed. The cartoons were the same ones originally published by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo (Charlie Weekly) in 2014-2015. At that time, the magazine’s actions resulted in the murder of twelve of its staff, including the editor, Stephane Charbonnier. The murders were committed by Muslim extremists associated with al-Qaeda. Samuel Paty’s fate turned out to be similar. Shortly after having shown the caricatures of the founder of Islam, the teacher was murdered by an 18-year-old Muslim immigrant. Other attacks have followed.  

In all of these cases, the killings were provoked as well as indefensible. The cartoons in question are all too easy to interpret as gratuitous insults against Islam and therefore against the almost 9% of the French population that are Muslim. Nonetheless, murder is incompatible with stable society. The latter being prima facie true, the next question is, What alternatives were available to those who were/are disgusted by the Charlie Hebdo caricatures? Lawsuits for defamation have been repeatedly filed. Some are still ongoing. However, to date, none have stopped the magazine’s demeaning ways. Well-organized public protests combined with steady political pressure might work in the long run. It was perhaps because such an effort was not forthcoming, at least not consistently, that action defaulted to emotionally driven individual fanatics.

By the way, Charlie Hebdo, with its own brand of fanaticism, is what you might call an equal opportunity defamer. Topics ranging from the Catholic Church to Italians killed in earthquakes have been depicted in distasteful, sometimes semi-pornographic fashion. As it stands, the right to publish gratuitously insulting cartoons is not only legal in France but, because of all the related violence, also now defended as an important expression of French national culture. To make this point clear, French officials have announced the publication of a booklet to include the Charlie Hebdo images. This will be “handed out to high school students as a commitment to defend the values of the Republic.”

Part II—A Trap 

The value referred to in the booklet is freedom of expression. As Charbonnier said in a 2012 interview, “We can’t live in a country without freedom of speech. I prefer to die than to live like a rat.” Of course, it is now obvious that Charbonnier’s ardent determination to avoid a rodent’s fate, and his nation’s embrace of the man’s grossness as a symbol of free speech, has led France into a trap. Here is how the Sorbonne Professor Pierre-Henri Tavoillot puts it: “what is at stake now is France’s laicite—the secularism that underlies its culture. If the nation compromises on laicite in this instance, this cultural principle may well unravel.” Refusal to consider a balanced way out of the situation paints the French into a corner while explicitly tying the culture to often semi-pornographic cartoons. 

The trap has many other dimensions. French enthusiasm for Charlie Hebdo has fueled Islamophobia and led others to use the situation to argue for the restriction of civil rights. France’s interior minister believes that the country is “at war against an enemy who is both inside and outside.” While it is true that the country’s 5.7 million Muslims (the highest number in any Western country) are increasingly alienated and fearful, the vast majority are peaceful. Yet they all have now been placed under suspicion of being terrorists. Now, the mayor of Nice is calling for a “modification of the Constitution” so that the nation can “properly wage war against Islamic extremists.” President Macron has announced a widespread crackdown on “Islamist individuals and organizations.” This includes closing French Muslim civil rights organizations and Arabic language schools. 

The whole affair has also brought France into conflict with Muslim populations and governments around the world. Presently, the French and Turkish governments are now trading insults. In Bangladesh, 40,000 people took part in an anti-French demonstration and called for the boycott of French goods. French goods were removed from shelves in shops in Qatar and Kuwait. 

Part III—Rationalizations

The French will tell you that their take on free expression was born in violence: in “eradicating the power of the monarchy and the Roman Catholic Church” during the French Revolution. Later, a 1905 French law made faith a strictly private matter and secularism the rule for the public sphere. There is nothing wrong with this arrangement. However, over the years the French have generally lost common sense relative to the subject and failed to be consistent in their approach to religion. On the one hand, laicite has caused some French men and women to see religion as a belief system that need not be taken seriously. Criticism of religion is seen as a “dear right.” On the other hand, recent history has led French governments to be very sensitive to even the slightest suggestion of anti-Semitism (which is illegal in France). Except in this case, the stipulation that one should not be critical of someone simply because he is observant is often forgotten.

Against this backdrop, French Muslims, the  most religious of French residents, have been held at arm’s length. Those who retain their traditional dress and ways stand out as outsiders and assimilation has not been made easy even for those Muslims who desire it. 

The French will also tell you that the art of caricature “is an old tradition that is part of our democracy.” French Muslims make the argument that “there should be limits to offensive satire [in the form of demeaning caricature] when it comes to religious beliefs.” They say that this is so because such satire “fuels extremism.” For millions of French Muslims, this suggests that “cartoons putting a prophet who is fundamental to millions of believers in suggestive and degrading postures” should not fall within the right to be satirical.

One can, of course, argue the issue of censorship. Free speech/expression rights are explicitly meant to protect speech we may not approve of. On the other hand, all societies impose some limits on speech—you can’t cry fire in a crowded theater. Who decides when, or if, there should be a legitimate restriction to free speech/expression? How about when there is a present atmosphere that leads to multiple murder and the breakdown of otherwise friendly foreign relations? Under such circumstances, can such competing issues be finessed by the application of common sense? The flamboyant display of such “art” as practiced by Charlie Hebdo, much less its presentation as a cornerstone of French culture, might be such a case.*

Part IV—Conclusion

How many cultures make rudeness a symbol of cultural excellence? It doesn’t seem to be a common practice. Yet, the French have done so in this case. It has gotten them nothing but trouble at home and abroad. 

The problem with the present French position is that it gives wide latitude to people who care little or nothing for cultural awareness. Stephane Charbonnier, the murdered editor of Charlie Hebdo, seemed uninterested in the real cultural consequences of his personal practice of freedom. In truth, he was an extremist who persisted on insulting a religion of 1.8 billion adherents, the vast majority of whom are peaceful folks. As he knew no bounds to his freedom to be brutally insulting, so his behavior activated a small number of Muslim extremists willing to be even more brutal than Charbonnier. This led to his violent death. In death he has become a French cultural icon—in total disregard of the extremist nature of his behavior and the counter-extremism it triggered.

Why Is American Islamophobia Dangerous?

By Dennis Korkodinov

Source

t is noteworthy that in the period from October 22 to 26, 2007, neoconservatives in the United States first introduced the concept of “Islamo-fascism” into public discourse. Thus, they intended to draw an analogy between the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad and the ideology that during the Second World War posed a threat to humanity.

Modern tendencies of Islamophobia in the United States, which have spread, moreover, in most European countries, testify to the traditional denigration of the followers of Islam.

It is noteworthy that in the period from October 22 to 26, 2007, neoconservatives in the United States first introduced the concept of “Islamo-fascism” into public discourse. Thus, they intended to draw an analogy between the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad and the ideology that during the Second World War posed a threat to humanity. This defamation policy, despite strong criticism from the Muslim community, has become a national brand of the United States, thanks to George W. Bush. It was this head of the White House who was the first to elevate Islamophobia into the cult of modern Americanism, presenting all Muslims (regardless of their country of residence, gender, age, and social status) in the image of terrorists.

Such a lie, artificially popularized by American politicians, suggests that this was not only a manifestation of religious intolerance. This was the announcement of a kind of “crusade” of the United States against Muslims and all those who sympathize with them. The leader of this campaign was the David Horowitz Freedom Center, which brought together ardent artists and Islamophobes who were ready to persecute representatives of the Muslim community with weapons in their hands.

One could express doubts about the seriousness of American Islamophobia, believing that it poses no real threat. However, the danger of this kind of religious intolerance is that it has a lot of influential supporters who have practically unlimited resources and power in order to elevate the persecution of Muslims into a state of total sectarian strife. And, given that Islamophobia directly affects the emergence of military conflicts in the Greater Middle East, such threats should be considered extremely realistic.

It is quite obvious that at present the main hotbeds of war in the Middle East arise precisely in those countries where Islam has a fairly strong position and, often in these countries, Islamic clergy are at the top of political power or perform the function of an “alternative government” (Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria). In addition, another distinctive feature of these countries is the huge reserves of oil and natural gas. In this regard, for the United States, the tandem combination of Islam and oil serves as a compelling reason for military intervention.

Thus, the theme of “fighting terrorism” postulated by Washington is only a smokescreen for destroying Islam and seizing the oil that is protected by the followers of Islam. This explains why the United States has been fighting the Ayatollah regime in Iran for several decades, refusing to withdraw troops from Iraqi territory, trying to influence Hezbollah in order to dismember Lebanon, and supporting the radical Syrian opposition.

The main goal of the American administration is a permanent war with Islam, which US politicians refuse to accept as a given, as an ideology that has become a system-forming element of the Arab states, has led to the emergence of prominent religious figures, starting from the Prophet Mohamed, and has created a unique means of communication between peoples, states, and civilizations.

Such a policy is in its savagery comparable to the policy of dictatorial regimes. The Propaganda Minister of the Third Reich Joseph Goebbels said that if a lie is repeated enough times, it becomes true, at least for those who believe in it. In this regard, by constantly promoting Islamophobia, the United States hopes that sooner or later the supporters of this religious intolerance will become the majority, which will lead to a complete discrediting of Islam.

ماذا بعد الانتخابات الأميركيّة وتداعياتها؟

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

لم يشهد حدث انتخابيّ في العالم اهتماماً دولياً وعالمياً يضاهي ما شهدته الانتخابات الأميركية الأخيرة، ففي حين انّ المألوف بين الناس أو المتعارف عليه يتمثل بقاعدة “الانتخابات تعني شعب الدولة التي تجريها”، فإنّ شعوب العالم ودوله تصرّفت وكأن الانتخابات هي انتخاباتها الخاصة، تصرّف يربط بسبب الوضع الأميركي والدور الذي تلعبه أميركا في السياسة الخارجية والعلاقات الدولية والتدخل في الشؤون الداخلية لكلّ دول العالم، حيث إنها ومستندة إلى قوّتها المركبة من عسكرية واقتصادية ذاتية او مستتبعة، وتصرفها في الأمن والسياسة والاجتماع، أنها مستندة لتلك القوة تتصرّف وبكلّ طمأنينة وثقة بالنفس بأنها حاكمة العالم وشرطيّه وسيّده الذي له الحقّ في فعل ما يريد وأن يضع له القواعد السلوكيّة التي تريد، تكافئ او تعاقب، تهادن أو تحارب هذا او ذاك، تفعل كلّ ذلك بإرادتها الأحادية المنفردة غير عابئة بما يُسمّى “قانون دولي عام” وقواعده الاتفاقية والنظامية.

ولأنّ أميركا كذلك، فإنّ العالم يهتمّ بمن سيكون “الرئيس“ الذي سيمارس تلك الصلاحيات الاستبدادية والسلوكيات التسلطية، يهتمّ العالم بانتخاباتها ليعرف “الجلاد” الذي سيواجهه، وطبيعة الرئيس الذي سيقود العدوان عليه. يفعل ذلك بحثاً أو أملاً بتغيير في النهج والأسلوب او مراجعة للأولويات وإعادة نظر بالخطط التي وضعت لتحقق عبرها أهداف الدولة “الجبارة”، وهنا يُطرح السؤال: هل النظرة لأميركا وانتخاباتها بهذا الشكل هي نظرة موضوعية؟ وهل سياسة أميركا تتغيّر حقيقة بين رئيس ورئيس؟

قبل أن أجيب على التساؤل، يكفي أن أذكر بما حدث عندنا في العقدين الأخيرين، حيث إنّ “الرئيس الجمهوري بوش قام بغزو العراق في العام 2003 ودفع إسرائيل لغزو لبنان في العام 2006” معتمداً استراتيجية القوة الصلبة التي اتخذها استراتيجيته العملية لفرض النظام العالمي أحادي القطبية، ولما آلت السلطة الى الرئيس الديمقراطي أوباما تغيّرت استراتيجية العدوان واعتمدت القوة الناعمة ثم القوة الإرهابية العمياء استراتيجية للعدوان بالشكل الجديد، وبها قادت أميركا عدواناً تدميرياً على 5 دول عربية لا زالت تتلظّى من الحريق الذي أشعلته تلك الاستراتيجية الوحشية. ولمّا ترك الديمقراطي الحكم وعاد الجمهوري إليه ورغم كلّ وعود الأخير الانتخابية، فإنه لم يوقف حرباً على جبهة واحدة في الشرق الأوسط ولم يُخلِ منطقة تحتلها القوات الأميركية وتابع بالخطط المرسومة للعدوان، دونما تغيير يُذكر في المضمون رغم بعض عمليات التجميل في الشكل.

ذكرت كلّ ذلك لأقول، إنّ الرئيس في أميركا ليس هو أميركا، وليس هو الملك المطلق الصلاحية الذي يصنع ما يريد، بل إن في أميركا مؤسسات رسمية وغير رسمية تتشكل منها “الدولة العميقة” التي قد تجد نفسها في مواجهة الرئيس إنْ كانت قراراته مخالفة لما تراه “مصلحة أميركية عليا”، وفي أميركا “لوبيات الضغط” التي تعمل لمصالح منظومات وكارتلات خاصة، كارتلات النفط والسلاح والمال وهي التي تملك القوة الخفيّة التي تقوّي الرئيس أو تضعفه حتى وقد تشله أو تطيح به، وهذه “الدولة العميقة” بمؤسساتها وكارتلاتها هي الحاكم الفعلي لأميركا، وعليها يجب ان تركز الأنظار بالنسبة لما يجب ان توضع خطط المواجهة.

بيد أنّ هذا الواقع لا يعني بأنّ أميركا ارتقت الى مصاف ما يمكن تسميته بالقدر الذي لا يُردّ والقوة التي لا تضعف والسلطان الدائم الأبديّ الذي لا يسقط، ففي أميركا نقاط ضعف ووهن إذا تمّ تفعيلها، مترافقة مع تخفيف فعالية مصادر قوتها فإنّ الوضع يتغيّر، وإنّ “الدولة العميقة” ستجد نفسها أمام عوائق لا يمكنها تخطّيها بيسر وسهولة.

فقوة أميركا وتماسكها الداخلي الذي يحفظ هذه القوة مرتبط بعناصر ثلاثة: الأول وجود الخطر المتمثل بالعدو الخارجيّ المستلزم الإعداد المتعدد الوجوه عسكرياً واستراتيجياً للمواجهة دفاعاً عن الذات، والثاني قوة الاقتصاد الذي يجب تسهيل دورته وتنشيطها داخلياً وخارجياً لتأمين الرفاه، والثالث وقد يراه البعض هو الأهمّ وهو الدولار الذي به تمسك أميركا بقرار العالم المالي ومن بوابته تعاقب أو تحاسب مَن تشاء من دول وكيانات وأفراد وأشخاص طبيعيين ومعنويين.

في المقابل نجد في الجسم الأميركيّ بذور وهن وضعف لا تُخفى، بذوراً تتمثل بالتعدّدية العرقيّة والدينيّة والفكريّة والاجتماعيّة، وانتفاء التاريخ المشترك لمكونات الشعب/ الشعوب في أميركا مع التفاوت الرهيب في نظرة المكوّن للآخر خاصة على صعيد اللون أو العرق أو الفكر الفلسفيّ، بذوراً تكون خامدة إذا كانت عناصر القوة ناشطة متوثبة وتعطي الجسم الأميركي المناعة اللازمة للاستمرار في مستويات القوة ولكنها تفعل العكس إذا تراجعت تلك المواطن في مسارات تأثيرها، وعليه نرى أنّ انتفاء الخطر الخارجي، يمكنها إذا فعلت أن تطيح بتلك “القوة الأسطورية”، او تشلها.

انطلاقاً من ذلك نرى أنّ خطورة ما جرى أو رافق أو استتبع الانتخابات الأميركية الحالية لا يتوقف عند النزاع حول شفافيتها أو نزاهتها، ولا يقوم على إمكانية انتقال النزاع الى القضاء كما يهدّد ترامب، مع ما يؤثر ذلك على الثقة بمؤسسة الرئاسة والنظام ككلّ، بل الخطورة الحقيقيّة تكمن في الانقسام العموديّ في المجتمع الأميركي، حيث تجد النصف الا قليلاً، ضدّ النصف الآخر. انقسام يسهله أيضاً غياب العدو والخطر الخارجي الذي يدفع الى التماسك، ورغم أنّ الدولة العميقة جهدت في السابق في اختلاق عدو لها أسمته “الإسلاموية” والإسلام السياسي أو “الإرهاب الإسلامي”، إلا أنها اليوم باتت في شبه انكشاف لاختلاقها ما يكاد يمثل فضيحة بعد أن كشف رئيسها ترامب بذاته تلك الفضيحة وقال بأنّ كلّ هذا الإرهاب هو صنع سلفه ووزيرة خارجيته هيلاري كلينتون. وهم يتحوّلون الآن للتركيز على الصين واعتبارها العدوان لم يكن العسكري المباشر فعلى الأقلّ العدو الاقتصادي الواجبة مواجهته، من دون أن يسقطوا طبعاً أوراق “الخطر الإيراني” و”العدو الروسي” الأوراق التي تتمسك بها أميركا لحاجات داخليّة ملحة.

وإضافة الى تراجع مسألة وجود العدو او انتفائه، نجد إرهاصات التحدي العالمي للدولار، تحدٍّ طال الوقت او قصر، فإنه سيتمكن في نهاية المطاف بالإطاحة بموقع الدولار الأميركي الحاكم لمالية العالم، إطاحة لن تنتظر العقود والقرون الطويلة بل باتت مسألة سنوات قليلة حيث سيجد الدولار نفسه مترنّحاً أمام منظومة مالية دولية تعدّ لها الصين وروسيا وإيران مع دول أخرى، ما سيؤدي الى تأثير سلبي مزدوج على الوضع الأميركي مالياً / سياسياً معطوفاً على الاقتصاد والاستثمار مع منتهى استراتيجي أكيد.

وعليه نقول إنه وبصرف النظر عمن سيكون سيد البيت الأبيض خلال السنوات الأربع المقبلة، بايدن الذي يهمّ بالدخول أم ترامب الذي يتمسك بالكرسي ويرفض الخروج، فإنّ النظرة في الشأن الأميركي يجب ألا تكون الى الانتخابات الرئيسة ونتائجها فحسب، بل إلى ما كشفته هذه الانتخابات من حقيقة وهن الجسم الأميركي وما خلفته من تداعيات داخلية ستكون من دون أدنى شك عاملاً مؤثراً في سياسات أميركا وسلوكياتها الخارجية، ويبقى أن يكون في مواجهة أميركا القادة الشجعان الواثقون بكرامات أممهم وحقوقها، فأميركا أوهن مما يُظن، وانّ تراجعها أسرع مما يُعتقد، فقد لا تتفكك غداً او بعد غد، وقد لا تنشب فيها حرب أهلية بعد إعلان نتائج الانتخابات الرئاسية التي سيرفضها ما قد يصل الى نصف الأميركيين، لكن الأكيد أنّ أميركا انكشفت وافتضحت حقيقتها بما لا يدع مجالاً للشك بأنها ليست مؤهلة او قادرة على الاستمرار في حكم العالم او بالتحكم الاستبداديّ به.

أستاذ جامعيّ – باحث استراتيجيّ

Blacklist of Iranian media by Bernie’s DSA suggests no Iran change with Biden

Monday, 02 November 2020 6:17 AM  [ Last Update: Monday, 02 November 2020 8:01 AM ]

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (L) and former Vice President Joe Biden (File photo)

By Ramin Mazaheri

Blacklist of Iranian media by Bernie’s DSA suggests no Iran change with Biden

Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

PressTV’s guiding light has always been to be a “voice for the voiceless”. This is why it was collectively decided that in our coverage of the US presidential election primacy should be given to third parties and non-mainstream political groups, as a political duopoly systematically and legally suppresses them with such vehemence that it causes many to say that US elections should actually not be considered fair or open.

