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Ed Webb

Varieties of 'Islamophobia' and its targets | openDemocracy - 0 views

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    Very useful in placing in historical context identity politics that can appear to be eternal. Empires built both umma nationalism and Islamophobia, in different ways.
Ed Webb

Mongolia honours China conqueror Kublai Khan on 800th birthday - 0 views

  • "In Mongolia, Kublai is known as Kublai 'The Wise'," said museum researcher Egiimaa Tseveendorj. 

    "Genghis Khan is known as a military leader, but Kublai was a king who organised an enormous kingdom, not only by conquering it, but with administration, politics, trade, diplomacy, science, religion and production," she added. 

    "In the period of Kublai Khan the Silk Road, which facilitated trade with the West, experienced a new era of prosperity."
Ed Webb

Caribbean Nations to Seek Reparations, Putting Price on Damage of Slavery - NYTimes.com - 0 views

  • In a 2008 biography he wrote of an antislavery campaigner, Britain’s foreign secretary, William Hague, described the trade in human beings as an indefensible barbarity, “brutal, mercenary and inhumane from its beginning to its end.”

    Fourteen Caribbean countries that once sustained that slave economy now want Mr. Hague to put his money where his mouth is.

    Spurred by a sense of injustice that has lingered for two centuries, the countries plan to compile an inventory of the lasting damage they believe they suffered and then demand an apology and reparations from the former colonial powers of Britain, France and the Netherlands.

  • Britain has already paid compensation over the abolition of the slave trade once — but to slave owners, not their victims. Britain transported more than three million Africans across the Atlantic, and the impact of the trade was vast. Historians estimate that, in the Victorian era, between one-fifth and one-sixth of all wealthy Britons derived at least some of their fortunes from the slave economy.
  • The current French president, François Hollande, conceded last year that France’s treatment of Algeria, its former colony, was “brutal and unfair.” But he did not go so far as to apologize.
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  • Caribbean nations argue that their brutal past continues, to some extent, to enslave them today.

    “Our constant search and struggle for development resources is linked directly to the historical inability of our nations to accumulate wealth from the efforts of our peoples during slavery and colonialism,” said Baldwin Spencer, prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, in July this year. Reparations, he said, must be directed toward repairing the damage inflicted by slavery and racism.

  • Some Caribbean nations have already begun assessing the lasting damage they suffered, ranging from stunted educational and economic opportunities to dietary and health problems
  • “Reparation may be awarded only for what was internationally unlawful when it was done,” Dr. O’Keefe said, “and slavery and the slave trade were not internationally unlawful at the time the colonial powers engaged in them.”
Ed Webb

Will Syria War Mean End of Sykes-Picot? - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East - 0 views

  • The Entente powers defeated the Central powers, the latter comprising first and foremost Germany but also, importantly for the future of the Middle East, the Ottoman empire, which ostensibly controlled the Levant — what today comprises most of what we know as Syria, Jordan, Israel, Palestine and Iraq. The Entente victory essentially allowed for the implementation of Sykes-Picot.
  • various Western-dominated conferences solidified the main components of Sykes-Picot into the mandate system, which was officially meant as a mechanism of transition for Middle Eastern peoples and their allotted territories toward independence, but in reality it just replaced Ottoman suzerainty with that of British and French colonial control.

    What emerged were largely artificial constructions that reflected British and French competition and imperial (mostly geostrategic and oil pipeline) interests rather than the natural ethnic, religious, economic and geographic contours of the region itself. It was to all intents and purposes the imposition of the Western-based Westphalian nation-state system onto the Middle East. Centuries of pre-existing orientations were cast aside.

  • for the most part the Ottomans, despite the stresses and strains that confronted them in the 1700s and 1800s leading up to the Great War, bargained and negotiated their way with local powers to produce relative stability
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  • alien Western political, economic and even sociocultural constructs were superimposed on most of the inhabitants of these new countries
  • It took the United States more than 100 years to become a somewhat stable, prosperous country, and this was accomplished despite a horrific civil war but also while separated by oceans from much of the rest of the world — not on the doorstep of Europe endlessly fighting balance-of-power wars, — and sitting on highly coveted ground consisting of two-thirds of a new source of energy that would power the 20th century.
  • what kept these artificial creations together was the on-the-ground military presence of the British, French and eventually the Americans. And when one of these three was not present, military dictatorship filled the void that emerged from colonialism, political immaturity, imperialist machination and the lack of a national identity
  • events of the past decade in the post-Cold War world altered this equation. The military dictatorships have been removed or are under siege, first with the US-led ouster of Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 2003 and culminating with the events of the so-called Arab Spring of 2011. We seem to be witnessing much of the Levant returning to its constituent parts, where the nation-state as a unit of analysis may no longer be valid. Iraq is once again on the verge of breaking down following the removal of US troops.
  • We may be witness to a generation-long process that will remap much of the Middle East. Perhaps outside powers will once again intervene to enforce new borders. If they do, will they get it right this time? Perhaps the indigenous peoples will continue to write their own history … and their own borders. Maybe all of this is inevitable no matter what regional or international powers decide to do
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