How Arab Unity Became An Oxymoron – Another Tale of Orientalism


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A more liberal strand of Islam might argue that cultural identity is tied to Islamic heritage. Furthermore, it encompasses all philosophy and knowledge into Islam, as opposed to radical Islam which excludes philosophies from the Enlightenment, Renaissance, and the mystical indigenous religions of various regions in the world, like Central Asia and Latin America.

What if identity, whether it is Chinese, or Syrian, is also tied to an Islamic consciousness?

Let us say for example that Confucius was a Muslim. But only in the philosophical sense.

Let us say that Islam, is a philosophy too, a form of consciousness that becomes intertwined with language and custom.

If that is the case, instead of isolating extremism in Islam – what if we look at national struggles for national representation as well as national struggles for independence through the lens of a struggle for a higher level of consciousness?

In communist China, Islam is systemically suppressed. In the West, Islam is discriminated against. In the Middle East, from where it originates, it is disenfranchised from the political process. Palestine, the crux of Islamic scripture, remains occupied. Mecca, resides in a politically corrupt nation-state. The vast majority of Muslims, shiite or sunni, are living in poverty due both to foreign occupation and arbitrary authoritarian government. Russia is united with many forces, some its enemies, like the US in the fight against radicalism, of course, without looking at the initial cause.

In today’s world we see North Korea and Russia and Iran and China as US arch-rivals. But how can we be so sure? It appears premature to assume that enemies on the media aren’t cooperating behind closed doors. Does the US not benefit from the existence of a constant menace? Fanatical ideology or religion, whether it is coming from ISIS or North Korea, isn’t the concern of the great powers.

The world powers are still playing their great game, and they are doing their utmost to prevent the emergence of an autonomous Middle East (or Latin America, Central Asia, Southeast Asia) that can balance their power, out of arrogance as well as out of the desire to exploit resources and prevent any fair competition in the Middle East.

And fanaticism is working in their favor too, because it does nothing to promote national sovereignty – in fact, it is almost carrying out the neoconservative deed under the guise of a Salafi strain of Islam.

A united, moderate and tolerant Middle East would counter all of these forces – but the greatest obstacle to this includes all the puppet regimes in the Middle East which have resisted challenging Israel militarily – the crucible of Middle Eastern conflict and instability. Once the leadership in countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt is overthrown, the Arab front against imperialism can actually hold its ground.

The so-called Arab Spring was a delusional, western manufactured initiative distracting everyone from the real cause of conflict in the Middle East – Occupation.

Democracy is a concept meant for parts of the world where religious sensitivity and culture does not overwhelm the philosophical expectations of the individual. Ideologies like neoconservatism and communism all have threatened the peace and sovereignty of the Middle East. The Arab Spring was a farce attempt in this regard, as much as communism was to liberate Afghanistan, America to liberate Afghanistan afterwards, or Iraq, Libya, Yemen and so forth.

Whether political immorality is exercised by the Chinese, Russians or the Americans, does not matter – the point is that a brainwashing game is being played on the media to blur the lines between good and bad.

But all you need to do to understand who the bad guy is have a basic understanding of boundaries – and that when boundaries are crossed, war ensues.

That boundary has been, since 1948, Palestine.

Until sovereignty is respected, the brainwash will continue, and so too shall conflict.

Democracy will save nothing – unity will.

When Minorities Rule


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Anger has no ideology.

It constantly flip flops between extreme strands of leftist or rightist political orientations.

That’s why often times you will find individuals who are on the fringes of society attacking all those who participate in mainstream politics, no matter their ideology.

Take Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. They promise hand-outs, whether its in government aid, or fascist nepotism. These two individuals represent their opposites – socialism and fascism. Yet both seem allied in their effort to squash mainstream candidates, of whom now only remains Hillary Clinton.

Clinton is seen as a traitor to the common man for her centrist positions. She supports progressivism but does not drift from the American tradition of individualism so far as to abandon the capitalist ideology. Hillary supports progressivism but she does not support the vanguard approach.