We have interviewed and passed on the analyses of socialists, Greens, Libertarians and more. However, perhaps the most prominent outsider political group has repeatedly refused our normal media requests – the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), which is perhaps best incarnated by its figurehead, the failed presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

In another effort designed to give unheard American voices more media coverage, PressTV sent their primary election correspondent not to Washington, New York City or California, but to the unofficial capital of what’s disparaged as “flyover country” – Chicago, the nation’s 3rd-largest city. However, in online discussions DSA’s Chicago chapter openly refused to speak with Iranian media, saying: “The officers of our organization have decided that it would not serve our interests to do an interview.”

That’s a curiously self-centered phrase for a group of officers who likely aspire to serve as civil servants – aren’t civil servants supposed to put the ideals and needs of the nation ahead of their own interests?

Chicago DSA’s conduct was, sadly, in keeping with PressTV’s experience with DSA’s national leaders: for weeks their New York City headquarters has not returned our calls, even when the calls were from PressTV management asking about this apparent blacklist of Iranian media. Representative Rashida Tlaib, one of DSA’s two national-level politicians, also refused to return contacts from PressTV, even though we assumed that she would definitely want to help break past the longstanding communication barriers which have been erected by American Islamophobia. 

Personally, I am not surprised by any of this: If I had one euro for every time an (allegedly) leftist group in France (where I am normally based) refused to speak with PressTV – I could afford a month’s vacation. But for the Iranian taxpayer and voter French fake-leftism is not as important as the DSA’s refusal to speak to Iranian media: France has slavishly followed Washington’s foreign policy on Iran for decades, and DSA now aspires to set that policy.

PressTV feels it is critical to broadcast the DSA’s blacklisting of Iranian media because DSA’s prejudice has many political implications within the country that has waged such devastating capitalist-imperialist war on Iran since 1979. Iran, too, has a critical election coming up to prepare for – in June 2021.

Regardless of the timing of the US presidential election – and Iranians reject the absurd, pathetic and amateurish recent claims that Iranian operatives have meddled in the 2020 US election – it is critical to broadcast this information to Iranians so they can have a proper amount of time to absorb and incorporate the implications of DSA’s anti-Iran prejudice into their own analyses as voters and responsible citizens. 

So PressTV’s decision is merely responsible public journalism. This cannot – as DSA openly feared, you will read – possibly be construed as “foreign meddling” by any thinking person.

That preamble now dispensed with, the conundrum posed by DSA’s arrogant blacklisting is this:

If this is the (allegedly) leftist wing of the Democratic Party, and they are so very nakedly anti-Iranian, then why should an Iranian believe that victories by Joe Biden and the Democratic Party will herald a major change in Washington’s belligerent, murderous, long-running policy towards Iran? Many currently suggest this, but DSA’s anti-Iranian stance must give us pause for reconsideration.

The (allegedly) leftist wing of the Democratic Party is not some new, principled, pro-Iran lobby in the lobby-dominated US system

DSA is the one influential group within the Democratic Party (but I will easily disprove the myth of their reach shortly) which openly and repeatedly promises to push the Democrats to the left, and yet they clearly have no interest in basic discussion or the merest exchange with Iranians.

They will talk about Iran, but not with Iran – this is a fundamentally unilateral and classically imperialist stance, no?

And this stance remains unjustly firm even when Iranians insist openly that they have a cooperative and even sympathetic stance towards DSA – I have already related PressTV’s editorial policy regarding the election. Iranians will likely see parallels between the efforts of PressTV to speak cooperatively with DSA officials and the efforts of Iranian diplomats to speak cooperatively with officials in Washington.

DSA may be surprised to learn that Bernie Sanders was reasonably appealing to Iranians, and probably for the same reason he is somewhat popular among the American public – he and DSA make pleasant-sounding promises which contradict the incredible and undeniable belligerence, violence and rapacity of Washington. For an Iranian nation which debated for years in public about the JCPOA pact on Iran’s nuclear energy program, which sacrificed much to implement it, and which is waiting even today for Western nations to finally uphold their word after signing it, there is a lot of lure in words like these from the DSA’s most prominent elected official member, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: 

“I think, overall, we can likely push Vice President Biden in a more progressive direction across policy issues,” said Ocasio-Cortez in September. “I think foreign policy is an enormous area where we can improve; immigration is another one.”

But how can DSA improve US foreign policy if they refuse to dialogue with foreign nations and their media representatives? How can the knowledge of foreign policy which is held by DSA officials – from the national down to the local level – increase, and thus improve their ability to conduct foreign policy if elected or appointed to office, if they are forbidden or unwilling to engage with foreigners? How can foreign policy improve when dialogue comes from only one unilateral direction? How can diplomatic progress be pushed in a more progressive direction if there is such a huge gap between words and actions, as Iran is currently fuming about due to the West’s failure to honor the treaty they have signed?

For many in places like Iran, China, Russia and elsewhere, these logical questions are about as difficult to understand as it is to understand the funny way a knight moves in chess, yet all this appears to be beyond the ken of DSA. Whatever DSA’s rationale – ignorance, apathy, duplicity, inexperience, cynicism – it results in a huge, telling blind spot which may produce deadly real-world consequences for Iranians.

However, DSA is not just illogical, but also – we are sad to say – unprincipled and even hysterical.

The Chicago chapter of DSA made this very clear in their messaging to me (PressTV may decide to publish all our correspondences, but only if our honesty and accuracy is questioned – we assume it will not be.) when they said, “…DSA will not reach the levels of relevancy necessary to be an active player in building those ties if we make choices that our political enemies can use to claim we are under the influence of foreign powers.”

DSA rather exemplifies the common global perception of Western-style democracy via admitting to a belief that one should attain political relevancy not by years of exemplary public service and by providing proofs of moral selflessness in favor of the masses and especially of the lower classes, but merely by making enough brutal realpolitik moves.

What DSA fails to realize is that even if they achieve their goal of relevancy, by the time they do the perceptive American people will have seen right through their phony claims, hypocrisy and inability to uphold quintessentially American values like the freedom of the press. This article is one example – necessarily rendered for public view and public judgment – of DSA’s phony claims. DSA will simply not get away with xenophobic, anti-free press polices such as this one forever, I am sorry to inform them.

To whom does this policy extend? Russia, China, Cuba, etc.? These countries will also publicly ask the same questions Iran is asking now. How much of the world is DSA planning to exclude from the human right of free speech, free press and the expectation of basic politeness and cooperation?

DSA seems to foolishly believe they are a private group or private media – absolutely not: many of their members are running for public office and thus they must be transparent, diplomatic and held to higher standards – DSA does not seem to realise their own voters will expect that of them?

DSA is not going to push the establishment anywhere, because they are the establishment

In that explanation from DSA there is another telling trait: unreasoning hysteria, which leads to very real, very damaging xenophobia, ignorance and the foundations of war. It’s hysterically paranoid of DSA to assert that merely speaking with Iranian media – which has very little reach in the US (due to American censorship of our outlets) – automatically means that DSA members are “under the influence of foreign powers”.

This reveals a hysteria regarding the unscrupulous behavior of their opposition – DSA’s “political enemies”, who are also, incidentally, their fellow citizens – but more importantly it reveals the lack of a backbone to stand up to and to combat unscrupulous and hysterical behavior.

There is also an implication there about what they seem to believe is the low intelligence of the average US citizen – that they apparently cannot be trusted to think rationally, and for themselves, and in favor of freedom of the press? That’s surprising, especially because the average American is so very much in favor of freedom in the press.

But it mainly reflects a hysterical lust for power. DSA is saying quite clearly: to hell with the average American’s oft-trumpeted values of free press and free speech if it might hinder DSA’s acquisition of influence and privilege.

I don’t know why they are so worried about gaining power? DSA already has it. (Or, rather, they incorrectly think that they do.)

Every single other third party jumped at the chance when Iranian media came knocking on their door with a promise of balance, fairness and open ears except for DSA. This is because DSA is undoubtedly a part of the establishment, unlike other third parties and non-mainstream political groups. DSA is not an official political party, but they do much to give this impression. No, DSA is and has always been merely committed to working within the Democratic Party establishment and has no interest in upending the anti-democratic duopoly which dominates the US and – crucially – keeps providing the world’s richest nation with such atrocious public servants.

Ok, so they are another American political group which is totally allied with the establishment and thus is also totally anti-Iran – so what?

How bad is DSA’s blacklisting of Iranian media, really?

The reality is that DSA are a paper tiger if there ever was one. Iranian voters, diplomats and thinkers must look past their youthful, photogenic appearances and (obviously) empty words.

DSA currently has about 75 members holding national, state, city and county posts in this huge country of 330 million people. That includes just three members in federal posts, all in the House of Representatives. Bernie Sanders is not even a member of DSA. The idea that such a powerless minority will somehow be handed top cabinet posts in a Biden presidency is beyond laughable, yet DSA supporters constantly dangle this exact claim.

However, that ludicrous claim is made precisely to get people to not vote for a real third party, especially a genuinely socialist one, like Party for Socialism & Liberation for example. What’s even funnier is that American reactionaries fearfully believe these outlandish claims by DSA! But American reactionaries are especially foolish.…

Non-Americans should realize that DSA exists to act as an anti-progressive safety valve within the Democratic Party – DSA is incredibly effective at ensuring that the establishment does not have to make any genuine domestic changes. They are not “socialists”, they are “reformists”, and their obvious flaw is that they are mere reformists of an atrocious, antiquated, aristocratic, capitalist-imperialist system.

DSA has just brazenly proven that when it comes to Iran they won’t lift a finger in favor of major changes in Washington.

But they want no real changes domestically, too, and they couldn’t even get them achieved even if they weren’t just paper tigers: From Bernie’s backing down in 2016 despite leaked proof of collusion against his candidacy by the Democratic Party elite, to the ascendance of the Clintonista Kamala Harris in 2020, to infuriatingly and unforgivably adding the qualifying adjective of “Democratic” to “Socialist” which actually propagandizes against international socialism and not for it, to the unspoken reality that DSA’s media prevalence is almost wholly due to a hysterical American right-wing which needs some leftists (even fake-leftists) to scapegoat – this list can go on and on and on. 

Deeper explanations as to why DSA is repeatedly seen but never felt in American politics are obviously too numerous to list here, but – when it comes to DSA readers – this article does not aim to focus on DSA’s shortcomings but instead to persuade them to reform their anti-Iranian press policy.

The reality which non-American readers must comprehend is that the US system is based entirely on the influence of monied lobbies. Iranians must realize that there is absolutely not one single pro-Iranian lobby within the US, but that there are many, many anti-Iran lobbies willing to pay for influence (and also for Iran’s destruction) within this strange “democracy with American characteristics”.

In short, unless Iran sells off a significant minority of Iran’s state-controlled economy to American corporations, or unless Iran recognizes Israel, no such pro-Iran lobby can be created: those are the preconditions which the US 1% has always insisted upon from modern Iran in order to end their hot and cold war.

Of course, not only are these things democratically rejected by the Iranian people, but any intelligent analysis of Iran shows that (and DSA members may learn something new about Iran here) any political party which undertook such efforts would be democratically voted out of office before they could complete such immoral, unpatriotic and anti-revolutionary tasks. Iran is a unique (revolutionary) nation with a unique (revolutionary) structure, and just as the US Constitution clearly prescribes an awful duopoly, modern Iranian culture has created – via undeniably vibrant, innovative and open debate over decades – a political system which proscribes certain things, two of which were mentioned in the preceding paragraph.

This is precisely why people like Bernie Sanders and DSA hold such appeal in Iran: the enlightenment of the average US voter appears to be the only way that Washington will ever give up their war on revolutionary (unique) Iran.

This is precisely what makes DSA’s blacklist of Iranian media so disheartening: it shows that neither mainstream party appears to have any sincere goodwill towards Iran – which is the basis of cooperation between equals – not even on the (alleged) left.

Of course, that concept is hardly new among Iranians.

Conclusion: One is on the right path over and over again, but via necessary self-corrections

It seems entirely necessary to assert that DSA’s promises of a progressive push to foreign policy towards Iran are not achievable at best and entirely disingenuous at worst, especially if they do not engage in immediate and sustained self-reform.

The current leaders of the DSA stand in incorrect opposition to the democratic will of 80 million Iranians, and we can safely assume the democratic will of their own members as well, and probably – by a slight democratic majority – the democratic will of 330 million Americans.

As it currently stands DSA – like so many Westerners – arrogantly, imperialistically and chauvinistically insists that they have the right to tell Iranians what they should want, and what they should do, and that if Iranians do not slavishly follow them then this means war… or at least silence, suppression and blacklisting for starters.

That is all totally unacceptable.

This article serves notice to Iranians as to what the DSA appears to have in mind for Iran should they gain power – their views are absolutely not rightly-guided. As to Americans who are about to head to the ballot box, this article makes no suggestion – it only fairly and accurately adds new information.

PressTV would like to place great emphasis on the ideas which are guiding our coverage of this unfortunate issue:

PressTV expresses no any animosity nor hard-heartedness to DSA due to their mistakes regarding Iran – they have obviously been misled via decades of unchecked Western Iranophobia. PressTV cannot stress enough that our desire for normal cooperation, friendly discussion and moral comportment has not been changed one iota despite this disagreement and the necessary airing of our fair and dispassionate criticisms, which are made entirely in the name of normal journalistic and (informal) diplomatic dialogue. PressTV would be rude to appear as if we are making any demands of anyone or any organisation – nor would PressTV degrade themselves thusly – we only politely ask, publicly, that DSA reform their stance on their misguided decision to blacklist Iranian media.


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv

Terrorism and French Values

By Kim Petersen

Source

Sowing and Reaping?
Emmanuel Macron Meets Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ad79f

There have been some horrendous, despicable killings by Muslim extremists in France. Such killings must be condemned.

French president Emmanuel Macron played the victim card, saying that France “will not give into terrorism.” Yet when 21st century France engages in overseas militarism, otherwise known as state terrorism, in places with large Muslim populations – places that never attacked France — such as Afghanistan, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Chad, Somalia, Libya, North Mali, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen then what is to be expected? Is it okay for France to engage in militarism abroad and expect no blowback on French soil? Must not the French terrorism be condemned?

The embattled, unpopular French president has seized upon the gruesome killings to denounce terrorism and championed “French values,” such as freedom of speech. [1]

Once again the controversial publication Charlie Hebdo has provoked a lethal response.

But the French, especially its politicians, are hypocrites. If free speech allows one to impugn one religion, then then that right to impugn must be allowed for all religions. Take the case of French comedian Dieudonné. He has been convicted in court eight times for upsetting Jewish sentiment and has consequently been embargoed by many venues where he would normally ply his trade.

Many years earlier, professor Robert Faurisson, an extreme skeptic of the typical Holocaust narrative, was hit wth by judicial proceedings, was fined, and lost his job. Is this respect for free speech? Professor Noam Chomsky experienced blowback for supporting free speech in the case of Faurisson. Chomsky held, “… it has been a truism for years, indeed centuries, that it is precisely in the case of horrendous ideas that the right of free expression must be most vigorously defended; it is easy enough to defend free expression for those who require no such defense.” [2]

As for France defending freedoms, The Times of Britain notes,

French authorities have been accused of “judicial harassment” in a damning Amnesty report that claims more than 40,000 people were convicted during the gilet jaune (yellow vest) and pension reform protests in 2018 and 2019 “on the basis of vague laws” aimed at restricting their rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.

The controversial media outlet Charlie Hebdo is not about either free expression or speech. It fired a cartoonist for alleged anti-Semitism. [3] On its face, Charlie Hebdo signals that Islamophobia is kosher, but Judeophobia is haram.

Macron said “France is under attack.” [4] Were Afghanistan, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Chad, Somalia, Libya, North Mali, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen not under attack when the French sent their guns to these countries? [5]

ENDNOTES

  1. Agence France-Presse,“‘Nous ne cèderons rien’ sur les valeurs françaises, assure Macron” TVA Nouvelles, 29 October 2020.
  2. Noam Chomsky, “Some Elementary Comments on The Rights of Freedom of Expression,” Appeared as a Preface to Robert Faurisson, Mémoire en défense, 11 October 1980.
  3. See “‘Charlie Hebdo’ condamné pour le licenciement abusif du dessinateur Siné,” Le Monde, 10 December 2009.
  4. “Attentat de Nice – ‘La France est attaquée’, 7 000 militaires déployés, les églises et les écoles sous surveillance : ce qu’il faut retenir des annonces d’Emmanuel Macron” L’Indépendant, 29 October 2020.
  5. Note some of these 21st century conflicts are still ongoing.

*(Top image: French President Emmanuel Macron meets Prime Minister 

Instagram Blocks Imam Khamenei Account following Letter to French Youths

Imam Khamenei

Instagram blocked the French-language account of Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei, two days after his eminence addressed French youths over the French insult to Islam and Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

Iranian media reported the move, while the American photo and video sharing social networking service has not yet commented on the matter.

In his letter to the French youths, Imam Khamenei decried the French president’s support for anti-Islamic moves while the West has criminalized doubts about the Holocaust.

“Ask your President why he supports insulting God’s Messenger in the name of freedom of expression. Does freedom of expression mean insulting, especially a sacred personage? Isn’t this stupid act an insult to the reason of the people who elected him?” the Leader said in the post.

“The next question to ask is: why is it a crime to raise doubts about the Holocaust? Why should anyone who writes about such doubts be imprisoned while insulting the Prophet (PBUH) is allowed?” Imam Khamenei said in the message.

Earlier this month, Macron pledged to fight “Islamist separatism”, which he said was threatening to take control in some Muslim communities around France.

Source: Iranian media

Sayyed Abdulmalik Al-Houthi: Macron Is Nothing But Puppet of Jewish Zionists

ٍSource

2020-10-29 21:32:15

english.almasirah.net:Sayyed Abdulmalik Al-Houthi: Macron Is Nothing But  Puppet of Jewish Zionists

The leader of the revolution, Sayyed Abdulmalik Al-Houthi, said that the Islamic nation today is fraught with problems and crises, and the occasion of the Prophet’s birthday should be a station to face these challenges.

In his speech on the occasion of Prophet Mohammed birthday (PBUH), Sayyed Abdulmalik added that the cause of all the major problems and corruption that our nation and human society suffer from is the deviation from the Prophet’s message.

Regarding the French insult to the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and the position of the French President Emmanuel Macron towards Islam, Sayyed Abdulmalik Al-Houthi said: Macron is nothing but a puppet of the Jewish Zionists, and they push him to insult Islam and the Messenger (PBUH).

The leader stressed that the tyrants US, Israel and their alliance are an extension of the distortion of the straight path, adding that the Western regime that permits insulting God and prophets, and prevents unveiling the plots of the Zionist Jews, is a witness to the control of the Zionist lobby over Western regimes and media.

Regarding the issue of normalization and between some Arab countries with the Zionist entity, Sayyed Abdulmalik Al-Houthi explained that declaring these deals is a betrayal and participating with enemies to target the nation.

He added that the Saudi authorities allowed the Jews flights while besieging the Yemeni people and imprisoning the free Palestinian people only because of their rightful stance against the Israeli enemy. He added that the Saudi, Emirati, Al Khalifa and the Sudanese regimes are partners with US and Israel in their plots.

About the assassination of the Minister Hassan Zaid, Sayyed Al-Houthi describes it as brutal, holding the Saudi aggression coalition responsible for the crime.

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صراع مُستعرٌ بين الفرنجة والعثمانيين على التهام العرب؟

د. وفيق إبراهيم

هذه معادلة تعيد الى المشهد السياسي للمنطقة العربية الصراع العثماني، الاوروبي الذي يعمل على السيطرة على المنطقة العربية منذ ستة قرون متواصلة وسط «غربة» كاملة من اهل المنطقة.

