Global Palestine: Contemporary Collisions

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John Collins (@djleftover), author of Global Palestine (Hurst, 2011/Columbia UP, 2012), 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)

Putting Gaza back in context

Perhaps because I'm a bit of a media masochist, I have been watching a fair amount of mainstream media coverage of Israel's ongoing assault on Gaza.  In my more optimistic (wishful thinking?) moments, I do notice some changes, most notably the growing number of Palestinian voices that are now being given airtime.  (In this sense, as Robert Fisk argues, Israel's policy of banning international journalists from Gaza has backfired, since news organizations have increasingly turned to Palestinians on the ground in order to get an accurate sense of what is happening.)  At the same time, I continue to be distressed by the journalistic tendency to discuss Gaza in a way that is completely divorced from its political and historical context. 

On the value of Palestinian lives

When it comes to political violence, some people argue that it's dangerous to play the numbers game, endlessly comparing the numbers of dead as if human life could be reduced to mere statistics. And there is much to recommend such a cautionary view.  The Israeli assault on Gaza, however, is one of those moments when a look at the numbers is an essential part of understanding what is happening and what it means.   For a bit of perspective, consider this: as a proportion of total population, the death of nearly 200 Palestinians in a single wave of aerial bombing is equivalent to the death of roughly 6,000 Americans. 

Eyewitness reports from Gaza

I just stepped off an airplane to discover that over 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza.   I'll have much more to say about this in the coming days and weeks, but for now, here is an important news release from the activists at Free Gaza:

Is Justice Finally Coming to Blackwater?

Back in early 2007, before the Weave launched its new site design, Weave blogger Derek Tracy was following the very underreported story of Blackwater USA and other private military contractors that were playing such a large, underreported, and unregulated role in the US occupation of Iraq.  Today, with the news that five Blackwater guards are facing criminal charges in the deaths of Iraqi civilians, the Blackwater story has finally become big-time news. 

India violence: the aftermath

The world's news media continue to cover the aftermath of the horrifying terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India during the past week.  As is often the case when the world is faced with this kind of violence, the theories (including the conspiracy theories) are flying thick and fast.  It will be interesting to see how the story "settles" in the coming weeks.  Meanwhile, I thought I would run through a few of the responses I have been reading. 

The Inner Dialogue: Between Euphoria and the Hard Road Ahead

As I wake up this morning to hear the sound of the phrase "President-Elect Barack Obama" all around me, it is difficult to know how to process the range of emotions I am feeling.  Many parts of me - the leftist, the internationalist, the skeptic, the critic of creeping militarization - are struggling to begin a dialogue with the other parts of me that are thrilled beyond measure at the historic result of last night's election and its profound significance for so many people both inside and outside the United States. 

Free Gaza: War on Fishermen?

After successfully breaking the Israeli siege of Gaza back in August, the Free Gaza movement is making good on its promise to continue calling attention to Israel's policy of punishing all Gazans for the actions of a few.  Sailing in a boat called the SS Dignity, activists recently landed in Gaza again and then went on a mission to witness the harassment of Palestinian fishermen by the Israeli navy. 

Settler colonialism 101

In my teaching I regularly address the topic of settler colonialism, a specific type of colonization in which settlers seek to create a new society in a foreign territory through the displacement, subjugation, or elimination of the territory's indigenous population.  The United States is a settler-colonial society; so are Australia, New Zealand, and Israel, to name several prominent examples.  Yet you will rarely see the phrase "settler colonialism" in any major news report about any of these countries. 

A question that answers itself!

I just saw this headline in the Guardian:

Poll: Are there too many US election polls?

Insert punchline here...

A scary snapshot

Top ten "most viewed" articles on the website of The Independent (a major UK newspaper) this morning: