Monthly Archives: December 2014

Remembering Maya Angelou

2014 has seen many loses. One of the greatest of those loses is that of Maya Angelou. Interviewed here by one of her students, her timeless message is one of the most important ones to take forward into the New Year.

We miss you, Maya.

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The CIA Torture Report: Through Arab Eyes

The seal of the Central Intelligence Agency inlaid in the floor of the main lobby of the Original Headquarters Building. Photo by user:Duffman (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The seal of the Central Intelligence Agency inlaid in the floor of the main lobby of the Original Headquarters Building. Photo by user:Duffman (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The fear that the US has lost its moral compass is vastly exaggerated, for the simple reason that the US – at least in the Arab World – never possessed this moral legitimacy in the first place.

By Maged Mandour

The report recently issued by the Senate condemning and detailing the interrogation methods used by the CIA during the tenure of the Bush Administration has both surprised and shocked many average Americans, as well as the public in the west.

Although some details, such as the use of waterboarding, were known before the report was issued, there was the illusion that these techniques were used as a last resort, with a limited scope, and when a credible threat existed. The fact that more than 20% of the detainees were innocent and subjected to such treatment as a first resort, is only one of the outrageous disclosures of this report. Continue reading

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Keep the Lights On – Journalism Is Not A Crime!

On December 29, 2013, Al Jazeera journalists Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed  were jailed in Egypt. They have been sentenced to seven and ten years. Their appeal is scheduled to be heard on Jan. 1, 2015. To commemorate the one year anniversary of their jailing, newsrooms across the world will stop work at 1200 Egypt-time to pause and reflect on the year’s events.

2014 goes on record as the second worst year for journalists jailed worldwide, topped only by 2012, which saw 232 imprisoned. However, the numbers do not include those held by Daesch (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria, currently estimated to be approximately 80. Continue reading

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This is what the Arab spring looks like

Tunisian voters seem to declare that they hold no indiscriminate prejudice. They simply have a problem with incompetence, corruption, cronyism, and abuse of human dignity.

By Ahmed E. Squaiaia 

Four days after the fourth anniversary of the spark that ignited the fury of protests widely known as the Arab Spring, Tunisian voters reminded the world about what the Arab Spring is supposed to look like. The election of a new president this week capped four years of hard work that involved politicians and leaders of civil society institutions.

Continue reading

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‘TIs Always the Season for Intolerance

By Gretschman for Occupy World Writes

A few evenings ago my wife and I went out to dinner. Our server was a pleasant young man who, by his actions and mannerisms, left very little doubt that he lives what many people would consider an “alternative” lifestyle. For the sake of this story, I shall call him “Jim”

Since we had gone out quite late for dinner, “Jim” was waiting on all of the few tables in our section that were occupied. Next to our table was a group of Somalians. These folks were eating their dinner when my wife and I were seated. After these folks at the next table were done with their meal and post dinner coffees, they started taking pictures by an open booth on the other side of us. Continue reading

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Peace to All

Image from http://www.lynnegolodner.com/the-world-around-me/truth-peace-middle-east/

Image from http://www.lynnegolodner.com/the-world-around-me/truth-peace-middle-east/

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Lights That Share, Lives That Care

Driving around to look at lights over the holiday season has been a tradition across America since we started stringing the outdoor ornaments in the 1930s.

The first electric Christmas lights were invented by Thomas Edison in 1880, when he hung strings outside his laboratory. Edward Johnson, a close friend of Edison, rigged up lights on his Christmas tree in 1882. In 1884, the New York Times covered his lights in a feature story, and Americans became fascinated with all that twinkles and shines. Continue reading

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Have A Cigar And Follow The Money

Last Wednesday President Obama and President Raul Castro of Cuba made simultaneous announcements that the two nations would start working towards normalizing relations between the two countries 54 years after diplomatic ties were severed.

Cuban flag. By Madden (public domain) via Wikimedia Commons

Cuban flag. By Madden (public domain) via Wikimedia Commons

The reactions in the US, as with anything else over the last six years, was basically split along ideological lines, with the conservatives claiming it to be just another example of failed foreign policy. On the liberal and moderate side, it was hailed as a step towards greater freedom and an economic boost to Cuba. Of course the economic boom would also mean the expansion of US corporations into Cuba. But, why is this happening now? Continue reading

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The Greatest Security Risk

One of the big stories of the last month has been the hacking of the Sony Pictures corporate network.  For the last few weeks we’ve heard of the disclosures of Sony employees’ private emails, salaries and the like, leading up to this week’s decision of Sony Pictures to postpone the premiere and subsequent showings of their movie The Interview, after receiving threats of “9/11 type attacks” on theaters showing the film. 

When it was just the employee data being released, the talking heads in the media treated it more as a bad joke gone wrong that was played on Sony by some hackers. With the subsequent postponing of the film’s release and the assertion by the State Department that this was a cyberattack with ties to the North Korean government, the giggling turned into a “How dare they take away our freedom!” chorus that frankly is every bit as ridiculous as the first reaction. Continue reading

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#BlackLivesMatter Protests At MOA

Over 3000 protesters gathered in the Mall of America Saturday in support of the BlackLivesMatter movement. Image via Facebook.

Over 3000 protesters gathered in the Mall of America Saturday in support of the BlackLivesMatter movement. Image via Facebook.

Protestors filled the main floor rotunda of America’s largest shopping mall on Saturday as supporters within the mall raised their voices and joined them. The first chant started…

“No Justice, No Peace!”

We then heard a jubilant chorus fill the mall, clapping together and singing. We also heard “While you’re on your shopping spree, black people can not breathe…” Continue reading

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