فما الفارق بين سليم الاول ووريثه المعاصر الرئيس التركي رجب طيب أردوغان على مستوى المشروع السياسي؟ وهل هناك من تغيير جذري في السياسات الاميركية – الاوروبية المعاصرة عن الاحتلال البريطاني الفرنسي منذ القرن التاسع؟ وهل هو مختلف عن حروب الفرنجة التي احتلت الشرق العربي 192 عاماً ولم تتركه إلا بعد هزيمة تلقتها من المماليك، على الرغم من أن صلاح الدين سبقهم في ضربها في معركة حطين، لكن أولاده أعادوا تسليم المنطقة الى الفرنجة.

بذلك ينتقل هذا الشرق من احتلال عسكري الى سيطرة اقتصادية ملتزماً صمت الضعفاء والمساكين في إطار معادلة قوامها تحالف الخارج الغربي او التركي مع أنظمة الداخل لقهر شعوب هذه المنطقة. والهيمنة عليها اقتصادياً فتصبح جزءاً من النفوذ الجيوبوليتيكي الخاص بأي منتصر.

التاريخ هنا مستمر بأسماء جديدة وبالمعادلات القديمة نفسها، سليم الاول يعود متسللاً من مرج دابق نموذج 1516 الى سورية عبر إرهابيي الاخوان المسلمين وسراج ليبيا واخوان العراق واليمن ومصر متسربلاً بقناع الرئيس التركي أردوغان انما مع المشروع التاريخي نفسه.

وها هو الرئيس الفرنسي ماكرون يستعمل حادثة قتل مروّعة قتل فيها اسلاموي شيشاني مدرساً فرنسياً، ليؤسس فرصة تاريخية لإعادة تنظيم الفرنجة الجدد، هؤلاء بحاجة الى ايديولوجيا تختبئ المصالح الاقتصادية في زواياها؛ الامر الذي دفع بماكرون الى توجيه اتهامات الى الاسلام باعتبار انه يجتاز ازمة تاريخية على حد قوله وكانت كافية لتحريض الشارع الفرنسي أولاً والأوروبي ثانياً والغربي عموماً في دفاع عنيف عن طروحات ماكرون بدت وكأنها مشابهة للتحريض الذي أطلقته المراكز الدينية في الغرب لاستيلاد فكرة «الفرنجة» الأوروبيين الذاهبين الى الشرق لتحرير «الصليب» كما كانوا يزعمون.

بدورهم رفع العثمانيون شعار الخلافة الإسلامية كتبرير لاحتلالهم للشرق وشمال افريقيا مهددين اوروبا بإدراكهم أسوار فيينا العاصمة النمساوية.

هذا الصراع انحسم لمصلحة الغرب في القرن التاسع عشر بعد هيمنة تركية دامت أربعة قرون ونيف.

لكنه يعود في هذه المرحلة عبر الصراع على البحر المتوسط وسواحل بلدانه المليئة بالغاز، فكان لا بد من شعارات تبريرية وجدها أردوغان التركي في الدفاع عن هجمات غربية مفترضة على الإسلام. ودخل فيها ماكرون الفرنسي فريقاً أوروبياً يرى أن الإسلام اصبح يشكل ازمة عالمية.

اما أصحاب المنطقة وهم الغرب فيلوذون في صمت المذعورين، موجهين رفضاً ضعيفاً لهجوم ماكرون على الإسلام ومنتقدين الأداء التركي لمحاولاته احتلال مناطق عربية.

على المستوى العملي، لا يساوي موقف الدول العربية شيئاً، لأن الطرفين المتقاتلين يعبثان بأمن العالم العربي لأسباب تتعلق بنهجيهما الاستعماريين، فلا ماكرون عائد لاستعادة الصليب ولا أردوغان يريد حماية ديار الاسلام.

هناك اذاً إصرار من الطرفين على التهام العرب بالتبريرات التاريخية وما يؤكد ذلك هي تلك الاندفاعة الهجومية من مستشارة المانيا ورؤساء النمسا وفنلندا ورئيس وزراء بريطانيا باتجاه تأييد موقف ماكرون وكأن المرحلة مماثلة لمراحل تشكيل الفرنجة قبل تسوية قرون تقريباً.

ان ما يشجع هذه الدول على التستر بغطاء ديني، هي تلك الدول العربية التي لا تعمل إلا لحماية عائلاتها المالكة ورؤساء جمهورياتها على حساب المصالح الفعلية للدول.

وسد النهضة مثال على الانكسار العربي الراهن، لأنه يحتجز 74 مليار متر مكعب من مياه النيل في هذا السد الاثيوبي متسبباً بقطع اكثر من ثلاثين مليار متر من حصة مصر من هذا النهر البالغة 55 مليار متر مكعب تشكل 90 في المئة من المياه في مصر، وتهددها بضرب 70 في المئة من قطاعها الزراعي.

للتوضيح فإن اثيوبيا ابتدأت ببناء السد منذ تسعة عشر عاماً وخاض معها عهد الرئيس السيسي مفاوضات عميقة، تبين فيها أن إثيوبيا كانت تستعمل لعبة تقطيع الوقت لاستكمال السد، وهذا ما حدث على حساب الأمن الوطني المصري المهدد بشكل فعلي وسط لامبالاة عهد السيسي.

هناك اذاً معوقات امام العرب، تحتل فلسطين رأس لائحتها الى جانب الصراعات الدولية والإقليمية الأميركية والاوروبية والتركية والاسرائيلية على مواردها والتخلف الاقتصادي العميق، والديكتاتوريات والخلافات الداخلية، هذه عوامل تؤسس لأكثر من عثماني جديد وآخر من الفرنجة مع استمرار التموضع الاستراتيجي الاميركي في عشرات القواعد على اراضي العرب.

لا بد أيضاً من لفت النظر الى أن التذرع الغربي بالإرهاب الإسلاموي هو ذريعة لتبرير الاستعمار الغربي لأن هذا النوع من الاسلام هو غربي التأسيس يرقى الى الدعم البريطاني للوهابية في مطلع القرن العشرين، والاستثمار الاميركي في منظمة القاعدة في سبعينيات القرن الماضي بالاشتراك مع المخابرات السعودية.

كما يعود الى الاستثمار الاميركي – الاوروبي التركي في منظمات داعش وأشباهها في افغانستان والعراق وسورية وليبيا ومصر.

فهل يمكن للعرب مجابهة هذه المشاريع؟

وحدها سورية القادرة على تشكيل جبهة قوية في وجه الإرهاب الذي هزمته في ميادينها اكثر من مرة ولم يعد موجوداً إلا في مناطق السيطرة التركية والأميركية.

هي اذاً سورية التي يستطيع العرب دعمها لتواصل حملة التصدي للإرهاب الذي يكمن خلفه الاميركيون والاتراك المسنودون حالياً من الفرنجة الجدد.

وكما رحلوا بالقوة قبل ثمانية قرون، فلا بد أنهم راحلون مع مشاريعهم بقوة التضامن السوري بين الدولة والجيش والشعب.

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Resistance Ready to Confront Any Aggression, US Sanctions Can’t Overcome Hezbollah, Open to Steps Towards Government Formation: Hezbollah Deputy SG.

Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem
Sheikh Qassem Underlines Resistance Military Readiness to Confront Any Aggression: US Sanctions Can’t Overcome Hezbollah

 October 26, 2020

Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem expressed hopes for a speedy cabinet formation in Lebanon, recalling the party’s stance a year ago when the S.G. Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah rejected the government resignation.

Sheikh Qassem added that after one year all the parties are resorting again to the same solutions, including the reform paper, reinforcement of the judiciary, political cooperation, and fight against corruption.

His eminence stressed that there are two main causes of corruption in Lebanon–the state corrupts and  the US-backed vandals who pervade anarchy and disrupt the national productivity.

“USA devotes its capabilities, pressures, funds, media campaign and sanctions against Hezbollah; however, it will never be able to overcome it.”

Sheikh Qassem emphasized that Hezbollah tries to cope with the socioeconomic problems in Lebanon, adding that it simultaneously confronts the occupation forces and protects the nation from any aggression.

Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General also called on the political leadership in France to avoid the anti-Islam performance, adding that it cannot gain from this approach.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

Hezbollah Deputy SG: We Are Open to Steps Towards Government Formation

By Staff

Hezbollah Deputy SG: We Are Open to Steps Towards Government Formation

Hezbollah Deputy Secretary-General His Eminence Sheikh Naim Qassem strongly condemned France’s encouragement of insults directed at the Messenger of mankind.

He said that such posturing exposes a state of hostility towards the other and underscores the weakness of the argument against the nobility and greatness of the teachings of Islam. Sheikh Qassem called on the French authorities to change course, warning that they stand to gain nothing from this approach.

During his patronage of the celebration of the birth of the Prophet and the week of Islamic unity hosted by Hezbollah’s second district, His Eminence said that “Hezbollah’s victories are the result of jihad, steadfastness, and guidance from God Almighty.”

“These victories are based on clear objectives, safety, and positions of integrity,” Sheikh Qassem added.

The Deputy Secretary General further highlighted that: “Hezbollah succeeded in its resistance against ‘Israel’, which is the focal point of global American injustice, and that is why the US is utilizing all its capabilities, pressures, money, media, and penalties against the party. But it will not defeat it.”

“The resistance has become an approach and a way of teaching for the free youth in our world and the emerging generations, and the falsehood of the American model as well as its racism have been exposed inside the US. Its crimes have also been exposed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Syria, along with its support for ‘Israel’ against Palestine, Lebanon and the countries of the region,” Sheikh Qassem said.

Addressing Washington’s $10 billion package to support its groups and agents in Lebanon, the senior Hezbollah official said that “this is evidence of Lebanon’s level of resilience and steadfastness, which expelled the humiliated ‘Israeli’ occupation in 2000 and achieved victory in the face of the aggressive international mobilization in the July 2006 war via the trio: the people, the army, and the resistance.”

“Some say that America is restricting Lebanon because of Hezbollah, what did the party do?” Sheikh Qassem asked. “It is defending the land and dignity and wants independence, while America wants Lebanon as a backyard to legitimize the ‘Israeli’ occupation and resettlement. So, our rejection of American policies is a rejection of aggression against our country and subordination.”

He recalled how “Hezbollah publicly said last October that it was against the resignation of the Hariri government, and that the rescue paper prepared by his government at the time required strenuous work to address the economic and social crises and hit back at the system of corruption.”

“We also warned against wasting time,” Sheikh Qassem stated. “Sayyed Nasrallah frankly rejected the idea of the resignation due to its repercussions, but what was the result? The steps of the solution are the same, even if the main title and some partial details changed. We must put an end to two types of corruption, the corruption of the exploiters of power in their different posts and the corruption that America sponsors through its groups using bribery, chaos, inciting strife, and disrupting our country’s production capabilities.”

His Eminence concluded by expressing “hope that the government will be formed as soon as possible and win the confidence of the widest segments and parliamentary blocs.”

“We are positive and open to steps that accomplish the formation of the government on the basis of an economic, social, and financial rescue program that puts an end to the exchange rate hike and curbs the high prices, opens horizons for job opportunities for young people, benefits from international support in the context of reform, puts an end to corruption, punishes the corrupt; recovers looted and smuggled money, gives depositors their rights, and addresses the health crisis fueled by the coronavirus.”

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Pakistan’s Imran Khan Denounces France’s Macron for Encouraging Islamophobia

Source

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has lambasted French President Emmanuel Macron for promoting Islamophobia by “attacking Islam,” after the latter criticized Islam and defended the publication of defamatory cartoons of Prophet Muhammad.

Khan’s comment on Sunday follows controversial remarks the French president made last week after an 18-year-old assailant, identified as Abdullakh Anzorov, beheaded history French teacher Samuel Paty outside his school in a Paris suburb.

Paty had raised controversy and provoked anger over showing the defamatory cartoons. The assailant was shot dead by the police soon after the killing.           

Macron had said about his fighting against “Islamist separatism,” which according to him threatens to take control in some Muslim communities around France. He also said that Paty was decapitated because “Islamists” wanted “our future.”

The Pakistani premier, in a number of tweets, said on Sunday that “This is a time when Pres Macron could have put healing touch & denied space to extremists rather than creating further polarization & marginalization that inevitably leads to radicalization.”

“It is unfortunate that he has chosen to encourage Islamophobia by attacking Islam rather than the terrorists who carry out violence, be it Muslims, White Supremacists or Nazi ideologists,” Khan further said.

Earlier this month, Macron also angered Muslims around the world when he said that “Islam is a religion that is in crisis all over the world.”

“By attacking Islam, clearly without having any understanding of it, President Macron has attacked & hurt the sentiments of millions of Muslims in Europe & across the world,” Khan further said.

A number of Muslim countries have so far called for a boycott of French goods over Macron’s controversial remarks.

Erdogan renews call for Macron’s mental checks

Separately on Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan once again said that his French counterpart should undergo mental checks, accusing him of being “obsessed with Erdogan day and night.”

The French president “is a case and therefore he really needs to have (mental) checks,” the Turkish leader further said.

Erdogan comments came just a day after he said Macron “needs treatment on a mental level,” in response to what the French president had said about Islam.

The Turkish president’s comments angered Paris, which called his remarks “unacceptable”, prompting it to recall its ambassador to Turkey.

Separately, Fahrettin Altun, communications director at the Turkish presidency, tweeted that “offensive caricatures” of prophet Muhammed were being used to intimidate Muslims in Europe under the guise of freedom of expression.

“The dog whistle politics of offensive caricatures, accusations of separatism against Muslims, and mosque raids isn’t about freedom of expression,” he further said.

“It’s about intimidating and reminding Muslims that they are welcome to keep the European economy going, but they will never belong — against the backdrop of lectures about integration,” Altun added.

Turkey urges “hatred” against France: French PM

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Sunday said that Turkey was purportedly “trying to whip up hatred” against France, continuing a war of words between the two NATO allies over Macron’s comments about Islam.

The French premier denounced the alleged “insults” against Macron, slamming them as “unacceptable conduct” from an ally, whose “hateful, slanderous propaganda against France” revealed a desire to “whip up hate against us and in our midst.”

Erdogan says Macron has a “problem” with Islam and Muslims for his controversial and provocative defense of the right to show insulting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed.

Press TV

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Macron Opens Floodgates for Muslim Backlash as He Insists on Insults

Macron Opens Floodgates for Muslim Backlash as He Insists on Insults

By Staff, Agencies

Numerous Muslim states and peoples denounced French President Emanuel Macron’s persisting support for blasphemy in his country against Prophet Muhammad [PBUH].

“We will not give in, ever,” Macron tweeted on Sunday. The tweet served to back up his earlier support for a French teacher’s displaying of cartoons insulting of the Prophet of Islam in his class under the pretext of “freedom of speech.”

“France will never renounce caricatures,” Macron had declared on Wednesday, defending the teacher for “promoting freedom.”

The teacher Samuel Paty was murdered by an 18-year-old Chechen assailant. Commenting on the attack, Macron described Islam as a religion “in crisis” worldwide, trying to suggest that the assailant had been motivated to kill the teacher by the faith rather than radicalism.

The comments have raised controversy and provoked a wave of criticism from the Muslim world.

On Sunday, the Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] described Macron’s position as “irresponsible,” and said it was aimed at spreading a culture of hatred among peoples.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had called on Macron to have his mental status examined for defending blasphemy, repeated the call on Sunday. Macron “is a case and therefore he really needs to have [mental] checks,” Erdogan said.

In a statement, Kuwait’s Foreign Ministry warned that attempts at linking Islam to terrorism “represents a falsification of reality, insults the teachings of Islam, and offends the feelings of Muslims around the world.”

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan also hit out at Macron for “attacking Islam clearly without having any understanding of it.”

Khan urged Macron to rather address the marginalization and polarization that is being committed against minorities in France that “inevitably leads to radicalization.”

Jordan’s Islamic Affairs Minister Mohammed al-Khalayleh said “insulting” prophets is “not an issue of personal freedom but a crime…,” and Morocco’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said continuing publication of such “offensive” is an act of provocation.

Palestinian and Lebanese resistance movements, Hamas and Hezbollah have also condemned Macron’s position.

Protests were, meanwhile, reported in the Gaza Strip, Syria, and Libya as well as elsewhere throughout the Muslim world.

Many Muslim companies and associations, meanwhile, have stopped handling or serving French items in protest.

Hashtags such as the #BoycottFrenchProducts in English and the Arabic #ExceptGodsMessenger trended across many countries, including Kuwait, Qatar, Palestine, Egypt, Algeria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.

The French Foreign Ministry, however, reacted angrily to the bans. “The calls for a boycott are groundless and must be stopped immediately, like all attacks against our country committed by a radical minority,” it alleged, trying to associate the protests with “radicalism.”

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فرنسا وسلفيّوها.. هل بدأت الحرب؟

باريس – نضال حمادة

لم يمض عشرة أيام على خطاب الرئيس الفرنسي الذي شنّ فيه حملة غير مسبوقة على ما أسماه الإسلام السياسي الانعزالي (انظر مقالة البناء يوم 6 الشهر الحالي بعنوان: ماكرون يحارب الإسلام انتخابياً) حتى وقع ما حذّر ما منه وكنا نخشاه، وحصلت جريمة ذبح أستاذ الجغرافيا والتاريخ في مدرسة في إحدى ضواحي باريس على يد مهاجر شيشاني بسبب اتهام بعض أهالي الطلاب للمعلم بالإساءة للنبي محمد عبر تخصيص حصة حول الرسوم الكاريكاتوريّة التي نشرتها صحيفة شارلي أبدو قبل أعوام.

هذه الجريمة البشعة والتي لا يمكن سوى إدانتها وشجبها، لم تأت من فراغ ولم تحصل صدفة أو لأن هناك أشخاصاً أو شخصاً قرّر ارتكابها، كما أنها ليست حالة منفردة ونخشى أنها لن تكون الأخيرة في مسلسل الصدام الذي بدأ بين فرنسا وسلفيّيها الذين طالما احتضنتهم وربّتهم وسهّلت لهم كل سبل القوة طمعاً بالأموال القطرية والسعودية التي لا تتوقف عن إمداد هؤلاء السلفيين تحت أعين الأجهزة الفرنسية ومعرفة الساسة في فرنسا، فضلاً عن سعي فرنسا للعب دور سياسي وعسكري في العالم العربي عبر استخدام مجاميعها من السلفيين في ليبيا ومن ثم على نطاق أوسع في سورية.

الآن وبعد حصول هذه الجريمة التي نكرّر إدانتنا لها، وبدلاً من أن تعمل الحكومة الفرنسية والرئيس الفرنسي على إعادة النظر في الحملة التي بدأها ماكرون على الإسلام كدين وعلى مسلمي فرنسا بحجج واهية محملاً إياهم مسؤولية وجود مجموعات سلفية في أوساطهم متناسياً أن هؤلاء السلفيين كانوا الجهة المدللة للحكومات الفرنسية المتعاقبة منذ عهد شيراك حتى اليوم. هذه الحكومة وهذا الرئيس صعّدوا من هجومهم على الإسلام وعقد الرئيس الفرنسي إيمانويل ماكرون اجتماعاً شبه عسكري وامني طارئ يوم أول أمس الأحد حضره كل من وزير الداخلية ووزير الدفاع والخارجية والتربية وقائد أركان الجيش ومدعي عام الجمهورية الخاص بقضايا الإرهاب نتج عنه قرار من الرئيس بتسريع الإجراءات والقرارات التي اتخذها قبل عشرة أيام؛ وهي في خلاصتها تضع الإسلام كدين في خانة التجريم والمسلمين كبشر في خانة الاتهام المستمر ووضعهم تحت نظام حالة طوارئ، في مسعى انتخابي واضح وفرت له جريمة الجمعة الماضية أسباب الاستغلال الرخيص والخطر.

