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Ingmar Zahorsky
15 June 2011 @ 12:57 am
In response to the ongoing mass rape of women and girls in the DRC, three Canadian classmates from UPEACE and I combined forces to produce a campaign to spread awareness and to call citizens of the world to act in whatever way they can to end this great injustice. Our campaigns materials have been aggregated in a a website that includes a one minute campaign video, a slideshow of personal messages from UPEACE students, an "Inform Yourself" section that helps in understanding the conflict in the DRC through the use of blogs, videos, photography and news as well as ways to get involved through a donate, get involved and submit content section.

We officially launched the site on Wednesday June 8th 2011. Within two days we had close to one thousand visitors from 62 countries. Our project spread quickly on social networking sites and was shared hundreds of times on Twitter and Facebook. Within hours it appeared on blogs, in articles and was mentioned by renowned journalists.

We were overwhelmed by the amount of encouraging feedback we received from individuals and organizations. It taught us two things: First, that many people care what is happening in Congo. Second, that despite our limited resources of promoting the campaign help multiplies and appears from invisible sources when the intent of a project is sincere and worthy.

 Even though this project was pro bono I feel satisfied in terms of what I got back. We are taught growing up in a capitalistic society that we should always get back something of material value back for whatever we do. The subtle reward of working on a cause such as this project that is important and has the potential of changing or affecting peoples life has a value that to me is immeasurable and equally if not more satisfying then receiving a financial reword for the countless hours of work.

Our campaign might only be a tiny contribution towards the critical fight against ending sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo but it was a great experience for us as a group to empower ourselves to take action. When facing a great injustice it is liberating to act and to confront the injustice with whatever means are at once disposal. For us it was our respective media skills.

Following are a few photographs of UPEACE students personal messages photographed by Tatiana:







To see the full project please visit our website:
http://www.endcongorape.info

Spread the word. It is important.

Project Credits:

Web design, video and creative design: Ingmar Zahorsky (Germany and The Philippines)
Script and coordination: Megan Herkert (Montréal)
Script and photography: Tatiana Philiptchenko (Montréal)
Concept, Video: Carl Kouri (Montréal)
 
 
Ingmar Zahorsky
Wednesday, April 13th, UPEACE

Here are some notes from this days class of Advanced New Media in the Arab World.


Lead Question: Is it true that behind every Arab revolution is a Facebook page and a hashtag?



Al Jazeera Arabic in the Revolution

Al Jazeera in particular has played a central role in these revolutions.

The revolutions might have happened without new media but they would not have happened without Al Jazeera.

Egyptian state security were knocking at their door while they were on air and they had to disconnect.

The whole geopolitical landscape was changing within two months.

What is the agenda of the Qatar royal family?

Al Jazeera's credibility is coming on the line.

Mubarak and Ben Ali were accusing Al Jazzera to be the enemy and nobody believed it.

Now it is being said in Syra people are wondering, is there something behind that?

Quatar is a Sunni country.

Al Jazeera has been attacked for not giving enough attention to the Bahrain uprising where
Shia are protesting which makes people questions its credibility.

In Syria there is a Sunni uprising against the Shia majority and it is all over Al Jazeera.



Egypt

People were beaten and hacked to death in Tahrir Square and their is evidence for that.

tarekshalaby - Microblogger who was vocal. He is part of a secular elite. He is a well known graphic designer in Egypt.

bamboozer using whats on your mobile phone on Twitter.

Radio Tahrir.

http://iamjan25.com/  Resource site with video's from the Egyptian revolution.


- The was an extremely powerful message. It got people out into the street. We are all victims. We are all Khaled Sahid.


Gene Sharp is an intellectual American who is the head of the Albert Einstein Institute. Crediting for developing techniques for peaceful revolutions.

The theories of Gene Sharp influenced the revolution. ( Where some young revolutionaries trained in these techniques in Serbia?)

- Foreign ministries get a lot of their information from universities and scholars.

Its very easy to fall into a civil war because army people don't know the methods of non violent struggle.

Christian's protecting the Muslims while they protests. Symbols of national unity.

What happens in Egypt will dictate what happens in the Arab World.

The average person doesn't understand what democracy is but they want a good life. People all have common grievances.


Non State Actors
AYM ( Non Profit in Washington (movements.org) training activist in New Media.
Optor in Serbia.

