Update: Namir Noor Eldeen, Collateral Murder and the Digitised ‘Other’

•April 6, 2010 • 2 Comments

The ‘uncertain’ circumstances that surrounded the deaths of Namir Noor Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh in Iraq on July 12th 2007 are no longer so uncertain with the recent release of ‘Collateral Murder’ by WikiLeaks on April 5th 2010. The victims’ families have spent nearly three years waiting for some form of explanation to the events that lead to the death of their loved ones. Reuters had been appealing to gain access to the video footage under the Freedom of Information Act, with continued refusal.  However, the revealing of actual events, although illuminating, still leave many questions unanswered and provoke many more troubling questions.

In 1983, Ronald Reagan pondered upon the usefulness of video games for war training “I recently learned something quite interesting about video games. Many young people have developed incredible hand, eye, and brain coordination in playing these games. The air force believes these kids will be our outstanding pilots should they fly our jets.”

Unfortunately, Reagan was right; the resemblance between the recently released footage of the murder of two Reuters employees by US Apache helicopter pilots and our own experience of video war games is irrefutable. The advancement in technologies and enhanced imagery in video gaming, over the last two decades has made the distinction between virtual reality and reality increasingly ambiguous. The shocking images and audio footage of this tragic event expose the surreal nature of war and the extreme ease with which these cowardly game-like attacks are undertaken.

The torturous display of the intimate struggle for life in contrast to the distant disregard for it only signifies the almost complete dissolution of humanity into the abyss of ignorance, segregation and separation. As a result, the almost digitised ‘other’ is defaced and dehumanised, making it easier than ever to eliminate “those bastards”, who deserve nothing more than a chuckle and a cheer for their demise.

As of yet, no official response has been provided.

GENOCIDE IN GAZA: Heinsohn’s Proxy War Against The Palestinians

•January 14, 2009 • Leave a Comment

“The atrocities committed by Israel is a genocide of a conquered people. Gaza is a concentration camp and no amount of PR can reduce the magnitude of this horrible crime against humanity and decency”.[i]

The ‘Youth Bulge’ theory that Gunnar Heinsohn feverishly promotes is far from legitimate in an analysis of any society, let alone a society like Gaza, which is riddled with poverty and war and whose citizens, as a result of the illegal Israeli occupation, have no freedom of movement. The theory suggests that in countries where at least 30% of the male population is aged between 15-29, there is a tendency for these young men to “eliminate each other or get killed in aggressive wars until a balance is reached between their ambitions and the number of acceptable positions available in their society.”[ii]  Even at first glance, this theory is clearly far too reductionistic and does not take into consideration the many complicated and interrelated factors that determine the make up of Palestinian society – for instance, the overriding impact of the Occupation on the very possibility of ‘acceptable positions’ in the first place. It is interesting to note that the ‘youth bulge’ theory has become highly influential on US Foreign policy with two key consultants to the US Government, Jack Goldstone and Gary Fuller, ardently supporting it.[iii]   

View the full article here.

[i] Bakhtiar, A. (10 January 2009). The Source of Arabs’ Shame: Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. http://www.dissidentvoice.org/2009/01/the-sources-of-arabs%E2%80%99-shame-egypt-jordan-and-saudi-arabia/

[ii] Heinsohn, G. (12 January 2009). Ending the West’s Proxy War Against Israel.  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123171179743471961.html#articleTabs%3Darticle


Dear American Voter

•September 30, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I recently returned to the UK from Syria, where I went to visit my parents who have now retired there. It is truly one of the most beautiful countries I have ever encountered, although undoubtedly it has its flaws and weaknesses. Apart from a number of cultural differences, what I realised most of all was the fundamentally universal nature of being human, the striving to simply live. Waking up every morning, earning money, consuming, loving your family, socialising with friends, trying everything in your power to make ends meet while at the same time attempting to enjoy and make the most of the short, temporary and precious life we each have been given.

 

It is difficult, amongst the welter of distracting images that obscure contexts and omit the real faces of people and places, to think of an ‘other’ as anything more than that. Instead Dear American Voter, I ask you to put a face on the victims of the US Government, because they are no different from you. We may pray differently, but we do not love differently and we do not suffer differently.

 

To view the complete letter go to: https://tamaraalom.wordpress.com/dear-american-voter/

In Search of an Alternative…

•September 4, 2007 • 6 Comments

Iraq is in chaos, with no end to the war in sight. Palestine, or rather what are now called the Palestinian territories, have been divided into Fatah and Hamas controlled areas. Lebanon, a year after last summer’s war, is politically, economically and socially weakened. Syria, accused of supporting terrorists and purchasing Russian made anti-aircraft missiles, is under the threat of a possible attack from Israel and/or America. Meanwhile Saudi Arabia and a number of other Gulf states have signed an arms deal with the US worth twenty billion dollars. A look at the state of affairs across the Middle East necessitates the asking of certain questions, namely how we, as Arab nations, have ended up in this situation and how on earth we are meant to get out of it.

