Still Under Occupation: The Middle East & the Struggle for Dignity


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Time and time again, we hear about the causes of injustice and instability in the Middle East.

There are about four main causes offered from analyses on this region. Each of them point to internal factors, though somehow quite different from one another.

But none of them recognize the possibility that instability is not a domestic ailment.

How could democratic institutionalism evade the Middle East for so long?

Here too, an anthology of theories has been written.

Getting into all the explanations would require too much attention, a luxury that modern high speed internet cannot afford to its consumers.

The main argument echoed in the halls of western political debate rooms blames ruthless dictators and Islamic crazies.

A list of more intricate explanations exist too.

None of them point to external factors.

But none of them can truly explain the distinctive features of the Middle East that make it lag significantly behind other regions in terms of democratic reform and political stability, like for example Latin America, where similar conditions exist: colonial history & resource abundance.

Why has America, and before it Europe, exercised endless security initiatives in the Middle East since the end of World War II? The US and Israel remain the only two occupying forces in the Middle East.

Research supports the logic that suicide terrorism is linked to foreign occupation.

US interventionism is not beneficial to the US nor to the international community. Violations of sovereignty are the primary cause of global instability. Whether or not democracy should evolve in a particular country is a domestic issue. Furthermore, cultural values must be considered to determine whether democratic political institutions can endure. Albeit, by injecting itself in the affairs of other countries, a US foreign policy of interventionism incites radicalism, paralyzes political development, and violates universal principles of self-determination and sovereignty. It was a the democratically elected leader of Iran, President Mossadegh, who was ousted in a CIA-led coup d’etat, which produced the mess that is radicalism and sectarianism today in the Middle East. World powers have played a hypocritical role in the region, loaning aid to authoritarian dictatorships and Islamic radicals simultaneously (Saddam & al Qaeda, for example), pinning two counterintuitive initiatives against one another – neocolonialism in plain-sight.

If democracy is in fact possible in the Middle East, its chances of seeing the light of day are being dimmed by the political hubris of world powers, namely the US.

 

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The Deer Hunter Russian Roulette Scene


One of my favorite scenes from the movie. The Vietnam War, a contentious issue of debate, remains a stain on US history. Despite being portrayed as a containment of communism, the US invasion proved not only disastrous, but to carry its own agenda, the suppression of national sovereignty.

This same phenomenon occurred in Afghanistan, when the US funded the mujahadin of Afghanistan to combat communism. The premise of containing communism was quickly overshadowed by a new specter of foreign oppression, western capitalism.

The Armenian Orphan Rug (L.A. Times)


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LINK: http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-white-house-rug-armenian-genocide-20141015-story.html?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+latimes%2Fnews%2Fnationworld%2Fnation+(L.A.+Times+-+National+News)

A historic rug tied to the Armenian genocide will go on display at the White House Visitor Center in November after several failed attempts to display the piece.

The Ghazir rug was created by orphans of the genocide and presented to President Calvin Coolidge in 1925. It will be featured alongside other artifacts in an exhibition highlighting gifts to the United States from groups that have benefited from American humanitarian aid.

“The rug … is a reminder of the close relationship between the people of Armenia and the United States,” National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said in a statement announcing the exhibition.

The tapestry, also called the Armenian Orphan Rug, has been in storage for decades with only limited public appearances. In 2013, the White House blocked a plan to display the rug at the Smithsonian Institution, saying the planned exhibition, which would have featured the release of a book about the piece, was a private event and thus “not viewed as commensurate with the rug’s historical significance.”

Armenian American leaders and several U.S. senators objected to the decision, saying the White House was bowing to political pressure from the Turkish government, which denies a genocide took place.

Historians estimate that 1.2 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks during the political upheaval surrounding World War I. The circumstances of the genocide remain contested by Turkey, which maintains that the Armenians died of disease, starvation and being caught in crossfire. The Ghazir rug was later created by orphans as a goodwill gesture toward the U.S.

Members of the Armenian American community praised the decision to display the rug.

“Turkey doesn’t want people to use the word ‘genocide,’ so the United States doesn’t use the word ‘genocide,’ ” said Aram Hamparian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America. “We hope that this is the symbol of the White House finally doing the right thing.”
The delay in exhibiting the rug stemmed from rules governing historic objects rather than political considerations, senior administration officials said.

For elected officials representing Armenian American communities, the decision is a welcome relief after years of negotiation.

“It’s a powerful symbol of American generosity to victims of the Armenian genocide,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D- Burbank) said. “I’m thrilled that it will soon be on display.”

Schiff said he would continue to push for official federal recognition of the genocide, especially in light of the event’s 100th anniversary in April.

For Hamparian, the exhibition will be a success if it represents a change in White House policy.

“The victory will be if this symbolizes progress by this White House to speak the truth about the Armenian genocide,” he said.