FARC Oscar Morales, Columbian Web Developer that was also trained by AYM. started movement of 1 million people against FARC.

Wael Ghonim,  Google Head of Marketing Middle East, Called for mass demonstrations. He is connected to the Muslim Brotherhood. He started the Facebook campaign "We Are All Khaled Said". He gave an interview that was highly emotional after he was released. That gave the revolution a huge boost. He seemed very genuine.

Revolutions take marketing, media is marketing.

If you build a good brand you can sell it.

Canvas emerged out of Optor as a training center.
Communicated and met with April 6th movement. The symbol of the fist being raised up that was


Non state actors such as Anonymous and new media tools strongly influenced the revolution.

Does media reflect society or does society reflect media?


Tunisia

- A young men ( Mohammed ) lit killed himself by lighting himself on fire after he was humiliated Police women.

- It took the president two weeks to visit Mohammed in the hospital which shows the arrogance of such autocratic regimes. He underestimated the significance of the event.

- On of the persecuted bloggers from the Ben Ali regime is now a minister.

- Even before the revolution Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia were heavily censoring internet and media and filtering a lot of content.





 
 
 
Ingmar Zahorsky
07 March 2011 @ 11:18 pm
These days many television channels let you view their shows on their website after broadcasting . However a lot of these shows are only available within the countries borders as its server will detect your IP and not grant you access if you are in a foreign country. In this example I will show how to use a proxy server in the US to watch PBS Frontline from Costa Rica. The same method applies to any other country. All you need to do is find a proxy server in the respective country of the host of the website. ( I am supplying a website for locating these server at the end of this tutorial ) 

As I am using a Mac the following instructions are compiled using a 10.5.8. OSX operating system. Here are the instructions for OSX:

1. Go to System Preferences.
2. Under the Internet & Network category click on "Network"
3. Now on the left select your active internet connection (it will have a green light next to it).
4. On the bottom right click on "advanced".
5. Select Proxies on the top menu.
6. Click on the Configure Proxies Tab that reads "Using a Pac File" and change it to "Manually"
7. On the left select "Web Proxy" and then insert the information as displayed in my screen shot:



If for some reason that server is not working anymore or you want to have localized access to another country ( the example gives you a US IP only ) go to the following website and locate a fresh IP:

http://spys.ru/en/

8. Now hit ok at the bottom and hit apply in the following window to change the settings.

Now you should be able to enjoy PBS Frontline:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/view/

To turn of the proxy server just go back to the Proxy tab and uncheck "Web Proxy ( HTTP ) 
 
 
Ingmar Zahorsky
Here is the final paper I wrote for my Media, Terrorism and Insurgency Course:

In Monty Python's 1979 movie "The Life of Brian" a group of Arab insurgents are huddled around a table covered with maps to conspire against the Roman empire. Their leader poses the following questions to the mutinous crowd:

"All right but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system and public health what have the Romans ever done for us?" (Life of Brian 1979).

Embedded in this question is a list of innovations that make up the concept of progress in modern western civilization. It is hard to understand why the insurgents depicted in the film would fight in the first place since the Roman's had gifted them with the cornerstones of modernity. To translate the question to a contemporary issue we could ask: “Why are Iraqi insurgents blowing themselves up in large numbers when the arrival of the US heralds a promise of modernity and progress?”

They reject the invasion because they are trying to bring the western advances while forcing western values onto another culture simultaneously. Our western idea of progress infused with a pervasive neocolonial arrogance, as well as the pursuit of covert, dishonest motives have led us in the west to fight a war against what we perceive as the other. Our idea of progress that has benefited the few has produced a widening gap in wealth distribution, the oppression of minorities, a loss of diversity and culture, and a destabilization of entire regions. These imperial behaviors of exporting democracy, western culture, and institutionalizing exploitation have threatened other nations' identities. The result: terrorism and insurgency.


Measuring Progress


Within the democratic framework, we have developed a clear definition of measuring progress. We did not take into account that other nations around the world have their own history, cultural values, and identity that are in conflicting and contradicting to some of the western values that are embedded in a democratic system in the form of western values. Societies around the world have different values and indicators of progress and other contextual factors that define their value systems. This makes it preposterous for us to impose democratic principles with force.