أخشى ما أخشاه أن تكون جريمة الجمعة الماضية ليست سوى بداية الصدام بين متطرفي الحكم في فرنسا ومتطرفين سلفيين طالما عملوا سوياً وكانوا حلفاء في سورية وليبيا، والآن انقلبوا على علاقتهم القديمة لأسباب انتخابية وأمنية وسياسية سوف نشرحها في مقالات مقبلة..

The US: the only Western country with zero Muslim influence at all?

The US: the only Western country with zero Muslim influence at all?

October 16, 2020

By Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

The 10-year anniversary of France’s anti-burqa law was just celebrated by France’s most deranged.

The law was always just a means to distract from new, Brussels-imposed austerity measures despite the start of the Great Recession, and also – from the perspective of the journalist-class: a way to give journalists work, which Sarkozy was very good at and which Jupiter Macron will not deign to do. But what a waste of time….

So, this “tin/aluminium anniversary” arriving while being temporarily posted to the US has me rather sentimental for good old European Islamophobia – they really are the gold standard. It has me asking: where are all the good Islamophobic times here?

As the Great Lockdown/Covid hysteria proved: It’s crazy what a fella can get used to….

But there is no Islamophobic joy in Mudville because the United States is seemingly the only Western country which has zero influence from Muslims or Islamic culture: Muslims aren’t really seen, nor discussed, nor in any positions of power. Yes, multiculturalism also means “de facto segregation”, but in France we might be on the bottom of the social ladder but we at least we know occupy a rung, dammit!

France is the Muslim capital of Europe; the UK and Canada have plenty of Pakistanis and curry shops; since 1917 the former Yugoslavia has merely gone from referring to “Turks” to referring to “Muslims” (among the intelligent: “Slavic Muslims” (gasp, what’s that strange term?!)); Cervantes acknowledged in Don Quixote that his book was the product of stealing from the Moors (partly true, partly false, and part proto-multiculturalism); Australia is repeatedly Islamophobically incensed that Islam is the second-largest religion even though they’re less than 3% of the population.

Japan – in my estimation – is a Western country, but we have to exclude them because of their rather incredible demand for a citizenry comprised of total Japanese homogeneity means they are impermeable to all foreign influences within their domestic culture.

Russia – in my estimation – has reverted to being a Western country ever since they gave up socialism, which is dominated by Asian countries (Cuba and Venezuela combined is a population fraction of China, Vietnam, N. Korea and Iran). They just want to be non-aligned, is all.

In the US – it’s like… “Muslims… meh. I don’t know any.” There is less than 4 million out 330 million, after all.

By far the biggest Muslim influence in American history is from the Nation of Islam and Black Muslims, which many Americans would incorrectly say “aren’t Muslim”. However, Black Muslims are so oppressed, isolated and blacklisted that one could say that they don’t have zero cultural influence here, but negative cultural influence. FYI – I don’t know any Muslim who says African-American Muslims “aren’t Muslim”, but I do hear that regularly about Saudi Wahhabis.

That’s what makes last week’s 19th anniversary of the US-led invasion of Afghanistan so significant: finally, American culture was confronted with the actual, breathing existence of Islam and Muslims (who aren’t hounded by police in US ghettos).

Hitherto these things were totally ignored, and everyone was fine with that ignorance.

Take, for example, one of 20th century America’s most prominent thinkers among the average American, but not the US intelligentsia, Joseph Campbell. He was a very interesting thinker on the power of myths, and I should write a review of his work someday. Basically, Campbell’s huge popularity with the lower classes – not just via his influence on Star Wars but his regular presence on PBS (the lone public TV channel) in the era of <10 TV channels – is explained not only by the fact of his genuine merit, but also by the fact that he did not at all question the absolute correctness and dominance of American-style capitalism and Christianity. For a man who discusses religion so much – and religion is a very big deal to the American lower classes, further explaining Campbell’s popularity, and probably why he is not remembered much today – it was always very amusing to read him repeatedly dismissing Islam as a “pagan” religion.

LOL… not only is Islam not pagan, it is the most anti-pagan religion out there. The primary ideological dispute of Islam is against pagan idolatry (although Muslims are forbidden to mock or fight pagans, lest that would turn them against the One True God).

Campbell – like most educated Americans – is a latently-ardent-yet-unmotivated supporter of Christianity, but like most Americans he doesn’t even seem to know what Abraham is most important for: smashing false idols. (This is a huge thing in Islam – because Islam logically understands you can be either polytheist or monotheist (or atheist) – whereas Christians mostly connote Abraham with his willingness to sacrifice his son). Campbell, like seemingly all Americans, had absolutely no idea regarding the way that Islam is an undeniable continuation of Jesus, Moses, Abraham and Adam which can in no way at all be separated nor questioned.

Muslims understand that last link as easily as 2+2=4, but those in America who are ignorant of it are currently scratching their head and about to get testy and defensive, which is what happens when you point out someone’s “logic” is illogical.

Of course, celebrating this Abrahamic brotherhood is not happening anytime soon in the West or in just the US, but in 2020 Campbell would at least be called out on Twitter with: “What the heck… Islam isn’t pagan at all?” Campbell’s absurd non-assessment wouldn’t stand.

So that’s progress.

Europe had this type of progress earlier, and I have already referenced it: Cervantes. But Europe has a totally different relationship with Islam because Islam is all over southeast and southwest of Europe, and because even the eugenic-loving Protestants know that a bunch of Muslims are not an ocean away.

Therefore the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq brought Islam and Muslim culture – finally – to the US.

Indeed, there are many anti-Muslims now who are thinking, “And what a shame that is!”

These racists (if you want to foolishly call Islam a race, as many Americans foolishly do for Jews) and idiots, who likely don’t even understand their own Christian religion, would surely have sided with the UK and French when the US intervened, incredibly, on the side of Egypt during the Suez crisis of 1956. “What are you doing,” Europe’s anti-Muslims raged, “don’t you understand what a threat these pagans are?”

The US did not see it that way. Not because – influential yet flawed thinkers like Campbell remind us – they understood that Islam is as close to Christianity and Judaism as (to steal Mao’s description of the relationship of China to Vietnam) lips are to teeth, but because the US wanted only – then as now – to impose their imperialist domination of foes and allies alike.

Paradoxically, the influence of Islam on America has been non-existent yet also terribly destructive for American culture: the Patriot Act, the militarisation of US society, the wasting of tax receipts to fund failed wars amid a Great Recession, giving American culture a new foe to evangelise against after the American Indians and communists, etc and etc and etc.

But of course that is all attributable to the influence of capitalist-imperialist thought, not Islamic thought – thus, Islam has not influenced America yet.

There wasn’t ever a post-Cervantes “golden age of reconciliation” between Europe and the neighbouring Islamic world, sadly. There was an age of reconciliation between Europeans and Muslims (but not Islam): the age of worker brotherhood, affirmative action, and anti-imperialism in the socialist Eastern Bloc.

The lack of this “golden age of reconciliation” is entirely due to the total one-way ignorance of Christians and Jews towards Islam – Islam, it is impossible to understate, embraces and understands the revealers of revelations which are entirely shared forever among these three Abrahamic religions. All Muslims know that good Christians and Jews are going to paradise – even if those two don’t think the same of Muslims – but… whatever – Muslims can’t compel faith or insult them any more than they can be bothered about pagans who worship a god/idol made of their own hands.

Muslims in India, for example, can only roll their eyes at such shirk much as they roll they eyes at the Hindu who truly made and prayed to an idol of Donald Trump. That article concludes: “The village headman said his neighbors were discussing how best to maintain their neighbor’s Trump shrine.” Really? Do they have to keep it up even after his death, per Hindu culture? I have no idea. Was I accurate to call this man a “Hindu”, even? Again, I don’t know.

What I should do is ask an American – since the 1960s Hinduism and Buddhism have had a huge, huge influence on not just American culture but all of Western culture. Islam – not at all, and not until the 21st century. Campbell was big on not just Indian polytheism but European paganism as well, which further explains his popularity among the US lower classes, who are descended from lower-class Europeans.

Of course, Christians who worship “three gods” are actually being polytheistic instead of worshiping the One True God – at least in Islamic thinking – so I can see why Americans are so very receptive to Hinduism, Buddhism and even the American Indian religions (now that the American Indians are nearly exterminated, of course). Islam is just too logical for them – we can’t build and pray to a god of money, for example, as in some polytheistic religions. Why anyone at all would build and pray to an idol of Donald Trump… I’m sure there’s a religious logic behind this which a polytheist could explain, and Inshallah one day I’ll be less ignorant about what goes on in this world, but I’ll leave these (entirely respectful and logical) discussions here, lest some American Christian Karen get micro-triggered and “cancel” my existence like I’m some aboriginal….

Back to how Muslims and Islam are finally influencing the lone Western holdout, the US: it’s off to a bad start – going from total ignorance to total war – but things have nowhere to go but up, at least. And Americans know this well already: following the French lead can’t possibly be right.

Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

Weekly China Newsbrief and Sitrep

Weekly China Newsbrief and Sitrep

September 16, 2020

By Godfree Roberts selected from his extensive weekly newsletter : Here Comes China

This week’s selection includes a separate explanation on just how the Chinese Communist Party and Government operates.  For those that visit these weekly Sitreps to learn, this may put an end to the regular discussion items of just how bad the CCP is.  You did know that China has six political parties, did you?  The people that I’ve consulted say the following:  China’s system works for China.  We do not suggest you adopt our system, so, there is no reason for you to insist we adopt yours.

From a regular Twitter Feed by ShangaiPanda, here is how it actually works, by meritocracy.  What this means is that Xi Jinping for example already had 40 years experience in governing, before he was both selected, and elected to his position.

From Godfree’s newsletter which is just brimming with interesting items this week, we’ve selected items about:

  • space,
  • Islam, communism and the BRI,
  • trade war and trade deficit,
  • and a highly educational piece by ‘Chairman Rabbit’, who analyses America from a Chinese perspective.

On studying China it is good to remember that unlike many other countries, China as a country holds together from two perspectives, a long lasting civilizational unity, as well as a sovereign state.


 Space – high technology that is green technology

China has safely landed a reusable spacecraft which it claims will provide a “convenient and inexpensive” method of getting to and from space. The craft launched on September 4th and landed on September 6th after spending two days in orbit, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency. Very little is known about the spacecraft, including even its basic design. There are no picture or renders of the craft, but there have been rumors it is a spaceplane similar to the Air Force’s X-37B. A Chinese military source told the South China Morning Post they could not provide details on the mission but that “maybe you can take a look at the US X-37B.”[MORE]

Islam, Communism and the BRI

The significance of having 52 Muslim countries (37.6%) that comprise 87.5 per cent of World Muslims in the BRI alliance, is not lost on the United States and its allies who are not particularly pro-Islam, which may explain their sudden interest to ‘care’ about the plight of Muslims in Xinjiang! Soon after the Bolshevik uprisings, Communism and Islam seemed destined to liberate the Muslim world from European Imperialism, but that was not to be due to their ideological differences. This presented an opportunity to the United States and its allies, where they coopted anti-Communist Jihadism to disrupt Communism.  This had the unintended consequence of being the impetus for China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which presented the U.S. and its allies with new challenges.

Soon after the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, Communism and Islam were the impetus for revolutions against European imperialism in Egypt, Iraq, India, Caucasus and Central Asia, and the Indonesian Archipelago. However, divergent views about Communism proved divisive among Muslims (who are also quite divergent in their theological interpretations of Islam) and this quasi- ideological alliance was all over by the onset of the Cold War.  Those irrevocable divisions may have been due to the essence of Islam’s socio-economic and political system.  It is more consultative (‘Shoura’ or democratic theocracy) and entrepreneurial in nature, which is more compatible with social democracy and capitalism, than with communism’s autocratic state planned economy.

The other reason for such failure is the proactive role of the United States (and some Western Europeans, like Britain and France) in using Christian missionaries and NGOs in intelligence gathering while spreading Christianity in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America. In the 1970s, it was revealed that the CIA sponsored missionaries in Kerala and Nagaland to not only block the advance of Communism in India, but also to establish sufficient tensions between India and China and prevent any regional stability that continues to our present day.

In the 1980s, the CIA’s material support to the Afghan Mujahideen (and by default the Afghan Arabs, like Osama Bin Laden and his followers, who were rounded up from the different Arab and Muslim countries by their intelligence services and sent to Afghanistan, via Pakistan for their paramilitary training by the ISI, in the hope that they would never come back) only exacerbated extremist violence ever since. In the 1990s, the predominantly Muslim former Soviet Republics of Central Asia; Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and other Islamic countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan opened their doors to Saudi-sponsored Wahhabi Islam (probably with the ‘blessings’ of the CIA).

This resulted in an upsurge of Islamist fundamentalism and separatist movements in central Asia, like al-Qaeda affiliated Turkestan Islamic Party(TIP), Hizb ut-Tahrir (HuT) and Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI), which have presented a challenge to China and others in the region. Since the rise of anti-Communist Jihadism in the 1980s and its coopetition by the Anglo-Americans to disrupting Communism ever since may have been the impetus for China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The $8 trillion investment by China in its bold, innovative and strategic Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) alliances with 138 countries comprising 51.7% of world GDP offers an infrastructure backbone of maritime, land and digital trade alliances. The BRI alliances represent 4.8 billion people (61.7%) of the world population.  Of which an estimated 1.4 billion (29.2%) identify as Muslim and are part of the 52 member countries of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC), including all 22 Arab countries.

China’s BRI strategic alliances with Arabic and Muslim countries can only help neutralise the existential threat of global Islamist fundamentalism in the long-term by spreading economic prosperity and alleviating poverty. Also, it will not only bring prosperity and stability to China’s underdeveloped north-western part (Xinjiang holds 1.33% of China’s population and contributes 1.35% to China’s GDP), but also to (its ideological partner in the new world order) Russia, and other BRI partners on its western border.

Coupled with technological innovations in global cross-border trade and finance, the BRI projects would no doubt accelerate global economic growth and revive China’s historical legacy in boosting entrepreneurships without compromising necessary protections of the weak. Those infrastructure-driven alliances are building a global community with a shared future for mankind.  This is so important at a time when our world is divided by poverty, crippling national debts and the rise of ultra-nationalism.

The clash of civilizations, anti-(Muslim)-refugees’ sentiment and Islamophobia are just symptoms of the rise in white supremacism and alt-right extremism sweeping the Anglo-American and European nations. Those groups subscribe to a conspiracy theory of cultural and population replacement or nativism, where white European populations are being replaced with non-Europeans (predominantly Muslim Arabs from Syria and elsewhere) due to the complicity of ‘replacist’ elites.

For example, the ‘Génération Identitaire’ (GI) movement in France, which considers itself a ‘defender’ of the European civilization has affiliated youth groups in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Slovenia and the United Kingdom.  This heightened sense of ultra-nationalism is driving Western democratic politics away from economic concerns, in favour of issues related to culture and identity. No doubt, Anglo-American and European anxieties about China’s technological, economic and geopolitical dominance may be rooted in their innate fears about being displaced by an Asian culture and the potential spread of Socialism with Chinese characteristics to the 138 countries that joined the BRI alliances, after having spent a good part of over 70 years fighting Communism.

America’s continued rise as a world power—from the 1890s through the Cold War—and its bid to extend its hegemony deep into the twenty-first century through a fusion of cyberwar, space warfare, trade pacts, and military alliances – is now limited by the reality that it has to dismantle China’s BRI alliances as it did to the USSR. This is why the ‘five eyes’ alliance is going on the offensive with (a) sanctions and visa restrictions for Chinese officials, (b) bans on China’s technological 5G innovations (Huawei, Tik Tok and WeChat under the guise of ‘National Security’ concerns), (c) tariffs trade wars, and (d) a particular focus on ‘human rights’ in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.

The significance of having 52 Muslim countries (37.6%) that comprise 87.5 per cent of World Muslims in the BRI alliance, is not lost on the United States and its allies who are not particularly pro-Islam, which may explain their sudden interest to ‘care’ about the plight of Muslims in Xinjiang! Thus, it is not unreasonable to conclude that the sole purpose of those disruptive policies by the “five-eyes” alliance is to intensify the global anti-China sentiment that is already aggravated due to COVID-19, and to inflame Muslim sentiment in particular, so as to torpedo China’s largest economic and geopolitical Belt and Road alliances.[MORE] [George Mickhail is an LSE trained academic and a geopolitical risk analyst with 30 years’ experience in major global accounting firms and business schools.]

Trade War and Trade Deficit

The US trade deficit with China widened in July – an embarrassing situation for President Trump, who Taiwan’s Liberty Times said had been left  with a ‘green face’ (a crude expression that makes plain this is a bad outcome for him). When the US President campaigned four years ago, he strongly accused China of seizing American wealth in what he hailed as “the biggest theft in history.” After his election, he maintained this position against China. However, the latest data will hardly please him. The United States had a $31.6 billion trade deficit with China in July, which was an 11.5% increase from June. The paper noted that before the outbreak of the coronavirus, the US trade deficit with China was narrowing, but it has gradually expanded since the epidemic spread. Data released by the US Census Bureau on Thursday showed that the trade deficit with China in Q2 increased by 36.8% compared to Q1. The deficit in July was 4.36% larger than that in July 2016.[MORE]

‘Chairman Rabbit’ Analyzes America

Editor’s Note: Tu Zhuxi (Chairman Rabbit) is the nom de plume of Ren Yi, a Harvard-educated Chinese blogger who has amassed more than 1.6 million followers on Weibo who seek out his political commentary, much of which falls under a genre we might facetiously call “America-watching.” 

Today, I scrolled through the interview Professor Ezra Feivel Vogel gave with the Global Times: “90 year-old Professor Vogel: Unfortunately, there is a possibility of armed confrontation between the United States and China.” The veteran professor—who has researched China and East Asia all his life and promoted the development of ties between the United States and China—conveyed intense unease after witnessing two years of sharp downturn in Sino-U.S. relations under the Trump Administration. He could not bear not to air his concerns. 

This interview comes at an opportune time. As you can see, I have excerpted a short comment from the interview. This excerpt perfectly echoes the content I have wanted to expand on these last two days:

Vogel: There is a new article in the Atlantic magazine by James Fallows that gives the most comprehensive explanation of what has happened. And it clearly is the Trump administration.

Before the coronavirus, there had been plans in earlier administrations for dealing with an epidemic. We had a good overall plan. Trump did not use those plans at all. He even acted when he first heard about the coronavirus pandemic as if there was not a big problem. So things were delayed. It clearly is Trump’s responsibility.

At the time of writing, the United States has around 3.8 million confirmed cumulative cases, 140,000 deaths, and a daily increase of about 64 thousand cases. The diagnosis of experts and intellectuals around the United States: this is all due to the Trump Administration.

First of all, the United States’ so-called “good overall plan” for epidemic response was targeted towards a type of infectious disease that resembles the flu in infectiousness, hazard, and lethality. The United States after all has quite a few documentaries and special television programming about pandemics, and every year in every corner of the country drills are held about pandemics, but all of these were with the assumptions of a flu-like disease. COVID-19 was not within the expectations of an American plan for epidemic response, and indeed was beyond the response plan of every country in regard to an infectious disease with respiratory transmission. COVID-19 is an especially potent epidemic, a disease with an extraordinarily high death rate. The epidemic response plan that the United States currently had in place was entirely insufficient for COVID-19. Dr. Anthony Fauci brought up this topic several times in the last few months, especially in the early stages of the epidemic: the American system and design is either insufficient or entirely ineffectual against COVID-19. Dr. Fauci was speaking only from the standpoint of public hygiene and healthcare system and his analysis did not broaden past these considerations.

I have been following the news, media, and commentaries of the U.S. right and left. Criticisms of the epidemic response have generally been from Democratic Party, anti-Trump, and/or liberal-aligned intellectuals. Even after several months, I have rarely encountered essays or discussions that analyze in-depth the full extent of the difficulties facing the U.S. COVID-19 response by synthesizing broader observations on the nation’s political system, society, governance, culture, and economy.

