Crackpot Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi making life utterly miserable for Arabic translators everywhere…
Obviously, it’s no laughing matter that a dictatorial lunatic has been cruelly oppressing (most of) the people of his country for decades – an unfortunately common occurrence throughout post-colonial Africa – but it is quite amusing that since his “rapprochement” with the West in recent years, utterly vile creatures like Tony Blair were happy to be the front men for unscrupulous corporate interests that had no qualms at all about doing business with him.
Given that corporations have, in some jurisdictions at least, been granted the status of “personhood” along with many of the rights afforded to individuals, maybe it’s about time that corresponding obligations of morality be likewise attached to these entities. After all, if companies refused to conduct business with oppressive dictators for deeply implicit moral reasons then there would simply be no economic basis for their power. Yes, I know… it’s a ridiculously naïve concept.
Wael Ghonim, Google’s Head of Marketing for the Middle East and North Africa, speaking to CNN just shortly after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak…
“They convinced us for 30 years that Egypt had died, that there was no more Egypt. We were all looking for Egypt and thank God we found her today.”
Ghonim, an activist who helped launch the first online efforts calling for protests said that he had confidence that Egypt will not fall into dictatorship again: “Egypt will be a fully democratic state. You will be impressed.”
Certainly the revolution itself was impressive in every respect, so one hopes that the same qualities that enabled it achieve victory against all odds will carry through to the eventual realization of its democratic aspirations.
That actually seems to be quite an apt term, all considered, but should the emerging system perhaps be more accurately described as “neo-feudalism” or “debt peonage” as so-called renegade economist Michael Hudson suggests?
On a semi-related note, let me highly recommend a book that I’m thoroughly enjoying at the moment — Après l’empire by Emmanuel Todd. It’s marvelously illuminating.
According to some reports, upwards of 100,000 protesters are planning widespread disruption of next week’s G20 summit being held in London. Fears of violent clashes has forced Scotland Yard to cancel all police leave and London has been put on high alert.
The G20 is the largest gathering of world leaders in the UK for more than half a century and will cost British taxpayers more than £20 million to stage with much of the money being spent on an unprecedented security operation.
Anarchist Chris Knight, a 66-year-old professor known as “Mr. Mayhem” and leader of a group at the heart of the demonstrations is calling for guillotining bank executives and targeting London firms that fail to turn off their lights to commemorate “Earth Hour” with threats of break-ins and property damage.
Knight “strongly suggests bankers should stay away from the City next week. If you’re thinking of coming in, my advice is don’t. People are incandescent about your bonuses and the way you’ve destroyed their lives. We plan to lay siege to the financiers who have brought us into this recession and who continue to pursue policies that are destroying our planet”.
As for the police, “if they want violence, they’ll get it”, adds Knight, a former member of Labour’s extreme Left-wing Militant Tendency who now calls himself a revolutionary communist. “We intend to be peaceful but if they press their nuclear button, I’ll press mine. It’s called mutually assured destruction’. If Gordon Brown deploys his riot police, or sends in his agents provocateurs to start trouble as an excuse to attack us, all hell will break loose.”
Makes you wonder why the G20 leaders didn’t just have a videoconference.
Released at the beginning of this month at the Annual Artivist’s Film Festival in LA, this film by Peter Joseph speaks much truth to power, may undermine some of your casual assumptions about the economy and hits home (ha ha) on many levels. Here’s the trailer for it.
And the full film if you can endure it.
Very deep, disturbing and rather illuminating. It makes all of the petty election nattering and sniping about absolute bullshit as the asset bubble bursts and the financial system melts down seem wholly irrelevant. It’s not of course, but perhaps it should be. Wikipedia has a piece on it here that’s being considered for deletion for some odd reason.
The AP reports that Pakistan’s ruling coalition wrangled today over restoring judges fired by Pervez Musharraf, signaling potentially dangerous divisions just a day after their united front forced the ex-general to quit the presidency.
The Wall Street Journal has a good capsule summary about Pakistan after Musharraf by Peter Wonacott who notes that “Amid Pakistan’s disarray, militants have had freer rein to use its territory as a staging ground for attacking American soldiers in Afghanistan.” Not to mention Canadian and other NATO soldiers as well, of course. Meanwhile, the head of Pakistan’s army secretly went to Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, to talk to high ranking Afghan officials about cooperation between the two countries.
And here’s a bit more Pakistan-related muckraking. According to TPM , hapless Harriet Miers, former White House counsel and (briefly) one-time Supreme Court nominee, is now a lobbyist for the “Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Asif Ali Zardari, Co-Chairperson of PPP and his children.” His son is Bilawal Bhutto Zardari who became chairman of the PPP after the death of Benazir Bhutto and is expected to assume actual leadership of the party once he completes his studies at Oxford. It’s reputed that the cost of Bilawal’s security while at Oxford is at least £1 million per year.