The paradigm that has evolved from the Roman doctrine of society has aggregated over the centuries into a western identity. As the democratic model was built on that identity, the most powerful nations have prospered, developed, and fully industrialized. Marveling at our own creation, we subsequently thought to export this western system to other countries through peace building missions as well as military operations. In the post World War II context and the emergence of the UN that embodied these “universal” values, we have thought to impose our "superior system" on what we perceive as weaker and less developed entities (the other).

Universalizing western norms threatens the other civilizations identities and their right for coexistence (Huntington 1996). As the institutions monitoring human rights have been based on international law that is derived from Western values, it has created a world police order the control of western powers such as the United Nations Security council. Adhering to the the new religion of modernity, it has created the belief in us that having a flush toilet, a 24-hour drive through, and a flat screen television are desirable features of progressive life and that the absence of them is a state of primitivism. Our business leaders have enforced a religion of consumerism on us that turned citizens into passive members of society and has taken us away from democratic values.


One of the cornerstones of our democratic society is to pursue an individualistic lifestyle. Other societies see this individualism as a selfish pursuit of self interest and prefer a community based structure, knowing that one's actions have an effect on everyone in the community. The core mechanisms of our democratic model allow us to reach a state of unlimited and unregulated self actualization. While both approaches have their merits, swaying too much in one direction causes an imbalance to the system. However, due to the nature of man, these freedoms are abused in nearly every institution. We have created a system that is build on competition for power and the desire for an insatiable materialism, leading to a loss of morality. Since our democratic system has been build by the white man, it is a patriarchal system. Being on top equals unlimited power and influence. Corruption is the side effect that has gotten hold of the seats of power. While corruption in developing countries is overt and trickles down to the bottom, corruption in the western world is affecting the highest institutions. Politicians and business man are hiding their true motivations behind numerous layers of decency, a behavior that could turn anyone into a cynic. The exposition of Bernie Madoff during the financial crisis as the scapegoat for the greed of many was turned into an isolated event by the media. In a recent interview, Madoff revealed that many key players among the investment banks knew about his activities but turned a blind eye on it as long as the money flowed (Shapiro 2011). While most would expect bankers to be corrupt, many people put their hope into their politicians to work in their interest. Are they working in our interest or only for their own? During the initial invasion of Iraq, news surfaced that Haliburton received a contract for over 2 billion Dollars in Iraq (Al Jazeera 2003). What a coincidence that Dick Cheney who was the vice president at the time had been the CEO of Haliburton until the moment he took office in 2000. It appears that many high officials in institutions are equally corrupt and prefer to work for their self interest and the interest of multinational companies. Since we trust that system of democracy to give us freedom, why are we not challenging these abuses of power?


It is because a number of people from our “democratic” society actually believe that their voices have no power to influence what is happening; they have resigned themselves to doing nothing (Anderson 2003). How can it be that in a system in which the constitution places the power in the hands of the people, only a small number choose to exercise this power? By not challenging what our respective governments are doing we are an accomplice in the crimes they commit. In the age of democracy injustice is committed in our name through the institutions we have set up. We call ourselves innocent but forget that our ideals of progress have made us enemies who despise us. This willful ignorance has been created by a government that tells us that we are free and that we have power which makes the masses believe that there is nothing to fight.

Post Colonial Arrogance

The institutionalization of injustice has been based on a post-colonial arrogance that led us to dominate the resources of other countries and violate human rights, all under the guise of bringing progress and wealth to poor countries. Our understanding of the other has made us impose our assumptions and prejudices on foreign nations. While there are some institutions and individuals that do have a positive impact in peace building missions around the world promoting the core principles of democracy, institutions such as the US army aggravate conflict in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq, by having no cultural sensitivity. For many years, the US army has used the book “The Arab Mind” as a teaching manual for MP's to learn about the Arab world before deployment. The book is an outdated anthropological account of offensive racist stereotypes, describing arabs as generally lazy, sex crazy, and violent (Whitaker 2004). The book gives a good foundation for the democratization mission by painting a picture of uncivilized, immoral people that are waiting to be liberated from their condition.

It is an arrogant assumption of our leaders and military that the people in other countries are waiting to be liberated. Thus we think that we are welcome in places such as Afghanistan as we liberated the country from the Taliban. An Afghani politician, Joya Malai asserts the opposite:

President Obama would be wise to look into an exit strategy for Afghanistan, rather than following a policy of escalation that will only create more terrorists and more hatred of the United States, while bringing only more misery and devastation to my country.