Basically, all the analyses have taken the question and subsumed it under the issue of “political leadership”—usually pointing towards the President, the White House, and state governors. The majority of these analyses lay blame onto the very person of Trump.

Basically, all the analyses have taken the question and subsumed it under the issue of “political leadership”—usually pointing towards the President, the White House, and state governors. The majority of these analyses lay blame onto the very person of Trump.

According to this logic, the reason for the U.S.’s weak response to the epidemic is Trump and Trump alone. If only there was only another person in charge, the U.S. could have defeated COVID-19.

Readers who follow me should know my methods well: I have always begun my analyses from a sociological point of view. How could the U.S. use influenza as the primary lens to understand COVID-19, and how did this understanding influence the U.S.’s subsequent responsive actions? I have since wrote many essays on this topic, for example my April 1st, 2020 essay: “Can the United States Shut Down Entire Cities and Thoroughly Practice Social Distancing Like China? A Discussion of American Exceptionalism” (link in Chinese).

In that piece, I argue that due to the U.S. political and legal system, enacting a comprehensive and stringent social distancing program, including measures such as quarantining cities, is simply not possible.

In the next few months, I will continue my analysis and extend towards the political level. Not too long ago, I collected a few writings into this listicle: “13 Reasons for the Ineffectual Response towards COVID-19 of the United States and ‘Society Construction’ During an Epidemic” (link in Chinese).

I summarized thirteen reasons for the U.S.’s weak response to the epidemic:

  1. Government system: the separation of powers between the federal, state, and local governments
  2. Government system: the separation of powers between the legislative, executive, and judiciary bodies
  3. Wide racial and class disparities
  4. A culture that understands individualism as a cardinal virtue, even to the point of opposing social or collective interests
  5. An overwhelmingly one-sided emphasis on political and civil rights
  6. “Gun culture”: the spirit of Manifest Destiny, rugged individualism, and militarism
  7. “Bible culture” and anti-intellectualism
  8. A pluralistic society without common understanding or consensuses
  9. A government and media that intensifies rather than ameliorates social tensions
  10. A values system that does not respect the elderly and does not assign elders special protections
  11. Family structures which are not suited to fighting against COVID-19
  12. The precarious economic situation of the United States’ middle and lower classes (like walking on a tightrope, i.e. living from paycheck to paycheck or credit problems)
  13. Other cultural factors, such as resistance against wearing masks

There are certainly many more reasons than the ones I have listed. But what I wish to express is that the U.S.’s weak response to the epidemic is the combined result of political, legal, social, cultural, economic, and other factors. The White House, as one of the holders of broad public authority (the executive section of the federal government), has in fact significantly limited power over this broader structural context.

The U.S. cannot manage stringent social distancing, large-scale quarantines of cities, nor restrictions on interstate travel. Health QR codes on mobile devices are entirely impossible with citizens’ insistence on privacy protections. A vast society led primarily by individualism and anti-intellectualism can hardly speak of epidemic management. These factors are not problems that can be resolved with the changing of a president. I believe that even if it were Obama, Hillary, or Biden as president, they would not be able to reverse the tide of the battle against COVID-19, even if they would be slightly more effective—for instance if they had taken the initiative and emphasized the importance of masks. This is because fighting an epidemic does not depend on the lobbying or practices of a president, but rather on the public health and prevention system of an entire country, one which from top to bottom must act in unity and move together. Public authority must comprehensively, effectively, and consistently implement policies (such that each locality will not have its own variant policies), and also cannot allow any level of the judiciary to interfere in the problems of any level of government. On the balance between citizen and society, preparations must absolutely be made to cede rights to the collective. “Political and civil rights” must in these times yield way.

The very design of U.S. political and legal institutions is meant to inhibit collective rights. Balance of powers is at the core of American governance. Political and civil rights are the bedrock of American political values. To deny these values equates to the very denial of the U.S.’s fundamental being.

The very design of U.S. political and legal institutions is meant to inhibit collective rights.

Therefore, to take the U.S.’s weak response to the epidemic and shove it at “political leadership” and at the feet of Trump is not merely skin-deep, but avoids the real problem and focuses on easy answers. It is simply not looking at the substance of the situation.

For several months I have followed U.S. political commentaries on the left and right, and I can confirm I have not seen any analysis of depth. The overwhelming majority of analyses are overly narrow and concrete, pointing at an individual perhaps. Rare is the person who can leap outside the U.S. political structure and carry out a detailed assessment from a third point-of-view. Why? I summarize two reasons:

(1) Americans are sort of like the baffled participant in a game; sometimes the onlookers see more of the game than the players. Americans honestly believe that the American system is exceptional, the best in the world. This is an earnest and steadfast faith, an authentic “self-confidence in path, self-confidence in principles, self-confidence in system, self-confidence in culture” [the “Four Self-Confidences” of Xi Jinping Thought]. They simply cannot bring themselves to doubt or oppose the American system. Since the American system is perfect, once the epidemic creates problems, by the process of elimination, Americans reason that the problem must stem only from electing the right or wrong politician. From this line of thought, pick out the one who has the most power: this is Trump’s fault. After him, perhaps we blame the governor of Florida, DeSantis. This is about as deep as the majority of Americans introspect.

(2) Criticizing the American system is a serious political error. It’s taboo. This is because it is anti-American, “unpatriotic,” “un-American.” It is a stance that doubts the very foundations of the United States. So when there is an elephant in the room in regards to the American system, everybody can see it but dare not speak up. I believe that the majority of people do not even see this elephant in the room because they have been so thoroughly brainwashed by the perfection of the American system. It is only a minority of people who can see this. These people very well could be Democrats or liberal intellectuals. This small number of people aware of reality cannot point out the elephant, however, even if they can see it. This is because pointing it out cannot change the situation on the ground, yet will still result in censure and criticism. One would rather polish a cannonball and lob it at Trump.

In summary, if we compare China with the United States, we would discover an interesting phenomenon.

When Chinese people criticize, they are accustomed to focusing criticisms on the system. “Systemic problem.” “Systemic-ism .” Even though there are indeed problems at the individual level, these problems are thoroughly rooted in the larger system. “Because the system produced this type of person,” “because the system could not restrain or check this particular person.” At any rate, any analysis fundamentally leads back to systemic problems.

When American people criticize, it is focusing the problem onto the physical body of an individual politician. It is not the system at fault, because the system is already perfect or close to perfect, so it can only be a problem birthed from the politician: this pundit’s personality is bad, their abilities did not cut it. All criticisms are of this sort. With that, if an impotent pundit is continuously elected or re-elected—for instance if Trump is re-elected, then this is a problem of the voters. But at this time, the analysis simply cannot proceed further. In the calculus of American political values, the political values of every person are equal: one cannot belittle the voters. In 2016 during the presidential race, Hillary Clinton belittled Trump’s supporters and faced an overwhelmingly negative backlash, costing her the ultimate price (this could perhaps be why she lost the presidential race). What is left then is to criticize the political influence of the media, campaign funding, and interest groups. But even here the analysis must end. Within the proscribed limits of the dialogue, it is easy to enter into another level of analysis—for example, could it be that the U.S. electoral system has fundamental faults? If one gets to this level, it touches upon the very body of U.S. democracy and its electoral system. One would be entering a live mine zone, teetering on the edge of political error.

In this sort of environment, Americans naturally will avoid hard problems and search for easy answers. They will not explore systemic problems, but rather focus their entire attention on electoral solutions.

Under this existing electoral process, one can only, perhaps, push their preferred candidate onto the political stage and wish only for their own candidate to ascend to the office, so that in the next few years that candidate can advance their own political programs and thereby protect the interests of the candidate’s supporters. In this sort of environment, Americans naturally will avoid hard problems and search for easy answers. They will not explore systemic problems, but rather focus their entire attention on electoral solutions.

Therefore, American politics are entirely driven by the short-term. They will look at long-term problems as a certainty before avoiding them, exerting only in order to resolve short-term problems. Even though there are scholars and intellectuals who can produce long-term analyses of wide historical and societal scale, this sort of analysis remains locked in the library and Ivory Towers, away from the stain of political practice.

The American “Revolution”

In the week after the conclusion of the 2016 election in the United States, Democratic primary candidate Bernie Sanders published his book Our Revolution. As everybody knows, 2016 was the contest between Trump and Clinton. Yet Bernie Sanders was the more extreme, more left (called a “socialist”) candidate of the Democratic Party, who was ultimately knocked out by the mainstream Clinton in the primaries. But he retains many fans among the Democratic Party’s “progressive wing”, including many youth. In his book, he introduced his thoughts as well as his explanations and analyses on all sorts of issues of the day, including the wealth gap, race relations, environmental problems, healthcare problems, the problem of media and interest groups binding politics, gender pay disparity, and the problem of Wall Street and big corporations.

Sanders’ diagnosis of American problems intersects with Trump: it is only that while Sander’s target audience was quite broad (for example, minorities, vulnerable groups, and women), Trump’s was much more parochial. On similar problems, Trump would provide right-wing resolutions to his limited audience of voters, but Sanders provided left-wing resolutions to his broad audiences—because of this, he was smeared as a “socialist”. Of course, during Sander’s entire campaign, there remained an unspeakable doubt: that is, can a big-city Jewish American ‘elite’ from Brooklyn, New York actually win the votes to be elected as President of the United States? This same problem may apply to Michael Bloomberg. To date, it seems this question answers in the negative.

But I do not wish to talk about Sanders’ propositions or ethnicity, but rather his slogan: “Our Revolution”.

“Our Revolution” has now become a left-wing action organization with roots in the 2016 Bernie Sanders campaign, and it continues to organize movements within the Democratic Party and in other broader social contexts.

“Our Revolution” has three key actions: “Win on our issues,” “Transform the Democratic Party,” and “Elect progressives up and down the ballot.”

It is of note that Sanders is the most mainstream American politician to date to support the idea of a revolution. However, what I wish to point out to Chinese readers is that this concept of “revolution” is nothing more than propagating his own thoughts and policy proposals to a wider audience, in order to get his own people elected and achieve electoral success himself.

People more familiar with Chinese political discourse should know the difference between “revolution” and “reform.”

Revolution is overturning and starting over again: toppling the old system and the old order, and constructing a new system. Revolution is often violent, of great force, compelled, and refuses to abide by the present system. From the standpoint of Marxism, revolution is class struggle, a fiery worker’s movement. From the standpoint of Leninism, it is a violent movement. From the standpoint of Mao Zedong:

“A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.”

In the Chinese context, and indeed in the majority of cultural and social contexts, “revolution” is an intense action: revolution demands the overthrowing of the present system. Abiding by the present system, or moving within the current system and order, can only be reform.

But it is different in the United States. In the United States, challenging and overthrowing the system is taboo. It is simply impossible. This is because the American system is considered sacred, perfect. It is only particular individuals who have problems, only particular problems that cannot be handled well. The system itself has no problems. Therefore, all actions can only be carried out within the purview of what the system allows. The only path is by election—use a successful election to construct the starting point and foundations of societal change.

The American system is considered sacred, perfect. It is only particular individuals who have problems, only particular problems that cannot be handled well. The system itself has no problems.

Because of this, in the political rhetoric of Bernie Sanders, we see not a radical revolution or transformation, but a complete obedience to the American system. Due to the American people’s 100% approval and obedience to the system, any possibilities that people may have substantive critique or doubts vis-à-vis the system are cut off, and no action can be taken. The American system has completely limited their space for movement. Even “radicals” similarly can only raise high the banner of the American system, and can only work and influence society within designated limits: by pushing their own candidates in elections.

A few weeks ago, the police brutality case of George Floyd caused massive numbers of Americans to take to the streets and protest without ceasing.

Yet have we seen any protestor put out protest against the very structure of America’s political system, institutions, and government? Will there be any person who comes and burn the Constitution? Burn the American flag? Will there be any person who will put forth concrete plans of actions towards subversion?

There wasn’t any. The protestors could only protest a few “conditions.” Each path towards resolution is diverted back into elections.

The United States uses the separation of powers mechanism to spread the vast majority of social contradictions among the politicians of the various local jurisdictions. Through the possibility of election, in order to resolve these contradictions, the people complain while pointing at the politicians, not the institutions themselves. In the end, the people believe they hold the power and can influence politics through the vote, carrying on their lives under this sort of hope.

The most awe-inspiring politics indeed is this: one in which people believe they have the power and thus maintain steadfast hope in the future, while at the same time changing nothing about the current situation.

A few weeks ago, when riots erupted all around the United States, Secretary of State Pompeo could still proudly boast and simultaneously demean China: Wehave freedom of assembly, expression, and freedom to protest.

The American system has already developed to this point: simply give the people freedom of expression and freedom to protest so that they can feel themselves righteous and superior, after which they may do as they wish.

I have before written an essay “From ‘Moral Licensing’ and ‘black-clad warriors’ to the ‘Sick People of Hong Kong’” in which I explained the concept of moral licensing:

“People believe that if they had prior done something good, they can then possibly condone themselves (or even indulge themselves) when in the future they do something not as good (even actions that do not conform to one’s own or the public’s moral standards).”

The circumstances surrounding the system of the U.S. are such: if we allow people expression, allow them to freely scold the government, this grants the people “political and civil rights.” This itself grants the American system moral superiority; it is the ends not the means. Afterwards, the government need not do anything further: “half-heartedly listen yet decide to do nothing.” That there have been so many racial conflicts and riots in the past few decades demonstrates that this kind of “expression” does not bring any substantive political transformation. American society has not experienced any fundamental changes. The people who can bear it no more cannot help but take to the streets after many a hard years.

The U.S.’s electoral system is a systemic, national form of “moral licensing”:

First, it grants people the right to vote, grants people a few nominal political and civil rights, allowing the people to feel that they have power and agency and thereby perceive moral self-satisfaction.

Afterwards, the politicians and elites can recount the greatness and glory of the system, right and proper as it is. “We allow African Americans to go out on the streets! So our system is progressive.” “We had Obama as president, how can our society be discriminatory against African Americans?”

The first stage of American politics is taking “the right to express concerns” and equating it with “measures to resolve the problem.” I allowed you to express your opinion, so all is well.

The second stage of American politics is taking “the right to express concerns” and using it as legitimization for “tacit allowance of the bad.” I allowed you to express your opinion, and I even allowed a black president, so what are you babbling about?

As one can see, the separation of powers and electoral system in the United States has created a perfect “cognitive trap” — people believe that this system can endlessly empower individuals and provide limitless potential and possibilities, that it can change anything. This system is in fact like a black hole, taking all the potential and sucking it in and dispelling it — even if it means there will be no changes in reality.

This system is in fact like a black hole, taking all the potential and sucking it in and dispelling it — even if it means there will be no changes in reality.

I believe that there will not be an insurrection in the U.S. because there is no power in the U.S. that can overturn or transform the American system. The American system is too powerful, it can already change the meaning of words: turning “revolution” into reforms hemmed in by the limits of the electoral system. This is indeed an extraordinarily powerful system.

Only an enormous outside pressure can cause the United States to change.

China is just such a pressure currently placed on the United States. In the beginning, the pressure was indistinct, unclear, but now it grows more apparent as China continues its rise.

Why Can’t America Criticize Its Own System?

Apart from “empowering” people, giving them the fantastic illusion of grasping political power and being able to influence it, the American electoral system is also importantly related to the system’s construction of an American person’s identity.

As I have written two days prior in the essay “Why the United States Does Not Understand China — From the Original Intention of the Communist Party of China, to European Civilization, to American Politics”, the United States is an multi-national country, assimilating many people from different ethnicities, nationalities, cultures, and societies. To bind these people together, a country cannot rely on blood ties, shared ethnicity, or shared culture, but instead on shared political values—the approval of the Constitution of the United States, and the approval of the foundational political values of the United States.

Political values and the American system: these two formulate the “national identity” of the United States.

Disavowing the American system is tantamount to disavowing the American national identity, necessarily meaning being anti-American.

Every civilization must construct its own foundations for national identity.

The national identities of European countries lay upon race, blood, and land, and, after, language and culture. Denying one’s race, blood, land, and language is to go against one’s own national character, and is hardly acceptable.

China is also multi-national, its national identity based more on culture and language; one able to integrate into the Chinese nation is one who can be accepted. Land is secondary, and ethnicity and blood ties may also be factors. But in summary, the inclusiveness of the Chinese people is quite potent, with ethnicity, blood ties, and other such factors relatively weak considerations. From the point-of-view of Chinese people, disavowing Chinese culture, history, tradition, or the perception of China’s territory and borders, is what it takes to disavow or be disloyal to China.

From the standpoint of the United States, ethnicity, blood, land, language, culture, and history are not key factors; only political values are. To disavow the American system is to disavow the American “nation.”

From the standpoint of any nationality, for one to deny their own national character is very much unacceptable, no matter if it is Europe, China, or the United States. The distinction from Europe and China is that the American nationality is built on the foundation of a political system and values.

In what circumstances then does a society or a nationality go against and disavow their own nationality?

I am currently of the belief that it is only in a cross-ethnic or transnational international setting where one could find serious frustrations which could produce such a self-disavowal.

Only in facing an enormous failure can there possibly be a self-disavowal, even a “self-hatred”.

China’s concept of nationality is built on culture and civilization. In the past two hundred years or so, China has suffered foreign invasion and bullying, thoroughly fell behind and received thrashings, and as a result came to doubt much of its own system and culture. This type of self-doubt and self-disavowal has persisted onto the present day. Chinese people tend to search for their own “inherent weaknesses” among their traditional culture.

Once the Chinese economy grew, and subsequently once its global standing rose, people began to change, becoming self-confident, and more were able to see the good aspects of Chinese traditional culture and contemporary societal practices.

The U.S. is similar. The American concept of national character is its own system and political value. Nothing short of a severe frustration of the American system, perhaps by China comprehensively catching up to or surpassing the United States, perhaps even failing in a competition or struggle with China, would possibly wake up the Americans to their senses. The basis for the United States’ own “four self-confidences” is its absolute leading role in the world for the past close to a century. The U.S.’s strength made people believe that the American system must be superior, and based on this they came to believe that America’s national character must be superior. The U.S. vigilantly guards against and attacks any other country that could challenge its national might, because any challenge would undermine the supposed superiority of the U.S.’s national character.

The U.S. vigilantly guards against and attacks any other country that could challenge its national might, because any challenge would undermine the supposed superiority of the U.S.’s national character.

If China one day rises and is to enter conflict with the United States and comes to outdo the American system, then for certain it would deal a huge blow to the self-confidence of the American people.

Only in such a time may the American people perhaps engage in deeper introspections on their system and models, and thereby possibly search for and implement necessary reforms.

I believe that American politics and society have extraordinarily powerful inertia and cannot initiate any self-led, self-directed adjustments in the short-term, unless there is outside pressure.

China’s rise is by now inevitable and will come to pressure the U.S. more as time goes on. At a certain point, the U.S. will be forced to confront and rethink their own system, to seek more changes and reforms. This is precisely like the period at the end of the 70s and beginning of the 80s, in which the U.S. confronted the rise of Japan in industrial and commercial matters. Thus, the U.S. increasingly scrutinizing China is only a matter of time.

As China continues to grow stronger, its influence on international affairs will naturally grow larger as well. At the same time, the United States will experience a relative decline, its soft power and political influence around the world will face relative decline as well. China can indeed throw out or act as a challenge, check, or supplement (the terminology is not important) to the American model in the future, and proceed on a path distinct from that of the West.

The path China takes will also influence the course of human development in the future, and indeed may be a course we will get to see in our lifetimes.