“Write down, I am an Arab!” wrote Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish in 1963…

To view the full article, visit:

https://tamaraalom.wordpress.com/history-the-middle-east-in-seach-of-an-alternative/ 

Constructing Reality : The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

•September 4, 2007 • 2 Comments

A Comparative Analysis of the BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera

The aim of this study is to examine the mainstream media’s[1] representation of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict and to test if the media sources under investigation are subjected to the filters of the Propaganda Model developed by Chomsky and Herman. In order to do this an analysis of Al Jazeera, BBC and CNN was carried out on articles published on their respective news websites for a period of two months [21st January – 21st March], a total of 137 articles were analysed. The main findings of this study were that each of the news sources, although similar in story coverage, differed significantly in content, specifically relating to humanitarian issues. The overall content of the articles was a clear indication of the ideological constraints of each of the news sources.

To see the complete study, visit:

https://tamaraalom.wordpress.com/constructing-reality/

US & Middle East Relations

•September 4, 2007 • Leave a Comment

The majority of issues that are dominating international politics and international relations relate to the US and the Middle East, therefore it is essential to examine the issues that have influenced the fragile relationship between the world’s super power, the United States and the ever so important Middle East.  This article aims not to give any solutions to the problems that face the world, but rather looks at the reasons for the underlying animosity felt between these parts of the world.

To view the complete article, visit:

https://tamaraalom.wordpress.com/us-middle-east-relations/ 

Propaganda and the ‘War on Terror’

•September 4, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Theorists of democratic society postulate that its media is objective and is dedicated to discovering and reporting the truth. From this perspective, we are lead to believe that the democratic society in which we live gives us a sufficient amount of participation in the management of our own affairs and that the means of information are open and free. At least that is what a democratic society is meant to incorporate. However, the democratic society in which we live in reality incorporates the conception that the public need to be relieved of the management of their own affairs and that the means of information needs to be strictly controlled. For their own good, of course.

To view the full article, visit:

https://tamaraalom.wordpress.com/propaganda-and-the-war-on-terror/

Self in Sufism, Advaita Vedanta and Psychology

•September 4, 2007 • Leave a Comment

In this paper, I attempt to investigate the irrefutable similarities found between the underlying foundations of many of the world religions, specifically their ontology. In fact, it seems implausible to neglect to also reveal the resemblance these religions have with a significant number of psychologists’ theories. Due to the vastness of this subject, I have paid particular attention to two specific world religions, Hinduism and Islam and again due to the complexity and diversity of each of these religions, I have chosen to examine only one school of thought from each religion, Advaita Vedanta in Hinduism and Sufism in Islam. There are such significant similarities in their ontology that I feel further investigation is fundamental.

To view the full article, visit:

https://tamaraalom.wordpress.com/self-in-sufism-advaita-vedanta-and-psychology/

Hindu Fundamentalism: Does it Exist?

•September 4, 2007 • 1 Comment

It is very difficult to ignore the role religion plays in public affairs in the modern world. Most of the political violence that has and is occurring seems to have some degree of religious undertone, either implicitly or explicitly. It would appear that we live in a world that is plagued by religious violence. Throughout history and in every tradition, wars have been fought on the grounds of religion, for the protection of its codes and ideals.

“It is striking to note that in virtually all of the nearly 500 major wars fought around the world since 1700 ‘each side has imagined itself to be exclusively on the side of God’.”

To view the full article visit:

https://tamaraalom.wordpress.com/hindu-fundamentalism-does-it-exist/

A Tribute to Namir Noor Eldeen

•August 6, 2007 • 2 Comments

I was looking through a sample of work by the photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen on the Reuters website, with no prior knowledge of the tragic events that occurred, to him and Saeed Chmagh.

As I looked through the pictures I had an overwhelming urge to contact Namir and praise him for the heart wrenching and brave work he was doing. With every picture my heart ached for the fact that these atrocities are being faced by too many people in too many places every single day. People.. like me.

As I got nearer the end of the album I saw a picture of Saeed. A wonderful picture. And then I read that he and Namir had been killed under ‘uncertain’ circumstances. A pain surged through me. And I am but a stranger. I could not escape the sadness that overwhelmed me. But at the same time the fear that he was no longer going to be able to take any more photos. The fear that he will no longer be able to show us the reality that is so hard to express and even harder to find.

More people need to see Namir’s pictures. These photos are the REALITY, not the nonsense we hear ‘our’ governments blithering on about. We must do something. If only but ensure more people see his pictures… the reality.

Here is some of Namir’s work.

For an Updated post go to Update: Namir Noor Eldeen, Collateral Murder and the Digitised ‘Other‘.

 
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