The citizens of Australia, Germany, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Canada and all the other countries with troops on the ground have an important role to play. Right now, it must be said, their soldiers are seen by Afghans as no different from American troops – as an occupying force, not as liberators or peace-makers of any kind
(Joya 2009).

The media becomes a partner in crime by helping officials package a war as a just war. We are told that a war on terror is being fought in Afghanistan without being told the ulterior interest that our governments have in invading and occupying other countries in the first place. Governments package ideals of progress using vocabulary such as the liberation and empowerment of people to legitimize the forceful military dominance of another country. Behind this face of noble motives, human rights violations occur. These are the nations sitting on the security council who are supposed to provide us with security. They ignore their own laws without any consequence, only yielding to international law when it is convenient to their agenda. The Bush regime invaded Iraq in 2003 without the permission of the UN security counsel and without any consequences. When appearing in front of the UN the following year, former US president Bush reiterated how the US army was providing stability in Iraq and demanded that “security” be redefined so that we can spread democracy freely and unregulated to other “suffering nations” ( Weisman 2004 ). While Bush talked of stability and improvement, the reality on the ground was much different. As MP's desperately looked for weapons of mass destruction and terrorists, the average Iraqi felt the heaviness of the occupation. While nearly every human right outlined in the UN declaration of human rights (UN 1948) was violated by occupational forces, prisoners rights were also being violated breaking the laws outlined in the Geneva conventions. The people of Iraq felt the humiliation of their masters as they saw their country disintegrate in front of their eyes, which lead ordinary Iraqi's to organize and resists occupation (Fontan 2009).


Injustice is not only institutionalized in the name of democracy in conflict zones but also in international trade. The dynamo of Western economy is free trade resting upon our free market economic model. The idea is that markets emerge and regulate themselves according to demand. However, in this free trade it became quickly apparent that nations with more financial power could dictate the discourse of trade. The high subsidies for corn in the US make it possible to export corn to developing countries at low cost. This surplus in production drove the prices in the world marketplace down to an all time low to the point where farmers in developing countries could not compete anymore and were driven into ruin. Massive waves of suicide across India were a side effect of this phenomena. Farmers were working on the edge and barely cutting even. This meant that a failed crop would rob them of their liquidity which made them see no other option than suicide (Sengupta 2006). In a global economy where the powerful dictate the price and the demand, the crumbs of unfair trade agreements are being thrown to developing countries who accept these terms out of desperation. As a clear label is being cast on developing nations of being “third world” a euphemism for backwardness we have created a new identity called “the other”.


War against the Other


Conflict results from seeing foreign systems as “the other”. It is a war of a neo-colonial master that through occupation and oppression is demanding a homogamy of culture, provoking a natural opposition in response. Mainstream media is becoming entangled in a war of information. Powerful lobbies have institutionalized media PR that run information through clever frames. The acts of terror are described on a regular basis without giving much context, which is often misreported due to the incapacities of parachute reporters. Countering these forces is the New Media that offer minorities and insurgents unprecedented ways of broadcasting themselves.

One measure of progress in a democratic society is the extent to which minorities are included in the government. Consequently, part of the process of liberation in Iraq was to free the minorities that had been suppressed under Saddam Hussein's regime and to empower the minorities to participate in the political process. In a society that is based on tribal culture, the attempt to force-feed a democracy was bound to fail. Years after US occupation, minorities are worse off the ever and are migrating due to continuing violence (Myers 2010). While in the west we are mostly familiar with the images of Iraqi's welcoming US soldiers such as during the toppling of the statue of Saddham Hussein, in reality the MP's experienced dissent against the occupation from the very beginning of and were prompted by ordinary Iraqi's to leave (Parenti 2004). However, this dissent that soldiers and Iraqi's felt from the very beginning of the Iraq war never reached us through the wire.

The governments are masters in using and manipulating media to drown and to distort the voices of the other and of its own people voicing dissent. This media manipulation is a war of information. A hyper reality is created depending on the frame of the different media outlets.

In the war in Iraq, the US military embedded journalist into the army to control the information, while Al Jazeera reported independently, showing the human cost of war. Donald Rumsfeld subsequently titled Al Jazeera the mouthpiece of Osama Bin Laden. Despite showing the human cost of war, Al Jazeera was also pointing out the inaccuracies of information issued by the US army during and after the initial invasion, while still giving a platform for US officials to voice their opinions.