Finally, if there is a lesson that China must draw from the U.S. concerning principles of political systems, it must be that we must constantly remember to remain humble. Under no circumstances can we allow ourselves to become complacent and lose our vigilance. We must constantly look at our shortcomings, search for reforms and improvements, and consistently upgrade ourselves. “Four self-confidences” of course is vitally important, but we must at the same time retain our characteristically Chinese low-key, pragmatic, cautious, modest, and moderate dispositions.

We must never emulate the Americans in their blindness, arrogance and self-importance, lack of introspection, or their coarse self-confidence.[MORE]

Translated by Sean Haoqin Kang. The original Wechat blogpost, “American ‘Revolution’: The ‘Systemic Trap’ and the Lessons China Must Draw” can be found here (link in Chinese).


Selections by Amarynth

9/11 ended the American dream, says Lebanon’s Talal Atrissi

By Mohammad Mazhari

September 12, 2020 – 18:21

TEHRAN- Head of the Center for Political Studies at the University of Lebanon says the American dream promoted by its cinema has come to an end and “we are facing a country that hires soldiers to fight, occupy and kill.” 

 In an exclusive interview with the Tehran Times, Dr. Talal Atrissi says that the American dream has become an “ugly image” for the nations around the globe.
“There is no longer what we call the American dream,” adds Atrissi.
Following is the text of the interview: 

 Q: Who are the main beneficiaries of the September 11 attacks?

A: The September 11 attacks helped neoconservatives in the U.S. advance their project of changing the Middle East (West Asia) under the pretext of “war against terror.” 

After 9/11, Washington was involved in regional wars, and its policy turned into a direct military offensive policy.

 It occupied Afghanistan and then occupied Iraq, and demanded Syria close Palestinian organizations’ offices, and encouraged Israel to launch the 2006 war on Lebanon. 

So, after the September 11 attacks, American foreign policy turned into a direct occupation policy in order to implement the vision and project of the neoconservatives in the world.

Q: What are the repercussions of the wars that the U.S. launched against Afghanistan and Iraq after 9/11?

A: The wars launched by the United States on Afghanistan and Iraq showed the fact that the United States has become a direct occupying power in the region.

 In Afghanistan, the U.S. becomes a neighbor to Iran and Russia, and other countries in Asia.

 In Iraq, it became close to Iran and Syria, with a large military force that could threaten the countries that disagreed with its policies or oppose American hegemony.

As a result, the United States faced violent resistance, whether in Afghanistan or Iraq, as far as U.S. presidents from Obama to Trump have admitted that the country has paid thousands of billions of dollars and human losses due to these wars.

That is why Obama decided to withdraw from Iraq, and Trump came to say that he does not want to wage new wars in the region. As a result of these wars, the United States of America is declining and losing its influence in the region.

The resistance has become stronger and more experienced, and the idea of resistance has been welcomed and has spread, whether in Iraq, Lebanon, or even Afghanistan.

So, the occupation brought complete havoc for the United States besides failure for neoconservatives in their projects.

Q: Why have the Americans embraced negotiations with the Taliban, whom they called terrorist, after two decades of war?

A: The U.S. negotiations with the Taliban reveal that Washington does not make a deal according to principles, but rather uses slogans and then outweighs its interests.

 During the war against the Soviet army in Afghanistan, America and its media used to call the fighting groups, including the Taliban, “Mujahideen,” and not terrorists.

After the Soviet army left Afghanistan, and these groups started to fight the U.S., these groups were classified as “terrorists.”

So, the United States of America is negotiating today with the Taliban because it really failed in Afghanistan. This means the admission of failure in Afghanistan after paying huge losses. 

 For this reason, the U.S. wants to withdraw the largest number of its forces from there and negotiate with the Taliban about its participation in the government of Afghanistan.

But Al-Qaeda organization is originally an American-backed entity that was exploited in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq, and when its date expired, Trump accuses Clinton and Obama of being involved in the manufacturing of al-Qaeda.

This is why all America’s claims about terrorism are uncovered and unacceptable, and it has become known that the United States allied with al-Qaeda in more than one place in West Asia. 

“All evidence indicates that Saudi authorities indirectly were involved in the 9/11 attacks.”

Q: What happened to the American dream after 9/11?

A: The American dream is over, and the United States no longer can present itself as a globally attractive destination.

After September 11, using force, oppression, occupation, torture, and prisoning of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan has become the United States’ predominant face.

The mutual accusations between the American presidents showed the true face of America. 

Even the American lifestyle is no longer the one that anyone in the world dreams of having, and therefore there is no longer what we call the American dream. 

The American dream was ruined, in a cracked structure, which was no longer coherent. The American dream created by cinema has ended, and we are facing a country that hires soldiers to fight, occupy, and kill, and does not respect human rights.

 From that time until now, we can say that the American dream has become an ugly image for the world’s nations.

Q: Why doesn’t the U.S. sue Saudi Arabia for the 9/11 attacks? 

A: The U.S. doesn’t want to sever its relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, while it has become clear that most of those who carried out the September 11 attacks were Saudis.

 Although there were discussions and calls to cut ties with Saudi Arabia or impose sanctions on it, the matter met American silence because the relationship with Saudi Arabia is profitable for Washington.

The Saudi Kingdom is the largest buyer of weapons, and it is an ally of the United States in the face of Iran; and therefore, the United States is silent about such an operation and does not directly accuse the Saudis.

 All evidence indicates that Saudi authorities indirectly were involved in the 9/11 attacks, but the Trump administration tries not to ruin the ties.

 So, the issue of terrorism is an optional issue to Washington.  The U.S. president is who chooses when to fight terrorism or fight the countries accused of being behind terrorism. 

That’s why the United States of America was silent and did not talk about accusing Saudi Arabia directly, although some information indicates that some figures in the Saudi ruling family provided funding to the attackers. 

Q: What have been the consequences of 9/11 for U.S. internal security, especially when the freedoms were restricted under the pretext of fighting terrorism?

A: On the American domestic level, what happened was the U.S. policy reversed into a militant policy, a policy of suppressing freedoms and spying on citizens.

Suppressing freedoms under the pretext of fighting terrorism and concerns about individuals’ relations with terrorists has become a prevailing issue in the U.S. A big debate heated in the United States on the importance of freedoms, but the government continues to restrict citizens. The Americans lost a large part of their freedoms under the motto of “fighting terrorism.”

Q: How could the September 11 attacks spread Islamophobia in the West? 

A: Islamophobia is a complex topic that has historical roots and cultural reasons and causes related to terrorist operations. The American and Western media, in general, shed light on the September 11 attacks and emphasized that Muslims were the main actors who carried out this operation.

Of course, this approach contributed to creating an anti-Muslim atmosphere in the United States of America for a long time.

But at the same time, Islamophobia is also widely widespread in Europe, and this is partly because of terrorist operations that were carried out on European territories.

Still, Islamophobia has been misused inside the United States and Europe in the struggle between political forces and accusing Muslims of economic, social, and cultural problems.

In fact, some Muslims cannot integrate into Western culture. Thus they face the isolation process and tend to engage in terrorist groups.

In addition to that, Muslims in Europe, for example, live in the suburbs and lack adequate services, which encourages young generations to join extremist organizations.

The United States of America, because of its anti-Muslim policies, has created an atmosphere of extremism among some Muslims. That’s why it can be said that the September 11 attacks contributed to the spread of Islamophobia.

Moreover, the American media has a pivotal role in creating this Islamophobia wave by inciting Muslims and covering up the Saudi Kingdom’s crimes.

RELATED NEWS

‘Justice is Indivisible’: Placing Palestine Back at the Center of Muslim Discourse in the West

Source

May 4, 2020

Times Square, New York in July 2014, during Israeli brutal military attack on Gaza. (Photo: via AMP)

By Ramzy Baroud

It was nearly twenty years ago at a Muslim conference in Washington D.C. that I heard the distressing argument that Palestine should not be made a central topic in the American Muslim political agenda.

The point, which took many by surprise, was enunciated by a young American Pakistani Muslim academic, whose name is not important for my purpose here.

What I found reassuring then, however, was that almost everyone at the gathering shook their head in disagreement. The young academic was clearly an intellectual pariah. It was clear that Muslims, at least the attendees of that specific conference, will not be abandoning their advocacy for the freedom of the Palestinian people anytime soon.

A few months later, the September 11 attacks took place, unleashing a Pandora’s Box of violence, racism, orientalism, and Islamophobia, the outcome of which would continue to be felt for years to come.

A less discussed portion of the American war on Islam and Muslims in the last twenty years is the systematic and centralized attempt at breaking down the American Muslim society. The same can, of course, be said of the anti-Muslim sentiment that flourished in Europe during the West’s wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, and other Muslim countries.

Since then and till today, American Muslims found themselves forced to make bleak choices to avoid media demonization and government persecution.

Some chose to toe the line, in fact, to become an advocate of the very colonial, savage powers that were unleashed against Muslims everywhere – killing, torturing, imprisoning and sanctioning with no regard whatsoever for the very international law that the West itself had fashioned following World War II.

The likes of Hamza Yusuf, formally known as Mark Hanson, was and, perhaps, remains the best example of the so-called ‘pet Muslim’, as he became known due to his collaboration with the George W. Bush regime during the genocidal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The likes of Yusuf became immensely crucial to the American-Western designs in Muslim countries, being the ideal amalgamation between the ‘native informer’ – as a supposedly learned Muslim, although a white person himself – and the typical orientalist – the Western scholar that can be trusted in deciphering and dissecting the Muslim ‘Orient’ to the colonialist West.

According to the Guardian newspaper, Yusuf once told Muslim political dissidents, “If you hate the west, emigrate to a Muslim country”, thus displaying the same racist sentiment often lobbed by far-right chauvinists to anyone who dares question government policies on war, immigration, or anything else.

This very sentiment was repeated by US President, Donald Trump, when he tweeted last July, “In America, if you hate our Country, you are free to leave.”

According to the infinite wisdom of Yusuf and Trump, one can only earn the right to be a fully bonified citizen if one fully abandons one’s right to display any disagreement with one’s government’s policies.

In Yusuf’s shameful thinking, it also follows that a Muslim can never truly be a permanent citizen in any western polity, a sentiment embraced by the very neo-fascist movements that are currently plaguing Europe.

It should come as no surprise, then, that when US Secretary of State and well-known anti-Muslim bigot, Mike Pompeo, announced the formation of the Commission on Unalienable Rights – another platform for political and religious prejudices targeting Trump’s enemies around the world – Yusuf was immediately handpicked to be a member of that commission.

The problem, however, is bigger than a single orientalist. It has become clear that the terrible consequences of September 11 – the bloody wars that followed, and the tragic but predictable backlash of anti-Western militancy in the US, Europe and elsewhere – have, sadly, emasculated mainstream Muslim discourse in Western countries, the US especially.

Once upon a time, every Friday, hundreds of Imams throughout American mosques would breach solidarity with Palestine, Kashmir, Afghanistan, Chechnya, and so on. Money would be raised for various organizations that provided aid for victims of wars throughout the Muslim world. In fact, unity around Palestine seemed to bring millions of Muslims together despite their vastly different cultures, classes, and even their very own interpretations of Islam itself.

The outcome of September 11, namely the so-called ‘war on terror’, has changed all of that, imposing a new paradigm and a stark choice on Muslim communities all across the country.

The shutting down of the Holy Land Foundation, because of its support of Palestinian and other victims of Israeli violence, was only the tip of the iceberg. The accounts of many Muslim charities and organizations were drained, while hundreds, if not thousands of well-educated and outspoken Muslim intellectuals were either detained, deported, fired from their jobs or forced into silence by other means.

Sadly, it was the dawn of a new and tragic era where the self-loathing, self-seeking and opportunistic Muslim intellectual peddlers reigned supreme.

It is through this compromising bunch, that Western governments managed to tailor their own version of the ‘good Muslim’, to be juxtaposed with the radical, God-forbid, free-thinking Muslim, unfairly but incessantly seen as a terrorist sympathizer.

I had the displeasure of knowing or learning about many of these ‘good Muslims’ in the last twenty years, who are so keen at claiming the spots at phony ‘interfaith dialogue’ conferences, giddily serving the role of the well-behaved Muslim whenever demanded of them.

For this odd breed of Muslims, Palestine is an obstacle, and Kashmir is a forgotten, wasteland, for their mission is not to advocate on behalf of the oppressed. Instead, they are often used as middlemen who convey the official diktats of governments, states, and city councils to their fellow Muslims. In other words, they become the ‘official’ Muslims, whose agenda is not that of their own community – helping to mobilize, organize and advocate while building solidarity with other marginalized groups – but, as in the case of Yusuf, embracing the agenda of Trump himself.

The problem with these spiritual charlatans is that they feed the misguided view that Muslims can only be either quisling hacks or potential terrorists; that Muslims must be subdued or they become a danger to society; and that Muslims cannot be part of a larger collective of political dissidents who advocate justice and equality in their own society, and the world over.

Currently, at many mosques across the US, Palestine, Kashmir, Afghanistan, and other places of great and perpetual injustice are hardly mentioned. Many shy away even from political advocacy and intersectionality within their own communities. Perhaps, they fear that doing so would place them at the radar of the FBI or local enforcement agencies.

But, what is Islam without justice?

In one Quranic verse (5:8), God says, “O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for God, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness”.

The emphasis on justice and the building of communities and nations that stand for what is right is at the core of Islamic values, and neither Mark Hansen nor any other self-proclaimed Muslims can possibly change that.

As for governments that are constantly caricaturing Muslims and Islam to fit their own agendas, they are not doing themselves any favors either, for a strong society is predicated on the freedom of individuals and groups to operate within a legal and democratic framework, with the overriding goal of advancing the interests of the entire nation.

Freedom for Palestine, Kashmir, Afghanistan, as well as the rights of minorities, social justice, gender and racial equality, all go hand-in-hand. No sincere justice advocate, self-respecting scholar, and needless to say, true Muslim, would disagree with the notion that justice is indivisible, a moral doctrine has defined Islam and Muslims for fifteen centuries.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press, Atlanta). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), Istanbul Zaim University (IZU). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2)

Monday, 27 April 2020 5:46 AM  

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2)

By Ramin Mazaheri


Part 1 
discussed how the West’s coronavirus response totally ignored the needs of their lower classes, and also how Iran’s “Resistance Economy” rejects Western economic liberalism (and neoliberalism) which has always sought to relegate non-Westerners to second-class economic partners.

As I have written previously, the West’s corona response is not just murderously mediocre but middle-class – it assumes everyone has a comfortable home, savings and a stable job. The West is employing quarantining, control methods and collective-over-individualist concepts used by Asian nations, but without having similar cultures of government economic intervention nor widespread trust in their governments. It is not hysteria to suggest that this could prove fatal to their bubble-filled, high-finance dominated economies.

There is a lot of foolish talk from Westerners, who are effectively forbidden to learn about and discuss how capitalism-imperialism truly operates, regarding how corona will cause supply chains to move back home. This has produced a lot of soon-to-be-forgotten agreement from their politicians, who are desperate to show that – all of a sudden – they care about their lower classes. Recall that the “end of irony” was proclaimed after 9/11 – will we see the “end of globalisation” because of coronavirus?

That’s funny.

The state of Delaware is where most US corporations are located and buy their charters – if it is not the world’s biggest corporate tax haven, according to The New York Times and The Japan Times, the state is certainly among the world’s top five. (Indeed, it should now be no surprise why Delaware senator Joe Biden was chosen to be Barack Obama’s running mate amid the 2008 economic crisis.) It could not be more crystal clear, even though neoliberals in the US often try to sow confusion about this fact: “Delaware corporate law requires corporate directors to manage firms for the benefit of shareholders, and not for any other constituency.” So anyone thinking corporations will sacrifice a mere fraction of their stock price in order to move supply chains back home are absolutely deluded about the possibility of patriotism, much less humanity, in “Capitalism with American characteristics”: their laws explicitly forbid it.

The post-corona persistence of neoliberalism – an ideology predicated on reducing government programs and expenditures for the 99% with ruthless efficiency – means that Western governments both national and local will be so strapped for cash in a post-Lockdown climate that they will be forced to try and save every nickel they can to maximise ever-more inadequate tax revenues and income. They will forced to buy from China, Haiti or whoever can save them pennies, because this is exactly what neoliberalism demands – it fundamentally neuters economic patriotism.

Urban hipsters who perhaps previously would pay premiums to “eat local” (because it is tastier) will soon find that unemployment (or a worsening of the seemingly never-ending underemployment for the West’s youth class) drastically alters one’s menu options. They would like to “eat local”, but many will be forced to forego the local farmers’ market to buy their food as cheaply as possible, and regardless of provenance.

So such talk from Esquire magazine bout how corona will usher in a new economy based around “resilience preparedness” is totally absurd: the very basis of globalisation is hyper-specialisation (Adam Smith) and turning every nation into a single cash crop/cow (David Ricardo’s comparative advantage) writ large, and these two concepts are the very opposite pole of resilience. Hyper-specialisation is hyper-resistant… but in one single area; if classic liberalism or modern neoliberalism or the “free market” selected your country to produce hygienic masks, congratulations! According to them you should jack up the price and the rest of us should not try to domestically produce our own.

Contrarily, we can say that Iran has tried to create “specialisation” in the normal way – within a single national economy’s different regions instead of all over the world, messianically and arrogantly. This is why they have employed a “resistance economy” (with many egalitarian principles held over from the “command/war economy” era), which is based around self-sufficiency, protectionism, government intervention to stimulate innovation in vital sectors, and government ownership in essentially every sector with medium or large importance. This, even more than the insistence that Islam is compatible with democracy, is why the West wages war on Iran.

The good news for Iranians: these economic principles are what promote resilience and preparedness, they curtail the indebtedness/poverty of the lower classes, and they will make Iran far more capable of weathering the economic turmoil of the coming months.

It is amusing that some in the West are now clamouring for sensible, humane, patriotic, efficient measures which Iran has employed for decades. Is Iran’s economic idea more exportable to Esquire if we call it a “resilience economy”, perhaps?

The Iranian economy in opposition to the West’s seemingly certain post-Great Lockdown economic chaos

At the root of this economic program is not anti-capitalism but anti-the-type-of-capitalism which today’s Iranians are violently confronted by: neoliberalism and globalisation. This form of capitalism is the most-geared towards maximising the profits and market concentration of the 1%, whereas a “resistance economy” is fundamentally-geared towards satisfying the needs of the Iranian 99%. The Koran sanctions capitalism, after all, but it bans usury and has clear exhortations to equality and the economic redistribution of massively-ordered charity. (If the West would simply follow the ban on usury – exorbitant interest and debilitating compound interest – they would be so much better off….)

If the Iranian Revolution did not satisfy the needs of their 99%… how can we possibly explain its endurance amid all the growth-sabotaging Cold War from the West? The question never was growth, after all, but re-distribution. The same logical argument stands for anti-imperialist Cuba and North Korea – caricaturing these nations as totalitarian oligarchies will continue to lose its false power for as long as these countries continue to not just endure but thrive (considering Western blockades), and for as long as the West’s post-1980 inequality entrenchment continues. Despite the looming economic crisis, does anyone really believe the West is culturally capable of reversing these inequality trends?

Undoubtedly, the West’s corona overreaction will make their economies – which were already in a Great Recession – even weaker.

Yes, this will force more Western domestic criticism of neoliberalism and globalisation, but will it really? How can it when France’s Muslims, US so-called “White Trash” and their lower-class counterparts across the “West + client” world cannot even be seen on their televisions? We are logical to believe that open criticism of the ideology of globalisation will be muted very shortly, because all these nations have airwaves which are dominated by a handful of corporations; contrarily, the Iranian government owns all the radio and TV waves – to get the outlook of not-always-selfless private media one can turn to Iran’s extremely critical, thriving print press.

Yes, the West’s reduced economies will necessarily reduce the influence and local reach of governments, but this reduced reach can easily be counter-balanced by the drastic quasi-martial laws which have already been employed. France almost certainly has the most over-policed corona lockdown (800,000 citations already), mais bien sûr: they just had an Islamophobia-based two-year state of emergency, which President Emmanuel Macron legalised into normal police practice.