Hillary’s weakness lies in foreign policy. But even here, political pundits speak as though Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump would actually act upon their rhetoric. What would Sanders really do to challenge Israel? Would Donald Trump invade North Korea and go to war with Iran?

Hillary is a lapdog to Israel. But so is Donald. Bernie, perhaps not so much. But Bernie’s ideas are old for the avid reader. Socialism failed a long time ago. The problem is deeper than that.

The problem facing America is cultural, not ideological, with certain individuals disenfranchised from the political and economic processes thus leading to a disconnect between America’s domestic and foreign policy. Populism and majoritarian democracy are proving detrimental to America’s constitutional foundations, which initially, were flawed themselves.

The American people don’t need hand outs or false promises from religious or ideological demagogues. The American people do not need wars and invasions to fund their debts. The American people do not need welfare to be sustainable, nor must we envy the hard working rich people. Furthermore, we cannot create social barriers that convince individuals who are poor to look anywhere but to themselves to bring themselves out of poverty. The reality is that, the phenomenon of inequality in America is less economic than people want to admit. It is America’s cultural disenfranchisement of the minorities which has led to social and economic inequality – and this has been secured through populist politics. It won’t work in 2050 when the minority becomes the majority – but even then, populists always have tactics to disrupt political systems.

I don’t think any of these candidates is a true individualist, with each pandering to another popular group of blind followers.

Obama was truly a president of integrity and wisdom – despite the difficulties of engaging foreign politics. I do believe Obama made mistakes, but he also achieved great feats. I only hope that future candidates will realize these truths and step away from depending on false promises and shady foreign alliances in order to secure power and instead, seek the prosperity intended for this country.

In order for that to happen, the system of majoritarian democracy must be dismantled in favor or a proportionate representation system that does not allow mass-minded ideologies to compromise individual rights and freedoms as well as collective necessities.

Furthermore, it will ensure that minorities are dignified and respected. As a result, American foreign policy will shift because it is being influenced by immigrants – not just a group of rich white protestant males.

But what it will prove is that minorities are better preservers of individualism than the so-called Anglo-Saxon, which history has taught us to be the initiator of liberalism, despite centuries of conservative history. Perhaps that is why such a social movement is resisted – better yet suppressed.

In terms of instituting democracy abroad – such a task is hypocritical and ignores the dynamics of each country. What if a dictator is in fact supported by a majority? What if a domestic solution or transition is more viable than foreign intervention? Do these scenarios even matter – should a nation-state ever be involved in another’s domestic affairs? Is not such behavior an act of aggression or war?

With all due respect, it seems that democracy is innately fascist because it depends on mass-populism instead of conviction.

To put the world in perspective then, who is the real hero; and who the villain?

Different theories will be offered; culprits blamed.

But in the end; who is the real menace to global peace?

Kleptocracy on Capitol Hill?


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How could America be expected to promote democracy abroad while not practicing it for its own people?

Sure, there are principles of democracy here and there, perhaps most importantly in executive limits and free elections – but modern oligarchies have corrupted these institutions through socio-economic paralysis of the middle and lower class.

Particularly in the case of minority rights, the U.S. has exhibited non-democratic tendencies. This is more than problematic, considering the majority of the U.S. will be of minority background by 2050.

America is struggling to make a balance between capitalism on one hand and democracy on the other. Democratic movements are bending towards re-enfranchisement of minorities and the middle and lower classes. Can the US’ policies in other parts of the world, particularly in the Middle East but also in Central Asia, Africa and Latin America, be expected to align with democratic movements?

Remember that Karl Marx said he was not a marxist. He saw it as a perversion of his intent. What if so-called capitalist oligarchs in the West are cooperating with authoritarians in other parts of the world to suppress all genuinely democratic movements?

The lack of economic opportunity is related to the absence of equal representation in government in the US and in the Middle East. Immigrants and minorities, religious groups, women and the LBGT community, face discrimination and are underrepresented. Furthermore, they do not receive the same economic welfare from the US government provided to others, particularly minorities and immigrants. To blame this on anything but political underrepresentation is illusory.

