Tuesday 24 May 2011

Linkliste unbehandelter Themen


The New York Times, on the divisions within societies that seem to undermine the revolutions currently taking place in Arab countries: 
In an arc of revolts and revolution, that idea of a broader citizenship is being tested as the enforced silence of repression gives way to the cacophony of diversity. Security and stability were the justification that strongmen in the Arab world offered for repression, often with the sanction of the United States; the essence of the protests in the Arab Spring is that people can imagine an alternative. 
Meanwhile, heavy NATO bombings of Tripolis continue, the trial of a Pakistani-American terrorist in Chicago raises tensions between Pakistan and the United States over alleged connections between Pakistani intelligent services and terrorist groups, and World Affairs calls President Obama's foreign policy "Ambitious Realism". 
There are times in the course of history when the actions of ordinary citizens spark movements for change because they speak to a longing for freedom that has been building up for years.  In America, think of the defiance of those patriots in Boston who refused to pay taxes to a King, or the dignity of Rosa Parks as she sat courageously in her seat.  So it was in Tunisia, as that vendor’s act of desperation tapped into the frustration felt throughout the country.  Hundreds of protesters took to the streets, then thousands.  And in the face of batons and sometimes bullets, they refused to go home –- day after day, week after week -- until a dictator of more than two decades finally left power. 
Remarks by the President on the Middle East and North Africa
In Sudan, following the successful referendum on Southern Sudanese independence, troops from the northern parts of the country have invaded a town on the border between the soon-to-be separate countries, raising the threats of a war. "The area produces a small amount of oil; but more than that, it has become a potent emotional symbol for both north and south, drawing analogies to Jerusalem because of the difficulties in resolving its status.", and openDemocracy on the aftermath of systematically used sexual violence in Sudanese conflicts in the past year. 

Pop Culture: 

John Lithgow provides a dramatic reading of Newt Gingrich's press release (this all looks very fun from a fair distance....) I guess Republican Presidential Candidates really do have an unfair advantage over minor Austrian politicians when it comes to entertainment and wackness. Also, sadly, Donald Trump decided not to run despite being absolutely certain that he would have won, which deprives us of a year of potentially brilliant political SNL sketches (the whole thing is watch-worthy but the relevant bits are starting at 12:16). 

Two Arcade Fire songs from the upcoming The Suburbs Deluxe Edition (considering that this was one of my favourite records of last year, I am appropriately psyched) have leaked: Speaking in Tongues and Culture War ("now the future's staring at me / like a vision from the past"). 
Indeed, Kenneth Branagh’s assertion that he cast Elba because he provided the gravitas needed for Hemidall made a distinction between the content of his character versus the color of his skin.  Thus, while we can be dismissive of CCC, we should take note of their protest within the shifting landscape of identity.  Like questions about President Obama’s birth and debates about immigration policy, the fixation upon race in Thor forces us to consider what are the systems that define society and how the new millennium will reshape our world. 
(while elsewhere, a debate still rages over the casting of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games). 
The world Bob Dylan and The Beatles made remains in its moment of creation all the more compelling to those who lived through it (and to many of subsequent generations) for its tantalising glimpse of a different self and an authentic life. When Dylan is lauded for his shapeshifting or criticised for his desertions (which amount to the same thing), part of what is going on is an effort to recuperate imaginatively this forever lost world of psychic possibility. 
openDemocracy: Bob Dylan at 70: revolution in the head, revisited, May 24, 2011

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