[Sayma-Discuss] From Juan Cole's Informed Comment: "The Situation in Gaza"

licciardelloj at bellsouth.net licciardelloj at bellsouth.net
Fri Jun 22 23:43:54 EDT 2007

Thank you for elucidating me on Juan Cole.

I have recently started to view LinkTV a channel available on directTV, but also i imagine available on regular cable.  This wonderful pubvlic channel is free of corporate sponsorship, and has a better range of news and commentary than any
TV I have ever watched.  For example they have recently or are about to have a piece on torture.  The recent show about South Africa specifically a piece on people seeking amnesty in the new
SA justice system was very illuminating.  The entire format, more than any TV I have watched, is less insulting to a person's intelligenmce and more broad in its topic selection.  No glitz, no production, just TV news, commentary, world culture.
In Peace

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Steve Livingston 
  To: Mike Shell ; sayma-discuss at kitenet.net 
  Sent: Friday, June 22, 2007 8:54 AM
  Subject: Re: [Sayma-Discuss] From Juan Cole's Informed Comment: "The Situation in Gaza"

  I've been depending on Juan Cole for informed commentary on the Middle East for several years. He is one of my few "daily reads". He is a professor of Middle Eastern history, speaks and reads several Arabic languages, and is married to an Iraqi. His perspective is very well-rounded.

  In his analysis of the Gaza situation, Professor Cole says:

  "Palestinians are not intrinsically more violent than anyone else, not essentially less able to administer or govern than anyone else. Few countries have not had civil wars or at least major civil conflicts. The question should be not "Why are Palestinians like that?"-- which is a racist question-- but what social and economic factors are driving the present conflict?"

  In my frequent discussions with fellow citizens concerning the Middle East, I often encounter this racist attitude: "Why are those Muslims so violent?" Certainly, there are cultural and historical differences that ought to be taken into account in order to understand and mitigate Middle Eastern conflicts. But by putting any racist assumptions aside, we can see how the economic and military policies of the United States and her principal ally in the Middle East have exacerbated and in some cases created what appear to be intractable problems. Sweeping, fundamental changes in US policy could have a trememndously healing effect. Fortunately, one Presidential candidate is prepared to implement such changes.

  Last Winter, AFSC and FCNL participated in a meeting of ecumenical leaders with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Despite being recognized in America largely on the basis of a comment he never actually made, Ahmadinejad has expressed a readiness, as have most other Middle Eastern leaders, to engage in regional negotiations to end the occupation of Middle Eastern lands by foreign military forces. This is the absolutely essential first step that must be taken in order to resolve the conflicts both in Iraq and in Palestine. As the source of one of those foreign occupation forces, and a primary supporter of the other, the US stands firmly in the way of resolution.

  Regardless of the extent to which any other forces may or may not be responsible for the situation in Gaza, in the West Bank, or in Iraq, we Americans have a responsibility to address the policies of our own government that fuel the flames of civil wars.


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