The U.S. enables political mobilization – but decades of stagnation has halted progress. Whether or not America is a true democracy is being tested right now. And whether or not other parts of the world can understand the distinction between true democracy and populism, will determine their ability to overcome tyranny.

Orientalism in America – My experiences with American Academia


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My experiences with American academia have coalesced into quite a journey, full of both order & tumult.

But the point of me writing this entry is to focus on what I have come to discover as an unrelenting, institutionalized dogma which pervades the American academic culture, and discourages intellectualism, non-conformity and originality.

This is because academics seem to fear student freedom.

I’ve had my ideas shot down by esteemed professors, albeit in the South good professors are scarce – simply because they did not sit well with the perspective of the professor.

Other professors would commend and encourage the same exact research project shunned by others.

Furthermore I discovered how even American capitalism has infiltrated the academic system which is supposed to be public – with emphasis not on quality education, but rather, on profit motive.

But this culture is America’s and the West’s. Call it “Capitalism, Democracy, Liberalism, Protestantism, Christianity,” whatever

The political culture is backwards here, with many elements of morality being only nominal, applied to the privileged, mainly white, few.

I reject this phenomenon both as an Arab & English speaking, Syrian-Armenian immigrant and as a first-generation American.

In every sense, both academic, musical, in both my individual and collective spheres, morality, free will, and the anomaly that is human nature will triumph over any rationalized, dogmatic system that reduces universal principles to devious political schemes.

I am grateful that I have been able to, by some miracle, attend an institute of higher education, considering that I am still, after 20 years of residence in the state of Florida, still considered a temporary alien, without any permanent status in the US. Never mind the indignation, political, economic and social hardship this has created for me and my family – and millions upon millions of others who are in worse shape – the problem of “nominal justice” or “privileged justice” exists as much in third world countries, authoritarian regimes, as it does in America, where only 40 years ago, African-Americans could not vote.

Let us be frank with ourselves. Before we point our fingers elsewhere, let us look at ourselves in the mirror. Let us lead by example, if indeed, we wish to remain leaders of the world.

 

Blind Populism – 2016


The Democrat-Republican, left-right, Atheist-Cleric dichotomy is a farce.

Political elites know human beings are more inclined to “defend” something than to attack it.

So they create a delusion of competition between theories, such as atheism and religion, which appear to be opposite, and lets say, communism and libertarianism, or democracy and republicanism, so as to keep constituencies controlled and voting for the supposed “opposition”.

But in reality, all of these guys, atheists, clerics, libertarians, socialists – they are all more concerned with promoting their “belief system” or the “lack thereof” than pointing out what is right or wrong, from a rationally based moral system.

These guys, Ben Carson, the Young Turks…they will all promote their bigotry with a slight hint of moral discourse but they will ALWAYS fall short of addressing the main global issues facing us from an impartial standpoint because it threatens their social status and employment.

This applies to Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, Donald Trump, Glen Beck & Hillary Clintons (neo-cons and/or closet conservatives)

It also applies to the Bernie Sanders, Bill Mahers & Salman Rushdies (populist socialists and/or militant atheists)

You see I put my faith in less ideologically inclined individuals. I prefer to trust individuals of conviction and moderation; those who understand the complexity of human nature. These figures tend to be closer to the “ideological center” of the political spectrum, preferring the wisdom of moderation over the perhaps shortsighted instant-gratification of ideological-populism.

To be frank, of the three contenders, the one who exhibited this type of humility the most was Governor Martin O’Malley, who is least likely of them to win.

He was the only contender to say “Black Lives Matter”.

American Fascism


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The Trials of an Immigrant Disenfranchised & a Struggle Against American Fascism

In America there is this sense of entitlement and self-righteousness. This attitude is based on the idea that the ordinary American needs no one but himself in achieving the American dream or even just to establish a sense of financial independence and security.

