Thursday 17 July 2014

Links 17/07/14


Following the death of three Israeli teenagers and increased rocket attacks from Palestine, Israel started a bombing campaign in the Gaza strip (this is the toll of the conflict). An Egypt-negotiated ceasefire failed. The New Yorker outlines how this campaign differs from previous ones and what the repercussions for the Israeli government, Hamas and the region in general could be, The Atlantic takes note of a change in Benjamin Netanyahu's rhetoric considering the possible two-state solution of the conflict ("It is not that Netanyahu renounced his rhetorical support for a two-state solution. He simply described such a state as an impossibility."), and Foreign Affairs argues that "the authority of the Israeli state and the country's ability to remain a pluralistic democracy are under threat."

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was sworn in for another 7-year term following the election in June, meanwhile "The latest estimates of the numbers killed in the war stand at about 170,000." and the Atlantic argues that Assad has become "almost an unofficial ally of the United States in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)".

Libya is experiencing some of the worst fighting since the revolution that brought an end to Muammar Gaddafi's rule in 2011. 

This is Iran's proposal for a new nuclear deal with the West, as presented in Vienna this week, while President Rouhani tries to straddle the divide between the "excesses of the Islamic regime" and the Iranian youth, Brookings on Iran's and Israel's role in the Middle East

Foreign Policy argues for a human security approach to the crises in the Middle East.
Human security has emerged as the alter ego of national security mainly because, as Obama has pointed out, "technology and globalization has put power once reserved for states in the hands of individuals." Unlike national security's fixation with threats, human security's concern is with the "drivers of conflict" -- the difference between treating symptoms and curing the disease, or preventing its outbreak in the first place. One is primarily tactical; the other is more strategic. 
Foreign Policy: People Power, July 10, 2014
Similarly, the Notre Dame Magazine: 
 But after more than three decades of trying, it’s pretty clear that the application of military power is unlikely to provide a solution. The solution, if there is one, will be found by looking beyond the military realm — which just might be the biggest lesson our experience with the War for the Greater Middle East ought to teach. 
Notre Dame Magazine: Lessons From America's War for the Greater Middle East, Summer 2014
Vox with a summary and evaluation of "medium term policy changes" since the global financial crisis. 

A Dutch court recently ruled that the Netherlands were liable for some of the deaths that occurred in Srebrenica in 1995 "because the Dutch peacekeeping force, outnumbered by raiding Bosnian Serb forces, had handed over nearly 300 Bosnian Muslim men and boys of fighting age".

openDemocracy discusses trigger warnings, the dangers of fetishizing revolutions ("Any of these redemptive apocalypses can serve as the X that solves the daunting problem of our sense of impotency."), and on the recently proposed BRICS bank

Borders, migration, exile: While Australian ships returned Sri Lankan refugee-seekers, arguing that the refugee convention wasn't violated because it happened in international waters, Foreign Affairs with a terrifying portrayal of "The Border Wars", the situation of migrants trying to cross the border from Mexico to the US who often die in the process (and the NY Times has a haunting statistic of children crossing the border and the conflicts that cause the movement). 
As for root causes, many human rights organizations point to the ways in which the forces of globalization have driven wedges between the haves and have-nots, displacing millions each year, destroying traditional livelihoods, and fueling black markets (the drug wars, the arms trade, human smuggling, the sex trade), which allow participants to gain some semblance of “upward mobility.” The resulting violence is gruesome, especially in the Central American nations whose citizens end up as bones on Baker’s gurneys.
Pop Culture: 

Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel was inspired both by Stefan Zweig's life and books, and he talks about the process of writing it with Zweig biographer George Prochnik (The Impossible Exile: Stefan Zweig at the End of the World) for The Telegraph
But it’s not only erasure in the mother tongue. There’s an amazing moment in Zweig’s life in the spring of 1941 when he was in New York City. There was an enormous launch banquet given for PEN in Exile at the Biltmore Hotel. Something like a thousand writers were supposed to be there. Many people gave speeches, and Zweig’s proved to be the one that got the most attention. In a completely counterintuitive move, Zweig came out and said, I’m here to apologise before you all. I’m here in a state of shame because my language is the language in which the world is being destroyed. My mother tongue, the very words that I speak, are the ones being twisted and perverted by this machine that is undoing humanity.
The film is very much about exile (and the choice of a hotel as a setting is perfect in that sense), one man trying to keep something alive that has essentially perished years ago and only exists in nostalgia (and it feels like a film that describes Austria at a particular point in time). 
But all these contacts prove useless in the face of an increasingly brutal political reality. In his memoirs, Zweig laments the end of a world where you could travel without passports, without being called upon to justify your existence, and in the film it is the arrival of the border guards that spells the doom of the fictional concierge. The first time they appear, he’s saved by the intervention of an officer who recognizes in him an indulgent witness of his childhood holidays, but the second time he falls victim to the gratuitous violence of the henchmen of a terrifying power. It’s Zweig’s influence that tinges the film with nostalgia and gives it its depth. 
The New York Review of Books: His Exile Was Intolerable
The New Yorker with an essay about Virginia Woolf's idea of privacy and the conflict with "wanting to be known": 
Woolf’s abstract, inner sense of privacy bears the stamp, of course, of a very particular time and place (not to mention Woolf’s very particular biography—she had an unusually rich hidden life). It’s indebted to feminism, and to the realization that men, but not women, have long been granted a right to solitude. It also flows from the particularly modernist idea that there is a coherent, hidden, inner self from which art springs. Today, we may be more likely to see art as a collaborative process—the product of a scene, rather than a person. We are also, I suspect, especially aware of how much we rely upon on social networks to help us know ourselves. In recent years, philosophers have argued that other people may know us better than we do.
A trailer for Richard Linklater's Boyhood, a film that follows its characters and actors through twelve years of their lives. 

Some music: Låpsley's The Painter (Valentine), a beautiful video, Void by The Bug featuring Liz Harris, Ferdinand remixes Clara Moto's In My Dream, a new song by Ricky Eat Acid. 

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