Manipulation of information was not only performed by the government but also on an individual level. High fligh journalists would be parachuted into Iraq and would use fixers to gather information. This information would then be used by the journalist as if he had seen the events described himself/ herself. No credit is given to the fixer while the western journalist earns all the glory. Therefore, little of the information that journalists feed us actually comes from primary sources (Palmer, Fontan 2007).

Governments are now not only using the media to spread their propaganda but go directly to the people. In Israel, the government handed pamphlets to all Israeli passengers last year that would instruct them on how to represent Israel to the people outside in an attempt to build a ground level PR army (Browner 2010). Because of popular support the Israeli government can continue its propaganda operation. The dynamics change when popular support fades away.

As one regime after another is being toppled by people power in Africa, we can observe how this political contest game is changing. The deviant gate is not as small anymore. Social media are opening new gateways to enter the stage without the consent of mainstream media or the establishment. However, whether social media can become an agenda setter remains to be seen. Due to economic disparities, large portions of minorities around the world have no access yet to new media and are still struggling with basic needs.

We assess progress in our nations by looking at economic power. The widening gap in wealth distribution can be observed within nations but also on a global level. The gap between developing countries and developed countries is becoming bigger, as well as the gap between individuals within developing countries according the the United Nations University (Porter 2006). This shows that the idea of equality, which is a key principle in a democratic society, remains influential. The economically stronger nations tend to get more of a platform in mainstream media while other nations have no voice at all. Through vicious attacks, terrorists get their voice heard and become the Robbin Hoods of their communities by addressing some these inequalities.

 When terrorist groups and despots make it into the mainstream media or present themselves in New Media, the focus of politicians and the mainstream media is on dehumanizing them to look for the “otherness” to rob them of their credibility. This is done to distract from the underlying principles that make the terrorist act in the first place. Terrorist are framed as being poor, psychopathic fanatics when in reality they are often ordinary people coming from all social classes. They are not random acts of terror but rather motivated by a cause that is not based on religion but rather on a threat to the Arab identity. While it is true that the messages of Osama Bin Laden have a tone of religious fundamentalism and racism, some points he made actually are a valid critique of the US government. He points out how the US has stood by silently while Israel has demeaned the Palestinian people for decades, aided corrupt regimes around the world that attack the Muslim people, and is responsible for the death of thousands of innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan (Lawrence 2005). Again it is the response to humiliation and oppression that catapulted Bin Laden to the status of a living hero in parts of the Arab world.

Nearly two decades before Bin Laden, the Hizbullah appealed to its people in a similar message of solidarity pointing out the social injustices committed by Israel and the US (Norton 1987). Through these messages, terrorist organizations were able to gain popular support among large groups of people and could justify violence as a form of retribution due to the vivid memory of suffering in Lebanon. While terrorists are using the hypocrisy of our leaders to strengthen their messages, politicians use terrorists to push their political agendas. Few have found a voice on the world stage that are actually challenging our practice of democracy. In his maiden speech at the United Nations in 2009, Gaddafi accused the UN of having failed to resolve more than 60 wars that have erupted after its founding. In a long rant he pointed out many valid contradictions in the United Nations charter (Pilkington 2009). Isn't it ironic that dictators and terrorists from the global south are some of the few voices of conscience that are finding their way into mainstream media, critiquing and monitoring the seats of power? Why are we avoiding to critique and monitor our own systems of power more harshly? While we are occupied with exposing the other for their human rights violations, our “developed states” commit crimes rivaling those of the worst dictators.

Conclusion

The previous pages have discussed the western paradigm of measuring progress, demonstrated some of the forms of post colonial arrogance and looked at the physical and informational warfare that western nations are waging against “the other”.

Hiding behind layers of decency Western powers have become authoritarian samaritans that try to tell others what is good for them while committing countless crimes against humanity.
In the process of democratization people should have the right to accept or deny elements of western civilization. The point of a democracy is that people are empowered to control the system instead of being controlled by the system. While the development of western society and democratic values has brought unprecedented freedom and prosperity to some nations, it doesn't mean that we can assume that the exact same formula will work for countries that have a different history and culture. We also need to acknowledge that nations are occupied and forced to adapt to democracy due to ulterior motives such as insuring its stability in order that economic interests may be pursued. Therefore, media should play a role to critically monitor and investigate the motives of a nation to invade and democratize another. It can be argued that in the case of Iraq and Afghanistan there was never any plan to install a true democracy, which had an inverse effect of destabilizing those countries. To resist occupation is a natural response by a nation that never asked to be liberated. Instead of being liberated people want to liberate themselves.