But what Americans don’t realize is their own hypocrisy. It was not a path of self-sustenance that founded and engineered American society. It was rather an amalgam of ideas, from centralized government to free market maneuvering. But never, was there ever 1 ideology intended to dominated our government entirely thereby disenfranchising others from resources and a path to a more genuine, moderate sense of self-reliance. But slavery built America. Is the link between democracy and fascism inseparable? Does democracy lead to mobocracy? I would argue that democracy hasn’t fully flourished ANYWHERE in the world because the rights and privileges are not extended to all men, for reasons of race, religion, ideology, background etc. That being said, I believe it is this fascist attitude holding America hostage from becoming a universal democracy.

America was built by immigrants, and on the backs of slaves. Yet, only 40 years ago were African-Americans even granted the right to vote; Immigrants remain largely disenfranchised and disallowed from the normal institutional processes of the US, barred from social security, tax collections, etc; African-Americans and other minority groups make up the majority of incarcerations.

All of this is linked.

It is the racist attitude; this bigotry which has elevated a certain group to a privileged status thereby suppressing the freedoms and rights of other social groups.

It is as if the American right-wing fascist is afraid of losing something; as if he fears competition. So much for “free market” economics. That is why all that Reaganomics, right-wing free market trickle down bullshit is a bunch of nonsense because it isn’t even practiced by its preachers. Meanwhile the left is made to look like some tyrannical force that seeks to strip men of their individuality when it is the exact opposite; leftists wish to provide ordinary citizens with adequate resources in order to achieve a state of self-sustenance because they acknowledge the need for collective initiative as well as individual initiative, not ever focusing on one more than the other. The danger lies in dogmatizing collectivism or individualism. An example of collective dogma would be communism. An example of individual dogma would be libertarianism. Both lead to slavery. And in essence, both are collective in nature but due to their extreme ideological foundation they require a combination of denial, propaganda and suppression of the masses in order to perpetuate their lies.

Bashar al-Assad Interview 2015 BBC w/ Analysis


The contradictions on behalf of Western analysts trying to rationalize their original disposition that Assad was the tyranny of the Middle East, and not for example, closer allies of the West, whom it might not be convenient to publicly expose, like Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar & the Muslim Brotherhood, in their complicity in funding terrorism, extremism & inequality in the region.

If the West intended to ask the right questions they would have asked how sure can Assad be that he has a substantial support of the Syrian population and/or diaspora?

Furthermore, their attempt to rationalize the rise of ISIS as an Assadist creation while suggesting that the West and Assad might be able to cooperate against ISIS is an inherent contradiction, a hypocrisy, which only discredits Western narratives about Middle Eastern politics even further.

It is not the duty of the West or the East to liberate the world. ISIS & terrorism from the Middle East are caused by two specific sources: Israeli fundamentalism, expansionism & colonial outposts such as the Saudi monarchy causing huge socio-economic imbalances creating a BREEDING grounds for terrorism and fanatical religious propaganda, such as Wahhabism, the essential philosophy behind all so-called muslim terrorist groups, from al Qaeda, to al Nusra & ISIS.

Remember, all of these entities need capital to survive and fight. Who is supplying them? Who is ENABLING them?

I would argue it is a coalition of two forces: the first force is more elusive because it exists in the largely free and democratic world. It is the conservative right wing. While their grip on private and public sectors remain tight, the very nature of democracy in the West forces political forces of imperial persuasions must be a little more behind the scenes. This is largely why the majority of tyrannies and injustices that exist outside of the West, have close ties with Western counties.

Terrorism and injustice cannot be prevented until their PARTICULAR roots are dissected, understood and exposed. Until then we are in a constant state of worry legitimizing these types of covert behind the scenes forms of corruption.

Danny Krikorian

Orlando, FL

Political Science – International Relations, B.A.

University of Central Florida

dannkrikorian@gmail.com

@krikos88 (T/I)

HASA!


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I’ll never forget the day this album dropped. I was in another dimension. I was inspired.

This album performed well. Its critics are caught in a web of infinite skepticism.

I bought this album and Yeezus on the same day. I believe these are probably the two greatest artists of our time. If you pay attention, I have been influenced by them in all of my work.

The political undertones in this work, like all of Jay-Z’s works, are omnipresent. The cover itself, inspired by greco-roman mythology, the inner-booklet, as well as the content, from beginning to end, captures the stark reality of an American hustler. The whole time I felt I was watching a Spike Lee movie.

