Global Palestine: Contemporary Collisions

John Collins (@djleftover), author of Global Palestine (Hurst/Oxford UP, 2011), explores the global politics of violence and the representation of violence, paying particular attention to the microcosmic and prophetic location of Palestine in relation to these processes.  (Image: Diego Lopez Calvin)

Evo Morales speaks in Madrid

27 You know you are not in the United States any more when, in the span of less than a week, your city plays host to both Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales.  Both leaders have played key roles in a recent wave of political change in Latin America that has been pushing, sometimes quietly and sometimes not so quietly, against the long and continuing tradition of U.S. imperialism in the region. Yesterday I had the privilege of hearing Morales, Bolivia's charismatic indigenous president, speak to a packed house at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid.  In a brief but inspiring speech delivered at the university's Faculty of Political Science and Sociology, Morales gave ample evidence of why he has been such a powerful and inspiring voice on the global stage in recent years. 

Israel and the BDS Movement 3 - The Backlash

Having already cleared the ground and covered the basics of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, I had planned to continue by addressing some of the early successes of this growing activist campaign.  But the case of Prof. Neve Gordon comes first because it represents the latest chapter in what is, not surprisingly, a growing backlash against individuals who speak out publicly in favor of BDS.

Israel and the BDS Movement 2 - An Overview of the Movement

In the first post of this series, I introduced the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and addressed some of the perceptions that often lead people to dismiss either the legitimacy of the movement or its prospects for success.  In this second installment, I will offer a basic overview and analysis of the BDS movement itself: its origins, philosophy, membership, and strategies. 

Interweaving: Sasha Tedeschi on Islam in Russia

23 Sasha TedeschiSasha Tedeschi graduated from St. Lawrence University in 2007 with a double major in History and Global Studies.  He is currently doing research sponsored by the Fulbright Program in Russia.  I recently had the chance to interview him about a range of issues related to the public role of Islam in Russia. 

Israel and the BDS Movement 1 - Clearing the Ground

Whenever I tell someone about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that has arisen in recent years as a response to Israel's continuing colonization of Palestinian territory, the response is usually a skeptical one.  There seems to be an some sort of deeply conditioned reflex that leads people to want to dismiss the movement and its chances for achieving anything.  Despite the significant efforts of BDS activists to get the word out and educate the public, there is clearly a need for more work in order for the movement to gain legitimacy.  To this end, I will be writing a number of posts on issues surrounding the BDS movement, beginning with the question of why there is so much skepticism about it. 

Spanish Media Bull

Tomorrow, July 7, will mark the first day of one of Spain's most iconic rituals, known here as los San Fermines.  Each year the city of Pamplona hosts a week-long festival whose highlight is the "Running of the Bulls," a series of dramatic, frenetic events in which a group of bulls are released into the city to be chased by thousands of adventure-seekers, Spaniards and non-Spaniards alike.  As any guidebook will tell you, Ernest Hemingway was famously attracted to this ritual, describing it at length in his novel The Sun Also Rises.  Like so many such cultural forms, however, the San Fermines have now become commercialized media spectacles - and objects of political protest.

Brigadistas, Then and Now

56 One of the great joys of living in Madrid is the opportunity to attend some of the many book presentations that regularly fill up the calendar.   Last evening I attended the very moving and thought-provoking presentation of a book of poems written by brigadistas: international volunteers who came to Spain during the country's civil war (1936-39) to fight on the side of the Second Spanish Republic against the forces of fascism led by General Francisco Franco.  Hablando de leyendas: Poemas para España, originally published in English and now available in a Spanish edition from Ediciones Baile del Sol, is both a powerful work of social poetry and a timely intervention in an ongoing debate over how Spain should deal with its own traumatic past.  It is also a call to stand up against the denial, minimization, and outright suppression of the contributions made throughout the world by those courageous individuals who engage in transformative acts of international solidarity. 

Alizadeh on media misreading of the Iranian uprising

The following article is reprinted with permission.  I'm posting it here because I think the author, Ali Alizadeh, raises some very important issues regarding the ways in which the ongoing political crisis in Iran is being framed (and misunderstood) in the international media. (See also the excellent analysis at Juan Cole's blog.) You can find Alizadeh's original post here

why are the iranians dreaming again?*

[The following is a guest post from Ali Alizadeh, Researcher at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, Middlesex University]

Gaza news roundup

As any student of news analysis knows, the mainstream media's attention is quite easily diverted from important stories once a moment of "crisis" has passed.  The Israeli strangulation of Gaza is an ongoing story that is decades in the making and, for ordinary Gazans, an ongoing reality.  While Israel's recent full-scale military assault on Gaza has ended, the suffering of Gaza's colonized population goes on.  Here is an update on some key Gaza stories that are flying under the radar. 

Sen on India's Muslims

A recent article in Al-Ahram Weekly by a St. Lawrence University alumnus tackles the thorny issue of the intercommunal tension that continues to plague Indian society.  Somdeep Sen, who graduate from SLU in 2007 and is currently doing graduate work at Central European University in Budapest, argues that India's large Muslim minority continues to bear the brunt of the society's internal contradictions.