There is little doubt that any country would welcome the advances of sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system and public health if it would be given without imposing western values at the same time. We need to stop being the missionaries of modernity and stop force our concept of progress on others. Maybe it would be a good idea to democratize our western society, to regain power over our system before we try to impose a flawed structure onto other nations. After we have reformed our own system maybe we can provide a different type of assistance to other nations that is based on mutual respect so that our development paradigm of bringing progress does not diminish but increases the dignity of other sovereign states.


References

Huntington, S. (1996). The Clash of Civilizations. New York City: Simon & Schuster.

Shapiro, L. (2011). 'Madoff Interview: Banks “Had To Know” Of Ponzi Scheme' , Huffington Post 16 February, URL (consulted February 2011): http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/16/madoff-interview-banks-ha_n_823923.html

Aljazeera + Agencies. (2003). 'Haliburton Iraq contracts worth $2 bn'.Aljazeera 13 September, URL (consulted February 2011): http://english.aljazeera.net/archive/2003/09/200849155339201598.html

Anderson, C. (2003) ' The Psychology of Doing Nothing: Forms of Decision Avoidance Result from Reason and Emotion', Psychological Bulletin Vol. 129: 139-167.

Whitaker, B. (2004). 'Its best use is as a door stop', The Guardian Unlimited 24 May, URL ( consulted February 2011): http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/may/24/worlddispatch.usa

Joya, M. (2009). Raising my Voice. London: Rider.

Weisman, S (2004) 'The Reach of War: The President Bush at the U.N., calls for action to widen liberty', New York Times September 22, (consulted February 2011): http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.htmlres=9507E3DB1339F931A1575AC0A9629C8B63&&scp=5&sq=Bush%20Un%20security%20council%20war%20on%20terror&st=cse

Fontan, V. (2009) Voices from post-Saddam Iraq. Westport: Greenwood Publishing.

General Assembly of the United Nations (1948) 'The Universal Declaration of Human Rights', UN (consulted February 2011): http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml

Norton, R. (1987). Text of Open Letter Addressed by Hizb Allah to the downtrodden in Lebanon and in the World in Amal and the Shi'a: Struggle for the South of Lebanon. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Sengupta, S (2006) 'On India’s Farms, a Plague of Suicide', New York Times September 19, (consulted February 2011): http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/19/world/asia/19india.html?scp=1&sq=subsidies%20india%20farming%20suicide&st=cse

Myers, S (2010) 'More Christians Flee Iraq After New Violence', New York Times December 13, (consulted February 2011): http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/13/world/middleeast/13iraq.html?scp=1&sq=minorities+Iraq&st=nyt

Parenti, C. (2004) Boots on the Ground. New York: Truman Talley Books.

Palmer, J. & Fontan, V. (2007) Our ears and our eyes: journalists and fixers in Iraq. Journalism Theory Practice and Criticism Volume 8: 5-24.

Joujaim, J. (Director). (2004). Control Room [Film]. New York: Magnolia Pictures.

Bronner, E (2010) 'Positive Views of Israel, Brought to You by Israelis', New York Times February 17, (consulted February 2011): http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/18/world/middleeast/18israel.html?scp=4&sq=Israel%20PR%20lobby&st=cse

Lawrence, B (2005) Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama Bin Laden. London: Verso.

Pilkington, E (2009) 'UN general assembly: 100 minutes in the life of Muammar Gaddafi', The Guardian September 23, (consulted February 2011 ): http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/23/gaddafi-un-speech


Porter, E (2006) 'Study Finds Wealth Inequality Is Widening Worldwide', New York Times December 6th (consulted February 2011 ): http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/06/business/worldbusiness/06wealth.html?scp=1&sq=widening%20gap%20of%20wealth%20global&st=cse

Pape, R (2005) Dying to Win: the strategic logic of suicide terrorism. New York: Random House, Chapter 2: Explaining Suicide Terrorism, pp. 8-2; Chapter 11: Portraits of Three Suicide Terrorists pp. 217-234.

Jones, T. (1979). The Life of Brian [Film]. London: Hand Made Films.
 