Yes, the gut-wrenching reduction in wealth for the West’s lower classes may provoke “Western-style populism”, but this ideology is intrinsically reformist and not revolutionary. Look at the Five-Star Movement in Italy – it took them eight years to win significant power, but they have not been able to make significant changes. In their last national election the superb Yellow Vests gained merely half the votes of the (ugh) Animal Rights Party.

Yes, Westerners can see that all the evidence points to the necessity that they must change, but we must recall how very culturally chauvinistic they are: The West is hysterically convinced that their system is supreme – even among their “dissidents”, who are usually just “semi-dissidents” at best – despite all the evidence of failure and their perennial disregard of their own lower classes.

So combine this inherent conservativeness (liberal reformism), with neoliberal cultural saturation, with laws that forbid leavening neoliberalism, with “it’s not totalitarian when the West does it”, and it’s hard to compute a conclusion where the Great Lockdown produces a drastic reform of the Western economy, no? They have to overcome all of these trends, laws and false beliefs simultaneously and in great measure.

That would be a revolution. The West, the great thwarter of progressive revolutions, is supposedly now on the cusp of having one?

The only thing more idiotic than such talk are the commentators who accuse Iranian Reformists of being “neoliberals”, which is as stupid as calling Biden-backing Bernie Sanders or the French “socialists”. The Iranians most associated with the “resistance economy” are indeed Ayatollah Khamenei, ex-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Principlist Party, but the idea that Reformists aren’t hugely, hugely on board with countless resistance economy principles is just eye-rollingly wrong.

The reality – well-known in Iran – is that there is absolutely no room in Iranian politics for any political group which pushes ending the pro-99%, government-interventionist, fundamentally anti-neoliberal direction of the economy for this simple fact: they would never get re-elected by the 99%, and thus such a movement is necessarily finished before it could ever even could get started in Iranian democracy. Capitalism is sanctioned by the Qur’an, so it will always have a place, but neoliberal capitalism (again, all capitalism is not “neoliberalism” just as all socialism is not “violently atheistic Russian Soviet socialism”)? Not hardly.

Smith and Ricardo’s liberal ideas that each region should produce only that which it was perfectly suited to producing had one fatal flaw: such perfect harmony cannot possibly ever exist in a capitalist-imperialist system, because such a system is predicated upon competition. This is not a small flaw in their ivory-tower thinking, nor am I resorting to a mere humbug attack on “human nature” – competition, instead of cooperation, is a poor foundation for human stability and peace.

Such harmony and mutually-beneficial arrangements (and on a global scale, no less!) could only possibly ever be achieved in a world that has a basis which is definitely not neoliberal, which is very wary of capitalism’s excesses and constant exhortations to battles both big and small, and which tacitly accepts resolutely anti-imperialist and thus essentially socialist economics as the foundation.

You may not want Iran’s culture – that’s natural, they don’t want yours.

But across the West their lower classes are clamouring for an economy with many of Iran’s motivations and practices – they will be ignored, sadly.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv

Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer

Source

April 22, 2020

Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer

By Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

Paris has been a terrible place to live for over five years now – even tourists can tell.

The Charlie Hebdo attacks in January 2015 (because they just had to draw pornographic pictures of Prophet Mohammad) kicked off a fear-based culture which has culminated in the world’s most over-policed coronavirus lockdown, with over 800,000 citations issued.

But it’s been an endless climb of “culminations” for Parisians:

Installing bulletproof glass around the Eiffel Tower (I used to walk under it going to work each day – impossible now). Did the Bataclan massacre have to result in a state of emergency two years long? Certainly President Emmanuel Macron did not have to legalise it into common police practice. From November 2018 through May 2019 huge swathes of Paris were already on lockdown as every Saturday was an undeclared National Poseur Day: pretending as if lower class protesters weren’t being provoked, gassed, beaten, water cannoned, fined, jailed, crippled and even killed. The marches continued through the failed, record-long General Strike, which collapsed in January.

Trust me when I say that the non-stop police sirens during the two-day manhunt of the Kouachi brothers after the Charlie Hebdo shootings never really ended. In the poor northern area of Paris where I live the sirens became constant – for years everyone complains of “cowboy” police who have been over-empowered, but we have no idea how they could be or if they will ever be rolled back.

And during the Great Lockdown, by everyone’s account, this has gotten even worse… but at least now the rich areas are finally getting a taste of la justice à le cow-boy – that’s the only they’ll ever be rolled back, after all.

It’s not poor-Los Angeles helicopters, but the sirens can be exhausting. As for the “it’s not there” indifference towards all those other culminations – I simply don’t have the acting/posing abilities the aesthetic-minded French have, I guess? But I also don’t have the personal stake in France which – try as they might – the French cannot possibly disguise from themselves? They simply must find it very tiring to live in a country where the government – indeed, the national trajectory – has essentially zero open backers outside the bubble occupied by Parisian elites.

It’s not just the Macron era: Francois Hollande was so unpopular he couldn’t even stand for re-election; when Nicolas Sarkozy left he bitterly said “nobody will hear of me again” because the French so deservedly enjoyed kicking him.

The reality is that – Islamophobia aside – nearly everything I’ve described has been caused by France’s historical insistence on a united Europe.

How long will it take Brussels – and its string of puppets/clients – to kill the ‘French model’?

Anti-Muslim attitude is a problem, sure, but only a class analysis provides a satisfying explanation to the undeniable 21st-century decay of French life: Muslims did not force France to stop being French – collusion among the French 1% did.

(Of course, to avoid regular class analysis discussion the French elite keep insisting: “No, it’s Muslims who are ruining France.” Typical Western fake politics.…)

Ever since Mitterrand made his infamous austerity-embracing U-turn in 1981- on what would have been Western Europe’s most-leftist policy platform ever – France has allowed itself to be fiscally leeched blood-dry over the pan-European principle to try and win over Germany to “more Europe”.

It’s an amazing martyrdom – we shouldn’t denigrate such things completely. And a large part of France’s motivation is also to end the constant German aggression that dates back to 1870.

Recent history is really quite simple: in order to woo Germany away from a neo-imperialist partnership with their Anglo-Saxon American first cousins (which has run from 1945 until today), France keeps fiscally flagellating itself and others in Europe to woo Germany into joining a pan-European project; crucially, this project initially was based on a Gaullist “mixed economy”, but that was jettisoned in favor of Anglosphere neoliberalism, globalisation and hyper-financialisation.

Maybe other Europeans want in on such a project, but Germany does not and should leave: Germany’s role has been entirely negative, their economics entirely Austrian (pro-1%, rabidly anti-socialist), and the groundwork which they have ordered is totally incapable of providing post-corona stability. Few seem to grasp this Washington-Berlin neo-fascist alliance, even though it satisfyingly explains Germany’s essentially 5th-columnist role in the EU.

However, only a blinkered nationalist analysis would stop here. France’s elite is just as 5th-columnist – they have joined Washington and Berlin because that is what neoliberal, globalist capitalism is: an international waging of class warfare.

Macron openly calls to end the French model – he is the new ‘EU patriot’

Because its basis is resolutely neoliberal and thus anti-patriotic (even within its new creation of a misguided “EU patriotism” – the accurate term is “patriotism for the EU’s 1%”), this version of the pan-European project is simply not worth it – all it has done is disregard democratic votes, empower bankers, produce Lost Decades and gut social safety nets. I personally don’t think a united, non-socialist Europe is good for the world, but I know this version of a united Europe is a catastrophe. And I know it is ruining France – I’ve not just lived it but documented it via daily hard news reporting for PressTV.

But Macron is of a new generation whose elite passionately believes that this pan-European project works – it has… but only for Europe’s elite. This unprecedented “neoliberal empire” is thus successfully perpetuating itself.

But it took a lot to get here: Hollande, Sarkozy, privatisation-puppet Chirac, Mitterrand – all of France’s elite kept sacrificing France’s 99% for an ideology of “more Europe”, which was first Gaullist-capitalist then neoliberal. Truly, the same can be said for the elite of all of Europe, but especially Latin Europe – just look at how Germany could afford a corona bailout 10 times the size of France’s bailout.

But since 2015 have no doubt: France’s Lockdown-pre-Great-Lockdown was entirely the result of widespread dissension for Brussels’ fiscal policies – this had to be repressed.

The modern French conviction that discussion-and-even-dissension is more than just tolerable but should be encouraged – this also had to be repressed.

The idea of French workers – foreign to the Anglosphere— that they should have economic stability and political-cultural influence also had to be repressed, thus the endless far-right economic reforms.

As I keep insisting, the global 1% insists that the bad example of the “French model” has to be destroyed and replaced with the US/UK/German model, with all its greater inequality, poverty and dull individual conformities and fears.

The “French model” cannot survive if the 1% is to preserve unaltered this version pan-European project which is resolutely neoliberal. This is proven by the recent diplomatic uproar caused by China’s ambassador to France, who criticised the inequality laid bare by France’s corona response:

You have a new brand of Chinese diplomats who seem to compete with each other to be more radical and eventually insulting to the country where they happen to be posted,” opined a French analyst, but I get it: a person (in this case a diplomat) comes to France and they hear so very much proud talk about liberty, equality and fraternity… but they see that the first has been so distorted by the privileged class so as to totally eradicate the second and third. The Chinese ambassador is both disappointed and fed-up with France. He has become something Westerners cannot be – politically honest and critical of Western policy – without being condemned as a “radical”.

The French 99% tries to incarnate their post-French Revolution values (within the factual context that their revolution did not stand very long), but their elite do not. Foreigners simply cannot see true French values in action because what they are seeing are 1%er, neoliberal, “EU empire” values in action. The French elites’ values are not French but “European empire”; one cannot ever become elite anymore without displaying total allegiance to this empire.

It’s dismaying, and that is exhausting as well.

But while the future now only looks worse for the 99% across France, I imagine Macron couldn’t be happier.

Corona preserves Macron’s re(de)formist gains & wipes his promise-slate clean

Maybe the coronavirus break was just what everybody needed, not only Macron?

Think about it: a historic two-month General Strike had just failed in late January. Now that the pension reform was passed unemployment reform was planned for this fall, because there is simply no constitutional way to stop Macron. The Yellow Vests certainly weren’t going to stop. How can Macron afford to keep generating such public ill will? Was there going to be another General Strike? How can workers afford to do that?

You simply can’t compute all those facts.

Thus, pre-corona France was truly at a breaking point and exhausted. France was like two wrestlers who had each other in a stranglehold, but instead of letting go both decided to suicidally and murderously maintain their grip.

The Great Lockdown preserves in amber Macron’s pension reforms – it’s over. When France goes back to work they will be rushed through Parliament, and likely amid a ban on groups (protests) of more than a few score. The Great Lockdown gives the public a chance to forget about that fight and the elite a “just move on” filibuster to questioning journalists.

But it also ends the possibility of Macron’s autumn plans for similar deforms to the unemployment system. There’s no way that can go on with the state socialistically-shouldering 60% of the Great Lockdown’s lost revenue. However, France’s 1% has been waiting decades for the pension reform – think they aren’t pleased? Think they can’t wait until autumn 2021, when Macron can make unemployment reform his farewell political legacy amid General Strike 2? You must think the 1% doesn’t play tactical class warfare, which is chess, and instead thinks in nationalisms, which is checkers.

The Great Lockdown is also the single-best thing to happen to Macron’s re-election chances.

How can he now be faulted for failing on his signature promise – to reduce unemployment to 7%? How can he be faulted by the right for any economic failure – France simply has to spend their way out of the corona overreaction? How can he be faulted on the left for any economic failure – France spent a lot on the corona overreaction (again, a pittance compared to Germany and also a bailout weighted to the 1%)? Any fiscal policy promise and failure is thus absolved with this corona overreaction-distraction.

Any social policy failure is also old hat – we must focus on a post-corona world. French PM says coronavirus outbreak ‘under control’ but warns ‘life won’t go back to normal after May 11th’ – of course Macron doesn’t want to go back to normal – his popularity was in the toilet for years; his policy, his style, his bizarre and salacious scandals (highlighted by the Benalla affair, which only French people understand) and his constant elitist gaffes ensured it could only worsen.

But election sniping is such a narrow view, even if it is the dominant Western mindset:

Macron’s entire presidency has been an open assault on the French idea of what is “normal”. Destroying the French model – to satisfy and propel the neoliberal & neo-imperial pan-European project he sincerely believes in – has always been his political raison d’être. Macron undoubtedly will view himself as leaving as a hero for all his “deforms”, whenever he departs in ignominy.

I’ve had offers to work in the US: “Why would I want to be a political journalist covering such an atrocious, atrocious political culture?” But France has become nearly identical – instead of righteous, easily-triggered emotionality the French political talk shows rely on an endless reserve of indifference and sang froid (cold blood) to reach the same neoliberal aims; instead of Trump-Putin hysteria they use Muslim-hysteria.

So what is France’s future? It is Macron versus Marine Le Pen in 2022 – they are just as intellectually and culturally exhausted, bitter and hostile as the US. They would rather repeat corporate fascism than be creative.

Must I work on behalf of Le Pen, claiming that she is a “victory via defeat”? I did that, marginally, for Trump, but I didn’t have to cover the guy everyday! More Macron would be an even bigger defeat than Biden – the Ferguson, Missouri, protests weren’t anything like the Yellow Vest repression.

The West may have all the money but they have no good answers anymore. How could corona have uncovered anything but the truth of their underlying morbidity?

***********************************

Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!

Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020

A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020

MSNBC: Chicago price gouging up 9,000% & the sports-journalization of US media – March 25, 2020

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? – March 26, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30, 2020

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020

(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020

Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020

Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020

‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? – April 12, 2020

No buybacks allowed or dared? Then wave goodbye to Western stock market gains – April 13, 2020

Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020

No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all – April 16, 2020

Same 2008 QE playbook, but the Eurozone will kick off Western chaos not the US – April 18, 2020

We’re giving up our civil liberties. Fine, but to which type of state? – April 20, 2020


Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming Socialisms Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.

THE BJP AND ISRAEL: HINDU NATIONALISM IS RAVAGING DEMOCRACY IN INDIA

 A

It was only a matter of time before the anti-Muslim sentiment in India turned violent. A country that has historically prided itself on its diversity and tolerance and for being ‘the largest democracy in the world’ has, in recent years, exhibited the exact opposite qualities – chauvinism, racism, religious intolerance, and, at times, extreme violence.

The latest round of violence ensued on February 23, one day before U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in Delhi on his first official visit to India.

Trump is a beloved figure among Hindu nationalists, especially supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has ruled India since 2014.

BJP, under the leadership of Narendra Modi, has wreaked havoc on Indian politics and foreign policy. However, the damage that this ultra-nationalist movement has caused to Indian society is unmatched since the country’s independence in 1947.

Under BJP rule, hatred for Muslims, a sizable minority of over 200 million, among other minority groups, has grown over the years to represent the core discourse of a movement that is ideologically and morally bankrupt.

Jumping on the Islamophobia bandwagon, which has grown exponentially since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, Hindu nationalists disguised their racist and chauvinistic ideology as part of a global ‘war on terror’.

It was no surprise, then, to see Modi reaching out to like-minded Islamophobes, the likes of right-wing Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. The seemingly unbreakable Modi-Netanyahu ‘friendship’ underlies a growing pro-Israel movement among Hindu nationalists.

Hindu nationalists embrace Israel

Hindu nationalist ideologues and pro-Israel Zionists have long discovered a common cause, one that is predicated on a collective sense of racial supremacy and intolerance for Islam and Muslims.

In fact, Israel has, in recent years, emerged as the common denominator between various ultra-nationalist and far-right groups in India and across the globe. Strangely but tellingly, some of these groups are known for hostility towards Jews and outright antisemitism. However, for these groups, the anti-immigrant, anti-refugee and anti-Muslim sentiments were far more pressing priorities than all else.

While Europe and North America have received a greater share of political analysis regarding the rise of Islamophobia around the world, countries like India, Burma, and China have largely been excluded from the discussion.

It is true that the discrimination and violence against China’s Muslim minority, the Uyghurs, Burma’s Rohingya population and India’s Muslims, have all received a relatively fair share of media attention and analysis. However, the targeting of Muslims in these polities is largely perceived as provisional ‘conflicts’ that are unique to these areas, with little or no connection to global anti-Muslim phenomena.

But nothing could be further from the truth. For example, the fact that BJP politicians often refer to Muslim migrants in India as ‘infiltrators and termites’ mirrors the same dehumanizing lexicon used by Buddhist nationalists in Burma and Israeli Zionists in Palestine.

The likes of the Hindu Samhati movement, known for its anti-Muslim bigotry, has, therefore, become essential to this new global anti-Muslim brand. And, according to the same disturbing logic, hating Muslims then becomes synonymous with loving apartheid Israel.

Hence, it was not a complete surprise to see tens of thousands of Hindu nationalists rallying in Calcutta in February 2018 in what was described by organizers as “the largest pro-Israel rally” in history.

But what took place in New Delhi in February was more ominous than any other previous display of violence. Dozens of Indian Muslims were beaten to death and hundreds more were severely injured by mobs of angry Hindu nationalists.

While India is no stranger to mob violence, the recent bouts of bloodshed in that country are most alarming considering it is a rational outcome of a racist trajectory that has been championed by the BJP and their supporters.

Particularly alarming were scenes of Indian security forces either watching the brutality against Indian Muslims unfold without intervening or objecting in any way, or worse, participating in the violence themselves.

While it is rightly argued that the anti-Muslim campaign in India was triggered by Modi’s Citizenship Amendment Act which ultimately aims at rendering millions of Muslims in India stateless, the ailment lies in the BJP itself – a purely xenophobic movement that exploits the grievances of the poor and marginalized in India to maintain political power.

It goes without saying that India’s Modi is a far cry from the India that was envisaged by Mahatma Gandhi or the country’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.

Unfortunately, with Modi and the BJP in power, India will experience yet more tragic days ahead. Flanked by equally racist and violent allies in Tel Aviv and Washington, Modi feels empowered to carry out more such sinister and discriminatory measures against the country’s vulnerable minorities, especially Muslims.

It is essential that we educate ourselves further about the situation in India, and that we understand the anti-Muslim politics and violence in that country within the larger global context. India’s Muslims need our solidarity more than ever before, especially as the emboldened BJP and their chauvinistic leader seem to have no moral boundaries whatsoever.

Feature photo | Hindu nationalists gather in India’s capital to demand construction of a Hindu temple on the ruins of a 16th century mosque in northern Indian city of Ayodhya, Dec. 9, 2018. Bernat Armangue | AP


By Ramzy Baroud
Source: MintPress News

Soleimani: The ‘Muslim Che Guevara’ dies, but revolutionary culture continues

January 05, 2020

A demonstrator holds the picture of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani during a protest against the assassination in Baghdad of the Iranian commander by the United States, in Tehran, Iran, on January 3, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

By Ramin Mazaheri – PressTV

“ A people without hate cannot triumph over a brutal enemy.” – Che Guevara

The assassination on Iraqi soil of Iran’s Qassem Soleimani will produce many things, and global resentment and hatred for Washington is undoubtedly already one of them.

Around the world the assessment is the same: Washington has committed an act of war. In their bloodlust to reverse Iran’s popular and democratic revolution – in order to keep feeding their bottomless neo-imperial greed –  Washington has electroshocked the world into remembering its brutal immorality: one remembers the pain of doctor’s needle with more clarity than the pain of a week-long illness, after all.

There will be so many ramifications to this cowardly, illegal, inhuman act – which so nakedly aims to be of profit solely to the US elite and not the average American – that we should take time to historically assess the true legacy of Soleimani: 

he is the Muslim Che Guevara.