Jay-Z is hated for his business approach. I think he is an artistic genius. His genius is beyond the minds of his critics, be they musicians or not. He addresses conspiracy theorists in a line from “Heaven”:

Conspiracy theorists screaming illuminati,

They can’t believe this much skill is in a human body,

6’2, how the fuck he fit in a new bugatti,

Aw fuck it you got me,

Question religion question it all,

Question existence until them questions are solved,

Meanwhile this heretic, I be out in Marrakesh,

Morocco, smoking hashish with my fellowship,

Y’all dwell on devil shit, I’m in diablo, yellow-shit,

Color of jello shit, hello bitch,

It’s me again, fresh in my easter clothes feeling like Jesus.

For all the so-called purists & the conspiracy theorists, this is a clear message. Jay-Z isn’t here to make you comfortable. He is here to make a living, express himself & expose what he sees as American hypocrisy. With references to Malcolm, Martin Luther King Jr., Wall Street, Jewish affluence and more, this album in no way falls short of being consistent with the tradition of hip-hop as a conscious movement.

Despite ongoing trends & exploitations of the culture, for the most part, there remains a largely alive movement of conscious listeners and artists who remain true to the craft and the messages upon which it was built.

It cannot be understated the impact which 200 years of slavery has had on the African-American culture. This recent interview with Azealia Banks on Hot 97 really captures the emotions of the African-American community. Whether or not you agree with her views or self-expression, I do believe it is important for Americans especially, to hear this perspective. It is true, that Abraham Lincoln emancipated the slaves in the 19th century. But that was the end of a tactic; not of a system. The system which we would like to believe no longer exists today is strong and more alive than ever. Words alone, especially my own, cannot do justice.

Today, hip-hop is saturated with a blend of either ultra-conscious underground or ultra-materialistic mainstream. The medium is there, if you look for it. The majority, which represents the American population, remains held hostage to either the purists within the underground community or the bigots who have largely extended their grasp over the popular media-mainstream, exponentially since the deaths of major hip-hop icons Notorious B.I.G. & Tupac.

I am all for new music & innovation. But I tend not to look for it from many of the artists who the mass-media spoon-feeds us on the daily. I like sticking to my real hip-hop.

On Democratic Socialism & Hip-Hop’s Place in America Today


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Recent tension between hip-hop artists Azealia Banks and Iggy Azalea inspired me to address the issue, and how the undertones resonate loudly in America, with associations to systems of cultural repression such as racism, jim crow, the prison-industrial complex, corporate hoarding and finally US foreign policy; and ultimately how all of these issues are in actuality the products of one giant injustice; institutionalized discrimination.

Liberty and individualism are often associated with the American conservative model of capitalism but in reality this model more closely resembles theocratic-nepotism. True free markets, competition and prosperity are more closely associated with genuine democracy and social redistribution of resources in order to correct historical injustices and imbalances as well as to assure that the basic needs of individuals are met as they seek to establish a method for sustenance by relying on themselves.

The reality is that America’s brand of capitalism, especially as it has unfolded in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, is less capitalism-based and more authoritarian; more Randian, if anything.

The system which disenfranchised African-Americans is responsible for propping up images like Iggy. That system I refer to is a cult-like religion of people who believe in a disney-esque fairy tale-like America where innocence remains and hypocrisy is rampant.

That’s the point. Racism guised. Zionism hidden. Anarcho-capitalism fully realized.

The selling of a false American Dream which is essentially conformity to a culture of bigotry.

The brainwashing of American children into following the Biebers and Iggys so as to suppress independent thinking.

And the questioning of US decency.

American is the crown jewel of self-idolatry and pseudo-freedom. It is the center-piece of vanity and pretentious ownership of earth.

You don’t have to preach to us about the doctrine of competition of free market that isn’t our problem.

We compete all day the problem is your false portrayal of reality and the hoarding of earths resources under the banner of Americanism.

The world is victim so a false sense of entitlement to consumer culture.

This will end.