 
 
Ingmar Zahorsky
05 March 2011 @ 06:36 pm
Here are my reflection notes from the final day (eleven) of my Media, Terrorism and Insurgency class:

During Dr. Ellis intense lecture of last week he reiterated that social justice has been at the root of Judaism and that without it a Jew looses his identify. I was reminded of that when we watched “A little town called Bethlehem” in our final class session today.

In the movie as in the previous class sessions, the soul crushing truth that states have no interest in reducing violence was visible again. The main characters in the movie who were challenging injustice were ordinary individuals from the side of the aggressors and the side of the victims.

The Jews portrayed in the movie understood the connection between Palestine and the holocaust. They saw that just as the world had stood by during World War II when they were burning in the furnace of injustice the world failed to respond to what happened in Palestine. At the same time the Palestinian’s who had been oppressed for decades welcomed the Jews to work together with them in a non violent movement. The implications are beautiful. On the one hand side it shows that in the face of injustice there are people finding the courage to speak up and on the other hand are the oppressed who have the courage to forgive, who have not demonized the oppressor. It is a message of hope that change is possible, if not on a state level, certainly on an individual level.

In conclusion I would like to remark about a few changes that have taken place within me during this course.I now find myself browsing through the headlines of a number of papers / magazines on a daily basis. My current selection is Salon, NYT, Global Post, Huffington Post, SPIEGEL, Mother Jones, Al Jazeera, CNN and Fox News. I peruse the lead article with a critical vision doing content analysis trying to see frames and finding the narratives. Reading about politics, something that bored me tremendously before now excites me since my analysis has changed. I feel that this course has awakened a desire in me to have an opinion, to challenge the system and to develop a voice in my writing.

The last reading has made me realize that I cannot really afford to not have a voice. I saw that through most of my life I have tried to remain neutral, not to stick out. Therefore the following quote by Malalai Joya was especially touching to me and is still reverberating in my mind.

“I am young and I value my life; I don’t want to be killed. But I don’t fear death; I fear remaining silent in the face of injustice.”

These words instilled an urgency in me to find my voice remember what Marc said that by not taking a position we do take a position. I find it better to take a side consciously and to react instead of siding through silence.
 
 
Ingmar Zahorsky
Here are my reflection notes from day ten of my Media, Terrorism and Insurgency class:

This day took us through the shady world of Guantanamo and Abu Ghoreb. A world of torture, violence and severe cruelty. We looked at the role of women in the US military and how Gender studies was instrumentalized to design “creative” interrogation methods and used as a damage control mechanism that turned the female MP’s into scapegoats, disconnecting the chain of command. We also observed how women in Iraq and Afghanistan were the looser of the US occupation. For the most part women were much better off before the US military “liberated” and “empowered” them.

It is disgusting how gender empowerment was used as a central argument in the political agenda.
No one talks about the rapes that are common practice in the army of the coalition forces or the discrimination that soldiers inflict on women on a daily basis by not understanding the local culture.
The amount of humiliation that accumulates through the shaming of men and women in Iraq will inspire never ending waves of insurgency that will be impossible to manage.

The war crimes of the Bush government were turned under the table by the political rock star Barrack Obama who protected his predecessor from prosecution and never found the courage to apologize for the torture crimes that have been committed “honor bound.” There seems to be a bias from the press that the heir of Martin Luther King, the community organizers bases all his decision on sound justice.

The male executing generals from the Iraq war either got promoted or were send into an honorable retirement I can’t help but laugh with cynicism revisiting the video clips of statements from the dream team Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld from the beginning of the war on terror.
 
 
Ingmar Zahorsky
05 March 2011 @ 06:32 pm
Here are my reflection notes from day nine of my Media, Terrorism and Insurgency class.

Today I didn’t go to class. Not because I was not interested in the double lecture about the Lebanon and the Hizbolla, but because I felt anxious about writing my essay, an anxiety that was largely due to my inexperience in writing academic papers. All my previous papers were written in a more journalistic style, short paragraphs, full of information and narrative but lacking a central thesis and well articulated arguments. I struggled throughout the morning to derive a clear thesis from the statement that Victoria gave us for a starting point.

In the early afternoon I went to campus and had a long session with Ross. He critiqued my outline and to my surprise I was off to a good start this time. The previous sessions with him have helped me tremendously. Now on to building some aloof intro. By the end of my masters I want to be able to write a sound academic paper so this is a good opportunity to practice.