He is not merely the “Iranian Che Guevara” because that makes no sense given Che’s ideals: Just like the Argentinian, Soleimani spent many years of his life fighting US imperialism in many countries and ultimately died in a foreign land out of his certainty in the reality of international brotherhood.

Remains of Gen. Soleimani arrive in Iran for cross-country funeral

Remains of Gen. Soleimani arrive in Iran for cross-country funeralThe remains of anti-terror commander General Qassem Soleimani and his companions have arrived in the southern Iranian city of Ahvaz from Iraq where they were assassinated by the US early Friday.

Limiting Soleimani’s legacy to the “Iranian Che Guevara” also makes no sense given the ideals of the Iranian revolution: Soleimani’s death reminds the world that Iran – seemingly alone in the anti-imperialist struggle in 2019 – repeatedly gives their time, money, blood, love and lives to non-Iranians out of a sense of progressive political internationalism.

Che Guevara died in October 1967 in Bolivia. The group Che died with was international, including Peruvians, Argentinians, Cubans, Bolivians and even two Europeans. Without Soleimani’s presence in Iraq and Syria both of those countries would be under total imperialist domination today, and probably Lebanon as well.

The Iranian revolution is just as international in scope and reach as the Cuban revolution Che was a part of creating and defending. Iran’s critics say they want to turn every Muslim into a Shia and make the laws of Iran the laws of the entire world…. but that is obviously the hubris of the imperialist West – Iran’s progressive goal is not control but liberation of the masses and then their empowerment.

Few Westerners seem to realize that the primary motivation of Che – perhaps the very picture of internationalism –  was undoubtedly Latin American nationalism: his dream was the same as Bolivar’s (and Cuba’s Marti and others in Chile, Nicaragua, etc.). For those who see the anti-imperialist struggle with historical accuracy, there is in an obvious parallel here with the “Muslim World nationalism” of Iran’s Soleimani.

Only the religion-phobes, the uselessly pedantic and the outright Iranophobes and Islamophobes will fail to see that.

Soleimani’s assassination may trigger end of US military presence in Iraq: Paper

Soleimani’s assassination may trigger end of US military presence in Iraq: PaperGeneral Soleimani’s assassination may trigger the ultimate objective of ending the US military presence in Iraq, a British paper says.

It’s no matter to billions of people if such persons remain blind: Just like Soleimani, Che was disavowed by the leading leftists and revolutionaries of his day – the USSR detested Che and his bold resistance to Washington, which few recall. (Like Iran today, Che was appreciative of the Chinese view.) Moscow insisted – in their quite European fashion – that only they should lead and strategise the fight against Western imperialism. In short: now that the USSR had been liberated from foreign imperialism, nobody else needed to take up arms anymore. Of course, at the time of Che’s death the USSR was no longer led by the anti-fascist hero Che affectedly called “Daddy Stalin” – Khrushchev, Brezhnev and finally Gorbachev would grow decadent, corrupt, even renounce Soviet support for international anti-imperialist struggles, and finally wilfully implode the USSR from the very top and against the overwhelming democratic will of the Soviet people.

To the Western leftists – or anywhere else in the world – who can’t see clearly: Why did they kill Soleimani, too? Do they still think he was, to use a term popular in the US around 2003, an “Islamo-fascist”? Washington is certainly fascist, but they are not so very Islamophobic to kill Soleimani over being a Muslim. I hope this group keeps trying – one day they’ll finally understand. 

Che was assassinated because his explicit goal was to create “multiple Vietnams”. Surely many streets will be named after Soleimani in Syria, and Iraq, and even Palestine (if Iran could get some help from Arab nations). Soleimani was undoubtedly a success.

But the invasion, sanctions, re-invasion and occupation of Iraq never motivated the West like Vietnam. Why? Islamophobia, perhaps. The injustice towards Iraqis did, however, motivate Iranians like Soleimani.

Was Che a success? He failed in Bolivia and the Congo, but Cuba remains the “first free country in the Americas”, and many would rightly say the only. Less appreciated is how Cuba fought alongside non-Latin Angola – who had the misfortune of being colonised by the most backwards Western imperialist (Portugal) – and how this directly led to the end of Apartheid in South Africa. Che was undoubtedly a success.

Axis of resistance to respond decisively to Gen. Soleimani’s assassination: Top Hezbollah official

Axis of resistance to respond decisively to Gen. Soleimani’s assassination: Top Hezbollah officialA top Hezbollah official says the response of the axis of resistance to the US assassination of General Qassem Soleimani will be decisive.

In the West Che is only a successful way to make money – his face sells all types of merchandise – but the notion that his ideas are remembered, understood or (LOL) taught is laughable. For the West Che merely symbolises romance, not revolution, politics or morality.

And that’s where this article moves on from placing Soleimani in his proper historical context.

If Iranians think that continuing their revolution is just romance and posing – instead of a necessary self-sacrifice, which is undertaken with no expectation of earthly reward (and in fact more likely to produce quite the contrary), in order to prevent brutality and hate ruining the lives of tens of millions of Iranians – then their revolution will fail. Revolutions often fail: ask the French. They still celebrate it every Bastille Day, but that is more romance and posing.

For those non-Iranians who think the Iranian revolution is not needed globally, and especially regionally, urgently – just go ask an Iraqi, Syrian or Palestinian if they agree. Other countries will be included one day, and I am first thinking of those areas which are so deeply vital to Islamic culture, such as Egypt, Morocco and Arabia. One day the sons and daughters of Che and Soleimani will unite in countries which are neither Muslim nor Latin, Inshallah.

For those who think Soleimani will be the last atrocious slaying it is necessary to recall that the death of Che was only the first – Sukarno, Nkrumah, Ben Bella, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy soon followed.

However, we should not forget they were preceded domestically by Malcolm X and John Kennedy – assassination is not at all a new policy for the US, and we should not imagine that suddenly is now. The goal of such assassinations is clear: to discourage future revolutionaries, and also to retard ongoing anti-imperialist movements.

Iraqi parliament passes law legalizing Popular Mobilization Units

Iraqi parliament passes law legalizing Popular Mobilization UnitsThe Iraqi parliament votes to transform Popular Mobilization Units into a legal and separate military corps.

However, I am not worried that the Iranian Revolution will fall with Soleimani, and I mean that with reverence for his sacrifice and achievements: the idea that a popular revolution can (or should) rest on the work of one man alone… this is not revolution, nor popular, but the “great man-ism” of Western capitalism-imperialism. This is Macron, Rhodesia, Louis XIV, Churchill, and, of course, Trump. A successful revolutionary culture produces a system which is able to produce moral and capable leaders over and over and over until the revolution is truly secure – Iranians have more than 40 years of successful revolution upon which to justifiably base their faith in the future, despite these sad days.

Trump has committed an act of war, but a quick, hasty revenge will almost certainly be detrimental to the many just causes Soleimani and others have sacrificed so much for. Soleimani did not become the Muslim Che Guevara and repeatedly triumph over a brutal enemy by placing the good of one person over the good of the nation and the good of the struggle.

Angola provides the best example of how Che’s death should have been dealt with: they launched an anti-imperialist offensive called “Che is not dead”, which proved to be the beginning of the end of Portuguese control over Guinea-Bissau and then of the entire Portuguese empire by 1974.

Thanks in large part to Soleimani’s efforts, after so many decades of Western-led corruption, hate and brutality Iraq appears strong enough that they may even be able to expel the US immediately and even peacefully. I don’t think Soleimani would ask for any greater legacy than that – this is what he died for.

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.’

سليماني: وفاة “مسلم تشي جيفارا” ، لكن الثقافة الثورية مستمرة

بقلم رامين مظاهري

رامين ماظاهري هو المراسل الرئيسي في باريس لتلفزيون برس ، ويقيم في فرنسا منذ عام 2009. عمل مراسلاً لصحيفة يومية في الولايات المتحدة ، وقد نشر تقارير من إيران وكوبا ومصر وتونس وكوريا الجنوبية وأماكن أخرى. وهو مؤلف كتب “سأحطم كل شيء أنت: إنهاء الدعاية الغربية بشأن الصين الحمراء” و “الاشتراكية المتجاهلة النجاح: الاشتراكية الإسلامية الإيرانية” المقبلة.

“لا يمكن لشعب بلا كراهية الانتصار على عدو وحشي” – تشي جيفارا

إن اغتيال قاسم سليماني على أرض العراق سينتج عنه أشياء كثيرة ، ولا شك أن الاستياء والكراهية العالميين لواشنطن هو أحدهما بالفعل.

التقييم في جميع أنحاء العالم هو نفسه: لقد ارتكبت واشنطن عمل حرب. في غمرة دمائهم لعكس ثورة إيران الشعبية والديمقراطية – من أجل الاستمرار في إطعام جشعهم الإمبريالي الجديد الذي لا نهاية له – صدمت واشنطن العالم بأسره لتتذكر مخالفته الوحشية: يتذكر المرء ألم إبرة الطبيب بمزيد من الوضوح أكثر من ألم الأسبوع. مرض طويل ، بعد كل شيء.

سيكون هناك الكثير من التداعيات على هذا العمل الجبان وغير القانوني واللاإنساني – الذي يهدف بشكل مكشوف إلى تحقيق ربح فقط للنخبة الأمريكية وليس المواطن الأمريكي العادي – لدرجة أننا يجب أن نأخذ الوقت لتقييم تاريخياً للتراث الحقيقي لسليماني: المسلم تشي جيفارا.

إنه ليس مجرد “تشي تشي جيفارا الإيراني” لأن هذا لا معنى له في ضوء مُثُل تشي: تمامًا مثل الأرجنتيني ، قضى سليماني سنوات عديدة من حياته يقاتل الإمبريالية الأمريكية في العديد من البلدان وتوفي في النهاية في أرض أجنبية بدافع اليقين في حقيقة الإخاء الدولي.

إن قصر تراث سليماني على “تشي تشي جيفارا الإيراني” ليس له أي معنى أيضًا في ضوء مُثُل الثورة الإيرانية: إن وفاة سليماني تذكر العالم بأن إيران – التي تبدو وحدها في الكفاح ضد الإمبريالية في عام 2019 – تعطي مرارًا وتكرارًا وقتهم وأموالهم ودمائهم ، الحب والعيش لغير الإيرانيين بدافع الإحساس بالأممية السياسية التقدمية.

توفي تشي جيفارا في أكتوبر 1967 في بوليفيا. كانت المجموعة التي مات بها تشي دولية ، بما في ذلك البيروفيين والأرجنتين والكوبيين والبوليفيين وحتى الأوروبيين. وبدون وجود سليماني في العراق وسوريا ، سيكون كلا هذين البلدين تحت السيطرة الإمبريالية الكاملة اليوم ، وربما لبنان أيضًا.

إن الثورة الإيرانية ذات نطاق عالمي ومدى انتشارها كما كانت الثورة الكوبية تشي جزءًا من الإبداع والدفاع. يقول منتقدو إيران إنهم يريدون تحويل كل مسلم إلى شيعة وجعل قوانين إيران قوانين العالم بأسره …. لكن من الواضح أن هذا هو غطرسة الغرب الإمبريالي – فهدف إيران التدريجي ليس السيطرة بل تحرير الجماهير ثم تمكينها.

يبدو أن القليل من الغربيين يدركون أن الدافع الأساسي لتشي – ربما صورة الأممية – كان بلا شك القومية الأمريكية اللاتينية: كان حلمه هو نفسه حلم بوليفار (ومارتي كوبا وغيرها من تشيلي ونيكاراغوا ، إلخ). بالنسبة لأولئك الذين يرون النضال ضد الإمبريالية بدقة تاريخية ، هناك في موازاة واضحة هنا مع “القومية العالم الإسلامي” من سليماني إيران.

فقط رهاب الدين ، الإيرانيين الفاشلين غير المجاهدين والصواب والخوف من الإسلاموفوبس سيفشلون في رؤية ذلك.

لا يهم المليارات من الناس إذا ظل هؤلاء الأشخاص عمياء: تمامًا مثل سليماني ، تم التخلي عن تشي من قبل كبار اليساريين والثوريين في عصره – الاتحاد السوفيتي كره تشي ومقاومته الجريئة لواشنطن ، وهو ما يذكره القليلون. (مثل إيران اليوم ، كان تشي يقدر وجهة النظر الصينية). أصرت موسكو – بأسلوبها الأوروبي تمامًا – على أنها فقط يجب أن تقود وتضع استراتيجية للحرب ضد الإمبريالية الغربية. باختصار: الآن بعد أن تم تحرير الاتحاد السوفيتي من الإمبريالية الأجنبية ، لم يعد هناك من يحتاج إلى حمل السلاح بعد الآن. بالطبع ، في وقت وفاة تشي ، لم يكن الاتحاد السوفييتي يقوده البطل المعادي للفاشية تشي المتأثر “دادي ستالين” – خروشوف ، بريجنيف وأخيراً غورباتشوف سوف يزداد الدعم السوفييتي للانحطاط الدولي المناهض للإمبريالية النضال ، وأخيرا تنفجر عن عمد الاتحاد السوفياتي من القمة وضد الإرادة الديمقراطية الساحقة للشعب السوفياتي.

إلى اليساريين الغربيين – أو في أي مكان آخر في العالم – الذين لا يستطيعون رؤية بوضوح: لماذا قتلوا سليماني أيضًا؟ هل ما زالوا يعتقدون أنه ، لاستخدام مصطلح شائع في الولايات المتحدة حوالي عام 2003 ، “فاشي إسلامي”؟ من المؤكد أن واشنطن فاشية ، لكنهم ليسوا من الإسلاميين الذين يقتلون سليماني بسبب كونهم مسلمين. آمل أن تستمر هذه المجموعة في المحاولة – في يوم ما سيفهمون في النهاية.

تم اغتيال تشي لأن هدفه الواضح كان إنشاء “فيتنام متعددة”. بالتأكيد سيتم تسمية العديد من الشوارع باسم سليماني في سوريا والعراق وحتى فلسطين (إذا كانت إيران قد تحصل على بعض المساعدة من الدول العربية). كان سليماني بلا شك نجاحًا.

لكن الغزو والعقوبات وإعادة الغزو والاحتلال للعراق لم يحفز الغرب مثل فيتنام. لماذا ا؟ رهاب الإسلام ، ربما. ومع ذلك ، فإن الظلم تجاه العراقيين قد حفز الإيرانيين مثل سليماني.

كان تشي النجاح؟ لقد فشل في بوليفيا والكونغو ، لكن كوبا لا تزال “أول بلد حر في الأمريكتين” ، وكثيرون سيقولون بحق فقط. أما الأمر الأقل تقديراً فهو كيف قاتلت كوبا إلى جانب أنغولا غير اللاتينية – التي عانت من سوء حظ الاستعمار من قبل الإمبرياليين الغربيين الأكثر تخلفاً (البرتغال) – وكيف أدى ذلك مباشرة إلى نهاية نظام الفصل العنصري في جنوب إفريقيا. كان تشي بلا شك نجاحًا.

في الغرب ، ليست تشي سوى وسيلة ناجحة لكسب المال – وجهه يبيع جميع أنواع البضائع – لكن فكرة أن أفكاره يتم تذكرها أو فهمها أو تعليمها (LOL) أمر مضحك. بالنسبة للغرب ، تشي فقط ترمز إلى الرومانسية وليس إلى الثورة أو السياسة أو الأخلاق.

وهنا ينتقل هذا المقال من وضع سليماني في سياقه التاريخي المناسب.

إذا كان الإيرانيون يعتقدون أن استمرار ثورتهم هو مجرد حب وتظاهر – بدلاً من التضحية بالنفس الضرورية ، والتي يتم القيام بها دون توقع لمكافأة دنيوية (وفي الواقع من المرجح أن تنتج عكس ذلك تمامًا) ، من أجل منع الوحشية والكراهية تدمير حياة عشرات الملايين من الإيرانيين – ثم ثورتهم ستفشل. الثورات غالبا ما تفشل: اسأل الفرنسيين. ما زالوا يحتفلون به في كل يوم من أيام الباستيل ، لكن هذا هو المزيد من الرومانسية والتظاهر.

بالنسبة لأولئك غير الإيرانيين الذين يعتقدون أن الثورة الإيرانية ليست ضرورية على المستوى العالمي ، وخاصة على المستوى الإقليمي ، على وجه السرعة – ما عليك سوى أن تسأل عراقيًا أو سوريًا أو فلسطينيًا إذا وافقوا على ذلك. سيتم إدراج بلدان أخرى في يوم من الأيام ، وأنا أفكر أولاً في تلك المجالات التي تعتبر حيوية للغاية للثقافة الإسلامية ، مثل مصر والمغرب والجزيرة العربية. في يوم من الأيام ، سيتحد أبناء وبنات تشي وسليماني في بلدان ليست مسلمة ولا لاتينية ، إن شاء الله.

بالنسبة لأولئك الذين يعتقدون أن سليماني سيكون آخر جريمة قتل فظيعة ، من الضروري أن نتذكر أن وفاة تشي كانت الأولى فقط – سوكارنو ونكروما وبن بيلا ومارتن لوثر كينغ وروبرت كينيدي سرعان ما تبع ذلك.

ومع ذلك ، لا ينبغي لنا أن ننسى أن مالكوم إكس وجون كينيدي سبقهما على الصعيد المحلي – الاغتيال ليس على الإطلاق سياسة جديدة للولايات المتحدة ، ويجب ألا نتصور أن الأمر أصبح مفاجئًا الآن. هدف مثل هذه الاغتيالات واضح: لتثبيط الثوار في المستقبل ، وكذلك تأخير الحركات المستمرة المناهضة للإمبريالية.

ومع ذلك ، لست قلقًا من سقوط الثورة الإيرانية مع سليماني ، وأعني بذلك تقديسًا لتضحياته وإنجازاته: فكرة أن الثورة الشعبية يمكن (أو ينبغي) أن تعتمد على عمل رجل واحد بمفرده … هذه ليست ثورة ، ولا شعبية ، ولكن “العظم العظيم” للإمبريالية الغربية. هذا هو ماكرون ، روديسيا ، لويس الرابع عشر ، تشرشل ، وبطبيعة الحال ، ترامب. تنتج الثقافة الثورية الناجحة نظامًا قادرًا على إنتاج قادة أخلاقيين وقادرين مرارًا وتكرارًا حتى تصبح الثورة آمنة حقًا – يتمتع الإيرانيون بأكثر من 40 عامًا من الثورة الناجحة التي يمكن أن يبني عليها إيمانهم في المستقبل ، على الرغم من هؤلاء أيام حزينة.

لقد ارتكب ترامب عملا حربيا ، ولكن من المؤكد أن الانتقام السريع المتسرع سيضر بالكثير من الأسباب العادلة التي ضحى بها سليماني وآخرون ضحوا بالكثير من أجلها. لم يصبح سليماني المسلم تشي غيفارا وانتصر مرارًا وتكرارًا على عدو وحشي من خلال وضع مصلحة شخص واحد على خير الأمة وخير النضال.

تقدم أنغولا أفضل مثال على كيفية التعامل مع وفاة تشي: لقد شنوا هجومًا معاديًا للإمبريالية أطلق عليه “تشي لم يمت” ، والذي أثبت أنه بداية نهاية السيطرة البرتغالية على غينيا بيساو ثم الإمبراطورية البرتغالية بأكملها بحلول عام 1974.

ويرجع الفضل في ذلك إلى حد كبير إلى جهود سليماني ، بعد عقود طويلة من الفساد بقيادة الغرب ، والكراهية والوحشية ، يبدو أن العراق قوي بما يكفي حتى يتمكن من طرد الولايات المتحدة على الفور وحتى بسلام. لا أعتقد أن سليماني سيطلب أي إرث أكبر من ذلك – هذا ما مات من أجله.

(الآراء المعبر عنها في هذا المقال لا تعكس بالضرورة آراء Press TV).

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