I think that my resistance to writing in an academic style is just a metaphor for my resistance to structure, a disease that probably many artists suffer from.
 
 
Ingmar Zahorsky
05 March 2011 @ 12:16 pm

Here are my reflection notes from day eight of my Media, Terrorism and Insurgency class.

When crossing through the security fence tunnel from Israel to Palestine one can see a huge banner hanging over the wall that reads “peace be with you” in Arabic, English and Hebrew. This aberration reminds me of the sign that was installed by the German’s above the gates of the concentration camps which read “Arbeit macht frei” ( Work frees you ). Both statements are grotesque in the light of the confining nature of the mentioned places. Of course it would be insulting to the suffering of the millions of Jews who have perished to compare Palestine to the concentration camps of Nazi Germany at face value. However when looking at the semantics denying that there are a number of parallels would be dishonest.

Marc said in class that we need to be honest with each other. To me that means that when condemning the actions of Israel or any other country we also need to look at ourselves, our communities and acknowledge the dark maps that make each of us an accomplice in injustices committed throughout the world in our name.

To look at these maps, to develop self awareness, to stand up for principles and to ask the tough questions takes a lot of courage and might mean that you have to become an outcast and live in exile such as Marc does. While I find it admirable to stand up to such large structure of injustice I think that it is not everyone’s fate or responsibility to swim against the larger stream of our society in such a radical way. Some of us might fight injustices in our families and our communities.

Is it worth to die for something we believe in? Don’t the soldiers who fight in Iraq die for something they believe in? Doesn’t the suicide bomber in Iraq die for something he/she believes in? I question whether any cause, any believe justifies the loss of our preciousness life. I question whether my personal principles and perception of justice, my frame of the world justifies even risking my life. These question are probably on the mind of any journalist or someone working in conflict zones.

To what extend do our positive actions and ideas make a difference in the larger scheme of things?

When Marc talked about the “Jews of Conscience” it made me wonder whether there is a sort of human conscience that we are born with without being taught. A conscience that we either ignore or acknowledge. Is conscience a choice or are we just a feather in the wind of our environment and our history?

 

 
 
Ingmar Zahorsky
05 March 2011 @ 12:14 pm

 

 

Here are my reflection notes from day seven of my Media, Terrorism and Insurgency class.


“When I tell someone my truth and they tell me their truth, truth expands,” Marc quoted a philosopher. Later on he challenged my class to make commitments to each other, to build a link of solidarity and to look at our maps. Marc asked me directly to make a commitment to learn more about the German priest Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was hanged by Hitlers henchmen after having been involved in plotting to kill Hitler.

To honor that commitment I will write a few lines about Bonhoeffer into this journal:

At the beginning and throughout World War II the young theologian Bonhoeffer was one of the few audible Christian voices from within Germany that opposed Hitlers regime in a time when the church welcomed Hitlers rise to power. He was promoting active resistance to political injustice and helped many Jews to escape from Germany.

His core theory was that to imitate Christ and to be involved in the world was the role of the modern Christian. His radical ideas can been seen as a form an early form of liberation theology as his approach to social justice was a similar bottoms up approach. One of his flaws in his theories was that he believed that Jews who were suppressed by the Christian establishment should accept Jesus as the new messiah and convert to Christianity. His fight against political and social injustice based on Christs teaching as well as his theological writings have made Bonhoeffer an inspiration to contemporary Christian’s, and has influenced figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King and Desmond Tutu.

How ironic that one of the main forces against antisemitism came from the Lutheran camp, since the writings of Martin Luther have been a big part of the foundation of the Nazi antisemitism ideology. Would the church have remembered the principles of social justice that are engraved in the bible if the suppression of jews would have not have been institutionalized centuries earlier by the church? It is contradicting to me that the church aided Nazi Germany throughout the world knowing that Christ, their messiah and God was a Jew.

Bonhoeffer responded to the suffering of Jews with the tools that he had: Principles that he derived from the understanding of his religion and a resulting feeling of responsibility.

When Israel became a religion and the Holocaust theology had been solidified the inherent social justice embedded in Judaism came to an end. Since Jews decided to memorize their suffering by reiterating their innocence their response to social injustice became skewed because Israel had become untouchable. It was Zion and their fortress of survival and became the embodiment of the Holocaust trauma.